LaMarcus Aldridge must hate Jazz music, because he destroyed the Jazz last night. I know some people might listen to it to put themselves to sleep, but LaMarcus clearly doesn’t understand the complex rhythms or appreciate the skill of the musicians, and LaMarcus must destroy what he does not understand. LaMarcus killed the Jazz last night, going 1-45-9-2-1-3-4 on 19-of-28 shooting and 6-for-8 from the line. Although the game went to OT, LMA has been killing it all year, posting top 20 value.  Four quarters and overtime wasn’t enough for Aldridge, because after the game ended, he smashed some Thelonious Monk records and stomped on a picture of Dizzy Gillespie. On a more serious note, I could see Aldridge going in the second round next year, while you most likely got him in the fourth round this year. That’s value.

There were ten games last night so many of your fantasy playoff fates were decided yesterday. This could have been the night that made your dreams come true, or shattered them to tiny pieces. Hopefully, for most of you it was the former…Anyway, let’s dive on in to the Friday Daily Notes!

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There are two points of a fantasy basketball season where seasons can be won and lost: the first is at the draft and the second is when there are about twenty games left in the season. The draft is obvious. That is when you set the foundation of your team. The second point is a little more subtle.

For those owners in head-to-head leagues, this second point is important because you are setting your team up (hopefully) for the playoffs. You want players who have a lot of games and are on teams who will not be resting them during the critical time. The subtle part is directed more at owners in roto leagues. There are still enough games left to make moves in categories you can climb in or maintain your lead in categories you are ahead in.

The waiver wire is your tool to win the league at this point. Young players are finally putting it together and playing well and injuries are opening up time for bench guys who have played well when given minutes. The Golden State Warriors, and their massive amount of injuries to star players, is a team to focus on in order to find one or two players who can help you with that late season charge.

Quinn Cook is the player I want to focus on in this recap, and if you need threes, points, assists, steals, I will pause for a moment so you can go and pick him up. While we are waiting for those owners to get back can we just talk about how dumb they are for not picking up Cook yet and having him active for this game against the lowly Suns? Wait, wait, quiet, they’re coming back…

Welcome back, we were just waiting quietly for you. I hope you were able to add him. Cook is a 2-way player, no, that is not sexual. It means that he is one of two players each team can send back and forth to the G-League during the season. Cook has dominated G-League play for most of the year and now, because of injuries to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant, Cook is getting 40 minutes per game and putting up more than decent fantasy point guard stats. Last night Quinn Cook went for: 5/28/4/4/2/0 with only 2 turnovers in 40 minutes. This was on 11-17 shooting, including 5-7 from three. Pick him up.

Here is what else I saw on a busy St. Patrick’s Day:

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For playoff bound teams, every win at this point in the season is huge. This was not only a big win for the Washington Wizards, it was avoiding a terrible loss. Yes, they are missing All-Star point guard John Wall, but the Boston Celtics were starting someone named Guerschon Yabusele.

I did some digging and discovered that Mr. Yabusele, before donning a jersey and being announced with the Celtics’ starting five, was one of those giant security guards that stand at the bottom of each staircase with their arms crossed and their backs to the court during the game. In fact, prior to playing 18 minutes in last night’s double-OT loss against the Wizards, the most exciting thing to ever happen to Guerschon on a basketball court was high-fiving Marky Mark Wahlberg after a Kyrie Irving game winner.

The Celtics may have ultimately lost the game, but to get as close as they did is a real testament to just how much the Wizards play down to an opponent’s level. I am pretty sure a Division II high school basketball team could take Washington down to the wire.

Besides the Wizards almost losing the Celtics G-League squad, here is what else I saw last night:

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I often think about what it would be like if Denver never traded Jusuf Nurkic to the Trailblazers and they had a starting frontcourt of Nurkic and Jokic. Not that they would be a better team, but just that I am a big fan of rhyming teammates. My dream concludes with Denver trading for Bojan Bogdanovic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Cole Aldrich. That team would be itchier than a dog with fleas rolling around in a bed of poison ivy.

Anyway, jumping back to reality, Nurkic makes the lead because of his line last night: 0/27/16/3/0/3. He has been relatively disappointing this season, but lately a double-double and a block or two has been an almost certainty. Not too shabby.

Here is what else I saw last night:

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I love music. Fortunately, my young daughter does, too. We started her early on all sorts of stuff, but she eventually started requesting almost exclusively “girl songs.” So, I started combing through my CDs and mp3s for our daily drive to school, finding a decent amount of great female singers, mainly from the 90s. She really took to some (Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain), but not as much to others that I’d hoped she would (The Cranberries, Veruca Salt). We added in some more current stuff that she loves (Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor), and we have a great time. Now, I know there’s a good chance this isn’t resonating with you as much as it would if I said I’d kept trying to slip in more funk (she likes “Car Wash” and “Jungle Boogie”, at least), rock (Down on the Corner is popular with her, but there are only a few songs by Disturbed that are appropriate for four year-olds!), and rap (“Tricky” was a favorite for a while, fortunately), but stick with me, please. Because, I found something very enlightening when I introduced the very, very 90s classic, “Stay”, by Lisa Loeb. Was it that we only hear what we want to? That we won’t live forever? No, it’s this powerful line:

“You said you caught me ’cause you want me, and one day you’ll let me go. You try to give away a keeper, or keep me ’cause you know you’re just so scared to lose.”

It’s like a record scratch every time I hear that line. YOU TRY TO GIVE AWAY A KEEPER??? She was brilliantly pointing out that YOU DON’T JUST GIVE AWAY A KEEPER! But at the same time, you don’t keep a player only because you’re scared to lose! Such wisdom. For decades, I swear I didn’t know that lovely song was about fantasy basketball keeper leagues.

Lisa Loeb. Fantasy Oracle.

While we’re still quite a few games away from a large enough sample of current season stats to really trust them, let’s talk keeper/dynasty strategy (dynasty being a league in which you keep a large amount of your team for next season). I thought I’d share some tips and have some fun looking back at what we thought of past rookies so that we don’t get overly excited about these 19 year-olds that we’re currently trusting to save our teams.

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Dirk Nowitzki became the 6th player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points, becoming the first international player to hit 30k and one of three players to score all 30,000+ points with one team. It’s been a truly impressive career for the future hall-of-famer. As Steve Nash joked, what’s German for ball hog?

20 points shy of the milestone heading into the game, Nowitzki wasted no time, knocking down and a fadeway early in the second quarter:

Scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Dirk finished with 25 points (all in the first half), 11 rebounds, 1 block, and 3 threes for his third double-double in the last four games. His fantasy days are numbered, but after a slow, injury-filled start to the season, Nowitzki has given patient owners plenty to smile about since the start of the New Year.

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For the love of tripdubs! Dayum Draymond Green had a ridiculous Friday night, nay, a legendary Friday night! One of the craziest lines I can remember since helming Razzball hoops, Dray was the one bringing the defense instead of the Grizz, going 4/12/10/10/5.

Well, when Marc Gasol tries a slow-ass, lackluster behind-the-back dribble right in front of you, it’s easy to get 10 steals! I think I coulda stolen that! Speaking of stealing, Andre Iguodala totally stole my dance move at the end of that highlight there… When I go to the club, it’s like I’m walking on hot coals! Anyway, it was the NBA’s first triple-double without scoring 10 points, and Dray couldn’t even get a 5×5 line! Chump. Then #Occupy followed it up Saturday with a 6/8/8/3/1 line, with the weekend boosting his season averages to 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per. He’s exactly copying the 7.4 AST which he also had in 15-16, but he’s cut down the TO from 3.2 to 2.4 this year, while averaging career-bests in the stocks. We all expected the scoring to go down, but man, the defense numbers the Dubs crank out is insanity, thanks in part to their pace. If you didn’t win steals and blocks with Dray’s 13 steals and 6 blocks over the weekend, then something went drastically wrong! Would be time to occupy that trading block! Here’s what else went down over a fun weekend of NBA action:

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The All-Star Break. The Halfway Point. Well, the 65% Point. Haha, the NBA season is a funny animal. Beginning in the heart of football season, it’s not until December that the league begins to take center stage of the national attention. Then, once the league hits the true half-way mark, everyone is hyped for the Super Bowl. So, finally, in the dead of winter, we reach the All-Star game and everyone’s favorite exhibition game and festivities. Sure, the entire weekend has lost a little luster over the past decade or so, but this week will be defined by the NBA All-Star Game. Oh. Hell. Yeah. Son. (OHYS)

However, like I said, it’s an interesting spot. We’re now 17 weeks into this thing. At the 17 week mark of baseball your past the trade deadline and in the home stretch towards the playoffs. With football you’re season is officially over (unless you’re one of those strange folks that plays Week 17). Yet, with fantasy basketball I feel like we just started. This little break will give us a quick breath before the final charge to the playoffs, but also, unlike other sports, creates a little chaos during the middle of that charge. The games shut down on Thursday, and don’t pick up again until the following Thursday. It’s brilliant for NBA players, but brutal for fantasy players. I thought about combining the two weeks into one, but a whole heckuva lot can happen between now and next week. Just beware, there aren’t many games for the next 14 days, so while we’re focusing on the next week, there’s also one eye on the following set to get a little ahead.

Now, onto the final few games, my predictions for the All-Star Game, and the 7 Ahead! Who do y’all have winning the All-Star Game? Dunk Contest? 3 Point Contest?

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The NBA All-Star Game is 2 weekends away, but this is usually the time when certain fantasy basketball teams start to face key decisions that could determine if they make the playoffs or not.  Moves via the waiver wire and choosing which players to play during jam packed nights become magnified.  OK OK, that makes it sound like it’s THAT serious.  Well, for some highly competitive leagues or very competitive managers, that may apply.  This should be short and sweet.  Stream against BKN + LAL if you’re looking for overall production, ATL + CHA for production from the guard position and PHI + POR for production from the big men.

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Sorry for not posting last week everyone!  I’ve been a bit under the weather lately.  Before we kick off the updated list, we have some basketball to talk about!

As many of you may have heard, Yogi Ferrell had an absolutely epic scoring performance against the Blazers, and now his ownership is up to 50% already.  If you got him, I’d hold til he cools off, but if you didn’t, I wouldn’t worry too much.  He puts way too much leg into his jumper to maintain accuracy, and that’s partially because he’s undersized.  On top of that, he has a bit of a hitch as well.  I think he’ll end up being a solid bench spark in the league, but it wouldn’t be surprise me if this was the only time in his career that he’s 10 team relevant.  He probably will flirt with 12er relevance with injuries, but that’s not a must add.

At any rate, lets dive in!

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