How about some love for the underdog?

These daily recaps, especially on nights with a lot of games, often demand focusing on one of two players per team that had good nights. Most of the time we’re looking at star players doing what they do. It’s tough for a role player to get a write-up, and it’s even tougher for those end of the bench guys to get any ink.

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to…

Alize Johnson

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
23 15 3 2 0 0 11/15 1/1 1

Johnson signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn on Sunday and had himself a debut on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City. A G-League monster who averaged 16 points and 13 boards in this season’s bubble, Johnson stepped up for a Nets squad that was without Durant, Irving, and Harden while playing the second night of a back-to-back against the best team in the West. If you watched the highlights, you noticed that this game was O-V-E-R pretty much from the jump. Johnson was doing major mop up work and will be facing an uphill battle for PT going forward. He’s not an add by any stretch, but I’ve got no problem highlighting him to celebrate his big night. Raise a glass to my man. He earned it.

Here’s what else caught my eye on a busy night of basketball…

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Rundown of tonight’s dynamic slate of 10 Games with five Triple-Doubles on this Hump Day.

RAPTORS -VS- (W) PISTONS
Fred Van Vleet: Blessings to my dude for battling Covid-19 this month and making a full recovery.
First game back and understandably rusty.  The three steals and the 7-of-8 from the charity make it much more palatable.  Yum.  
FVV is actually 3rd on the planet in steals rate at 1.7 SPG.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here we are, down to the nitty gritty portion of the fantasy NBA basketball season where some fantasy managers are getting desperate while others are looking to position themselves for a nice postseason run. If your team is one of those on the bubble, you’re probably looking for some easy w’s in your quest to make the playoffs.

Some leagues have a bit over a month to go while others will extend until the end of the season, but either way if you want to compete you need to start winning NOW. The good news is that I’ve got your back, and we can do this together. So let’s do it.

One of my favorite strategies if I ever find myself on the bubble in a league is to look at my competition and where they can be exploited. Take a look at whoever you are playing this week right now and take a look at their win-loss record in each category. Are they 9-1 in one category? If you happen to have a similar record in that category, you can still beat them with some proper planning. Are they 5-5 in a category? Even if you are weak there, you can easily turn the tides by being smart.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Is Morant a physical marvel? Ja.

Can Morant dunk on anyone? Ja.

Does Morant jump higher than a flea? Ja.

Can Morant score with the best of them? Ja.

Is Morant about the sharing and caring life? Ja.

Does he get his 211 on? Ja.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
35 5 10 1 0 4 2/3 11/18 11/14

Is Morant consistent? Naw.

Is he great for fantasy? Naw.

Does he get his Mutombo on? Naw.

Ja has scored 35 and 44 points on the season. He’s dished out at least 10 dimes in seven games. He’s messed around once this season. With that said, there have been plenty of duds on the season. He’s scored fewer than 20 points 15 times. As a result, he’s just outside the top 100 on the season. Once he gets more consistent and provides more tres and steals, Ja will rule the fantasy streets.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Russell Westbrook has always been a controversial figure in basketball. There are those who love his competitive spirit, ability to lead and mentor his teammates, and dynamic and physical play. There are also those who criticize the lack of progress in his shooting, defensive commitment, and success in the playoffs. Whatever your take is on Westbrook, in terms of fantasy, there was one moment that proved to be a major turning point. And it wasn’t a trade, an injury, or anything else related to his play.

Over the summer of 2017, the NBA changed the delay of game rules, making it so that a free throw shooter is no longer allowed to go beyond the 3-point line, or he will be assessed a delay of game violation. Westbrook’s ft% average before this rule was 82.4%. His average after it is 70.3%. And he is shooting a whopping 7.1 free throws per game for his career, so you can understand the fantasy impact this has. His shooting woes this year (41.3%) along with a major decrease in steals (0.8) and increase in turnovers (4.9) has him ranked 207th in per-game value. Let that sink in…Take an extra moment, you need it. Now see things clearly and try with all your might to trade him if you drafted him, taking advantage of his name value and the owners in your league that like him in real life, because he is actively hurting your fantasy team, even if you are punting turnovers.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, all were serviceable, with Thaddeus Young leading the bunch with three excellent fantasy lines. Beware that from the “Buy” suggestions, De’Anthony Melton hurt his shoulder and is questionable, so feel free to stream his spot, if necessary.

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After getting a 4 year $36 million contract extension this summer, De’Anthony Melton is so far proving that the Grizzlies made a wise investment in his future. Melton has always been a very valuable contributor in steals, averaging 1.3 STL for his career, but this year his offensive game has taken a major leap. He’s currently averaging 10.6 PTS and 1.6 3PM on 48/42/80 shooting splits, all of which would be career highs if he is able to maintain this pace. This scoring outburst has won him a larger role in the Grizzlies’ rotation even with the return of Ja Morant. During the last week, he’s averaged 16.3 PTS, 4.3 AST, and 1.7 BLK dewith 3.3 3PM  on 27.0 MPG. I don’t think he will be able to keep up this offensive production based on his track record, but due to his stonks value all he needs to do is crack double digit points nightly to be a top 100 player moving forward. Add him if you need a boost in steals. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you are curious about the title of the article, I divert your attention to the “Buy” entry about Cody Zeller. He is the Balding Mamba. He has always been the Balding Mamba. [Son’s note: There is only one Bald Mamba in the world, and that is Alex Caruso]

In the introduction, I want to touch on something totally different. Today’s NBA and the volatility of team rosters through trades makes it all the more difficult for cool player duos to develop together and have the narrative that they stay on the same team and help it grow to compete. The duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry was one of the few exceptions in Toronto, where it was obvious that they enjoyed a great friendship off the court as well. DeRozan’s trade to the Spurs may have brought a championship to Toronto but it also split the dynamic duo. Regardless, DeRozan didn’t miss the chance to roast his old friend in the wake of Fred VanVleet breaking his record for most points scored by a Raptor.

It is always nice to see the human side of these superstars and to understand that many of them are ordinary people behind the veil of fame that comes naturally with the job.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Wayne Ellington, unfortunately, cooled off a lot after his lights out performances from beyond the arc, Ivica Zubac and T.J.McConnell were both serviceable while Danilo Gallinari confirmed his spot as a “Sell” candidate that can even be dropped at this point.

Please, blog, may I have some more?