We are recuperating from the Thanksgiving holiday, but no rest for the weary, as preparations are beginning in earnest for Christmas. Then, it’s a quick turnaround for New Year’s followed by Groundhog Day. What? You don’t bow down to Punxsutawney Phil? You heathen. Valentine’s Day is next with Chinese New Year right after that. I married Chinese to hedge against the possibility that they rule the world in my lifetime. You don’t need to take it that far, but you may want to start celebrating that particular holiday. Just in case. St. Patrick’s Day, Good Friday, Easter, Patriot’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day….I think you get the point. The holidays keep coming and going, which is exactly what Jrue Holiday does on the basketball court, as he played 42 minutes last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 4 14 4 1 1 4/8 12/23 4/6

On the season, Holiday is averaging over 36 minutes per game. Since the holiday seasons are usually about giving, it’s only appropriate that he’s third in the NBA in assists (9 per game). The turnovers are a little high (3.7) and the free throw percentage is a little low (75%), but he’s providing 20.6 points, 1.4 threeecolas, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 0.8 blocks, which is good for the #27 player in fantasy. This Holiday always be working and providing.

Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what else doesn’t take holidays off? The Stocktonator, which is probably why it had Holiday so high last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ok, so he might not really be better than Nikola Jokic in real life, but heading into the game against Phoenix, Nikola Vucevic was ranked a mind-boggling 5th in overall fantasy value for standard leagues. Can we stop pretending like he’s not a superstar? He’s a complete player with no real holes, excels at scoring, grabbing boards, is sneaky good at assists, manages great percentages, and averages a triple one. What’s not to love?

Nikola Vucevic

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
11/20 1/2 2/5 25 15 3 1 1 2

What a beast. 25/15/3 with 2 3’s, 1 steal, and 1 block is such a nice all around contributing line. He’s way above his career averages in scoring and percentages, so a lot of fantasy GMs have been trying to move him. He won’t retain that top 5 ranking, but for a player that most GM’s drafted after pick 50, he’s paid off a ton. I love his game (scoring, shooting, boards, nice playmaking, and a triple 1, with very good percentages) and is my type of player.

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This season of 50-point games and JaVale McGee relevance is already about 25% complete. How are your teams looking? We should have a pretty good picture of what we can expect from our lineups and most players, so where can we go from here? Let’s get creative. I’ve been talking about how the practice of ignoring categories that aren’t affecting us can give us an advantage (even if we weren’t trying to punt categories), as it presents a market tilted in our favor. Shaking up the values of players and customizing them to our teams is a great way to make some effective trades. Trades that are more likely to get accepted, because they can more easily be win/win deals. Today, I’m going to give a variety of lists of multi-category “punts” to help identify targets that often go undervalued, in addition to those that complement punting teams best.

I’ve gone on and on about how most categories get overlooked. That’s something that can give savvy managers an advantage. The masses, if they aren’t looking closely at player raters and rankings, may essentially be “punting” the ignored categories like steals, for example. As I often mention, I truly think most fantasy managers subconsciously weigh points, rebounds, and assists more heavily than the other stats. It’s understandable, as that’s how most media outlets report stats, but it’s ridiculous to do so in fantasy, as all categories are created equal.

So, first up, here’s a list of some startable players with the biggest jumps in 9-cat per-game value (per Basketball Monster through 11/25) when we ignore Points, Rebounds, and Assists. These 6-category rankings should give us the players that are most undervalued, especially by casual fantasy players. Think of them as the thinking-man’s fantasy all-stars, fittingly led by it’s perpetual mascot.

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In the 1980s, WrestleMania was the merde. Pardon my French. They were spectacles of extraordinary frenzy. Rabid fans would pack 90,000 strong into stadiums to watch freakishly athletic men do freakishly mind-numbing things. And there in lies the crux of everything: the men. For all the Barnum and Bailey antics that Vince McMahon could project, without those freakishly athletic men doing freakisly mind-numbing things, he’d have to take off three or four zeros from that 90,000 figure. As Coach SamWinters from The Program so eloquently stated, “When’s the last time 80,0000 people showed up to watch a kid do a damn chemistry experiment?” The same concept applies to the NBA. Teams wouldn’t be worth billions of dollars without the freakishly athletic men doing freakishly mind-numbing things. One of the biggest stars in the NBA is Russell Westbrook and last night he went HAM.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 19 15 2 0 3 2/5 10/17 1/2

By messing around last night, Westbrook moved into a tie for third place with Jason Kidd for the most triple-dubs all-time. Oscar Robertson had 181, Magic Johnson 138, and Westbrook and Kidd are both at 107. That in of itself is impressive, but he wasn’t far away from a 20/20/20 game, which got me thinking….has anyone ever attained the double-triple-dub? Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 with 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists. Ha! That is so sick. Anyways, hope you enjoyed RussellMania last night.

Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator must love wrestling because it had Westbrook as it’s #4 player last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In 2008, Dwayne Wade averaged 30.2 points, 1.1 three-pointers, 5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 38.6 minutes per game. In 9-cat leagues, he finished as the 3rd player in fantasy that year and it started a Golden Age. The following three seasons, Wade finished as the 7th, 7th, and 5th overall player. No wonder the property taxes in Wade County skyrocketed. But then Father Time started collecting his pension and Wade declined after his age 30 season: 95th, 96th, 72nd, and 222nd finishes. As a result, his 16th season in the NBA was to be a farewell tour. Maybe a token 20 minutes a game with a couple of rocking chairs were on the menu. But Wade a minute!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
35 5 6 0 1 3 4/7 13/22 5/7

Played 34 minutes and led the team in shot attempts. Wade is averaging 24.5 minutes and 11.5 shot attempts per game on the season, but the efficiency has been inconsistent. He still has ceiling, though, as evidenced by last night’s game. I’m just waiting for April 9th, when he plays his final home game. Kobe shot 50 times and dropped a 60-burger in his final home game. I believe!

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ok, maybe they didn’t forget him, but Andre Drummond definitely doesn’t get the credit he’s due. He might have gotten lost in a massive 13-game night, filled with double-doubles, but let’s give Dre his due. He’s leading the league in rebounding, going for 16 boards a game, and averaging a career-high 19.4 points.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
9/18 5/8 0/1 23 20 1 3 5 1

I’m not sure what’s more impressive, the 23 and 20 or the 8 combined stocks. Over the past three seasons, Drummond had been averaging 1.5 steals per game (those are guard number!) So far this year, he’s only averaging 0.9 steals, but that is still great for a center. If the steals come back up, so will his fantasy value, but the free throw percentage will always be his anchor. If you punt free throw percentage, Drummond is a clear-cut top 10 player. 

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I’ve watched the West Wing, House of Cards, and Designated Survivor, so I consider myself one of the preeminent experts on how things operate in our nation’s capital. It’s bipartisan wrangling to further agendas. It’s projecting power and showing force. Ultimately, it’s sound bites and photo/video ops, because image is everything. Two of the more contentious issues floating through the streets of DC have been the wall being built on the border of Mexico and John Wall on the court for the Washington Wizards. A few months ago, whispers echoed throughout the city: We don’t need no stinking Wall. Each passing day turned the volume up a notch to when it crescendoed to: WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING WALL!!! Entering last night’s game, the Wizards were 5-11, 15th in offensive efficiency, and 27th in defensive efficiency. Wall will be paid $169 million over the next four years. Why is every damn Wall so expensive?! Yet, Wall put all the questions to bed. At least for one night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 4 8 2 2 1 5/12 9/24 7/10

The Wizards were down 21-40 after the first period, but Wall was a catalyst in bringing the Wizards back for a 125-118 victory over the Clippers. After the game, smiles and handshakes abounded with cameras flashing pictures of joyful jubilee. A senator, who was sitting courtside, texted the Press Secretary a selfie with he and Wall. Under the picture were the words: Washington Wizards Wall. Four more years!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kemba Walker had himself a night on Saturday going 6-60-7-4-4-0-9 on 21-of-34 shooting and made all 12 free throws. This was Walker Blue Label aged 28 years in a silk-lined box. The game versus the 76ers went into OT so this was in 45 minutes of action, but Kemba is taking a ridiculous amount of shots on the year averaging a league-leading 21.4 per game, but with a name like Walker, who could blame him? He’s also averaging career-bests in points (28.7), assists (6.1), rebounds (4.5), 3PM (3.9), and FG% (45.8). If you drafted him in the second or third round, congratulations, have a shot. Here’s what else went down in the NBA on Saturday night:

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Last night was interesting because we had some surprise performances and inefficient scoring. One performance stood out, though. Both in statistics and in how he just took over the game. Remember on opening night when everyone was freaking out about Jayson Tatum? Kyrie Irving was being called washed up and there were a lot of reactionaries out there saying that this was now Tatum’s team. That take proved to be dumb. Watching Irving and Kawhi Leonard battle in an overtime affair was a pleasure to watch. Last night’s game became a classic and will help build anticipation for a potential showdown in the playoffs.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
18/26 4/6 3/6 43 2 11 3 1 3

Irving has been electric this season and was the sixth-ranked player in fantasy heading into last night’s game. He ended with a double-double (43 points and 11 assists). Add in three 3’s and three steals and you have an incredibly dynamic performance. The icing on the cake was the super efficiency on high volume. Boston is his team and they go as he does. For fantasy teams that roster Kyrie, your team goes as far as he can lead you, which is looking pretty far.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. At 6′ 3″, 236 pounds, Ali was a physical giant in his era. The average height/weight of a male in 1960 was 5′ 8″, 166 pounds. In the ring, Ali could physically pummel foes into submission like a rhino, yet he was nimble enough to flutter around the opposition and peck them humming bird style. Wait? Why am I making this difficult? He could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. It was the lyrical flow that unlocked the Pantheon, though. He would talk trash, spit rhymes, and back it all up in the process. Depending on your persepective, it was entertainment or a fly buzzing around your head. Joel Embiid could be the modern day Ali. At 7′ 0″, 260 pounds, he is a giant in his era. The average height/weight of a male in 2018 is 5′ 9″, 195 pounds. Thanks McDonald’s. On the court, Embiid can bully down low in the post or Euro step left and spin cycle right on the perimeter, leaving defenders in a tizzy. Like Ali, Embiid has the lyrical flow, both on and off the court. Man, imagine Ali on Twitter! Like Ali, Embiid walks the walk, backs up all the talk, and is the living embodiment of The Process. For all the messing around he does, though, last night was the first time he messed around…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 13 10 0 2 2 4/7 6/20 3/4

….and got a triple-double. Beep. Boop. Bop. I was wondering why I saw the Stocktonator watching old clips of Ali with Ice Cube blaring from the speakers yesterday morning. It liked Embiid a lot.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?