The last two months of the NBA season can produce some extremely strange numbers. You don’t necessarily have to be a good basketball player to produce at the NBA level during these months. That doesn’t matter for winning fantasy leagues though. Numbers are NUMBERS:

2014/2015 NBA Season Final 2 Months Ranking 8-Cat:

Rudy Gobert (27)

Hassan Whiteside (63)

Jordan Clarkson (40)

Zach LaVine (85)

Nikola Mirotic (61)

What do all these players have in common?

-They were all undrafted or dropped to the wire in the majority of 12-team 8-cat roto leagues last year.

-They were all rookies or sophomores for the 2014-2015 season. (Whiteside excluded)

-They all provided top 100 per game value for the final two months of the 2014-2015 season.

Every year there are difference makers that arise throughout the final two months of the season. The correlation between winning teams and scooping up difference makers in the back end of the season cannot be underestimated. Below are some players I think may be able to break out in the final months of the season:

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Previous “Jump Ball” articles:

9/19 – Russell Westbrook v Damian Lillard


San Antonio Spurs Team Chicago Bulls
SG, SF Position (Y! Eligibility) SG, SF
2014 Results
12th 9-Cat Rank (Total Value) 15th
6th 9-Cat Rank (Per Game) 8th
64 Games Played 65
31.8 Minutes Per Game 38.7
21.4 (T-93rd) Usage Rate (Rank) 20.6 (T-112th)
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Ah, the big boys. Remember when they used to say you should build your franchise around a center? I actually have no idea if they said that, Patrick Ewing and Hakeem the Dream were peaking before my time! But it did seem to be the focus of the NBA, as then it shifted to Shaq and his Kazaam-type activity. Now the big slow C is the way of the past, with fantasy’s best C a do-it-all wet dream of gorgeous fantasy-a-tude. I’m just making up words I’m so in love! The best microcosm of this shift has been the oft-commented Luminescent Lithuanian, who is so hard to rank if the Raptors keep their big fellah mired in a 26 MPG role. We want to stretch the ball more! Ugh, frickin’ rotations and less minutes going around! Matty’s Minutes Men article is just depressing, I want to see guys go 40+ again. I’m getting rambly – Monty Python get on with it! – here’s the top C for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season:

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Bring the powah!  In one of the more shiftiest of positions in the NBA, we now embrace the stretch-4 as if small ball is the cure-all for everything in the NBA, and have thrown out the twin towers philosophy.  No more Monroe and Drummond and 800 pounds worth of NBA center clogging the paint!  The NBA is getting more versatile, and I think we’re seeing it more with all the ways a PF can help you in fantasy.  Dimes from LeBron, treys from like half of em, a lot of rainbow line threats…  It’s as variant as Johnny Depp’s characters in Tim Burton movies!  Oh wait, they’re all weird/bumbly/creepy, that’s completely wrong…  It’s as variant as nationalities in the NBA!  Love that FIBA had so many NBA players participating, so fun…  Anyway, the point is (if there ever was a point to this open), that PF can fit a lot of builds, and can band-aid some stats late, so it’s not a positional necessity.  I might have made up a completely new term there…  Here’s the top PF for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season:

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The big wings!  Not to be confused with the big wigs.  Not to be confused with the big Whigs.  No William Henry Harrison here!  We got history jokes!  Continuing our week of tiers, which I think is probably in the 2nd tier of preseason weeks of content, it’s time to group our small forwards.  Certainly a misnomer since guys like Giannis are 7-feet, and the multi-cat guys certainly aren’t small in production.  I’m certainly small in interesting opens!  Intro-ing these tiers articles is tough!  I lump this intro in the “Undraftable in 12ers” Tier.  Here’s the top SF for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season:

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Ah, the poor poor SG for fantasy…  Often the ThrAGNOFfiest of the wings – the empty cat specialist scorer, the waiver wire player who scores 30 points and everyone grabs them then they’re terrible again for a few weeks…  Lookin’ at you C.J. Miles!  Luckily Yahoo is pretty slutty with their position eligibility, slapping two positions on most players and keeping SG from being the barren wasteland it could otherwise become.  I’m hoping at least one of my SG eligible guys is actually more a PG, as the PG runs hit you harder than lunch at Chipotle.  I MISS JON STEWART!  Here’s the top SG for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season:

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It’s time for tiers!  And with PG, it’s top-tiers or fears.  It’s top tier or Britney Spears!  Top tier or…  Or…  Eh I got nothing for a PG who rhymes with that…  Top tier or your team takes it in the rear!  Yes, PG is rife with a precipitous falloff after the first class, with a dive off a cliff that is like the third act of The Abyss.  Underrated movie!  Ed Harris is the man.  And sure, I guess some omniscient underwater aliens (…are they aliens?) could do enough to resurrect your team from the depths, but I’m not going to pass on the top end guys and hope for a deus ex machina ending.  Well, the ending wasn’t quite deus ex machina, but it wasn’t the best…  And I doubt waiting and relying on Rondo or the rookies will result in any sort of happy ending…  Poor phrasing!  Here’s the top PG for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season, and we’ll be putting together positional tiers based on Yahoo position eligibility every day this week:

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Piggy-backing off of Slim’s (in?)famous “Slim vs. Slim” series of years past, I’m going to be writing a number of articles pitting two players with similar ADPs against one another. The format will be slightly different, but the goal remains the same – provide fantasy owners some food for thought to better inform their decision if faced with these two players come draft day. It’s not a groundbreaking idea across the fantasy sports spectrum, but I’ve always found it to be a good way to help avoid a coin toss scenario once the clock starts ticking. So in lieu of a long-winded introduction, let’s just get down to brass tacks, shall we?

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You aren’t going to find too many elite fantasy basketball assets sitting on an NBA bench. You’re going to find them on a 50’ wide by 94’ long stretch of hardwood, running their shoes tread-bare.

Fantasy production or “numbers” – essentially the only thing you’re mining for as you prepare for your drafts – is what results from the beautiful union between talent and opportunity.

Talent with limited opportunity (think: Jonas Valanciunas) leaves you with little choice but to sit back and wonder what could have been. Conversely, all the opportunity in the world afforded to players short on talent (I’m looking at you, Courtney Lee) has you questioning why you’re tending to vines that bear no fruit.

Unfortunately, in the world of the National Basketball Association, opportunity is usually held to a finite number each night – and that number is 240. Two hundred and forty minutes is all a given team can distribute amongst its roster during a regulation game. (For our purposes here today we’ll refrain from delving into the impact of overtime/multi-overtime games adding to the pool of minutes, though it does obviously impact the calculus.)

With NBA coaches now regularly employing rotations of nine and 10 men, there are very few players (regardless of talent, youth and good health) who are asked to play more than 75% of a game. In point of fact, during the 2014/2015 NBA season a grand total of six players averaged over 36 minutes of court time. Go just one year farther back and that number jumps to 16. The 12-13 campaign? 22 such players eclipsed the 36 MPG mark and seven ran for over 38 minutes a night. And to really put things into perspective – less than a decade ago we saw nine players average 40 minutes, with the kicker being that none of them missed more than 10 games.

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Stromile Swift here; I will hopefully be bringing you some weekly 8-cat information to Razzball this season. The below article relates to 8-cat Roto leagues – I’ve always played 8-cat leagues and prefer no turnovers, as I feel it can sometimes punish the elite players. Below are some of my value picks that will hopefully help win 8-cat championships.  Please feel free to comment on any of the article below and I’ll respond to all and sundry.  I’m very excited to join the team and look to develop my skills as a writer and commenter on Razzball.

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