Regarding last week’s suggestions, Patrick Beverley continues to start even with D’Angelo Russell returning and looks like a solid pickup for the rest of the season. Damian Lillard had some encouraging signs in his last games so the buy-low window might be closing, Furkan Korkmaz was and will remain a great streamer for as long as the 76ers are not at full strength, while Derrick Jones Jr didn’t bring the defensive stats we were hoping but remains a specialist streamer. On the sell front, all of Kelly Oubre, Joe Harris, Duncan Robinson did nothing to improve their status, while the sell high window for Kyle Kuzma is shrinking with Rui Hachimura reportedly nearing a return in the coming weeks.

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As is the custom in all articles, the last part before the suggestions is the review of the weekly performance of players mentioned in the last article. Franz Wagner is balling and just had a career-high 28 points game, moving him inside the top 60. Even Chuma Okeke’s return is not looking like it will slow him down so hopefully you went with the advice and have him on your roster. In terms of the buy-low suggestions, Kristaps Porzingis got injured and Michael Porter Jr. continued to underwhelm, but I still view both as terrific buy-low options, even lower now with another week of bad games. Finally, the sell-high suggestions of Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas still remain, although the former’s fg% did come down a notch to more logical levels, while Luguentz Dort did nothing to change my view of him as a drop candidate.

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Another fantasy season has started, another season for me to mumble about something that caught my attention in the introduction, review the performance of players suggested in the article of the previous week, and then showcase players to buy/sell every week before we discuss them in the comments with you good folks.

What caught my eye this week is something that is very hard to miss, pun intended. A not-so-flattering image of Zion Williamson’s weight has surfaced, comparing his appearance during the Pelicans’ media days in 2021 and 2019, on the left and right respectively.

Now I am the first to admit that good food is one of the greatest enjoyments in life and can certainly be sympathetic, but in terms of his basketball and fantasy future, this is concerning. His knees and feet, in general, will be under a lot of stress to support his massive frame so this is something to monitor going forward, particularly when he eventually makes his season debut, and hopefully, he is one of the usual weight-loss stories next off-season.

This week’s article contains more players than usual, as I think the start of the season presents many opportunities that should be pursued aggressively in order to get an advantage early on.

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After watching a lot of unnecessary tape of prospects for the draft, patiently waiting for all the free agency and trade dominoes to fall, reflecting upon the performance review of last year’s projections and meditating exactly 14.5 minutes per day while sitting on the crane pose from the original Karate Kid, I am honored and ready to present you my top 155 projections for roto for the 2021-22 season!

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Another NBA season is beginning and as usual, for the fifth year in a row, I am here at Razzball to talk fantasy with you fine folks. As is the custom, the first article of the year is always a review of last year’s projections. This process started all the way back in 2017, before Covid-19 existed, when England was still a part of the EU, and I weighed 7 kgs less. If you are interested in diving into the math behind the whole review process, read the initial article here and shoot me a question in the comments below for any clarifications. On a side note, my thoughts and affiliations for the past NBA season can be summed up as such:

He deserves it more than anyone and his long journey from the open courts and streets in Greece to the NBA championship has been a joy to behold, not only as a fellow Greek but as an admirer of his dedication, persistence, and commitment.

With this out of the way let’s get to the focus of this article.

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There is a reason the last week of the NBA schedule is usually avoided by many fantasy leagues, as it has been called the “Silly” season. Many teams are all out of objectives to chase and are flat out tanking or have already clinched their playoff spots and are resting their stars and even rotational players. This results in many funky boxscores that are not to be expected at any other point of the season. Corey Brewer anyone?

But don’t be afraid, I am here for you to squeeze fantasy value even in this trying part of the fantasy schedule. If your H2H league is still running though, may I suggest an alteration for next year in order to finish it one week earlier, but for you fine folks that play Roto this is the most important week of the year as you chase the categories that can give you that one extra point to win it all. As a result, I don’t see a reason to include a Sell column at this time, as anyone can be safely dropped at this point of the season with so few games left.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Kent Bazemore and R.J. Hampton continued their solid finish to the season, while Frank Jackson unfortunately got injured. Special mention to Mo Bamba who also got injured but this finish to the season suggests that he will be a major draft target for next year and can be a true breakout star if he can get the starting spot from Wendel Carter Jr.

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The play-in tournament has been a hotly debated topic for the NBA community since its introduction last year. Metrics and revenue suggest that it is a great addition to the excitement building up to the playoffs but many players have voiced their displeasure, most notably Lebron James and Luka Doncic.

The strong counterargument is that most voices surfaced when their respective teams began to get affected by the said tournament. The Lakers for example are currently struggling and are in real danger of falling into the playing positions of the West. From a fantasy standpoint, I think it is slightly beneficial, as more teams are in the hunt for playoff qualification and so the effects of the usual silly season are less obvious with less random rest days and flat-out tanking from teams positioned 10th -12th.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Oshae Brissett is showing no signs of slowing down with excellent performances in his last games and even averaged 33 minutes in the two games Domantas Sabonis returned. He has been a real difference-maker in fantasy playoffs this year. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was serviceable and while Matisse Thybulle was clutch for those streaming him for stocks, as he accumulated six steals and five blocks in the three games he played last week. Finally, Terrence Ross predictably didn’t play at all and has no reason to be in any fantasy roster.

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I know the NBA is a business and players are professionals but I just can’t wrap my head around the Kevin Love situation in Cleveland. It all started with a panic move after Lebron left the Cavaliers in which they offered Love a four-year, $120 million contract. This has proven a burden for a rebuilding franchise that is unable to trade the oft-injured power forward and has resulted in frustration from both sides.

Just to be clear, this happened in a real game with the score very close. It must be really deflating to see it from his teammates’ point of view and hopefully, they work something out in the offseason to get him out of Cleveland, despite the fact that he still has two more years left in his contract.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Bruce Brown balled out in the games the Nets were shorthanded and was an excellent streamer but can be safely dropped now that they are getting Kevin Durant back. Moe Harkless was another positive contributor and, unlike Brown, he still has value as his playing time seems relatively safe. The same can’t be said for De’Anthony Melton as his playing time is hovering around 20 minutes per game making him a borderline player to own.

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I won’t put you to sleep with a long and drawn out introduction today, as I‘m sure you all want to learn who to pickup to help your team win in the fantasy playoffs, so I will just make a brief mention of my awe for the performances Stephen Curry has been blessing us with during the last month or so. In his last 20 games he is averaging 33.6 points, 5.5 triples on 50%/90.7% shooting. Unreal… As unreal as some of the plays he has made during this streak, like this one.

Ridiculous. I also read that if Steph was to go 0/500 for his next 3-point attempts and then immediately retire, he would still have a better 3pt% than Ray Allen. His MVP case is getting stronger by the day, especially when you consider the talent around him or more precisely the lack of it. Even fans in Philly have acknowledged the fact with MVP chants for him.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Facundo Campazzo has not dazzled with his performances, but with Monte Morris injured on top of Jamal Murray being sidelined, I still like him as a valuable playoff contributor. Marcus Morris also will continue to benefit from Kawhi’s injury that will cost him at least the next 3 games while Jalen McDaniels continues to have a solid 32 minutes role in Charlotte. Finally, “Sell” candidates Millsap and Harrell continued being non-factors in fantasy.

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Vince Carter is one of my all-time favorite players, mainly because of his ability to execute dunks that look nearly impossible, even for NBA standards. Just ask Frederic Weis.

Good lord…One of, if not, the greatest dunker in NBA history and I have to admit I miss this kind of energy dunk in today’s NBA. That was until Miles Bridges did this to poor Clint Capela.

Mind you Capela is a strong rim protector, which makes the dunk that much more impressive. One of those plays that make you grimace just by watching it. Loved it. Also, note the reactions of the other players on the court in both videos.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Malachi Flynn was the most successful one as he continues to take advantage of his opportunity with great performances and was a top 90 player last week. Bobby Portis was ok, while Deni Avdija fizzled with only nine minutes in his last game and can be safely dropped again. Both the “Sell” candidates Derrick Rose and DeAndre Jordan did nothing to improve my view on them so they will remain as such.

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Brawls in the NBA have been very rare lately, compared to the old days. Just ask Ron Artest. This is of course an improvement and it usually takes something unique to sparkle one nowadays. And in a weird twist of fate, what created one in yesterday’s game between the Lakers and the Raptors was OG Anunoby lifting Dennis Schroeder like he was made out of feather.

Ok, either Anunoby is way too strong or Schroeder is way too light, as he was almost zoned out when he lifted him and immediately went for the apology. Anunoby seems like a very chill dude so I bet he didn’t even realize what he was doing at that moment, but it still created a rare scuffle.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, both Chuma Okeke and Gary Trent Jr. were awesome, with the former producing top 30 and the latter top 50 fantasy production this past week. Jaden McDaniels and Hamidou Diallo were also productive and certainly worth rostering, while Evan Fournier, who was mentioned in the “Sell” column had a great week but is currently out due to COVID-protocols. I don’t even mention Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who was also in the “Sell” column since he hasn’t played yet and I have serious doubts that he will play again this year. The general consensus seems to disagree with me, as he is still owned in 97% of Yahoo leagues.

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The buyout market has always been a contentious topic in the NBA, but especially this year as LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin went to the Nets while Andre Drummond signed with the Lakers. These moves would normally cost teams current or future assets, but this is not the case in a buyout situation. This is especially a concern for smaller market teams that lack the allure to convince players to join them via the buyout market, essentially widening the margin between big and small-market teams. I am not sure if this is in the immediate agenda of the league but even as a fan I have to admit that it feels a little bit like cheating for a team to get players of that caliber for essentially no cap space hit. Another unfortunate side effect is that trades for these players are unlikely to happen, as rival executives know that the players will be eventually bought out and are reluctant to give anything of value for them. All in all, it seems like a situation that needs to be further explored for potential changes next year.

Getting back to the fantasy talk and regarding last week’s suggestions, I hope you followed my advice on selling Al Horford, as the Thunder announced he will not play again this season as they shift their focus to tank…ahem to player development…Tyler Herro was also featured as a “Buy” candidate and has since improved his shooting and peripheral stats, while Jordan Poole also had a good run but is a drop due to Stephen Curry’s return.

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