I know the “Player of the Week” award is not that important. I know the return of Carmelo Anthony has been a pleasant surprise for many and I can freely admit, as evidenced here, that I was not a believer. But for the love of everything that is holy, Carmelo shouldn’t be the winner of the award this week by averaging 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.37 assists. Not when Luka Doncic had 30.3/8.7/9.0 and especially not when James Harden had 47.0/4.5/6.5 during the same span.

Maybe it was the “Comeback Player of the Week” Award. Or the “Western Conference Player with a Last Name Starting with “Ant” Week Award”, since Giannis also won the Eastern Conference. I am definitely glad the league is highlighting other players besides the MVP candidates, but Harden’s week was too unreal to ignore.

Last week’s “Buy” suggestions fared pretty well, with both Nerlens Noel and Glenn Robinson III having productive weeks, while Frank Ntilikina was useful until he got ruled out due to a bad back. Finally, Cody Zeller lost his starting spot and has done nothing to convince me he is not a “Sell” candidate.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When Kyrie Irving went down to injury on November 14, the Nets lost their leader. The fantasy community lost its leader. And hope was starting to look bleak for the upcoming stretch of games without the explosive veteran running the point.

But Spencer Dinwiddie has not missed a beat. In the eight games that he’s started in place of Irving, he has averaged 24.5 points, 7.8 assists, three boards, a steal, and a block per game. He’s shooting 93% from the line with a decent sample size of 7.5 attempts per game. He has limited his turnovers to 2.4 per game. The only knock has been his efficiency from the field (42.4%) and from deep (34%), but all things considered, Dinwiddie is deserving of many thanks from his teammates.

His teammates were especially thankful last night, as he was giving at a particularly generous rate and recorded the following stat line:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 5 11 2 2 4 6-8 10-19 6-6

His 11 dimes led the NBA (along with LeBron and Luka), and his sharp-shooting from deep led the Nets to a great win over the division-rival Celtics. Here’s what else happened around the league on Friday night.

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When something is referred to as historic, we think of arms raised toward the sky, fireworks bursting and illuminating the world, with smiles and wet panties. We think of heroes. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s also a hero? The Stocktonator. Yet, historic can also reference the zeroes. Those who do something so bad that it’s actually impressive. Joel Embiid had one of those games last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
0 13 2 0 0 4 0/4 0/11 0/3

Embiid is no doubt a hero. If he wasn’t, then there wouldn’t be a line outside of the stadium after every game with both men and women waiting to sex him. With that said, he was a straight zero, both literally and figuratively last night. And I wasn’t being hyperbolic when I said that he had a historic performance. Since 1946, there have been only two other players who went 0-for-10 from the field, 0-for-3 from downtown, and 0-for-2 from the free throw line: Doug Christie in 1999 and Devean George in 2008. Make that duo a trio now. Now, Embiid is a fantasy stud, as he literally does everything. He hasn’t been producing like one recently, but have no fear, the good times will return again. If anyone is panicking, relieve them of their anxiety.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The stage was set.

After having a two-week long stretch of fantastic performances night after night, capped by a 27 point, five assist, seven rebound, and four steal pseudo-revenge game against the Bulls, all signs were pointing to Jimmy going OFF in the real revenge game on Saturday night.

The boos poured down from the Wells Fargo Center as he was introduced. It just felt like he was ready to explode and lead his Heat to their sixth-straight win. But alas, the opposite occurred. Harvard Sports Analysis actually found that superstars perform worse by a pretty good margin in “revenge” games, so maybe we should reverse that narrative. Here’s the line that Jimmy put up:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
11 5 3 2 0 1 0-2 4-13 3-4

Here’s what else happened around the league on Saturday night.

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If you’re a habitual bad drafter like I am, you’re probably well acquainted with the power of the waiver wire. First I was a bad drafter in fantasy football and now that non-skill has transferred over to fantasy basketball. I often make too much of my hay on the wire. I have never won the championship in my fantasy football league—an indication that I haven’t had the top-end talent necessary to take home the trophy. But I have made the playoffs every year except one—an indication that timely, intelligent pick-ups on the wire are not to be taken for granted, especially in football where long injury absences are common. I also made the playoffs in my first year of fantasy basketball as an expansion team after auto-drafting. It’s a 14 team, 9-category, head-to-head Yahoo league for perspective. I tell you all this not to toot my own horn, but to lay out my strengths and weaknesses, to cement my waiver wire guru credentials.

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Hassan Whiteside missed yesterday’s shootaround. As a result, those who traveled from all corners of the Earth to witness a Mt. Whiteside explosion became despondent. They cried. They fainted. They cried some more. Then they all gathered around and sang Kumbaya. Because Joe forgot the drums and Sally left the flute in the hotel room, singing was eschewed for the more conventional Lord’s Prayer. As the group began to feel hope permeating throughout their bodies, they heard a voice over the PA: Ladies and gentlemen. Tonight’s starting lineup for the Portland Trail Blazers will be….Gary Trent Jr., Rodney Hood, C. J. McCollum, Anthony Tolliver, and Carmelo Anthony. Shrieks began to echo througout Fiserv Forum. Joe and Sally began to makeout because the end was near. But then with 4:52 left in the first quarter, Skal Labissiere checked into the game. And all was right with the world, as the expected Mt. Whiteside explosion was superseded by the Labissiere eruption.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 12 3 1 5 0 2/4 10/16 0

In 28 minutes off the bench. Now, prior to last night, Skal was averaging only 15.3 minutes per game, but with all the injuries, he could be entrenched as the backup to Hassan with the possibility of becoming the Messiah? Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s Messianic? The Stocktonator. Naw, but 20 minutes per game with the occasional start wouldn’t be a bad thing. I know. I know. We’ve been down this path before with Skal, but fourth times a charm? Look, Skal is a skilled offensive player who has range from downtown. And he gets his block on. I’m good with taking a chance on the upside. Why? The Blazers need shooters on the floor so the path to more playing time is there. They signed Carmelo Anthony for goodness sakes.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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It’s hard to grasp, but we are already past the 15% mark of the regular season! Time does indeed fly and there have been some surprising and underachieving teams. The surprises have been the Celtics (11-2), Heat (9-3) and Suns (7-6), while the underachievers have been the Warriors (3-12), Pelicans (5-9), and Trail Blazers (5-10). Although it’s early in the season, don’t be surprised if some of the underperforming teams make some major moves to try and shake things up. Some are even getting desperate…

I don’t hate Carmelo’s fit in Portland. He can be a valuable contributor if he moves the ball willingly and at least tries on the defensive end. But those are two big “ifs”, as history has taught us.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Alec Burks is one of the last Warriors standing (that sounded more heroic than I planned) with any kind of talent, so he will get all the usage he can handle. The fg% will be occasionally bad, but the scoring and counting stats will compensate. Finally, Marcus Smart also had a good week, while Cory Joseph has been disappointing in his starts and is a drop candidate.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the first five games of the season, Nicolo Melli played an average of 15.2 minutes per game, with a high of 20. He showed the ability to shoot from downtown, but little else. The first four games of November, Melli played 10, 10, 5, and 17 minutes. He was rotting on the bench. But then….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
14 6 4 3 0 0 1/6 4/10 5/5

Nelli got the call on the celli to notify him that he would play 27, 27, and 28 minutes over the past three games. Did I just time travel there? Anyways, Melli has responded by scoring 14, 16, and 10 points with a decent amount of boards and dimes. What really stands out is three steals in two separate games. Who knew this Italian was a smooth criminal? Perhaps he’s mafioso? He’s been a top 60 player over the past four games. This could be a short-term thing while the Pelicans are banged up, or it could be the start of something. I may be able to time travel, but I cannot predict the future. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what can predict the future? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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My-my-my-my Melo is back. To play. And jack up. Plenty of shots. He won’t. Play any D. Or grab a board or thank the Lord. Ok, time to quit the Pa Rappa da Rappa because…..Stop! It’s Melo time. The Portland Trail Blazers signed Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed contract yesterday. Melo fans are running through the streets naked, screaming, and turning over cars. Their Messiah has returned to deliver them to Melo bliss. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always provides fantasy bliss? The Stocktonator. Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and dig into this signing for the Trail Blazers and see what his fantasy prospects could be. Melo is 35 years old now, so he will likely be a statue, both on offense and defense. The lack of desire to play defense gives him a floor of….out of the league. If he can still shoot, though, he could actually be an interesting piece for the Blazers. I know, I know. I’m regurgitating the puke myself. Here’s the thing, though. Many of teams, with the Raptors the most recent example, have been doubling Damian Lillard and C. J. McCollum….daring anyone else to beat them. Well, when opponents see Nassir Little, Mario Hezonja, and Anthony Tolliver littering the depth chart of the Blazers, they start doing the MC Hammer dance. Oh-oh. Oh oh. Oh-oh-oh. The last two seasons, Melo has played for the Thunder and Rockets. In 88 games, he played around 30 minutes per game and provided 14.8 points, 2.2 tres, and 5.6 boards. Not bad. He shot 40% from the field. That’s bad. If you have the roster spot, he’s worth a speculative add if you need points and tres. Just know that this could amount to nothing and he’ll be back playing at the YMCA. With that said, Andrew Wiggins is currently a top 30 player so anything is possible.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Rockets seem to find themselves knocking on the door in the West often, but not doing enough to get over the hump. Sometimes you need a little change. Russell Westbrook is that change. The Rockets, who already play at a high pace, will now be moving up and down the court at record speeds. Westbrook is the engine that could and may vault the Rockets to the Finals. Yes, I have been touting this for two years now, but I think this was the move to get them there. Let’s take a closer look through a fantasy lens.

Please, blog, may I have some more?