I’m the big, fat loser this year in our 9-cat league’s championship game. Am I happy I made it this far in a totally insane season? Yep. Am I upset I lost? It always stings, but one week can make or break you and I don’t feel bad losing to a team I lost to the only time I faced them in the regular season. It feels like the right team won.

All that said, this season was completely wackadoodle and probably the most benefit you’ll get from reading these words is this introduction where I’m going to attempt to break down my thinking on the season and how we all got here.

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Beef Stew is running away with the starting 5 job in Detroit as the season winds down. Casey has been resting his vets in Plumlee and Ellington and as a result, Stewart has been feasting. 8 blocks in his last four games alone, to go with an average of 14.25 boards in those four outings. He’s going to make a huge difference in fantasy playoffs for those who foresaw the downfall of Plumlee.

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Carmelo Anthony has been a reliable source of points and treys on good efficiency, and stayed on brand Thursday night with 20 points and four triples, while hitting all four of his freebies and turning the ball over just once. Adding Norman Powell to the mix shouldn’t have too much of an impact on Melo, who should continue to get minutes in the mid-20s and put up enough shots to retain value.

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There are some players who left their mark in the NBA more with their personality rather than with their game. This is not meant as disrespect for their game but more of praise of their personality and a major example of this has to be Brian Scalabrine. The original “White Mamba” played five seasons for the Boston Celtics and was one of the most beloved players. His unorthodox style and physique made him stand out but his lack of athleticism always had casual fans go “I could easily beat this guy one-on-one”, “why is this guy even in the NBA?”, and other similar comments. Well, a high schooler actually challenged the 43-year-old Scalabrine to a one-on-one game, and the man, the myth, the legend agreed.

The total annihilation that followed really puts in perspective how much of a difference the level of these players are to an everyday or above-average player. I will wrap this introduction with a quote from Mr. Scalabrine that said, “I’m closer to Lebron than you are to me” to a casual heckler.

Regarding last week’s “Buy” suggestions, Kenyon Martin Jr. has been mediocre, Moses Brown has been must own with Al Horford being a strong trade candidate and getting more and more rest days, while Danny Green proved an awesome suggestion with some of his best performances of the season coming this past week. On the “Sell” front, Kevin Love has yet to play and I highly doubt he will ever this season if he remains in Cleveland, while Kendrick Nunn has predictably lost some of the usage he enjoyed with the Heat injuries.

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In high school, I went out with a girl who was two years younger than me. Things were amazing but then I got accepted to a school on the opposite coast. There was sadness at the inevitable end of the relationship but we made the most of it for those six months. We spent as much time together as we could and tried to cherish every moment. As the summer came to an end and it was almost time to go, the crescendo of emotion and activity was heightened, until the last hurrah knocked on the door and said it’s time. Jusuf Nurkic is close to returning back to action for the Trail Blazers. Enes Kanter knows his time is almost near. As I did with my high school sweetheart, so did Kanter do last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 19 6 0 1 0 0 6/8 7/8

In 40 minutes of action. Sooooo close to his eighth 20/20 game of his career and second this season. He grabbed 10 offensive boards, the fourth time in his career he’s accomplished the feat. On the season, Kanter is a top 75 player. As a starter, he’s averaged 29.7 minutes per game. In 12 games off the bench, he’s at 18.7 minutes. When Nurkic returns to action, it may take some time for him to get ramped up, but once that happens, Kanter will be playing sub-20 minutes again.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The NBA trade deadline is one week away and with the addition of the playoff play-in tournament, more teams are expected to be buyers than before. This makes the roster spot and fantasy value of many veterans in rebuilding teams quite precarious and I would expect a number of them to be moved to less ideal fantasy situations before the deadline. This could also provide more opportunities for younger guys to generate fantasy value, so it would be wise to stay especially active during the next week in an attempt to try and capitalize quickly on trades, by adding the correct players from the waiver wire. Fantasy goodness is about opportunity after all so all these potential roster changes can shake up the rotation of many teams. Finally, this year we have seen a record number of cases of teams flat out sitting veterans when they don’t fit in their timeline, so that could be interesting to watch in the future, with names like Andre Drummond, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin already on that list.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers upset the Sixers tonight in an overtime confrontation. Impressive win by the Cavs. 

SexLand combined for 53 points (28 from Collin Sexton, 25 from Darius Garland). Garland also provided nine assists while Sexton stole the ball three times. Their big man of the future, Jarrett Allen, put up another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds while also blocking one shot. The rookie Isaac Okoro also had a good outing with 15 points, eight rebounds, and three steals. 

MVP front runner, Joel Embiid, had another spectacular performance scoring 42 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, while Ben Simmons had a near triple double with a 24/7/8 statline. Danny Green had a peculiar game scoring nine points but swatting three shots and stealing the ball twice. 

The Sixers seemed to miss that extra spark besides Embiid and Simmons, and that could have been the cause of this tough loss for them.  

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Boban Marjanovic! Not just a cameo but a start! He finished with 12 rebounds but shot just 3-for-11 from the field for seven points. This was just a spot start for the Joel Embiid matchup. You can safely leave Boban on the wire.
Jalen Brunson has been one of the steadiest backup PGs in the league. He wasn’t exceptional on Thursday, but he was effective with 11 points on just five shots, with five boards, a pair of treys, and a steal. Over the past 14 days, Brunson (28 percent owned in Yahoo!) has been a top-100 player. He can get you points while actually helping your percentages, with some threes and assists kicked in as well.

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Yep, I’m going to subject you all to my friends and family league yet again. We’re at the midway point of our regular season after today, so I wanted to go back and see where my predictions from the preseason were right and wrong, and which fantasy players are performing better or worse than their average draft position (ADP).

What I hope you can take from this is how to better formulate your strategy in your own leagues, and what seems to work best for people in a relatively average league. Our league is listed as a “silver” league on Yahoo!, which isn’t really scientific but indicates our team levels combined are slightly below the average of “gold.” We have two platinum, one gold, four silver, and five bronze managers. It’s a top-heavy league, which is the case in most scenarios as the people who run the league seem to be far more invested.

Anyways, the below records and rankings are based on if the scores stay the same as they are at the writing of this article. Those are subject to change, but not by much.

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I wrote an article before the season began about which teams I thought would have the best pace in the league. Here were my guesses from that article and where they currently stand:

1. Milwaukee Bucks (6th)

2. New Orleans Pelicans (25th)

3. Minnesota Timberwolves (7th)

4. Golden State Warriors (3rd)

5. Memphis Grizzlies (14th)

Big yikes. I actually didn’t do too badly when you take into account that Ja Morant has missed significant time this season (eight of 13 games) and three out of five are in the top seven. The Pelicans are the main surprise here as coach Stan Van Gundy has them playing at a snail’s pace straight to a 5-10 record. Woof. They’ll need to figure it out and probably play faster with all the talented, athletic guys on the team.

It’s also important to note that I made these predictions before the Russell Westbrook – John Wall swap which has helped vault the Wizards into 1st and well before the James Harden trade to the Brooklyn Nets, but I digress.

Anyways, here are the actual top 5 in pace:

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