Injuries usually lead to opportunity. I believe the moniker amongst fantasy friends is “next man up”. Well, in certain situations, the next man up is an all-time great and needs to be considered for your fantasy liking. This week we are going to talk about someone who is most definitely beyond his glory days. See what I did there, all puns intended, and you will like it! Dwayne Wade has been on the cusp of retirement since he took to Instagram to save his wife from the eyes of Jimmy Butler. Never before has Wade taken to social media to make a stand, but when your career is going down faster than the Hindenburg, you do things to remain relevant. Going back to Miami was surely a  sanctioned retirement tour, and what we failed to remember was that retirement tours can bring out the best of players (see: Kobe Bryant’s 60 Burger). Wade has been taking advantage of injuries to Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson, and has been playing his best basketball of the season. Over his last four games he is averaging 21.5 points, 2.3 3PM, 3.5 REBs, 5.8 AST, and only 1.5 TOs over 29.5 minutes per game. Couple that with 46% from the field and 79.2% from the stripe and you have one of the top players in that time frame. If Wade has been rejuvenated, this could be scratching the surface of a useful season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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We are recuperating from the Thanksgiving holiday, but no rest for the weary, as preparations are beginning in earnest for Christmas. Then, it’s a quick turnaround for New Year’s followed by Groundhog Day. What? You don’t bow down to Punxsutawney Phil? You heathen. Valentine’s Day is next with Chinese New Year right after that. I married Chinese to hedge against the possibility that they rule the world in my lifetime. You don’t need to take it that far, but you may want to start celebrating that particular holiday. Just in case. St. Patrick’s Day, Good Friday, Easter, Patriot’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day….I think you get the point. The holidays keep coming and going, which is exactly what Jrue Holiday does on the basketball court, as he played 42 minutes last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 4 14 4 1 1 4/8 12/23 4/6

On the season, Holiday is averaging over 36 minutes per game. Since the holiday seasons are usually about giving, it’s only appropriate that he’s third in the NBA in assists (9 per game). The turnovers are a little high (3.7) and the free throw percentage is a little low (75%), but he’s providing 20.6 points, 1.4 threeecolas, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 0.8 blocks, which is good for the #27 player in fantasy. This Holiday always be working and providing.

Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what else doesn’t take holidays off? The Stocktonator, which is probably why it had Holiday so high last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For this week’s article, I’m going to break down the rookies into 1st/2nd/3rd teams based on their performances over roughly the first third of the season. This is solely my own opinion, mostly based on statistical performance but also some other intangibles thrown in there. Feel free to drop your own teams in the comments! Let’s go!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There was a time when the streets were flooded with bookstores: B. Dalton, Borders, Coles, Crown Books, and Encore Books. Then the internet came along and changed the whole paradigm. No longer did people have to get off their asses to buy books. Instead, a click here and a click there and…poof…like magic, the book would appear at their door. As a result, brick-and-mortar locations became obsolete and the aforementioned stores went kaput. But one company, Barnes & Noble, was able to rise from the carnage and remain relevant. While there was no need to have a bookstore at every corner, some people still enjoyed that walk-in experience. As a result, Barnes & Noble has remained and continues to serve the community. Which brings me to Harrison Barnes. A five-star recruit and Mr. Basketball USA in high school, All-Conference and All-American in college (North Carolina), and All-Rookie in the NBA, business was booming in the Barnes household. But then he got scared of his own shadow during the NBA playoffs (2015) , in a contract year no less, and kaput. No more Golden State. Mark Cuban, though, saw value and paid $94 million over four years to acquire his services. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ During his time in Dallas, Barnes has averaged 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.4 threeecolas, and 0.2 blocks. Not great, but serviceable. Is that worth $94 million? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But every once in a while, Barnes does deliver:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 9 1 0 1 3 3/9 11/28 5/5

Over the past six games, Barnes has been a top 60 player, but he’s more like a top 100 player. Since 2014, he’s finished as the 109th, 119th, 79th, and 90th player. Barnes doesn’t provide much of a ceiling but the floor is pretty high, as he shoots a ton of shots. Not everyone likes bookstores, but they do provide a function for some. That’s the best way to describe Harrison Barnes for fantasy.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cue the epic guitar solo! Hayward’s owners can lay their weary heads to rest. Don’t you cry no more! Last night Gordon Hayward went 4-30-9-8-2-0-2 on 8-of-16 shooting and a perfect 10-of-10 from the stripe in 30 minutes off the bench. Hopefully, this marks the beginning of the return of Hayward to his old self. It has been pretty miserable owning him this year, but this could be a turning point for him. He’s still getting his confidence/sea-legs back and was  averaging only 10.3 points coming into this one. This was on the heels of a back-to-back as well which means Brad Stevens is confident enough in Hayward’s health to give him big minutes. Many owners used a 4th/5th round pick on him, so if he can return to any semblance of the player he was in Utah, his owners will be happy.

There were seven games on the slate last night in the NBA so let’s dive on in to the Daily Notes!

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Ok, so he might not really be better than Nikola Jokic in real life, but heading into the game against Phoenix, Nikola Vucevic was ranked a mind-boggling 5th in overall fantasy value for standard leagues. Can we stop pretending like he’s not a superstar? He’s a complete player with no real holes, excels at scoring, grabbing boards, is sneaky good at assists, manages great percentages, and averages a triple one. What’s not to love?

Nikola Vucevic

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
11/20 1/2 2/5 25 15 3 1 1 2

What a beast. 25/15/3 with 2 3’s, 1 steal, and 1 block is such a nice all around contributing line. He’s way above his career averages in scoring and percentages, so a lot of fantasy GMs have been trying to move him. He won’t retain that top 5 ranking, but for a player that most GM’s drafted after pick 50, he’s paid off a ton. I love his game (scoring, shooting, boards, nice playmaking, and a triple 1, with very good percentages) and is my type of player.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

 

 

 

 

The SouthLEAST Division

Here we are at the quarter turn, as teams have played approximately 25% of their games.

We know enough to be able to make some pretty cogent observations. Try this one on: this division is the worst in the NBA. Last year, the Heat won the division with 44 wins, while the Wizards had 43. Most thought it would be those two teams battling again, but alas, the Hornets and Magic currently sit atop the divisional heap. Any of these teams will be hard pressed to win 44 this year, although since they have to play each other four times each, somebody might get close. We could easily see a sub-.500 Division champion. What has been evident is that there are four coaches who are doing a notable job with inadequate star power, while one coach has been doing an inadequate job with notable star power.

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In the year LXXX A.D., the construction of the Roman Colosseum was completed. While Classical mythology dramas were performed there, the Colosseum was more well-known for the gory public spectacles: gladiator fight, executions, and animal vs. animal clashes. Thanks to Google, we are able to learn about some of the most epic battles. Were they true? When I buy my DeLorean, I’ll let you know. Until that day, assume all the accounts are true, because I got it from a page on the internet. There was the elephant vs rhino fight, in which the elephant picked up a broken spear and gouged the rhino’s eyes out. A former Syrian soldier named Flamma was victorious 33 times. He so impressed the masses that the politicians offered him freedom four times. Titus filled the Colsseum with water, brought in ships, and re-enacted a sea battle with three thousand men. All impressive and no doubt had all the spectators on the edge of their seats, but none could compare with what went down at Scotiabank Arena last night, where the Toronto Raptors edged the Golden State Warriors, 131-128 in OT. The game looked like it was going to be a laugher, as the Raptors stormed out to a 13-point advantage after the first period, but then Kevin Durant went into F U mode and….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
51 11 6 0 0 1 4/7 18/31 11/12

KD has scored 44, 49, and 51 points over the last three games. With no Steph Curry on the court, he has a mind-boggling 41% usage rate. There’s really not much to say, as KD is the #3 player for fantasy, and we all know it, but…..30.1 points, 1.5 threeecolas, 7.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.1 blocks, 51% from the field, and 93% from the line is so silly to write and look at regardless. Anyways, landofbasketball.com has the head-to-head stats for KD vs Kawhi Leonard. They have played 32 times against each other (13 regular season/19 playoffs). KD averages 28 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.2 blocks against KL. NBA is faaaaaaantastic!

Beep. Boop. Bop. I was wondering why I saw famous battles at the Colosseum on the History Channel when I walked by the Stocktonator earlier in the day, as it had KD as the #1 player last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This season of 50-point games and JaVale McGee relevance is already about 25% complete. How are your teams looking? We should have a pretty good picture of what we can expect from our lineups and most players, so where can we go from here? Let’s get creative. I’ve been talking about how the practice of ignoring categories that aren’t affecting us can give us an advantage (even if we weren’t trying to punt categories), as it presents a market tilted in our favor. Shaking up the values of players and customizing them to our teams is a great way to make some effective trades. Trades that are more likely to get accepted, because they can more easily be win/win deals. Today, I’m going to give a variety of lists of multi-category “punts” to help identify targets that often go undervalued, in addition to those that complement punting teams best.

I’ve gone on and on about how most categories get overlooked. That’s something that can give savvy managers an advantage. The masses, if they aren’t looking closely at player raters and rankings, may essentially be “punting” the ignored categories like steals, for example. As I often mention, I truly think most fantasy managers subconsciously weigh points, rebounds, and assists more heavily than the other stats. It’s understandable, as that’s how most media outlets report stats, but it’s ridiculous to do so in fantasy, as all categories are created equal.

So, first up, here’s a list of some startable players with the biggest jumps in 9-cat per-game value (per Basketball Monster through 11/25) when we ignore Points, Rebounds, and Assists. These 6-category rankings should give us the players that are most undervalued, especially by casual fantasy players. Think of them as the thinking-man’s fantasy all-stars, fittingly led by it’s perpetual mascot.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In the 1980s, WrestleMania was the merde. Pardon my French. They were spectacles of extraordinary frenzy. Rabid fans would pack 90,000 strong into stadiums to watch freakishly athletic men do freakishly mind-numbing things. And there in lies the crux of everything: the men. For all the Barnum and Bailey antics that Vince McMahon could project, without those freakishly athletic men doing freakisly mind-numbing things, he’d have to take off three or four zeros from that 90,000 figure. As Coach SamWinters from The Program so eloquently stated, “When’s the last time 80,0000 people showed up to watch a kid do a damn chemistry experiment?” The same concept applies to the NBA. Teams wouldn’t be worth billions of dollars without the freakishly athletic men doing freakishly mind-numbing things. One of the biggest stars in the NBA is Russell Westbrook and last night he went HAM.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 19 15 2 0 3 2/5 10/17 1/2

By messing around last night, Westbrook moved into a tie for third place with Jason Kidd for the most triple-dubs all-time. Oscar Robertson had 181, Magic Johnson 138, and Westbrook and Kidd are both at 107. That in of itself is impressive, but he wasn’t far away from a 20/20/20 game, which got me thinking….has anyone ever attained the double-triple-dub? Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 with 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists. Ha! That is so sick. Anyways, hope you enjoyed RussellMania last night.

Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator must love wrestling because it had Westbrook as it’s #4 player last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?