Being in the middle is…..

Bad for a sports team, as perpetual mediocrity permeates. No chance at the trophy and no possibility to draft a franchise-changing player. Bad if you are a piece of lettuce or meat between two slices of bread. I guess everything in that situation sucks as they all get eaten. Bad if you’re an avid surfer that lives in Nebraska. There’s good, though. You ain’t poor. Malcolm did alright. You’ll never be first or last. In the NBA, being a part of the bourgeoisie is great. You’re not the worst of the 1% of the ballers on the planet. But, imagine if you are a part of the 1% of the 1%? Kyrie Irving doesn’t have to imagine because he’s living the dream. Yesterday, he went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 40 7 5 0 1 1 5/7 14/23 7/8

The Celtics lost to the Magic, 103-95. That should’ve been grounds for automatic disqualification from being the lede, but….a 40-burger is a 40-burger. You drop one of those and you’re always going to be a contender. Now, it’s felt like Kyrie has been a relatively quiet member of the fantasy elite, as he hasn’t been messing around or going nuts on a nightly basis. He’s the 14th player for fantasy and his numbers are almost identical to last year. Imagine if he was on a shitty team that didn’t play any defense?

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

According to our good friends at Wikipedia, the word leprechaun is thought to come from “the Old Irish luchorpan, a compound of the roots lu (small) and corp (body). Looks at depth chart for the Boston Celtics. Nods head. Looks at mascot for the Boston Celtics. Nods head. The glove fits. Looks at OJ nodding his head vociferously from side to side. So, this iteration of the Celtics is perfect for the new-age positionless basketball, but it’s one that makes Celtics old timers cringe. Bill Walton. Dave Cowens. Robert Parish. Bill Russell. All big men that brought the pot of gold to Boston. Now, the 2017 Celtics are 34-12, the second-best record in all of basketball. Brad Stevens for President! But, a huge glaring weakness is facing off against dominant big men. Over the past two weeks, Anthony Davis went 45/16. Karl-Anthony Towns went 25/23. Even Tristan Thompson went 10/11. Tristan Thompson people! Which brings me to Joel Embiid. Last night, Embiid went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 26 16 6 1 2 4 0/1 10/19 6/7

He was a true Sixer: 6 free throws made. 6 assists. 16 boards. 26 points. Nods head vociferously like OJ. Ok, back to reality. You don’t need me to tell you that Embiid is awesome. What would be of interest, though, is that the 76ers may allow Embiid to play in back-to-back games. He’s a top 25 player for fantasy right now. If he starts getting full run, that might get OJ to nod his head vociferously up and down.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player with only one number. This is not a perfect tool and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but this is useful to help improve and evaluate your team.

In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.

If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.

I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.

If you have any question let me know.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As you are reading this, men around the world are patiently waiting for their more classic facial hair looks (beards, mustaches, etc.) to come into being. These men, and some ladies, have bought their ticket to ride the raucous, risky, and really ridiculous rollercoaster of emotions and doubt that is growing out your beard.

Not Anthony Davis though. Davis walks a different path: a path where down is up and left is right and birds walk and pigs fly. Davis has been chosen by a higher power to take the journey of the Uni-Brow.

The life of “The Brow” can be a difficult one. Despite being 7-feet tall and stupid rich, The Brow can have a difficult time getting dates. You see, women just do not understand The Brow. In fact, many men do not understand The Brow. The Brow not only makes social interactions even more awkward, but it also affects the individual’s ability to stay healthy. As the eyebrows (which evolved to be separate for a reason) come together, a complex series of chemical interactions take place within the body of The Brow leading to more brittle bones, a strange desire to land on objects around the basketball hoop, and an inability to heal quickly and properly.

However, despite all of the negatives, The Brow is still one of the most dominant basketball players of his generation. We may never fully understand The Brow, but we can all understand this juicy slash: 2/48/17/0/4/3. The Brow led his Pelicans to a big win over the Knicks in overtime, showing that we are all capable of overcoming our flaws and rising to the occasion.

Here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Does anyone even remember the Wiz? I don’t know if I’ve ever set foot in one before they went out of business. Bismack Biyombo got busy last night against the Wizards, but it still wasn’t enough to get the win. He might have won you some DFS tourneys last night though, as he went 21-13-4-1-2-0 on 8-of-9 FGs and 5-of-6 FTs, and in season long leagues, he definitely helped your percentages. With Nikola Vucevic still out with a hand injury, you can enjoy at least a few more games of Biyombo starting. If you can sell-high, handle that Bis-ness. If no one’s biting, then mind your own Bis-ness.  Either way, he’s mostly a short-term asset.

Moving right along, here’s what else went down Friday night in Fantasy Hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Somehow, we’re already halfway through the NBA season. You know your team(s). The only major unknowns left are who else will get hurt, who will get shut down, and who will get a big value increase due to those injuries and the shutting down of said teammates. Aside from trying to grab some young guys that might get some extra run down the stretch, what else can you do to increase your odds of winning at this point? Well, staying active and streaming hot players will work wonders. But beyond that, I suggest checking out your team’s standing in each of what I’ll call the forgotten stats. Even the most astute fantasy player is going to be drawn to points, rebounds, assists, and threes out of habit and because of the way that we’re most often presented with stats.

I’m going to update you on the leaders in the boring and unsexy categories of field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals, and blocks (in addition to FG% + FT% and steals + blocks). I’m sure some of you might be much more focused on the % categories than I just mentioned, but I think most players treat them as an afterthought. So, since others are more likely to ignore these forgotten stats, take advantage of that and focus on them if you can stand to gain points there. I think you’ll find that these categories are often led by some lesser names that can be had more cheaply than the points/rebounds/assists stars. Many are even available in most leagues.

Here are your most effective players in order of Basketball Monster’s per-game values (percentages are weighted) by category or combined categories through 1/9.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We are at the midway point of the NBA season and I’m sure team strengths and standings are beginning to solidify in your league. It’s a great time, especially in roto leagues, to check if you are way ahead or behind in a category and plan your trades accordingly. And for God’s sake, don’t invite the guy that traded Jimmy Butler when he was slumping for Darren Collison or the other inactive guy that hasn’t changed his lineup since Carlos Boozer’s hairline looked like this:

If you look closely you can see the reflection of the ceiling scoreboard…Talk about a bad hair day…or should I say a bad hair dye…

Ok, enough with the Boozer bullying, let’s look at last week’s suggestions from the past week. Tyus Jones has been kind of a disappointment, as he never got it going as a scorer and facilitator during Jeff Teague’s absence. On the other hand, Trey Lyles continued his excellent form with four great games and looks like the real deal. Marquese Chriss and Caris Levert suffered minor injuries so they didn’t play enough and Nicolas Batum had only one game this past week. I still believe in him, as you will read in a bit for this week’s new suggestions…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Remember Carlos Boozer? He of the lead feet on defense, yelling “HEY!” every time he missed a shot in hopes of getting a foul call? At least that’s my recollection of him during his Bulls years. He actually did play decent enough team defense to not hurt the team much while putting up 15 and 10 many nights with his no-jump fade-away rainbows. Anyway, sometime around the end of his Bulls tenure, I remember finding out that this old man on the decline was younger than me. So, I guess I couldn’t really call these NBA players that were considering retirement “old” any longer. Over the years, I’ve even embraced these guys and found that veteran players can be fantasy steals because of our ageist tendencies. And if you play in a dynasty league, they come even cheaper, of course.

Of course it’s fun to pick, trade for, and add young players right before they break out. We all want upside. But I think a lot of us don’t realize that older, boring players do have upside because of their depressed draft values. Let’s see how the NBA’s advanced age players are doing on the ESPN Player Rater compared to their Average Draft Position. I do this to hopefully show that you can win with old reliable dudes, even if they’re on the decline. You can even take this information to help you figure out who to target in trades for young, upsidey players.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dennis Smith Jr. went off in the Big Easy, going 5-21-10-10-1-0-7. It was his first career triple-double and hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for him. Carlisle gave him vote of confidence after the Mavs’ last game, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Yeah, definitely a sign of things to come, if I’ve ever seen a sign of things to come. He’s been garbaggio as the Italians say, in his last four games, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Yes, I own him, so you know what I’m hoping for. Anyway, here’s what else went down on Friday in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Santa Claus is known by the names of Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle. Rajon Rondo is known by the names of Johnny, Swag, and The Yoga Instructor (nicknames courtesy of Basketball Reference). Claus’ height and weight are classified. Rondo is 6′ 1″ 186 pounds. Claus moves around via reindeer-drawn sled. Rondo uses his own two legs to run around the court. Claus is a global icon. Rondo could be if he hired the right marketing agency. Claus and Rondo are different on so many levels, but both are some of the most generous entities that man has ever known. Claus gives gifts to children that are well-behaved and coal to the bad children. Has anyone ever figured out why Claus is so freaking generous? Like, what’s his motivation? We are taught not to accept candy from strangers, especially those that stick their heads out from a windowless van. And for good reason. The candy is the bait to lure us in. And Claus? Anyways, regardless of motivation, Claus is a generous dude. Rondo is also generous. He dishes out dimes that enable his teammates to score buckets easier. In fact, he is so generous that he had dished out 6,216 dimes, good for 31st on the all-time list, before the start of last night’s game.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 2 7 25 1 0 3 0/1 1/5 0

Make that 6,241 dimes, good for 30th on the all-time assist list. The 25 assist game was the ninth-best of all time! Scott Skiles, of all people, holds the record with a 30 assist game. Go figure. Rondo is not going to contribute much outside of assists and rebounds, but the dimes will definitely be plentiful. As for Claus vs Rondo, the edge has to go to Claus, as he has no rival and always seems to deliver. Rondo has his off nights.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?