Wealth is a relative thing. I live in Los Angeles, where the average per capita income is $42,042. In Malawi, though, the per capita income is $250. An Angeleno would look like a king to a person from Malawi. That same Angeleno would be a peasant compared to any of the 103 billionaires living in New York City. This is where Forbes magazine comes in. With the Forbes 400 and Forbes Global 2000, there is no debate as to who the richest Americans and what the world’s top companies are. In addition, it includes countless articles on finance, investing, and marketing topics. “The Capitalist Tool” is money in the bank. So, it’s only fitting that Bryn Forbes did this last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
24 11 3 1 0 2 5/5 8/14 3/3

A ceiling outcome, no doubt, but money is money. With that said, the 25-year-old, third-year guard has started all 28 games this season. The minutes have been all over the map, as Pop does what Pop do, but he’s averaging a tick under five threeecolas and cashing in two per game. Unfortunately, Forbes does not have a diversified portfolio, so don’t expect much other than points and threeecolas, but he does play and it’s likely he trips into a few rebounds and assists from time to time.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lauri Markkanen was selected by the Bulls with the 7th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. I had seen a few of his games in college, so he seemed like a legit prospect, but I did not fully embrace him until I watched him play in the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket. You could see he had that….bow wow wow yippee yo yippe yay….dog in him, and it translated to his first year in the NBA, as he ended as the #66 player for fantasy: 15.2 points, 2.1 threeecolas, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks, 43% from the field, and 84% from the line. Naturally, big things were expected for his sophomore year, but he injured his elbow before the start of the season and missed the first 23 games.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 10 1 2 1 3 5/13 8/24 0

Well then. That didn’t take long. Played 32 minutes after logging 26 in his season debut. Markkanen is so skilled for a 7′ 0″, 240 pound player and, as mentioned above, he has that dog in him. As a result, I have a feeling that this is going to be Markkanen’s team, sooner rather than later, which puts a slight damper on Zach LaVine’s fantasy prospects.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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?

I recently met a conspiracy theorist. He seemed so proud and satisfied that he had the inside scoop on so many topics (“You know what’s going on in Cuba, don’t you?”), while the rest of us only know what the government wants us to know. Well, I went down a rabbit hole to which he directed me just for kicks. Wow, there are a lot of crazies out there trying to obtain knowledge that no one else has, regardless of how insane it is. Shout out to Kyrie.

I realized, though, that I can relate. At least when it comes to fantasy basketball. There’s certainly a draw to uncovering a conspiracy and being part of only a small group of people that feels wiser than everyone else. Or, more relatably, being the only person to know a secret. This is how I felt the first time I manipulated a fantasy bball player rater. I was finally confident enough in my Excel skills to subtract categorical columns for punt rankings. I had decided to go all-in on a punt free throw percentage 8-category Roto dynasty team. Removing the FT% category dramatically changes the value of many players. I realized that I could trade players for much more than they were worth to me while acquiring players for much less than they were worth to me. Obviously, the downside was taking last place in a category. But since I was near the bottom in FT% anyway, I only lost maybe 2 points there while gaining something like 7 or 8 total points combined in other categories. The problem in a league like that is that I would’ve needed to get first in nearly every other category to win it all. I peaked at second place.

Yeah, yeah, you’re aware of the simplest of punt strategies. I know. But, aside from overrating rookies in dynasty drafts, this is really what I’m most passionate about: the concept of ignoring categories that aren’t going to help or hurt you.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to keep it pretty simple this week. I’d like to check in on category leaders to help figure out who the best specialists might be this season. There’s a lot of value sitting out in the free agent pool just waiting for you to stream it. Adding and rotating through these category specialists applies in roto leagues when you notice individual categories in which you stand to gain a few points. But, this information will probably help the most in head-to-head leagues where you should be swapping out at least a couple players each week (assuming you can) to customize and maximize your stats in a way that nets you the most category wins against your opponent.

“So… you’re just pasting an NBA stat leaders’ page?” Nope. I’m only going to feature players rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Italicized players are owned in less than 25%. For shooting percentages, I’m using Basketball Monster’s values that are weighted for volume. Next week, I’ll do sorta the opposite and list the punt specialists (value rankings with each individual category removed), as well as the rankings according to some other helpful stat combinations. I’ll leave out the flukey or injured players to save you some time here, as well.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. At 6′ 3″, 236 pounds, Ali was a physical giant in his era. The average height/weight of a male in 1960 was 5′ 8″, 166 pounds. In the ring, Ali could physically pummel foes into submission like a rhino, yet he was nimble enough to flutter around the opposition and peck them humming bird style. Wait? Why am I making this difficult? He could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. It was the lyrical flow that unlocked the Pantheon, though. He would talk trash, spit rhymes, and back it all up in the process. Depending on your persepective, it was entertainment or a fly buzzing around your head. Joel Embiid could be the modern day Ali. At 7′ 0″, 260 pounds, he is a giant in his era. The average height/weight of a male in 2018 is 5′ 9″, 195 pounds. Thanks McDonald’s. On the court, Embiid can bully down low in the post or Euro step left and spin cycle right on the perimeter, leaving defenders in a tizzy. Like Ali, Embiid has the lyrical flow, both on and off the court. Man, imagine Ali on Twitter! Like Ali, Embiid walks the walk, backs up all the talk, and is the living embodiment of The Process. For all the messing around he does, though, last night was the first time he messed around…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 13 10 0 2 2 4/7 6/20 3/4

….and got a triple-double. Beep. Boop. Bop. I was wondering why I saw the Stocktonator watching old clips of Ali with Ice Cube blaring from the speakers yesterday morning. It liked Embiid a lot.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are certain things that cut across all cultures and have the same meaning, irrespective of language differences. When a signficant other says, “We need to talk,” you’re F’d. When a parent addresses you by your full name, you done F’d up. When you hear the opening bars of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, something bad is about to happen. Or someone bad is about to do some very bad things. DRUM DRUM DRUMMOND. Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons was a bad, bad man yesterday:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 22 3 3 2 2 0 9/16 5/7

That was Drummond’s fifth 20/20 game of the season and 10th double-dub. He has played 12 games. He is also leading the league in rebounds with 16.6 per game. DRUM DRUM DRUMMOND. Currently, he is the 39th player according to Basketball Monster after finishing as the 22nd player last season. The main reason is the drop in assists (3 vs 1.5). If only he could hit his free throws! Regardless, 19.6 points, 16.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.6 blocks while shooting 56% from the field makes for a bad, bad (as in good, good) player for fantasy. DRUM DRUM DRUMMOND.

Beep. Boop. Bop. I was wondering why the Stocktonator had Beethoven’s 5th Symphony on loop yesterday. It loved Drummond and had him as the #4 player.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This week we take a look at the Northwest Division, which boasts some exciting teams to watch, some great individual offensive talents, and one seriously unresolved soap opera situation. This division is filled with teams that keep coming at you; hardworking, team-oriented outfits that don’t stop until the whole tree is on the ground. In other words, what the Timberwolves want to be.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, we’re three weeks into another joyous fantasy basketball season. The hot waiver pick-ups are gone or have fizzled out. Hope you got the ones with lasting value. Pretty soon, the sample sizes will be large enough to know that what we’re seeing is more or less legit. For now, there’s still a lot of regressing to the mean yet to come. Hot and slow starts will mostly fade away, and the players will be themselves over the long haul. Not everyone, as plenty of players take significant leaps or stumbles for the entire season, whether it has to do with a change of scenery, personnel, and/or usage. It can be tough to figure out whose rebounds and steals changes, for example, will stick. However, we can trust with a good amount of confidence that most players shooting percentages will end up relatively close to their previous numbers. And, this early in the season, when, say, Serge Ibaka goes 15-for-17 and then 8-for-8, percentages can be way out of line and skew value if you’re looking at rankings in a trade scenario.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

We live in crazy times, when nothing can be trusted. That tweet? Better check for the blue mark and read the name AFTER the @. That picture or video? With photoshop and other editing software, it can be very difficult to distinguish what is real and what is fake. The boobs or the butt on the girl from across the room? How about a free trial period? Oh geez, that didn’t come out right. A certification of authenticity perhaps? The news? It’s always been used as a tool to further agendas and “inform” the people, but the lack of objectivity and amount of Hollywood-esque manipulation these days make my head hurt. Thank goodness for sports and De’Aaron Fox.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 10 15 1 0 3 3/4 9/13 10/11

Fox messed around last night, but it was all good. Entering last night’s game, the Kings were 5th in offensive pace. Fox has been a huge reason why. Anyways, he can score, grabs a good number of rebounds for a guard (4.6), is dishing out 7.8 dimes, and is shooting 50% from the field. Holla! Not all is good, though. The free throw percentage is only 67%, no threeecolas, and the turnovers are high at 3.3. Fox did shoot 72% from the line last year, so there’s reason for optimism. He’s only 20 years old and this is his second year in the league, so improvement should be expected. Fox is currently the 79th player according to Basketball Monster.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?