Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 14!  There are still a few players in protocols, but we’re firmly on the back end of the recent spike in illness.  While this is generally good news for all, it means I can no longer blame COVID for my faulty predictions and recommendations.  On the other hand, I am enjoying the return to a time when my recommendations survived for more than two hours before being extinguished by the latest round of mass testing.  I’m not ready to declare “ops normal” just yet, as the situation is still fluid, but things are headed in the right direction.  Regardless of what’s going on in the background, my goal is to provide you with the best widely available streaming options in hopes of giving you an edge in your head-to-head category matchups.

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As most if not everyone knows, the NBA world and sports fans all over commemorated the passing of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant who passed away one year ago on January 26, 2019, in a terrible helicopter crash. In the world of sports, the signature trait that we remember him most by is what is called the Mamba Mentality. In the words of Bryant himself, the Mamba Mentality is the idea of being focused on the task of getting better and being better today than you were yesterday at whatever you want to do in life. But for most NBA fans, the Mamba Mentality is most notably seen in the form of one thing: Getting Buckets when the lights are brightest! So, to commemorate Kobe Bryant and the bucket getter mentality, let us celebrate and praise some of the best bucket getters in the league who showed up and showed out under the bright Friday Night Lights!

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The fact that James Harden can drop 50 points in a night without anyone batting an eye is ridiculous. The story line shouldn’t be about how he scored 54 last night, topping the 50-point mark for the second consecutive night. It should be about how no one is talking about it. He had 10 threes and everyone just shrugs and goes about their business. Like, how is such an incredible feat just happening without it being the headline on every major sports media source? It’s mind boggling. This happened three times in between 1980 and 2000. Three times only. Trivia: try and guess who they were in the comments for absolutely no prize at all!

But Harden has done it two separate times this year alone!! And no one is talking about it!! Insanity. Here’s his stat line from last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
54 5 7 2 3 3 10-15 19-31 6-6

He single-handedly can bring your roster to the top of the league in multiple scoring categories, and is currently the top asset in fantasy basketball. Let’s go around the league and take a look at the rest of Friday night’s action.

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You know a team is peaking at the right time when its role players are shining. The Pacers are getting set for an epic playoff run led by their All-Star Victor Oladipo (3/27/3/5/3/0) and their breakout star Domantas Sabonis (0/30/8/3/3/0). Yes, the 30 points were a career high and, yes, both players were acquired via trade (for Paul George) in the off-season, but that is not even the most amazing thing about the Pacers’ season. The crazy thing is that the person who was supposed to be their can’t-miss stud has been an all-time dud.

Myles Turner has had an extremely disappointing season in both real-life and fantasy (funny how those are tied together) and last night he may have finally hit rock-bottom: 0/0/1/0/0/0 in just 6 minutes. No, it wasn’t injury-related. It was foul-trouble related, which should be strictly a rookie problem for big-men. The Pacers could end up being a very dangerous playoff team if somehow Turner can figure out his issues. My money is on…..drumroll…..no, no he won’t. This has been a problem the entire season, so there is no reason to believe he will suddenly be the team star again. I do think he will have some good nights, but overall he will be the same.

The good news is that the Pacers can win without him (maybe that is messing with his head and confidence), so it is not really that big a deal. The bad news is the Pacers cannot win a championship without him. But more good news, nobody expected them to even be in the playoffs, so they are playing with house money.

Anyway, here is what else I saw last night:

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Jordan Clarkson drops 33 points as Lakers “Breakaway” from the Pacers on Friday night. Clarkson, “Because of You” Lakers were able to win a game while shooting 14.3% from the free throw line; an NBA record for lowest FT% in a win.  Clarkson was the only Laker to actually make any free throws (2-for-3), while the rest of the team went 0-for-11.  Despite this weird anomaly, the Lakers were able to “Walk Away” with a a victory against a pretty good Pacers team. The Pacers were coming off a back-to-back, but the Lakers have now won five of their last seven after a really rough stretch.

Anyway, here’s what else happened on Friday in Fantasy Hoops:

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I always enjoyed Outkast when I was younger. Their music would always get me to bob my head from side to side and up and down. The thing I most admired about them, though, was their ability to change. Early on, they were a more “traditional” rap group. As time progressed, they started experimenting and adding elements to their music which made them more funky. End result? My head continued to bob from side to side and up and down. The lead singer was Andre Benjamin, who performed under the stage name “Dre.” As the group changed their style, Benjamin changed his name to “Andre 3000.” The new and improved version, perhaps? Well, the same evolution has been taking place in Detroit, as Andre Drummond has been a beast. On the season, he’s averaging:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 13.7 15.2 3.4 1.4 1.2 3.5 0 99/188 49/81

The boards, assists, and free throw percentage are all at career-highs! The turnovers are at a career-high as well, but that’s a residual effect of being a playmaker. I should’ve known big things were coming when I saw highlights of him playing at the Drew League over the summer. Splashing step back 20-footers? What? The most impressive improvement has obviously been the free throw shooting. The Pistons broadcasters analyzed the differences here. Now, it all culminated last night for Drummond against the Boston Celtics:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 26 22 6 4 0 3 0 10/12 6/8

Season-high in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage. Let’s cut to Andre performing and get a glimpse of how all his fantasy owners are feeling right now:

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Ellenson

Last week for my debut piece for Razzball, I bought you my dynasty rookie rankings part 1. And what better way to follow up than bringing part 2, in which I cover my rankings from 21-40, delving deeper into the nitty gritty of those players likely to come at more of a bargain price.

If you read last week’s article, you will know the reasons why I will be reaching for Wade Baldwin and Deyonta Davis and in this article you will find more targets that I will be looking to aggressively draft come season start.

In traditional fashion (or following up from last week) I will bring you my favorite target, my top stash, my safe pick and the player I will be avoiding from each multiple of 10, but remember opinions are like assholes, we all have one (and any opinion shared here is that of my own, and not representative of Razzball in its entirety).

Let’s quit the jibber-jabber and get straight to the beef with the rookies I have ranked 21-40:

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