Every Saturday, I will update the below Google sheet. It will show the upcoming schedule for all teams with color coding for pace rankings. RED = slowest. YELLOW = middle of the pack. GREEN = fastest. Pace is the number of possessions a team has per game. More possessions increase the chances of more fantasy goodies. The data I use for pace, which is year-to-date, is from ESPN. I also want to give a shoutout to Hashtag Basketball, as their schedule grid is fantastic and allowed me to save time by not having to look at each teams schedule. Good luck!

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I know the “Player of the Week” award is not that important. I know the return of Carmelo Anthony has been a pleasant surprise for many and I can freely admit, as evidenced here, that I was not a believer. But for the love of everything that is holy, Carmelo shouldn’t be the winner of the award this week by averaging 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.37 assists. Not when Luka Doncic had 30.3/8.7/9.0 and especially not when James Harden had 47.0/4.5/6.5 during the same span.

Maybe it was the “Comeback Player of the Week” Award. Or the “Western Conference Player with a Last Name Starting with “Ant” Week Award”, since Giannis also won the Eastern Conference. I am definitely glad the league is highlighting other players besides the MVP candidates, but Harden’s week was too unreal to ignore.

Last week’s “Buy” suggestions fared pretty well, with both Nerlens Noel and Glenn Robinson III having productive weeks, while Frank Ntilikina was useful until he got ruled out due to a bad back. Finally, Cody Zeller lost his starting spot and has done nothing to convince me he is not a “Sell” candidate.

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Potential, Potential, Potential

Potential is enticing, if fickle. Potential is a first date. A 0-0 count in the top of the first. Potential is a stray glance or wink, a few perfectly volleyed bits of of banter between two people soon to be lovers. Potential is the essay before its written, the hazy four-line outline in the mind. Potential is the moment before the moment, where dream and reality meet, if only for an instant.

Potential is not, however, negative capability, as Keats described it: “I mean Negative Capability, that is when man ‘or woman’ is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without, any irritable reaching after fact or reason.” Potential implies a payoff, a return on investment. The hung curveball must be sent screaming to the seats. The alley must be ooped. The first date must lead to a second.

In the poem, the reward is the exploration of uncertainty itself. In fantasy sports, that irritable reaching after fact or reason is all we know. With that in mind, here are some players who’ve been blessed with the wicked kiss of potential.

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Luka Doncic was a name most fans of European basketball knew long before he was drafted. We knew all about his potential and, most importantly, his experience that was uncharacteristic for a player of his age. His rookie year was already promising but we are currently witnessing the birth of a true superstar in his sophomore year. Luka is currently averaging 30.1/3.1/10/9.5/1.4/0.2/4.7. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in….That’s almost a triple-double from a second-year player at age 20. Truly unreal…

Also, check out this response to “Why the Dallas defense has improved this year?”

Dirk was notorious for his humor so Luka looks like a deserved heir both on and off the court.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Markelle Fultz had a great week and is trending up in a hurry while Moritz Wagner and Jaxson Hayes performed well but not spectacularly. Finally, Kevin Love justified being a “Sell” candidate as the rest days started and they should be a regular occurrence moving forward.

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While the NFL dominates Thanksgiving Day, there is nothing better than taking the opportunity to reflect upon the early part of the fantasy basketball season. There have been a ton of surprises, some of which have been mentioned in these articles, and at a certain point, the hot starts become obvious sell highs. If nothing else, Thanksgiving is a time to make a trade. That’s right, for those who are devoted to fantasy basketball, there are two times a year when trading is universally craved, days when there is no basketball to watch. Those days are this coming Thursday and the All Star break. These are my favorite times to hit the trade market. Watch the full slate of games on Wednesday night, and take your early season surprise, say thank you and send them packing. You’ll be thanking on Thursday. It’s only fitting.

Here are some sell high, buy low, and waiver wire pickups to consider this week, because even in the time of giving thanks, we always live Beyond the Glory.

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If you’re a habitual bad drafter like I am, you’re probably well acquainted with the power of the waiver wire. First I was a bad drafter in fantasy football and now that non-skill has transferred over to fantasy basketball. I often make too much of my hay on the wire. I have never won the championship in my fantasy football league—an indication that I haven’t had the top-end talent necessary to take home the trophy. But I have made the playoffs every year except one—an indication that timely, intelligent pick-ups on the wire are not to be taken for granted, especially in football where long injury absences are common. I also made the playoffs in my first year of fantasy basketball as an expansion team after auto-drafting. It’s a 14 team, 9-category, head-to-head Yahoo league for perspective. I tell you all this not to toot my own horn, but to lay out my strengths and weaknesses, to cement my waiver wire guru credentials.

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It’s hard to grasp, but we are already past the 15% mark of the regular season! Time does indeed fly and there have been some surprising and underachieving teams. The surprises have been the Celtics (11-2), Heat (9-3) and Suns (7-6), while the underachievers have been the Warriors (3-12), Pelicans (5-9), and Trail Blazers (5-10). Although it’s early in the season, don’t be surprised if some of the underperforming teams make some major moves to try and shake things up. Some are even getting desperate…

I don’t hate Carmelo’s fit in Portland. He can be a valuable contributor if he moves the ball willingly and at least tries on the defensive end. But those are two big “ifs”, as history has taught us.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Alec Burks is one of the last Warriors standing (that sounded more heroic than I planned) with any kind of talent, so he will get all the usage he can handle. The fg% will be occasionally bad, but the scoring and counting stats will compensate. Finally, Marcus Smart also had a good week, while Cory Joseph has been disappointing in his starts and is a drop candidate.

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Last week, Jabari Parker was the first player suggested as a pickup due to the John Collins injury. I expected a rise in minutes and production but the reality was better than expected. 22/1/8.2/2.2/1/1/1.8 on 56.1%/69.1% shooting have him ranked 33rd during that span. As long as Collins remains sidelined, Jabari can be a difference-maker in fantasy. Regarding the other “buy” candidates, both Delon Wright and Troy Brown had forgettable weeks but I still believe in their value.

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Brandon Ingram

The long-awaited Brandon Ingram breakout is here in earnest. So far this season, Ingram is averaging 25.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists, while shooting 55.2 percent from the field, 48.6 percent from three, and 74.3 percent from the free-throw line (all career highs). Ingram is not a legitimate 48 percent shooter from three, especially on five attempts a game. The dreaded regression to the mean is coming. Before this season, he had never shot 40 percent, topping out at 39 percent on 1.8 attempts a game in his sophomore season. Even with that in mind, there is reason to believe he’ll shoot better this year. Ingram’s field goal percentage has improved each season he’s been in the league and he entered the NBA with solid form and touch. The Pelicans play at a fast pace. They are currently sixth in the league in pace and increased transition opportunities should lead to more lightly-contested shots. Furthermore, when Zion returns the Pelicans will have yet another ball-handler who commands defensive attention, which could lead to more spot-up opportunities for Ingram.

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We are only seven games into the season and already two of the most promising young players in the league have been suspended. DeAndre Ayton and John Collins both received a 25 game suspension due to violations of the NBA’s Anti-Drug program and, although they will appeal the decision, chances are they will have to sit out the entirety of those 25 games.

I will not voice my personal opinion as we rarely get to know the full story but in both cases it’s a huge blow for their respective teams, but simultaneously, more opportunity for other players to contribute in fantasy and real life.

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