A few years back, there was this popular book series that was also one of the first click-baitey lists I remember seeing online. It was called “Eat This, Not That!”. Or, as it might as well have been called: “Feel Guilty Every Time You Have A Deep-Fried Onion Appetizer.” They’d present two relatively similar items at a restaurant, one with roughly half the calories and a fraction of the saturated fat. That one was usually smaller, and shockingly, not deep-fried. I remember grumpily learning that some of the absolute worst things you could eat were also some of my favorites, of course. That would be these beauties:

The Triumvirate: The Awesome Blossom, The Bloomin’ Onion, and The Cactus Blossom. No thanks! I won’t be substituting grilled salmon and fresh vegetables! I LIKE having my entire recommended weekly allowance of calories BEFORE my entrée arrives!

So, this week, I thought I’d take from that and from another idea I’ve always liked: Comparing nameless stat-lines. So, let’s do a Roster This, Not That! How’s this going to give us an advantage? What I’m going for here is, unsurprisingly, picking two players with relatively similar stat sets. One will generally be a player that your typical fantasy manager will value close to his draft price, and the other will be an overachiever, and possibly an under-the-radar one at that. Then, if you think that player might not be properly valued in your league, you should try to acquire him, as he could come cheap. If you have the player he’s being compared to, you could even see if you could make the swap and upgrade somewhere else at the same time. Now, if the other manager is up on their current player rankings, you may not get a deal, but, even so, they could be skeptical that the surprising player can keep it up. I’ve admitted before that I’m reluctant to change my perception of a player quickly. I pretty much value players where they were drafted for a little too long, since I’m resistant to believe the small sample size is more predictive than the career body of work. Which is right? That’s part of the fun, of course. So, here are a handful of comparisons I came up with (see if you can guess a few). It’s less about these specific players than the overall concept. Make sure you’re not just sticking with the big names. When it comes to fantasy, you’ve got to think of these players as a set of numbers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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For the one woman reader out there, if you got excited because you thought this post would correlate to The Full Monty, I have three things to say to you. First, thank you for being the lone woman reader. Second, I apologize. Third, get your mind out of the gutter. Pervert. This post is about Monte Morris of the Denver Nuggets. He’s been a solid player all season for the Nuggets, but last night? Well, we got the Full Monte as he received his second start of the season because Jamal Murray is still recovering from an ankle injury.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 7 7 2 0 0 3/4 8/12 1/1

Played a team-high and whopping 40 minutes! I wasn’t joking about the Full Monte bit. Now, Murray is the entrenched starter, so Morris won’t be surpassing him on the depth chart, but he’s still a valuable backup and will get run on a nightly basis. Coming into last night’s game, Morris had been averaging a tick under 25 minutes, 10.2 points, 1.2 threeecolas, 2.5 boards, 3.7 dimes, and 0.9 steals. He was shooting 48% from the field and 79% from the line. The key number for Morris is the assist-to-turnover ratio (5.45), which is second in the NBA. 180 assists to 33 turnovers in 49 games. That’s an endearing quality to have when it comes to NBA coaches. Almost as captivating as asian parents seeing their daughter date a man with a PhD in medicine. Bottom line, Morris is going to get run, which gives him a high floor. As evidenced last night, though, when he starts, you get the Full Monte.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t particularly believe in second chances. It is usually hard for me to forget the disappointment and give someone another shot. But boy, I’m glad I gave one to Jahlil Okafor last week, despite the letdown from the previous season. He has been on fire since getting the starting job with 21.2/0/11/0.4/0.4/2.6/2 on 74.6%/63.2% shooting and is therefore ranked 17th during that span. The most encouraging stat is the blocks and he has looked rejuvenated and more mobile than ever, surfacing as a feel-good story this season. Anthony Davis’ return will hurt him (I will talk about his potential trade probably next week when the dust has settled a bit and we have a clearer picture) but until that happens….JAH RULE !!

Apart from the obvious success of Okafor, the other big man from last week’s article, Mitchell Robinson, is providing blocks (2.8) and steals (1.2) and has been a top 50 player. Despite Fitzdale’s comments about finding more minutes for him, he is only averaging 16.9, so watch out if he can increase those closer to 25. Finally, Rajon Rondo has been doing Rondoian things (I claim this word as mine) with 5.7 rebounds and 11.7 assists and will continue to provide standard league value until Lonzo Ball returns. On the contrary, the Lakers’ Sell candidate from last week, which was Kyle Kuzma, got hurt and the impeding return of LeBron James won’t do him any favors.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cedi Osman was selected with the 31st overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2015. His draft rights were immediately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Osman was stashed away in Europe for two years. When he finally made it over to the States, the playing time was inconsistent but he did show that he could play in the league and had two games in which he logged 39 minutes. Osman showed the ability to contribute across the board, so it wasn’t a surprise when he performed well to begin this season: 32.4 minutes, 13.1 points, 5.3 boards, 3.6 dimes, and 1 steal were his averages in the month of October. While he shot 42% from downtown on 4.7 attempts, the overall field goal percentage was only 38%, something that would plague him as the season progressed. In addition, the peripheral stats all decreased, which resulted in many jumping off the Osman ship. But then something happened. Maybe something clicked, as he’s still only 23 years old and this is only his second season in the NBA. Or maybe it’s small sample size, but whatever the case may be, last night Cedi was freaking Osman!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 5 7 2 1 3 4/8 10/16 2/8

Well, everything but the free throw shooting, but he was instrumental in leading the Cavs to a 116-113 victory over the Wizards. For much of the season, Osman had been a top 200 player for fantasy, but over the three games prior to last night, he’d been top 30, averaging 37.1 minutes, 23.7 points, 3.7 threeecolas, 6.7 boards, 2.7 dimes, and 1.3 steals. He’d been shooting 52% from the field and had a usage rate of 23. Now, the efficiency will likely come down, but there’s also a chance that he’s more comfortable and has improved. Regardless, the Cavs straight stink so Osman is going to get tons of run. Cedi has been Osman. Hopefully, he continues to be.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A nuclear warhead was launched and detonated by agent Rich Paul yesterday when he notified the New Orleans Pelicans that Anthony Davis has no intention of re-signing with the team and has requested a trade. Let the madness begin. All the dots connect to him being in Los Angeles sooner than later, but I have heard some alternative theories that could land him elsewhere. I’m both intrigued and entertained. The L. A. Times reported that any offer from the Lakers would have to begin with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, and a first-round pick. The salaries of Ball, Kuzma, and Zubac equal $10.7 million. Davis will make $25 million, so that won’t be enough from a money perspective. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope makes $12 million (expiring contract), so he’d likely have to be included in any deal. Rob Perez @WorldWideWob laid out the scenario of Kyrie Irving going to the Lakers, with Davis going to Boston, and Ball, Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram, and Lance Stephenson going to New Orleans. The Knicks have been mentioned as serious players, as they may be willing to part with Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and a first-round pick for Davis. Portland has been mentioned with C. J. McCollum, Al-Farouq Aminu, and a first-round pick for Davis. AD is 25 years old and moon walks over the rest of the competition. He’s a player that teams should be willing to push all the chips into the middle of the table. Yes, he’s missed some games in his career (82 in 6 1/2 years) but he’s that freaking good. I can’t wait to see who else emerges in the sweepstakes and where he eventually ends up, because it has a chance to completely change the landscape in the NBA. AD is resetting. Can’t wait to see where year 0 A. D. begins.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Most leagues have the fantasy playoffs during Weeks 22-24 of the season. For those too lazy to press the calendar icon on their phones, that corresponds to a starting date of March 11th and ending on March 31st. Below, I will group the teams by number of games played, with 12 being the most and 9 being the least. Within each group, I will show the teams that they play with the rankings in offensive pace and defensive efficiency. The color code will be divided into three sections: green for top 10, yellow for middle 10, and red for bottom 10. Keep in mind that for defensive efficiency, red will be top 10 because those will be the toughest matchups. Since you’re reading this, that means you’re feeling optimistic about your chances, so good luck to you!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Earlier in the season, I was ROFL and LMAO, as LaMarcus Aldridge was struggling with consistency. He’d pop a 37-point game then produce back-to-back 15-pointers. In the month of December, he scored 6 points twice and blessed us with a 7-point outburst. But then, things started to click. The consistency returned and now he is the lede for this world famous blog. Ok, maybe not famous but we are international, so world is appropriate. Shout out to all the homies in other countries.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 9 6 1 2 2 0/2 12/21 6/6

Over the past seven games, LMA has been a top 20 player. On the season, he’s top 25. Who’s laughing now? Surely not I. Sorry Shirley. Wasn’t talking to you. Anyways, DeMar DeRozan missed yesterday’s game, but regardless, LMA has had a usage rate over 30 over the past seven games and attempting 17.4 shots per game. The efficiency is excellent (53% from the field and 85% from the line). While he won’t provide many threeecolas, LMA averages 23.1 points, 9 boards, 3.6 dimes, 0.6 steals, and 1.9 blocks. LMA with the O!

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Damian Lillard got the night off in Portland to get some well deserved rest, and the rest of the Blazers all got a decided boost; none more than CJ McCollum, who went 2-28-10-10-1-0-3 on 10-of-23 shooting and 6-for-7 from the line. This was CJ’s first career triple-double and just shows he’s more of a complete player than people thought. He still didn’t give you much in the way of defensive stats, but this will probably go down as one of his best stat-lines of the season.  Just keep in mind if Lillard misses any other games, CJ and the rest of his Blazer Buddies become viable DFS options. It was a pretty short schedule for a Saturday night with only five games. I guess with no real NFL games in the week before the Super Bowl, they wanted to stack Sunday, with no competition from football. Anyway, there is still a lot to get into so without further ado, here’s what else went down last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?


Kenneth Faried
has come out of obscurity, buried deep on the Nets bench, and has exploded onto the court for the Rockets and savvy fantasy GMs in less than a week. He keeps showing up and putting up big numbers. Not only has he immediately provided his normal points and boards with high efficiency, but he has suddenly added steals and blocks. He even hit a 3! The free throw shooting is still horrific, but the diverse offering he’s served up so far have been great.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
8/11 5/9 NA 21 14 0 0 2 0

This was his best scoring and rebounding performance yet. He was all over the court in this one and made his presence known. While he’s been an incredibly fun story this week, this has sell high written all over it. With Clint Capela returning in a few weeks, there probably won’t be a better time to gauge his value than immediately after a big performance in a nationally televised game. Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy all the fun of rostering a player called the Manimal.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

 

 

 

 

Look ahead—Trade Deadline Edition

Now we are just past the halfway mark of the season and into the annual fun that masquerades as the trade deadline.

Teams are either hoping to find the one additional piece to move them into championship contention, ensure that playoff slot which has eluded the home fans for several seasons, or offload some contracts to save a few bucks and better the future.

The interesting thing is figuring out who the sellers and buyers are. More intriguing for us fantasy hoop heads is how it affects/changes/improves/negates the numbers of current players and what kind of new opportunities can now be found for players in new situations.

We will take a look at the Eastern Conference first – identify some trade targets and discuss what that might mean.  Then we will do the same with the West.

Please, blog, may I have some more?