The Razzball Elite League is back!  Well, of course it is… The season has started… Worst open ever!

We’re now into year 2 of the REL league, which we launched as a barometer of true will, true stamina, and sticking with true scrubbiness from your final roster spots.  It’s a 20-team league filled with your Razzball writers and Razzball readers, and with extended rosters (12 starters + 6 bench players), making 360 players owned.  Thins out quicker than Miley Cyrus on a coke binge!  Draft was held as a standard $200 auction, with the league a true dynasty – keep players at their drafted price for however long you want.  All pickups are made through a weekly FAAB ($100 budget – and all FA adds through the year can be $1 keepers for life) and past that, it’s your standard daily 9-cat H2H.

So why recap this league with such fervent vigor?!  Well, for one it’s a true testament to the deepest of knowledge and strategy, so I have no qualms in celebrating Slim was last year’s champ.  Huzzah!  (I hate you)  And for two, you can follow the FAAB bids for pickups to get an idea of who is buzzy in the deeper leagues, and maybe get a step up on your competish even in standard leagues for off-the-radar pickups trending upwards.

Here’s how the first week played out (view the REL here):

1. Martyball – IFBL  (7-1-1)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

2. Curry burns my ass!!  (7-2-0)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

Can we just start the playoffs now? In what will surely be my best week of the season, I went 7-2 versus a ghostship. I managed to pull out blocks with three on Sunday from Nik Stauskas. I remember thinking draft night… I need blocks, who should I get… Oh, how about Nik Stauskus… said no one ever. After leaving a lot of money on the table draft night, in part from getting too many value picks, I decided not to bid aggressively the first week. The best option I saw was the human Pap smear, but I need another wing like I need another white big man (I’m looking at you Anderson, Leuer, Zeller, and Olynyk). I’m looking forward to a fun season.

3. Breaking Batum  (6-2-1)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

We are excited to be back in REL after a disappointing end to last year. After being in 5th-6th place all year, Slim caught fire and knocked us out of the final playoff spot. As disappointing as that was, we felt that we were in a good spot heading into the draft. With one of the top budgets to spend, and only 10 players to buy, we had it all mapped out. Then the actual draft happened. We were shocked to get Rose for $35 (but as he’s hurt already maybe we shouldn’t have been). Batum went for higher than anticipated, but we still saved $2 over last year. Several players we wanted in the $15-25 range went for $30+, so we couldn’t afford them. So rather than end up with 2-3 $1 players as was the original plan, we went for depth and mapped out several $3-11 players that we wanted. We even got high upside rookies out of it in Aaron Gordon for $15 and Nikola Mirotic for $5.

We finished the first week at 6-2-1, so we are starting the year out right in 3rd place. Breaking Batum would’ve beaten or tied 15/19 of the other teams this week, and we finished in the top 10 in all but two categories.

The first FAAB bidding went about as expected. WAY more than we wanted to spend. There may be a gem or 2 in the bunch, but if it goes like last year, who knows. Hopefully being conservative this week will pay off down the road.

Good luck to everyone this year!

4. Hoopus Alleyoopus  (6-3-0)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

Going into the auction, I had $71 and needed to replace Kemba Walker, and 6 other guys who rarely ever played that were auto-drafted for me in last year’s marathon of an auction. I wanted to spend around $25 each on a big and a point guard. I would then spend the rest on draft picks. I kept 6 grizzled vets for a total of $26, so I thought it would be smart to get some cheap, young guys as upside plays for the future of my team. I ended up jumping into the bidding for Kyrie Irving and unexpectedly landed him for $43. That scuttled my plans for another big, but I love Kyrie for that price, especially after seeing the prices that the other PGs went for. While he might have a diminished role on the new Cavs, it will grow as LeBron ages and at 22 he still has room for improvement. I got 4 rookies that I like all for under $8, which I am happy with for the long term. Then, since I am from ‘Sota, I went with the homer pick of Kevin Garnett as one of my last pickups. Feels good to have Da Kid on my squad. I probably wasn’t going to get anyone good for $4 anyway.

Looking at the contenders last year, a big key to winning in a league this deep is having contributors in all of your roster spots. The 4 rookies I selected have played a total of 5 minutes through the first week, so I do not have that at this point. I might have hurt my hopes for success this season, but it looks like I won the first week 6-3, so I will give it some time before re-evaluating my team.

5. Scurry to the Left  (6-3-0)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

6. Barking BassetHounds  (6-3-0)

FAAB Remaining: $74  FAAB Moves this week: Kostas Papanikolaou ($26)

The quest for the REL crown begins anew. Runner up Barking BassetHounds (named in honor of my companion Lucy) hopes we are well positioned to contend again this year, and with a little luck and good health at our backs we can maybe take home the crown.

The first order of business in this league was to make cuts from last year’s squad in preparation for the auction. There were seven players on the cusp, but in the end I settled on five. Gone are Nikola Pekovic ($23 – wanted a center who blocks and has a better health record), Tony Parker ($22 – wanted to upgrade 2nd point guard). Anderson Varejao ($11 – see Slim’s playoff schedule column and health concerns), Jarrett Jack (felt I could get a backup PG for less than $12), and Chris Douglas-Roberts ($1 – meh). Spared this year were J.R. Smith and Carlos Boozer, each for $12.

These cuts left me $85 to distribute between 5 players. My thoughts entering the auction (by looking at supply and demand) were that the best values would most likely be at the front end of the auction.  My thoughts going in were to pick up a center and PG (Favors and Teague were my targets) for about $65, a second big for about $14 (hopefully Taj Gibson), a backup PG for about $5, and a random $1 player. However, these plans were not cast in stone, and when Deron Williams became available for $20, I grabbed him. My next priority was my PF-C, but when bidding for Derrick Favors got into the $40s, I backed out. My plan B was Pau Gasol, and I was delighted to add him for $20. This left $45 dollars left to spend for three players, more than enough to pick up the last remaining PG in this tier, Jeff Teague at $32, maybe a slight overpay but whatever. That left $13 dollars left with a 2nd center my final priority. By the time my second nomination came around, I was not confident I could snag Taj Gibson for $12, so I opted instead for plan B, Nene Hilario whom I added for $9. For my final pick I became tired and/or lazy and picked up Andrei Kirilenko, a pick I came to quickly hate, and one that I swapped out for Kostas Papanikolau with $26 of FAAB (yes a slight overpay, but I have only one position I hope to use FAAB money for so hey). I want my 17th roster spot to at least have $1 keeper potential, and maybe I have that with Kostas. Time will tell.

Looking at my current roster, I feel I met three of four objectives at the auction by improving PG, blocks, and FT%. However, I did not meet the objective of getting younger, even with Kostas added. That will have to wait until next year. Oh yes and I won my first matchup 6-3 by losing my punt turnovers category, splitting the ratios, losing threes and winning the remaining counting stats. If this becomes a theme this year I will be a happy camper.

7. JB Gilpin – Razzball  (5-4-0)

FAAB Remaining: $91  FAAB Moves this week: Alexey Shved ($5), Iam Mahinmi ($3), Tyler Hansbrough ($1)

The REL is the epitome of why I love fantasy basketball.  While what happened following the only stat up for grabs through Sunday could’ve happened in any league, it was still probably my favorite week 1 I’ve ever followed.  Up 6-3 with a narrow .414 FG% lead over .411, Mr. Green’s DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas gave him a big FG advantage.  So I was forced to put in MKG (3-4 FG before getting hurt), then LaMarcus Aldridge for the late game.  After LA started 1-6 then 3-11 or something like that, went on a tear in the 4th going 6-6 down the stretch.  FG% was TIED at .423, but I had the star meaning by the ten-thousandths I had the lead.  Then on the penultimate Blazers possession, it was a broken play and to beat the shot clock, Aldridge was forced to take a 3 and airballs it, losing me FG% on the last shot of the week.  You couldn’t make up a better story, as GSW shot free throws and the Blazers never got up another shot, turning it over on the next inbounds.  While it cost me the category – absolutely awesome.

I’ve recapped my REL draft with Slim on the Pod last week, so I won’t double dip there.  I crushed in 3s/Pts/Reb/Ast in week 1, won FT% even though I was meh, but lost in that FG% battle and Stl/Blk/TO.  Steals I think was a little flukey since I have fantastic PG depth, so sadly Ian Mahinmi was my #1 FAAB target, even though I knew I could get him cheap.  Last year, I spent way too heavily early on in the FAAB market, overestimating the early pickup market.  I had bids on the big buys (Roberson, Dr. Pap), but not nearly enough, semi-expecting that.  Hats off to last year’s RCL winner High as Greg Kite, as Malcolm Thomas was a big target of mine, and we both bid $5 – damn that waiver priority!  So Shved joins my PG depth, and since I was conservative yet wanted to replace my 3 zeros on my team, Hansbrough was a backupbackupbackup $1 bid.  Nice to see the REL FAAB be a lot more aggressive this first week, and I’m happy to get 3 guys getting minutes for $9 early on.  Dropping Jeremy Lamb was tough because that $4 buy on auction day was one of my favorites, but this back injury is likely to drag on at least a couple more weeks.

8. The Nature Boy  (5-4-0)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: P.J. Hairston ($0)

9. High as Greg Kite  (5-4-0)

FAAB Remaining: $86  FAAB Moves this week: Malcolm Thomas ($5), Chris Johnson ($3), Drew Gooden ($3), Sebastian Telfair ($3)

I entered my inaugural REL draft with two strategies in mind:

1 – Get either LeBron (if less than $75) or Harden (if less than $65) and play for this year; or

2 – Tank it, draft Paul George and every rookie I could buy.

While LeBron went for $77 (I bid him up to $75), I won Harden at $55 and tried to piece together the best squad I could from there.  With my remaining funds, I focused on getting one board/blocks guy and another quality PG.  Ended up with Hibbert and T Parker- kind of ehhh.  Depth is an issue too.  Outside of Harden, Richard Jefferson is my only SF.  Seriously… this is why you don’t drink and draft.  At the end of the day, I have a very solid core (Harden, M Conley, Parker, M Gasol, Hibbert), but unless I can make some serious acquisitions through free agency, I’m going to flutter in the middle of the pack.

10. ChazTop–KevinBottom  (5-4-0)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

11. Mr. Green – Nowhere  (4-5-0)

FAAB Remaining: $68  FAAB Moves this week: Andre Roberson ($32)

Its good to finally have basketball back!

After doing a thorough review of my keepers from last season it was pretty easy to see what was missing. While dealing Harden last year for DeRozan and cap space was necessary, it did leave me in a bit of a situation. My keepers included about 10 guys you could consider top 200, and I’d say 4 or 5 you could peg as top 100. In a 20 team league that should be okay. The cream of the crop was probably DeRozan and Noel, which is where the problem lies. They’re both good, but at this point, no better than top 40. So, what was missing was clearly a top 20 talent.

Unfortunately after the $74 Harden experiment last year, the question was how to get a top 20 talent without spending $40 or more. That was gonna be tough. The plan going into the draft was gonna take it even farther. My plan was that the most expensive player on my team this year was already on my roster predraft, a $29 Jonas Valanciunas. So the draft goal was get a top 20 talent for under $30. Preferably a young guy too, just to make it more difficult. Hmmm.

Seeing everyone’s keepers predraft was pretty surprising. There was a lot more money available than I expected there to be. Lots of teams with $100+, which I didn’t really see coming. Of course there were more big money players available too. LeBron went for $77 right off the bat and that seemed pretty in line with last year. Then Harden went for $55 a few picks later, which is about $20 less than he cost me last year, so great value for High as Greg Kite!

My first real target was Rubio, but JB bid him up to $30, which was still good value since he fit my team so well, but getting over my limit so I had to cut ties. What I got a few picks later though was just what I was looking for. I only had togo one pick over my limit to get a clear top 20 talent. The fact that he’s out for the year is the reason I was able to get Paul George for $31. At that point I figured I might as well take the out-for-the-season discount on another potential elite talent. For about half the price of Wiggins and Parker I got Joel Embid ($21).

In the end I think this closes my Harden trade as a $74 Harden for a $20 DeRozan, and the cap space to sign a $31 Paul George and a $21 Joel Embid, with $2 to spare! Next season here I come!

12. Ben – RotoGold  (4-5-0)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

13. SethDaSportsMan  (4-5-0)

FAAB Remaining: $66  FAAB Moves this week: Brandon Davies ($9), Gary Neal ($9), Lance Thomas ($9), Shawne Williams ($5), Nick Calathes ($2)

14. Kap’s Team  (4-5-0)

FAAB Remaining: $99  FAAB Moves this week: Ronnie Price ($1), Jason Terry ($0)

15. Pete Nice – Razzball  (3-6-0)

FAAB Remaining: $95  FAAB Moves this week: Kendrick Perkins ($5)

16. Cigar Smoking Monkey  (3-6-0)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

17. Like A Josh – IFBL  (3-6-0)

FAAB Remaining: $85  FAAB Moves this week: Garrett Temple ($15)

18. Team Tough Guy Town  (2-6-1)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

19. The Struggle is Real  (2-7-0)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

20. Slim – Razzball  (1-7-1)

FAAB Remaining: $100  FAAB Moves this week: n/a

 

 

  1. Slim

    Slim says:
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    Oops… I thought this was a Tuesday post. My bad…

    Not much to say. I talked about the draft on the podcast and I had injuries with Reggie, Beverley, and now Amir. I’m not sure what I want to do with Early and Payne yet. Nothing gets decided in the 1st week of the season anyway. For everyone in the league who thinks they are a playoff team, take a look at that #1 team and ask yourself how you compare.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Slim: Nope, pretty sure it was Tues last year, so my bad!

      Rough injuries for ya, luckily Lamb and one game of Kawhi is all I fought through. I really like my team, I know it’s early though. RotoGold isn’t hugely active, hoping I can luck into a 7-2 win this week

  2. Hoopus Alleyoopus says:
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    The waiver wire in this league is such a wasteland. Not that I was expecting anything different, but lordy.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Hoopus Alleyoopus: I just added Tyler Mother F Hansbrough! All anyone has to know… Haha

  3. Nikko Respeto says:
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    Howdy JB. For some reason, everyone wants my players haha. I’m now being offered in my H2H points league (with -1 for missed shots and fts): my Brandon Knight and Aldridge for his Leonard and Howard. I’m not to fond of Leonard but that could just be me. What do you think of this?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Nikko Respeto: While I like Leonard, I’d rather Knight over Howard in that format, and probably Aldridge over Kawhi, so I would not do it. People want your guys bc your team is nasty! Haha

      • Nikko Respeto says:
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        @JB Gilpin: I like the sound of that! haha

    • Steve Stevenson says:
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      @Nikko Respeto: Really depends on the other aspects of your pts system because Howard’s value swings more than any other player’s based on that. In my pts league he’s an annual top 5 player but in many others he’s barely top 50. Knowing nothing else I’d take Howard/Leonard here, by quite a bit.

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @Steve Stevenson: The -1 for missed FT (which he mentioned) and -1 for TO (which I’m assuming) kills Dwight though

        • Steve Stevenson says:
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          @JB Gilpin: Not always. Same pt values for those cats in my league, but blk are overweighted, we get big bonuses for dbl-dbls and just in general scoring and % aren’t as important as peripheral stats. The -1 for missed FT isn’t as big a deal when he’s also getting points for makes, plus it’s waaaay better than taking % into account.

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @Steve Stevenson: I guess that’s true, last time I played Pts was years ago, but whatever format it was Dwight was awful

  4. Nikko Respeto says:
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    I’m a diehard Knicks fan and right now I am trying to get Carmelo. Out of my team:

    Front Court: Paul Pierce, Lamarcus Aldridge, Kelly Olynyk, Rudy Gay, Josh McRoberts, Jared Sullinger and Andre Drummond

    Back Court: John Wall, DeMar Derozan, JR Smith, Jeff Teague, Brandon Knight and Jarrett Jack.

    Who should I try and get Melo for out of these players?

    • TR says:
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      @Nikko Respeto: stoopid you’re supposed to comment on the daily notes

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @TR: It’s a free country haha! You guys are still in that league together right?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Nikko Respeto: Aldridge straight up and start there? Gay is hot right now, maybe Rudy + DeRozan?

      • Nikko Respeto says:
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        @JB Gilpin: Yeah we are. And he is going to lose. Lol

        Based on my team, would Aldridge for Melo hurt my team?

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Nikko Respeto: Nope I don’t think so, I think your other cats look good and a slight boost in scoring will help ya out.

          • Nikko Respeto says:
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            @JB Gilpin: He doesnt think Aldridge for melo is fair. So i’m thinking Melo and Kobe for Aldridge and Derozan? or no?

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
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              @Nikko Respeto: Yeah I mean, I like Kobe just barely better than DeRozan so I like it too!

  5. Tony says:
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    JB/ razzers I need some help:

    18 teamer h2h fpts KEEPER

    Pts=1
    Rebs =1.7
    Ast =3
    Treys= 4
    Stl =4.4
    Blk= 6.5

    I need another forward and have a glut of centers (plums, hawes, Adams, Henson, & jusuf)

    Should I deal my $10 Jamal Crawfrod and $15 mason Plumlee for….
    $20 Deng & $1 Norris cole

    Deng and cole have combined for 217 in 6 games
    Plums & Crawfrod have went for 147 in 4 games

    My only hesitation is plums starts getting more time and BLOWS UP, and Deng cole? Neither really have keeper potential, what do ya think????? Trade or HOLD?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Tony: With it a keeper, yeah I’m holding Plumlee. I don’t see much upside for Cole and Deng is well, Deng haha

      • Tony says:
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        @JB Gilpin: just needing some reassurance I need to find forward help elsewhere, looking for a match just can’t find anyone that needs one of my 19 centers!

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Tony: Haha the plethora of centers will find someone a new home eventually!

  6. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    So I see I managed to snag Roberson, who really was the only guy I was interested in this week. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering how much I bid, but I still figured I’d miss him by a couple bucks. He should start for now and maybe even when they get healthy (?) since they could use his D with the first unit. He should work well for me since he doesn’t shoot 3s and my team is clearly punting the long ball. What do you guys think of him?

    That’s quite the finish to our matchup eh JB? Nothing like week 1 to get the blood flowing. With my team I’ll tale 4-5 against ya. Crazy!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @A Hill O’ Beans: I had a bid on him too, so I loved the buy! Unfortunately, looks like he’s heading into the locker room… Walking under his own power after a hard fall…

      Last year, I was the only heavy bidder early and it set me behind, so for the big name (him and Dr. Pap) I didn’t bid too high… Let’s hope Roberson is aight for ya!

      • A Hill O' Beans says:
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        @JB Gilpin: Yeah, just goes to show my teams can’t have anything shiny and new. Watching the game and sounds like a left foot sprain (can you sprain your foot?), gone for the rest of the game and then who knows…yeah…

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @A Hill O’ Beans: Yeah man, foot sprains can jack ya up! Stuckey had one and sounds like he has another, BroLo had one… Tough one there, Thunder are so so rough right now.

  7. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    If you wanna see a sweet block check out Noel on Harden to end the third quarter! Get that s#it outta here! Awesome.

    Considering Noel, who’s starting at center today, has 0 rebound he’s looked pretty damn good. The kids gonna be alright.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @A Hill O’ Beans: Hahaha nice, crazy Captain N with only the one board late there… Yeah I like him a lot, totally can play PF next to Embiid whenever he gets back

  8. Mcstuffins says:
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    I’m in a 12 team 8-cat h2h, needing pts, Rebs, blks and assts.
    Should I drop josh mcroberts for JaVale McGee?
    Others on wire are Garnett, Kaman, Henson, telfair, mozgov, Mirotic, Scola, B Wright, N Cole, KCP.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Mcstuffins: Hmmm, can you stream the spot? Love Telfair tomorrow, but the only guy who sticks out for me is KCP even though he only hits one cat for you. I’d use that spot to stream if you can.

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