Following back-to-back years of Top 40 production, Terry Rozier has disappointed so far this season, mainly due to some rookie-level percentages (in fact, his worst percentages since his rookie season as it stands). But he’s just a hot shooting streak away from producing as owners have become accustomed to, and on Friday he helped the Hornets edge the Wizards 117-116. Rozier scored 25 points on 8-of-21 shooting, 2-of-5 from deep, with 5 boards, 8 assists, 2 steals and a season-low zero turnovers. Charlotte has been paying the doctor’s new vacation home so far this season, and Rozier’s percentages should benefit whenever (if ever) LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward return. For the time being, the assists are up along with his usage rate, and he’s a great buy target, especially for those punting the FG% category.

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You can’t win a championship at the beginning of a season, but you can lose one. Much as it pains me to say, I think I’ve already lost.

After a successful Writer’s League last year that ended against Kostas in the semifinal and a pretty intensive offseason of thinking about hoops, I came into this year’s draft feeling like I was in decent shape to post a good showing again. But this year ain’t last year. Stats and success don’t carry over, and if you’re resting on laurels rather than applying lessons learned, there’s no way to bank Ws on account of “experience.” If you’ve been following Kelder’s weekly recaps, you might have noticed that my team isn’t anywhere in the mix. Indeed, you’ve got to scroll almost the way to the bottom of the table to see my name. A record of 19-34-1 is good enough for 11th and I feel all but certain the hole that I’ve put myself in is going to be too deep to recover from. I’m not quite ready to quit on some other struggling squads, but I think it’s safe to let go of preseason expectations at this point and set a different goal for the remaining three-quarters of the season here in the Writer’s League.

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Second-year center Alperen Sengun showed off his best Hakeem Olajuwon impression as he finished with a near 20-20 game to help dominate the Oklahoma City Thunder. The ending score may indicate that this game was somewhat competitive, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Led by Jalen Green’s team-high points along with Sengun’s monster performance, the Rockets blitzed the Thunder 42-22 in the second quarter and led in this game by as much as 27 points. The Rockets were firing on all cylinders as all five starters finished in double figures including rookie forward Jabari Smith who had 15 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 5-of-11 from the field.

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Here’s a story of a man with two first names, who hit the age of 30, an age when most players say goodbye to their primes and buckle up for the descent below. And descend the man with two first names did, playing in 58 and 58 games the next two seasons. Many called him injury-prone and swore him off for fantasy. Father Time leaned back in the La-Z-Boy chair, grabbed the bowl of popcorn and just waited. But the man with two first names spit in the face of Father Time and proceeded to play 70, 70 and 65 games in his age 34, 35 and 36 seasons. So far this season, the man with two first names has missed five of 15 games and caused much consternation for those who drafted him. “We can squeeze one more year out of him!!!”, they said. It’s akin to having one taco left with no more freshly cut limes. You rummage through the whole table and squeeze every last drop out of what’s left. Anyways, the pain that has been felt by the Chris Paul owners has been nothing but elation for the Cameron Payne truthers. Over the last five games, he’s averaged 33.5 minutes, 15.6 field goal attempts, 20 points, 3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals. On Sunday:

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The Atlanta Hawks get some late-game heroics from their All-Star backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray to pull out the close overtime win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Murray recorded his first triple-double of the season with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists; Young had a game-high 34 points along with 10 assists on 9-of-26 shooting and going 14-of-15 from the free throw line.
Big night for Clint Capela who finished with 21 points, 19 rebounds, and four blocks.
The New Orleans Pelicans got 29 points apiece from the duo of CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson.
Jonas Valanciunas finished with 13 points and 17 rebounds while Herb Jones had a near double-double with 19 points and nine rebounds to along with three steals.
A notable thing to monitor is the play of Brandon Ingram who had a quiet night with 16 points on 7-of-23 shooting from the field in his second game back from injury; Might not be anything, but there is a chance that his stats may fluctuate from night to night as he gets reacclimated.

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Darius Garland returned to the Cavaliers, putting up 29 points and 12 assists in a close victory over the Boston Celtics. In both games where Garland and Donovan Mitchell have played the Cavs bigs have struggled to score. Jarrett Allen had 15 points last night while Evan Mobley had 14, both were below regular season averages. As for the Celtics, it’s hard to win games when Jayson Tatum shoots 8-21 from the field. On a positive note his defensive numbers were quite solid last night: nine defensive rebounds and four blocks. 

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Hello Razzball Nation! I am here to provide you with my picks and insights for this monster of a 10-game slate on Wednesday. I am hoping to do this every Wednesday for this season, so if you like these picks keep tuning in.

My number one piece of advice for NBA DFS is to be on top of injury updates. Contests are won and lost on backups becoming starters and starters getting increased usage from injuries. Especially in the NBA, random injuries happen every night, players get rested for no reason, and the tanking is rampant (looking at you Thunder and Spurs). You need to be on top of your lineups up until lock, and on some nights with questionable guys with later start times after lock. On a 10-game slate like we have here, value will open up throughout the day and early evening based on injury reports.

That being said, with our current knowledge of injury news (Tuesday night) let’s get down to it. Pricing is always (Fanduel/ Draftkings). I mostly play tournaments and my picks will always bias towards volatility and upside.

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Son had a nice moment of self-reflection on the latest podcast, recognizing how he – and we all – tend to get easily sucked into preseason storylines that make us overhype or dismiss certain players without questioning the herd mentality around said player. 

Case in point: Myles Turner, who was discussed more for his potential to be traded than for his promising fantasy game. After sitting out a couple games and taking one to ease back to form, Turner put up 27 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2 assists while shooting 3-4 from three, 7-14 from the field and 10-10 from the line as the Pacers beat the Wizards 127-117. The trade talk will eventually reemerge, but in the meantime, Turner owners may get to feast on a steady diet of blocks with quality numbers across the board. It’s worth remembering he’s just 26, when big guys usually enter their prime. If that age and experience turns into consistency for Turner, there’s Top 15 value to be had here. 

More notes from a busy Friday night in the Association:

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Welcome back indeed! Draft season is okay, but it feels so good to have basketball back. Roster speculation and divination is no substitute for actual games and real rotations. Considering all my fretting about what to do with Centers, it should come as no surprise that I’ve still got my eye on how some of these uncertain situations are coming together in this first column of the season. Granted, it has only been a week, but some telling decisions have been made now that we’re off and running. Eventually I’ll give some love to guards and forwards, but for now I’m hung up on the big guys. Here’s what’s caught my eye thus far. 

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On a recent podcast with Son, I let slip, “If you’re a center that doesn’t get blocks, I don’t think I have any use for you.” It was a knee-jerk line, one that I hadn’t much considered before it fell out of my mouth, and I’ve been wrestling with how true that might actually be ever since. For most of the summer, I’ve been vexed by the center position because, outside of the elite guys, the shortcomings of the position are obvious and numerous. For many, their usefulness in category leagues extends only to rebounds, blocks and FG%, and oftentimes those few spoils are sacrificed at the altar of points, dimes, triples, and free-throw percentage. Drafting a center that doesn’t, it’s a steep tradeoff in the best of circumstances, so when looking at someone like Deandre Ayton – a top-50ish, center-eligible player who produced exactly enough swats last year to break even in the category by z-score – I began to wonder what exactly the point was. 

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