The All-Star Break means three more weeks, or 2.5 more matchups, until the head-to-head playoffs begin in most leagues. And even for Roto-Leaguers, we’re already 70% of the way through the season. At this point, you know your teams. Or, at least you can if you take a few minutes to examine them. Odds are that there are stat categories that hardly matter to you by now. Once again, that can be because of a punt strategy or simply because of the way your team and league shook out. For example, though I didn’t intend to punt any categories this season, I ended up dead last in FG% in a roto league with no chance of catching up. That category doesn’t mean anything to me now, so I can ignore it. Similarly, in the head-to-head Razzball Experts League, I have little chance to win assists in any given week. I could try to make that up or I could double down and load up on the other categories. I have a feeling your teams may have also lost some categories early. Or maybe more likely, you have a team that just dominates a category or two to the point that you can ignore it and still win. And even if you don’t find yourself far out in front or way behind in any categories, there are likely a few roto stats where you’re too far away from the teams above and below you to worry about them.

So, today it’s time to check up on who might be available and extra-valuable to YOUR team. We’re not just looking at traditional hot waiver wire pickups. Some of them would apply, but glance through this list after you know what stats you can safely ignore, and see if somebody’s right for you. Consider using the opposite train of thought when deciding who to drop, too. You’re lapping the competition in rebounds? You may want to drop an end-of-the-roster big instead of a worse overall player.

You’ll see the top players I recommend that are available in at least one-third of Yahoo leagues here, along with their 8-category and 9-cateogry punt rankings that are based on the per-game performances of the past 60 days (through 2/12) according to Basketball Monster.

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P. S. stands for postscript, which comes from the Latin word postscriptum and literally means “written after.” It’s used for an afterthought, not cool enough to be a part of the main piece. Like, oh by the way, I forgot to mention this but blah blah blah. It gets a bad rap, but as Shaun Usher of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “The P. S. is the most charming part of a letter. It’s the wink you give as you walk away.” It’s the cherry on top, the bam for the wham, and the mic drop. Like, P. S. – You the shiznitz. What? What?! Which segues perfectly to Pascal Siakam.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
44 10 2 0 3 4 4/5 15/25 10/12

A career-high in points scored. On the season, Siakam has been a top 40 player, but over the past four games, he’s been top 25. The usage rate has spiked to 28 and he’s averaged 35.3 minutes, 26 points, 1.5 tres, 9 boards, 3 dimes, 1.3 steals, and 1 block while shooting 50% from the field and 81% from the line on 8 attempts! He literally does it all. Like literally, as he can play center or be a point forward. The improvement in his game has been nothing short of amazing. P. S. is no longer an afterthought and has to be a no-brainer for Most Improved Player.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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This year’s trade deadline moved talent to the East, which strengthened the talent level of the Conference. The Bucks, Raptors, and 76ers improved their rosters and, with the always strong Boston Celtics, form a formidable group of teams that could produce great playoff battles. It is a welcome change from the Lebron-dominated era and one I’m greatly looking forward to watching. If anyone wants to talk basketball besides fantasy, drop a comment below about which team you think ends up with the Eastern Conference title. Due to the nature of last week’s article there is no review of the suggestions, so off we go to the new ones.

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Even though Trae Young was selected with the number five overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, there were haters and skepticism as to whether he would be able to perform in the League. He’s too small. He turns the ball over too much. He’s going to get abused on defense. All of those things were evident early on. Yet, he showed flashes of why some were infatuated with him. In his third professional game, he scored 35 points and dished out 11 dimes, while turning the ball over only once. Granted, it was against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that’s a professional team with professional ball players. Hmmm, maybe that’s debatable but they do collect checks for playing basketball so…As the season progressed, there were trials and tribulations mixed in with performances of rapture. Last night was pure bliss.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 6 14 1 1 6 3/9 6/19 7/9

Yes, the turnovers were high, but he was in total control running the offense last night. The Lakers defense was/is truly offensive, but Young carved them up with expert precision, even nutmegging LeBron James. Most of the hype surrounding Trae was due to his range on his jump shot, but his vision and passing ability are just as lethal. They just didn’t get as much pub. Trae has duds from time to time, but the consistency has been much better than earlier in the season. Hey, he’s still only 20 years old! The mental fortitude, calmness, and development have been impressive to watch. Trae was outside the top 200 for fantasy earlier in the season. Now, he’s just outside the top 100. I didn’t think Trae would be a fantasy asset until next year, but I can see him finishing in the top 100. It’s good to be Young.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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G – General Audiences. PG – Parental Guidance Suggested. PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned. R – Restricted. NC-17 – Adults Only. Then it jumps to XXX. Unfortunately, this is not a category for Xander Cage, but more of the Pornhub variety. That’s obviously NSFW. Well, we need to have a new category thanks to Paul George. PG NSFW.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
47 12 10 2 0 2 8/13 15/26 9/11

Children can still watch because there is no nudity or violence, but his performances have been NSFW because he’s been turning defenders into mush. Like the scorpion who injects venom into its prey and liquifies the insides. Plus, all the hooting, hollering, and people trying to copy his moves in the workplace is not safe. Man, I’m still so sad that PG is not a Laker. As you’ll see later, too much crying for me in one post. Anyways, PG has been freaking unbelievable this season. He’s the #3 player for fantasy, and he’s been there consistently all season long. Over the past six games, he’s the #2 player!!! The usage rate has been 33 and he’s been averaging 23 shot attempts, 38 points, 5,8 tres, 6.8 boards, 2.8 dimes, and 2.3 steals. His performance has been porn for his owners all season long.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I live in Los Angeles and enjoy skiing and snowboarding. I also like long walks on the beach while strumming tunes on my ukulele. Although there are ski resorts less than two hours drive away, it doesn’t rain often here. Los Angeles averages around 12.8 inches of rain per year. Last year, LA received 4 inches of rain. Only Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Diego average less. For perspective, New Orleans averages 62.7 inches, while many of the big cities in the U. S. are in the 40-50 range. If it doesn’t rain often, then it doesn’t snow often, which means the slopes are no bueno, even with the artificial snow makers. Now, recently it’s been raining so much that I’ve been Googling ark blueprints. All that rain has been like frozen manna for the local resorts. A picturesque perfection of powder. Which describes the situation for JaVale McGee.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 13 1 1 1 1 0 10/15 1/3

McGee has started the last two games because Ivica Zubac was traded to the Clippers. He’s played 26 and 30 minutes, and averaged 19 points, 10.5 boards, 1 block, and 0.5 steals. Per 36, he’s averaging 18.3 points, 11.2 boards, 1 steal, and 3.4 blocks! He’s probably not going to get 36 minutes of run per night, but with only Tyson Chandler, Moritz Wagner, and Mike Muscala the only threats to playing time, McGee should get close to 30 minutes per night. The conditions are pristine at McGee Mountain. Enjoy your stay.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mitchell Robinson, Fizdale loves you more than you will know. Last night he went 15-7-0-0-3-0 on 7-of-9 shooting and made his lone FT. Played 22 minutes off the bench against the Raptors, and the Knicks almost pulled off the improbable victory. The infusion of new talent has given them a boost and for their sakes, I hope they don’t win too many games and miss out on Zion Williamson. That being said, there should be plenty of opportunities for the young guns to get playing time to show they’re worthy of a roster spot next year. One Knick, who’s part of the future plans is Robison. He’s averaging two blocks on the season in under 18 minutes per game. He’s also “shooting” nearly 70% on the year. His one caveat is the 51.7% FTs. He’s really in the DeAndre Jordan ilk, which makes the addition of Jordan seem like a smart move by the Knickerbockers. Hopefully, he can mentor the rook and show him how to become a great NBA center.  If he listens to his free throw shooting advice, he’ll be shooting 67.7% by his 11th season. Not too shabby! Anyway, here’s what else went down in the NBA last night:

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My wife’s favorite store is Ross, as she loves to find a good bargain. I could drop her off, go play some hoops, return, and she’d still be merrily rummaging through the racks. I always clown her, but she does find good deals, so respect. Plus, she enjoys it. I don’t get how she could get so into shopping for clothes, though, but that’s exactly what she says when I spend countless hours on fantasy. We all have our thing. Anyways, last night I asked my wife, “Can you believe that Terrence Ross has been a top 40 player over the past seven games, and he’s only owned in 57% of leagues? What a bargain!” As you can well imagine, no sexy time for me, but at least I derived some satisfaction from the performance Ross exhibited last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 5 1 0 0 1 6/13 13/23 0

In 31 minutes. Despite coming off the bench, over the last seven games, Ross has been averaging 29.4 minutes, 20.3 points, 3.9 tres, 4.9 boards, and 1. He’s had a usage rate of 26 and been jacking up 17 shots per game! The dimes are a paltry 1.3, but what do you expect? Shooters shoot. In fact, back in 2013, Ross produced a 51-burger, so he’s always had the ability to score. Now, there will be bouts of inconsistency, especially from a fantasy persepective, as he is a jump shooter (only 10.6% of his shots come from within 10 feet of the basket) who derives most of his value from scoring. Ross has scored in single digits 12 times this season. With that said, he does get the minutes, shot attempts, and opportunities to produce. And he’s cheap! Nothing beats a good bargain.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I quit smoking a few years back, but man, I needed one today. The NBA trade deadline came and went, and it was akin to the first night I ever stepped into a club. Look left. Look right. Left. Right. LeftRight. LeftRightLeftRight. So much eye candy that my head was spinning, before I even sat down to enjoy some liqs. Below is a recap of the transactions on trade deadline day, with the corresponding impacts for fantasy.

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Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I hope that by the time you’re reading this that 40+ fantasy-relevant players have been traded and the NBA and all our leagues are in total anarchy. As of late Wednesday night, I’m happy to see we’re well on our way! Once the dust settles and you’re surveying the landscape, hopefully having snagged some newly valuable players during the dust storm, remember that your leagues’ trade deadlines are probably about three weeks away. So, let’s talk general trade strategy. I’m not going to get into specifics about buy-low players or fitting certain players into certain team builds. Just concepts with a little evidence sprinkled in.

Let’s start with consolidation. That’s normally the name of the game for experienced fantasy veterans. The ol’ 2-for-1 deal (or 3-for-2, etc.). For example, you trade a 7th-round guy and a 5th-round guy for a 3rd-round guy. Then trade that 3rd-round guy and a 6th-round guy for a 2nd-round guy. Keep reloading with savvy adds (guys often worth like 10th-round value) from the waiver wire and repeat until you’ve got mostly players ranked in the top 40 or 50. Hopefully, most of us have leagues too competent to allow for many of those deals. But anyway, the general advice is to get the best player in a deal and to try to trade two good players for a great player.

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