Somehow, we’re already halfway through the NBA season. You know your team(s). The only major unknowns left are who else will get hurt, who will get shut down, and who will get a big value increase due to those injuries and the shutting down of said teammates. Aside from trying to grab some young guys that might get some extra run down the stretch, what else can you do to increase your odds of winning at this point? Well, staying active and streaming hot players will work wonders. But beyond that, I suggest checking out your team’s standing in each of what I’ll call the forgotten stats. Even the most astute fantasy player is going to be drawn to points, rebounds, assists, and threes out of habit and because of the way that we’re most often presented with stats.

I’m going to update you on the leaders in the boring and unsexy categories of field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals, and blocks (in addition to FG% + FT% and steals + blocks). I’m sure some of you might be much more focused on the % categories than I just mentioned, but I think most players treat them as an afterthought. So, since others are more likely to ignore these forgotten stats, take advantage of that and focus on them if you can stand to gain points there. I think you’ll find that these categories are often led by some lesser names that can be had more cheaply than the points/rebounds/assists stars. Many are even available in most leagues.

Here are your most effective players in order of Basketball Monster’s per-game values (percentages are weighted) by category or combined categories through 1/9.

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The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player with only one number. This is not a perfect tool and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but this is useful to help improve and evaluate your team.

In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.

If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.

I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.

If you have any question let me know.

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For the first few weeks of the season, I try not to focus on the standings. I look, of course, but I do so knowing that there have been outlier games, whose impacts are more pronounced due to the small sample size. Also, most teams have a player or two that’s missed the majority of the games and they might also have been starting a replacement player that’s not going to keep it up much longer. However, we’re now about a quarter of the way through the NBA season. The data is relatively predictable. You should know which categories you need to focus on in order to gain points and which ones to ignore, either because you’re stuck at the bottom or entrenched at the top of a category (or if you always win or lose the category by a ton in head-to-head).

Today, we’ll look at the ESPN Player Rater. Tony RP’s Player Rater updates will give you a picture of who’s most valuable by position. I thought I’d go by category to see who’s doing what for us. Here are the top 20 players by category plus the bottom 20 for relevant ones, skipping players that have hardly played. So, it’s just the per-game stat leaders you may be familiar with, except that the percentage categories are weighted by volume. Turnovers are from BasketballMonster, since ESPN doesn’t include them.

So, how is this useful? Obviously, you want players that score well overall on the Player Rater. But, if you’re like me, you’ll be surprised to see some of your players pop up on these lists. Also, keeping in mind which categories you need help in, this can help you find some trade targets. Or, if you’re out of it in points or FG%, maybe ship off a guy that’s in the top 20 that’s not doing much else for you. If you’re in the middle of the pack in FT% and you see that you have one of the worst offenders there, maybe you can ditch him and gain points (just keep in mind what you might be losing in other categories from him). A lot can be gained by learning what’s actually happening compared to what we assume is happening based on previous years or projections.

Next week, I’ll get back into multi-category rankings for those that are ignoring categories, whether intentionally or as a matter of the hand you’ve been dealt. Think punt FG% & TOs, or for FT% punters: 3PTM+AST+ST+PTS+TO rankings, which are what you want to complement your FT% anchors with. That’s when you can really find trade value, since all players now have a new value to your specific team.

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“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” (H.R.Sanders)

 

The Razzball Commenter Leagues entered into the second week with a lot of interesting matches. Injuries once again played a dramatic role, but that’s a part of the game. Managing those along with navigating the waiver wire were the keys to staying alive and dominating.

Here is how the action went down in week 2 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

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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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The biggest news of the night comes from a guy who barely played at all. Less than 2 minutes into the game between Golden State and Washington, Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 8 rebounds) fell into Kevin Durant’s left knee. KD walked away gingerly before heading to the bench and being whisked away into the locker room. Diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, Durant did not return to the game.

Is this karma from the Basketball Gods for his comments about not wanting to come home to play for the Wizards? Kidding aside, this is terrible news to the Warriors, fans of the NBA, and fantasy owners. Hopefully KD’s injury isn’t long-term, but more will be known after examining the MRI results.

In the meantime, the Warriors wasted no time in reaching out to free agent Matt Barnes and are expected to sign him later this week. Released by the Kings after trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, Barnes is excited to rejoin the Warriors, after playing for them from 2006-2008. I wouldn’t rush to add Barnes until more is known about KD’s injury, but Barnes has been useful for fantasy purposes before.

On happier notes, here are the other nightly notables:

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The Wizards have been playing much better as of late. Despite being down 18 points in the second quarter, the Wizards came back to win to push them over .500.

John Wall knocked down the game-winning jumper with 5 ticks left, to complete another fantastic performance with 26 points, 14 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Now that’s what Steve Buckhantz calls a dagger!

Wall was voted Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December and continues his strong play in the New Year. There hasn’t been a better player in the East over the last 6 weeks.

Now the Bulls were missing Jimmy Butler (illness) and Dwyane Wade (rest), but I don’t care. I’m going to take every opportunity to talk positively about my Wizards. They’ll disappoint me soon enough so let me enjoy my moment.

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Coming off of Cleveland’s championship, LeBron James has led the Cavaliers to a 9-1 start. It looks like there hasn’t been a championship lay-off at all. James finished one rebound shy of a triple-double with 28 points, 14 assists, 9 rebounds. He’s off to an incredible start. He may be rested down the stretch, if the Cavs continue their winning ways, but for now enjoy the ride.

It was a short slate of games on Tuesday so let’s get right to it:

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All eyes were on the NBA on Tuesday night. Just messing. I’m sure most people were following along to see who would come out on top in the Presidential race. In the end, Donald Trump won.

Whatever your political affiliations, it’ll be different with the Donald in office. Barack Obama is a huge sports fan and loves basketball. It’ll probably be a while until we see another President filling out a bracket during March Madness, playing a game of H-O-R-S-E with Clark Kellogg, or clowning the Warriors when they were in town to celebrate their championship.

If nothing else, let’s be happy it’s over. It’s been a long and drawn out process. Now we can focus on things that really matter…like recapping Tuesday night’s games:

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