Can’t believe it, but another fantasy season is in the books. I hope you enjoyed it and can celebrate some success. I’ll keep the talk short this week and get to the players we have to thank for our wins and those we have to blame for our losses. Obviously, players have hot streaks, so some of the most valuable players were valuable for, like, a month or maybe half a season. However, I’m going to compare season-long results to average draft position and highlight a few players that performed dramatically differently than expected.
I thought about using total season stats, but the differences there often are so heavily influenced by injuries that I don’t think it’s a good way to judge how well a player played. So, I’ll just be looking at per-game stats for 8-cat and 9-cat. Players that exceeded their draft position the most (“most” being subjective, since someone that was drafted 10th and finished 3rd could be considered more or less of a value than someone that was drafted 120th and finished 60th, for example). Then, those that finished most below their ADP. You get it. Sort of a breakouts and busts with 20/20 hindsight. I used the Yahoo ADPs (should be a mix of 8 and 9-cat leagues) and the Basketball Monster Player Rankings.
John Wall went from hero to zero back to hero in Washington this season. Nobody will argue that John Wall is the most talented player on the Wizards, but when he went down with a knee injury and the team started playing its best basketball of the season, people started questioning Wall’s value to the team. His selfish play was viewed as holding the team back in the day-and-age of the Hoosier method of at least three passes before a shot. The team’s hot streak wore off, however, and everyone started clamoring for Wall’s return. Now the Wizards are battling for a playoff spot and John Wall stepped up for one of his best games of the season: 4/29/7/13/3/3. I mean, wow, nice game and nice timing. Anyone still playing in fantasy who has John Wall is as excited about the timing of this as the city of Washington D.C.
Anyway, here is what else I saw last night as teams battle for the last playoff spot and just plain old last place:
What’s up Razzballers? With the season coming to a close in the next few days, this will obviously be my last Any Given Saturday of the season. It’s been a pleasure writing for y’all! Anyway enough of that, let’s get to the juicy stat lines. Anthony Davis put up another huge rainbow, going for 34/12/4/2/4 on 13-for-24 FG (0-for-1 3P, 8-for-10 FT) and only two TOs as he led the Pelicans over the Warriors on the road in Golden State. He’s been an absolute monster all year, and especially so in the second half of the season. Best of all, he’s managed to stay relatively healthy. I don’t think anybody is even close to him in terms of fantasy MVP. Long live the Brow. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:
I’m going to take a break from numbers this week. A break from Trey Burke, Quinn Cook, and Denzel Valentine impacting fantasy playoff teams infinitely more than Steph Curry, Demarcus Cousins, and Kawhi Leonard. A break from dealing with players on tanking teams sitting indefinitely every time someone steps on their toe, or from players on playoff teams resting without notice. Heck, a break from the NCAA tournament that only has one projected lottery pick left to watch.
This is probably going to most interest dynasty and keeper league players, but those already itching to rank and project players for next season will find this intriguing, too. Today, I’m going to look at who this summer’s free agents are. That period from the draft (draft lottery only 47 days away!) through the first week of free agency is probably my favorite on the NBA calendar, since about a third of the league seems to change teams. So many new dynamics to consider for so many teams. The impact on fantasy is huge, too. I’m definitely no insider with information to help predict who’s going where, but I do find it helpful to know whose value is likely to remain the same and whose has a wide range of outcomes. The latter are often good targets if you need to get risky to improve your keeper/dynasty team over the summer. Do you have a Terry Rozier type that would gain a ton of value if he moved on to a starting role? Is he free to do so? Also, remember to think of which teammates might be affected by these players should they change teams. For example, are the players blocking Mario Hezojna’s path to more minutes likely to get out of his way? Then again, might LeBron, PG13, and CP3 all be coming to your player’s team to squash his usage? Here are the most fantasy relevant free agents. Wow, this summer could be a big one.
What’s up Razzballers? Fan favourite Aaron Gordon had a monster line, destroying the lowly Suns to the tune of 29/11/8/3/1 on 10-for-18 FG (3-for-6 3P, 6-for-9 FT) and three TOs. It was a clean and lethal stat line, and exactly the kind that you needed on the Saturday of your playoff semifinals. AG’s been a beast since his return and I really hope you stashed him where you could. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:
What do you think of when you hear the phrase “messing around?” Perhaps a joke. Maybe it takes you back to high school. First base. Second base. Third base with Peggy Sue or Billy Bob. How about Ice Cube when he called up the homies and asked them which park are y’all playin’ basketball? Whatever it may be, “messing around” is not associated with being of the serious variety. For fun. For shits and giggles. For Russell Westbrook? “Messing around” ain’t no joke. It’s 100% pedal to the metal. It’s I’m going to dunk on your head and shoot in your eye. It’s I’m grabbing every rebound because the ball is mine. That reminds me of Shaq’s T.W.I.S.M. Any of you remember that? Ha! Anyways, for Russ, it’s I’m dishing every dime because I will not be denied of my stat orgy. Yesterday, Russ notched his 102nd career triple dub.
That’s now five straight triple-dubs. For the season, he’s 0.3 rebounds shy of AVERAGING a triple-dub, which would make back-to-back seasons of accomplishing the feat. Damn, Russ ain’t no joke, espccially when it comes to “messing around.”
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:
When I was younger, I used to love watching The Jeffersons. Always made me laugh. It wasn’t until later in life that I fully appreciated what the show was about, though. Race and the American Dream. It was possible for people of color to achieve success and move up the proverbial ladder. In the case of George Jefferson, he was able to accomplish it through the opening of a chain of dry cleaning stores. But there are a myriad of ways to accomplish the feat. Which brings me to Al Jefferson of the Indiana Pacers. The 33-year-old has played 14 seasons in the NBA. A once 20/10 player had been relegated to bench mob, averaging less than 15 minutes a game over the past two seasons. Last night, though, he got his opportunity due to injuries for both Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.
What year is it? Anyways, it was a season-high for points, rebounds, and minutes played. With Sabonis out until next week and Turner possibly out as well, Jefferson is movin on up that depth chart.
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.
Well, it’s almost playoff time if you’re in a head-to-head league. And if roto’s your game, you’re still down to the final five weeks of the season. Dance with who brung ya, right? Nope! It’s time to look around the room for better dancers. Rather, there are certainly folks that will be dancing more often the rest of the night–er, season. The metaphor kinda breaks down there.
Today’s lesson is a relatively obvious one, especially for experienced players, but it might make the difference in your league. So, make sure you’ve thought this through. If you play in a weekly lineup league, it’s time to maximize the number of games you can get out of your team. If you have a weekly league with daily lineup changes, it gets a bit more complicated, but you still want to start the week with as many games on the schedule as you can. Also, let’s say, hypothetically, that you have a 1st round bye wrapped up in, oh, maybe the Razzball Experts League, and you want to look ahead. Well, here’s how the last few weeks shake out.