Another week down and the hits just keep coming. I cringe every time I look at my phone and get a notice, since it’s almost always bad news with someone breaking a bone or getting poked in the face. Why are these guys so fragile? Someone get them a glass of milk or something! Nonetheless, the leagues must go on. Here’s how the RCLs are shaking up this week.

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What a wild first week it was! Players were dropping like flies and no one knows what to do with Deandre Ayton! Each week I will present a list of players who can be picked up from the waiver wire in order to help ease the pain. Note that I will only list players who are widely available at the time of writing, so that you actually have a chance of getting them.

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Even though the Suns finished dead last in the Western Conference last year, and last in the entire NBA the year before that, they’ll always be first in the hearts and minds of fantasy owners everywhere. Their score first and play defense later mentality is fantasy gold, and this year is no different. There is reason to be optimistic this year though, with the arrival of Ricky Rubio and the emergence of Kelly Oubre. The Suns finally get their true point guard to distribute the ball and a veteran mentor for the young guns. Booker is looking healthy (for now) and Ayton should take a big step forward. I love the Suns when it comes to fantasy, and I have a sneaking suspicion they won’t be that bad in real life either.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Are you a competitive fantasy basketball player? Perhaps you’re looking to dive into the Yahoo Pro Leagues, or throw your name into one of the many cash leagues advertised on Reddit or Rotoworld? Maybe you’re in a very competitive league with your friends and need to win for pride? 

Having played fantasy basketball for many years (since Elton Brand couldn’t buy alchohol), I’ve accumulated knowledge that I wish someone imparted upon me. Below are nine concepts that provide a road map for fantasy basketball success. Hopefully, I can save you from making some of the mistakes that I made.

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The defending champs are back for yet another year of dominance…Oh wait, they didn’t win last year. Sorry, I’m so used to it that in my mind they’re still somehow the champs, even though it’s really my precious Raptors. The NBA championship is up for grabs again, and for the first time in awhile the Warriors are not the heavy favorite to win the title. Some are even saying they may struggle to make the playoffs. Key pieces in Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala left town, and Klay Thompson will be out for the majority of the season, leaving gaping holes in their starting line up. Newcomers D’Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein will look to step into the new system and fill some giant shoes. If Steph Curry can stay healthy, I expect the Warriors to be contenders yet again.

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The Celtics have enjoyed four straight winning seasons, with the trend likely continuing this season despite losing several key pieces. Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Morris all bolted for greener pastures. These may seem like a devastating losses, but opportunities are now present for young guns Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to step up and take their games to the next level. Gordon Hayward is another year removed from his gruesome injury and should be a bounce back candidate. Oh, and the additions of Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter don’t hurt either. The Celts did some addition by subtraction, and are primed to challenge for the Eastern Conference title yet again.

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Like most of you fantasy nuts, I am starved for basketball this time of year and can’t wait to get started. I decided to take matters into my own hands and started a league. I wanted it to be realistic and meaningful, so I set the buy-in at $200. Thankfully, I was able to gather 11 knowledgeable players and we drafted last week. Most of these guys are sharp, so there weren’t many bargains. Here is a recap of how it went down.

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My beloved Wolves finished 36-46 last year, nowhere near what it took to get into the playoffs in the stacked Western Conference. Towns did his best and did what Towns does, but it wasn’t nearly enough.  This was largely due to the fact that Andrew Wiggins remained Andrew Wiggins, and Jimmy was shipped out of town. Teague being hurt for half the season didn’t help either.

The Wolves return this year not having made any real noise in the offseason. They did draft Jarrett Culver, so that’s something. Wiggins promised that he’d play more defense and work on his threes, while Towns should take yet another step forward. The stacked Western Conference just got a lot more stacked, so even with a healthy Teague and a bright young prospect, the Wolves will once again be golfing somewhere nice while the NBA playoffs are going on.

Please, blog, may I have some more?