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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Hassan Whiteside missed yesterday’s shootaround. As a result, those who traveled from all corners of the Earth to witness a Mt. Whiteside explosion became despondent. They cried. They fainted. They cried some more. Then they all gathered around and sang Kumbaya. Because Joe forgot the drums and Sally left the flute in the hotel room, singing was eschewed for the more conventional Lord’s Prayer. As the group began to feel hope permeating throughout their bodies, they heard a voice over the PA: Ladies and gentlemen. Tonight’s starting lineup for the Portland Trail Blazers will be….Gary Trent Jr., Rodney Hood, C. J. McCollum, Anthony Tolliver, and Carmelo Anthony. Shrieks began to echo througout Fiserv Forum. Joe and Sally began to makeout because the end was near. But then with 4:52 left in the first quarter, Skal Labissiere checked into the game. And all was right with the world, as the expected Mt. Whiteside explosion was superseded by the Labissiere eruption.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 12 3 1 5 0 2/4 10/16 0

In 28 minutes off the bench. Now, prior to last night, Skal was averaging only 15.3 minutes per game, but with all the injuries, he could be entrenched as the backup to Hassan with the possibility of becoming the Messiah? Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s Messianic? The Stocktonator. Naw, but 20 minutes per game with the occasional start wouldn’t be a bad thing. I know. I know. We’ve been down this path before with Skal, but fourth times a charm? Look, Skal is a skilled offensive player who has range from downtown. And he gets his block on. I’m good with taking a chance on the upside. Why? The Blazers need shooters on the floor so the path to more playing time is there. They signed Carmelo Anthony for goodness sakes.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It took 171 games, over two seasons, and 5800 minutes played, but Ben Simmons finally did it. He drained his first tres.

I know you have doubts, but tape don’t lie….

The fact that I’m making Simmons the lede for making a tres is sad, but what’s worse is that it took him 171 games, two seasons, and 5800 minutes! Now, let’s not forget that on this historic and momentous night, Simmons actually played a great overall game:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
18 7 13 1 1 1 1/1 7/9 3/4

In a whopping 42 minutes! Yes, it was against the Knicks but whatever. Production is production. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always provides the production? The Stocktonator. For fantasy, Simmons is such an interesting player because he leads you down the punt one, punt two, punt three category strategy (tres, ft%, and turnovers). But, but, but….he has nightly “mess around” potential and will get his block and steal on. On the season, he’s a top 40 player despite his shortcomings.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the first five games of the season, Nicolo Melli played an average of 15.2 minutes per game, with a high of 20. He showed the ability to shoot from downtown, but little else. The first four games of November, Melli played 10, 10, 5, and 17 minutes. He was rotting on the bench. But then….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
14 6 4 3 0 0 1/6 4/10 5/5

Nelli got the call on the celli to notify him that he would play 27, 27, and 28 minutes over the past three games. Did I just time travel there? Anyways, Melli has responded by scoring 14, 16, and 10 points with a decent amount of boards and dimes. What really stands out is three steals in two separate games. Who knew this Italian was a smooth criminal? Perhaps he’s mafioso? He’s been a top 60 player over the past four games. This could be a short-term thing while the Pelicans are banged up, or it could be the start of something. I may be able to time travel, but I cannot predict the future. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what can predict the future? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Julius Caesar was a successful military general who turned powerful politician in the ancient Roman days. His power became so immense that he was named “dictator for life”. Unfortunately, he pissed off the wrong people (i.e. the elites) and was eventually assassinated via stabbing, or as the kids be saying, “he got shanked”. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never pisses off the people? The Stocktonator. After the early returns from the three-year, $63 million contract given to Julius Randle, Knicks fans were ready to hive up and Twitter shank Randle. Then….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 7 4 2 1 1 3/5 12/17 3/5

The 30 points were a season-high and it was only the second time this season in which he’s notched at least one steal and one block in a game. Now, before you start mental masturbating, keep in mind that last night’s game was against the Cavaliers. Need more? Kevin Love did not play and Cedi “Not So” Osman started at power forward. Any wonder why Julius went nuts? For fantasy, Randle provides points, boards, and some dimes. He even chips in some tres now. With that said, the percentages from both the field and free throw line are poor, and he provides little in the defensive categories. As a result, he’s outside the top 200 right now and will likely be a top 100-ish player.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve often wondered what driving while being color blind would be like. Yeah, I have too much free time on my hand obviously. Anyways, a STOP sign would just be a sign. The lights at a traffic signal would just change by sequence instead of the red, yellow, and green. It’s a good thing that most lights are standard, in that red is either at the top or on the left in horizontal signals. What if I ventured to a place that had the red on bottom or right? I’d be f’d. Anyways, there are many of players in the NBA who are definitely color blind when it comes to shot selection. Or maybe they just see green. Hmmm, now that I think about it, dolla bills are green and teams pay dolla bills for shots made, so players shoot shots to get the green. Now, not all players can get away with this because one has to actually make the shots to get the green. If a player has the red light, but shoots for the green anyways…and misses….then he will no longer be in the league. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what helps you get the green? The Stocktonator. One player who does not have this issue is Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings. He averaged 16.6 shots per game last season and converted at a 45% clip. As a result, the Kings gave him a four-year extension worth $106 million. That is a lot of green. So far in 2019, he’s averaging 16.4 shots, but since De’Aaron Fox went down due to injury, he’s averaging 20 shots per game! Last night….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
35 6 2 1 4 3 7/12 14/24 0

A season high in both points and shot attempts for Buddy. He’s been a top 25 player since Fox went down and the usage has ticked up close to 30. It was a tick under 28. Now, Buddy won’t provide many dimes or blocks and the uptick in steals is likely an outlier, but he will provide a ton of points, tres, and some boards.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

2-18, 2-16, 9-19, 8-22.

In the four recaps that I’ve written this year that James Harden was a part of, those have been his three-point shooting lines. For you math whizzes, that averages out to 18.75 attempted threes per game, and expanded across an 82-game season, that means Harden will have chucked up 1,537 threes.

Pause. One thousand, five hundred thirty-seven. The NBA record, held by Harden himself, is 500 fewer than that total.

With that said, the four times I’ve written about Harden happen to be his four highest attempt totals from beyond the arc so far. But maybe it’s not totally coincidental. I write the recaps for Friday night and Saturday night games. Maybe there’s some sort of correlation between looking forward to the weekend and getting three-point happy?

A Reddit user, Angry Centric, found a pretty significant correlation between Harden’s performance and the quality of the strip clubs in the city he’s playing in. When the strip clubs are better, the quality goes down. Maybe, just maybe, this could factor into Harden’s three-point shooting. Could he hoist up more threes when he’s excited to go out to a strip club after the game? We’ll keep looking into this as the season goes on.

I guess Minnesota doesn’t have the best strip clubs, though, as Harden exploded last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK FG-FGA 3p-3pA FT-FTA TO
49 5 6 0 0 16-41 8-22 9-11 4

Here’s what else I saw from around the league on Saturday night.

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What excites you? Skantily-clad women? All-you-can-eat buffet? Damn, now you know all about me. Whistling while walking away. Aaaaannnyyyways, we all have love for the hoop game. And we all have favorite players who we enjoy watching. Well, I’ve never been the biggest fan of James Harden, but man, when I watch him play, I get Harden excited. He’s not the most athletic player, but the skill that he has with the basketball makes him one of the most dominant players in the game. He can get to the rim at will and has figured out ways to get off his J anytime against anyone. Oh, he also grabs boards, dishes out dimes, gets his 211 on, and even blocks a few shots. Last night wasn’t his best game….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
44 8 5 4 0 3 6/14 13/26 12/14

……kind of crazy that the above stat line is a little ho-hum for Harden. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what else is Harden-esque? The Stocktonator. He just seems to do it on a consistent basis and has shown to have access to a higher ceiling. Aren’t you Harden excited too? He’s the #2 player for fantasy right now and will likely end up either #1 or #2. Remember all the talk about Russell Westbrook? BSGALsgaskghas;khas;fhmv aiwwmus. Harden had a 40.5 usage rate last season. He’s at 40.3 this year. Lol.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?