A lot of people were mad at 2016. Thought it was a year without morality. Without decency. Without justice… So I’m watching the Thunder/Hornets last night, and in the 3rd quarter, Dell Curry is like, “I just had some terrible news cross my desk – Justise Winslow is going to be out for the year.” Whoa, way to be a news breaker, Dell! He also broke the news that his wife was in the crowd and circled her on the teleprompter when the camera showed her, so there’s that… Awk-ward! Anyway, Winslow’s injured shoulder ended up being a labrum tear, after it was reported it was only a tweak and he didn’t anticipate it being a long-term issue. Doctor G, how come major tears only feel like tweaks sometimes?! He’s going to have corrective surgery today and will likely miss the rest of the season, ya know, unless the Heat make the playoffs! Hahahahaha, sorry Slim, had to do it… This is definitely a bummer, because we saw this with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and he ended up tearing it a second time after only a few games back, so I’m going to be very leery about ranking Winslow decently next year. Well, the injury, and the fact he’s going to end the year shooting 35.4% from the field. Yeesh. So with Miami lacking any Justise, it would appear James Johnson is going to get all the minutes he can handle, and is must own for me ROS. Really everywhere. I raved about him as the lead to the notes earlier in the week, Adam led with him for RazzWired, and he shouldn’t have any issue getting 30ish MPG the rest of the way. I was initially surprised to only see 25 minutes last night in a 5-point win, but yeah, he fouled out (game was on too late for grandpa JB!). 14/6/6/0/3 for JJ on an awesomely efficient night, shooting 4-8 FG, knocking down 2 treys, and hitting 4-4 FT. Only black eye was the 3 TO, which look like will be an issue for him as he takes on a big role on the offense. So be sure Johnson is owned in all your leagues, and hopefully by the 17-18 season, we’ll see a return of Justise in the world! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Happy 2017, Razzball Nation!

After immense pressure from the DA’s office to flip on Tommy DeVito and Paulie Cicero, [redacted] needed protection to secure his testimony in putting those good fellas away. It didn’t start on the best foot either, as the WitSec guys asked [redacted] if he had any distinguishing marks and he lied about his tattoos… But the man formerly known as [redacted] changed his name to the very inconspicuous James Johnson, and moved his family to Miami. After being a humbling under-the-radar role player, Johnson was supposed to continue as merely a minutes-filler, amongst an uninteresting mix of PF to get through the tough void of losing Chris Bosh. He’s supposed to just shy away from dunk attempts and stand around on offense…

Well, way to ruin that, Johnson! We can’t protect you no more! An absolute monster weekend from Johnson, going 22/3/6/2/2 against the Celtics on Friday night with 4 treys, then followed it up with 20/7/3/1/1 against the Pistons. After a rough stretch of FT last week, he made 6-7 in these games too. With the added onus on O (no Goran Dragic or Justise Winslow OR Hassan Whiteside last night), he is turning it over a little too much (8 total in these two games), but with all the injuries and a void in playmaking on the Heat right now, Johnson is as erect as ever. He’s playing SF, PF, and even some C right now, so while we shouldn’t expect the 34 minutes like he got against the Pistons, he should be pretty solidified in his 25ish MPG role even when everyone is healthy. He’s gotta be a must-own in all leagues while this hot, as he has brazenly blown his cover. Hopefully no one recognizes him as [redacted]! Here’s what else went down over New Year’s weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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It’s Uncle Drew’s world and we’re just living in it! Kyrie Irving remains on fire after his big outing on Christmas. 32 points and 12 assists on only 17 shots. That kind of efficiency will keep the Cavs ahead of the pack, when it comes to championship odds. The Cavaliers managed to edge the Celtics 124 – 118 on the first game of the TNT double header. Lebron James also had a big line with 23/8/11/1/3, while Kevin Love put up 30 and 15 boards as well. The big 3 clearly are meshing well, and Cleveland is certainly the team to beat.

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Well, I do keep my eyes open all the time, and if you’ve been reading my thoughts on Jeremy Lin the past few weeks, you’ve heard me repeatedly say that I’m worried about lingering/long-term injury with this bad hammy strain earlier in the season. The deathblow – for me – was when after coming back from the hammy, Lin suffered back issues, which I mentioned I had seen time and time again in baseball as a lingering effect from not having your upper leg base. And here we go again with another hammy strain last night, again to the left hammy, the same hamstring he pulled in early November (emo band alert!). On a VERY friendly 3-year deal in today’s market at only $38 million (thanks Razzball player pages!), I see no reason the Mess wouldn’t just shut him down another extended period of time with the injury to the same hammy, so hopefully you sold in these past couple weeks when you could. In his stead, look for Sean Kilpatrick to play some PG again, which actually hurts his value in my eyes. He wasn’t thriving the same way as his SG run, as he’s not a great facilitator and it jacked up his TO rate. For deeper leagues, it puts Isaiah Whitehead back on the radar, although he will hurt your FG% and TO in some games (9/2/3/1/1 last night, but with 4 TO in 16 minutes). Thankfully Whitehead was able to come back at exactly the right time after a few games off due to foot soreness. And that’s not even mentioning Randy Foye and his “epic” 3/1/2 line last night, with his only FG being this one:

Hah, your final shot goes to a guy who was 0-1 in 21 minutes up until that touch. Yeesh, this team is certainly really close to the creamy nougat center of Dante’s Inferno, on maybe the 2nd or 1st Ring of Fire… Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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…and by that, I mean they finally got Chandler Parsons into his stockings and ready to friggin’ play an NBA game again! And stockings is very apt, have you seen his leggings these days?! Looks like an elf! Well, of course you haven’t seen him “these days”, he’s barely played at all! Stupid knees… I tried Googling an image of “Chandler Parsons legs”, but that just got my safe search in all sorts of trouble… Knees; who needs em?! At least he’s not as bad an investment as Ian Mahinmi is looking to be on the Wizards… Awwww, boo, too soon! I’m a little frustrated with knee injuries these days, OK?!

After barely playing 100 total minutes through his first 6 games due to offseason knee operations, Parsons got back on the court last night after over another month off due to a knee bruise to the other knee. My silver lining was always that it gave the surgically repaired knee another stretch to recover, so hopefully after another round of easing-in, we can finally see if he’s going to be that fantasy stalwart I expected on this Grizzlies team. Of course, it doesn’t help his “easing-in” timetable that the Grizzlies are somehow 19-12 despite all their injuries, but ya know! Got 15 minutes off the bench for a paltry 2/2/2/0/0 line, but this was always going to take a minute. So hike up your stockings, activate him off your IL, and if he’s somehow available add him immediately, because 2017 is a new year and right around the corner. Either way, I’ll still find myself Googling Parsons all the time! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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We all know that injury is a part of professional sports. I would like to think that most fans don’t wish it on anyone, but when it does happen, and players are forced to miss games, nobody should feel sorry for the team that got got. It’s why there are 15 roster spots on a squad. And while it may suck to see a guy go down to injury, it creates opportunity. Opportunity for the next man to step up. So lets take a look at what the injury bug has done to the line ups lately, Hmmm?

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In a matchup where they might’ve gone ahead and whipped em out to see who was bigger, this round went to Joel Embiid! The Sixers snapped the longest stretch of NBA games without back-to-back wins (108), by besting Hassan Whiteside and the Heat 101-94.

Look at Embiid flex those guns. So much man meat in the paint right there! Ok, I’m done with that, but it was awesome to see such prototypical, turn-back-the-clock big men face off against each other, with each being the current face of their respective franchise. Embiid had one of his best lines of the year, going 22/5/0/1/3 on 7-13 shooting, mainly highlighted by only one TO. He’s only had one game with 2 TO, and all the others 3+. On the flip side, Whiteside was a monster, going 32/13/0/0/2 on 13-19 shooting and hit 6 of his 8 FT. For the love of big man stats! Whiteside was 0-3 from the stripe in his previous game, so hopefully something has righted the ship there. Someone in the comments asked where Embiid might go in drafts next year, and I said 30-40 range. But at this rate, that might be too conservative! Let’s see him get through a full season first, and be sure none of that giant EMBIIIIIID gets hurt. I lied, I got one more in! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Could there be anyone else in the NBA that everyone can get behind and root for than Jrue Holiday?!  At this rate, he needs to run for prez in 2020!  And just to make him even more likable, he’s now wearing rec spec goggles.  Soooooooo dope!  It’s like he’s playing ball underwater!  When he hit this stepback, I’m pretty sure I heard him say “you miss me?!” on the game broadcast, but I have a feeling it was my mind playing tricks on me…

Jrue didn’t take any time to shake off the rust, going 21/2/7/1/1 on 8-14 shooting against the Blazers Friday night (including that sexy crossover), then 22/2/9/1/0 on 9-17 shooting against the Hornets on Saturday.  14:4 AST:TO to start it off, shot over 50% both games…  Just so awesome!  I know what I’m thankful for!  And just to make things EVEN MORE awesome, he rewarded Tim Frazier owners who remained patient, by showing they can co-exist.  Bi-partisan!  12/3/8 and 17/5/8 for Frazier in those two games, plus the Pelicans won both of them.  And they weren’t against cupcakes either, winning at home against the Blazers then the Hornets.  Pass the beignets, we got a party goin on!  As a Frazier owner in a couple RCLs, I’m going to hang strong until his numbers tell me otherwise.  Unfortunately, I’m not a Jrue owner anywhere though…  Depressing!  But I don’t even care, Jrue is a boss, and if he beats me in some fantasy matchups, I will tip my cap and be rooting for him anyway.  You’re my boy, Jrue!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops:

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With how the Poppycockers put together their “Super Team”, I admittedly had some worries that the bunch of Tom Cruise-divas they threw out there might make The Poison Goose a mere co-pilot.  But not with moxie like this!

Dude doing that at 7’3!!!!!  SEVEN THREE!!!  Monster game from Kristaps Porzingis last night, going a career-high 35/7/3/1/1 with 3 treys on 13-22 shooting.  He played 40 minutes, and put the Poppies on his back.  While I was a little apprehensive of his USG, I still think my rank of 23 ended up being ahead of the curve (I would confirm this, but FantasyPros is being a little ish and not making it easy to find draft day expert consensus!).  Alas, I was unable to get the Goose in any leagues, and I’m suffering some major poultry withdrawal.  Thankfully Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  He’s taken 15+ shots the past 7 games, attempting 2 more treys a game than last year, and the TO rate has gone from 1.7 his rookie year to 1.3.  His ridiculous 7’3 size makes him too tough for stretch-4s to cover him, and his ridiculous speed and ball-handling makes him too tough for centers.  He’s becoming a true matchup nightmare with the added iso moves, and is – I’m going there – a no question first-rounder next year.  Slim having him on his REL team has me depressingly reaching for the Grey Goose!  Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night:

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As I try to do in my opens, I pull in some real-life news or experience to try and humanize the open. No one wants robot reporting! Just ask Mark Cuban. And that whole situation seems like such a cop out, “I’m going to ban reporters, and the reason why is that I want more human reporting!” Something else is going on there…

Anywho, for this open, I actually have relevant life experience! As previously mentioned regarding Derrick Favors, I too have suffered from IT Band Syndrome. It’s an inflammation of a thin band of nerves that connect from your hip bone on the outside of your leg, past your knee, and connected to your lower leg. Sometimes it can manifest itself in a mad sore hip, but usually it impacts the outside of your knee. When it flares up, it feels like a bone-on-bone “catching” on the outer part of your knee, like you have some horrific scar tissue from a torn meniscus (something I’ve also had). The real annoyance of the injury is you can feel awesome for a few days, then it flares up out of nowhere. You’re just walking normal, and all the sudden that “catch” makes your knee feel like you re-tore something. It’s pretty friggin’ frustrating.

So when I heard Favors was starting last night despite a flare up of knee soreness again on Saturday, I wasn’t the most surprised. I bet it felt great in warm-ups! Then at some point, I’m guessing he felt that same nerve irritation, and he ended up leaving early. I know his frustration. As a nerve thing, this isn’t really a consistent pain-tolerance thing, or a sprain to play through. It feels fine, then a sudden flare up makes your knee feel unstable. I didn’t watch any of this game, but he apparently didn’t look right, and went only 6/2/0/2/0 in 21 minutes. As I mentioned on the Pod, I nabbed some shares of Trey Lyles on Sunday given Favors’ knee issues and knowing this could be a long-term thing, getting rewarded with an 18/5/2/2/0 line with a trey. A trey from Trey! With leaving games early a persistent issue now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Favors gets treatment for a few weeks, and I would take the flier on Lyles where I could. It took me about two months of rehab and a session of dry needling to stimulate the nerves to finally shake my IT issues. Don’t watch if you don’t like needles! Here’s what else happened in fantasy hoops action last night:

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