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?

So, Lonzo Ball put up a very impressive stat line that night with his 19/12/13 triple-double. And, as you’ve likely heard, he was five days younger than LeBron James was when he’d set the record for youngest triple-double. And if you watched ESPN’s highlight package for this game, you were treated to six Lonzo plays focusing on his accomplishment followed by one Giannis Antetokounmpo put-back dunk and a brief mention that, oh yeah, the Bucks actually won the game. Now, I’m quite the Lonzo apologist, and I spent far too much of the last year studying his game because of how much it impresses me… but ENOUGH WITH THE TRIPLE-DOUBLE MANIA! I’ve previously mentioned my disdain for how much these stat lines get overrated simply because an arbitrary number was reached in three categories. If we had 18 fingers and had decided on a base-18 number system thousands of years ago, a triple double would really be something, but is 10/10/10 a worthy threshold for what should be considered a noteworthy game? The thing that really bothers me is that, these day, even a “near-triple-double” will often get more attention than a more valuable stat line, even if it’s only like 11/8/9 (a Rajon Rondo Special). For example, Giannis went 33/15/3 that same night. Is that more valuable? It depends on whether you’re talking about value to the player’s actual NBA team or to our fantasy teams. When it comes down to who was more effective in the actual game, there are plenty of stats that try to figure that out. A simple one is plus/minus where Lonzo was +10 and Giannis was +13. That depends on who’s on the court with you, though. There’s John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating. Basketball Reference has a game score, as well. I guess we nerds will continue to try to whittle down a player’s performance into one number, for whatever it’s worth.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve got the ring in the cake.  The scoreboard operator has got it cued up for the 2nd quarter under-8 timeout.  The plane with some really carcinogenic toxins is ready to pollute the atmosphere in a “Will U Marry Me?” loopy smokestream.

An unsung contributor this year, DeMarre Carroll racked up another under-the-radar line last night for 14 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 3PTM, and a partridge in a pear tree!  No TO, and other than blocks really hits all the Silver Bells and whistles.  Hitting a career best 1.6 treys a game, it’s a Christmas miracle his FG% is at 46%.  The dimes don’t do much either, but there’s no reason not to to Sleigh Ride him while he’s hitting most of the cats this hard.  Even a Silent Night or two won’t scare me away, and at only 61% ownership in Yahoo, I feel like there’s still a lot of leagues where he could bring Joy to the World.  So sing a holiday carol for DeMarre, and even though nothing is too sexy, I felt like I needed Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (full disclosure, I had to look up a list of Christmas songs for this bit, I’m such a Grinch).  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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Razzball Nation!

If you hadn’t gathered through some comments and a few less articles the past week, I’m back from my adventure in Bavaria and over my Oktoberfest hangover!  Geez those Oktoberfest litre (European spelling!) beers were strong!  If anyone has had the chance to go, definitely share your stories.  Drunk munchies of currywurst and then trying to order steak for some reason (or so I’m told!) was absolutely fantastic.

So indeed I am back, and even though I have a callus on my forefinger from raising my beer glass, my hand is in better shape than Rajon Rondo‘s!  Broke his hand in the shower on Friday, and with surgery will miss 6-8 weeks.  Let me set up the scene as I pictured this incident: Rondo is on the run after ripping off his bank, pulls into the Olynyk Hotel, he starts to shower and the piercing violin theme sounds – with Kelly Olynyk storming in with a butcher knife!  Pretty much Kelly Olynyk anything is scary.  “He’s coming at me with a fish stick!”  Then all the sudden he turns 5 fish sticks into enough to feed the whole crowd… (Of course, I wrote that whole intro before news came out Rondo was spotted on a trampoline at a park, and that sounds more likely a hand-breaking locale.  Maybe he was practicing for a revival of SlamBall!)

I’ve gotten flack for liking Rondo a lot this year, with my rationale him expanding into a perimeter game and likely a career best in points, but as I’ve said before – sometimes injuries can help you from bad ranks!  Moving him way down into 50s or so, maybe even later, even though he’ll only miss the first week or two (report surfaced today 10-15 games so more like 3 weeks).  Here’s what else has gone down lately in the world of offseason hoops:

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So I’m feeling a little like a savant this week, because although I’m losing week 3 so far in my pools, I did predict that Steve Blake would be a good pick up while we was 6% owned, aaaannnnd BAM! Down goes Steve Nash! I know that this is me gloating, but trust me, when you’re writing pieces about who will be hot, and who will be not, you’re gonna whiff once in a while, so savour the small victories, my Auntie Grace would always say. And speaking of savoury treats, Place your eyeballs on these potential gets and drops:

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The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in fun swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

Please, blog, may I have some more?