More time has passed in the Eastern NBA world, but it still remains a little off to say the least. The New York Knicks are actually still good? The Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer undefeated but are still over.500 at the time of writing and the Toronto Raptors are occupying one of the bottom positions amongst the Detroit Pistons and the Charlotte Hornets. Normalcy has not yet been restored and I kind of hope it doesn’t. This added level of surprise and unexpected things happening gives a different flavor to the magic of the sport we all love. At this point in time, we find the Philadelphia 76ers being on fire and leading the East with a 7-1 record followed by the Orlando Magic and the Indiana Pacers. But for me, the story of the week is at the bottom. The Toronto Raptors have been far from their best. So, what is the problem in Toronto (or Tampa Bay now) and what assets can we expect to pick it up or stay the same? 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve managed to end up in the positive three of the last four days while netting 65% of my bet, on average, with my biggest win being 10x my bet. The one day I didn’t hit was because I faded Steph Curry on a career night. Whoops. It happens. Let’s see if we can get the big one now and cash out.

And, by the way, screw Dwane Casey as I had Delon Wright in all my lineups last night. Way to go, you a-hole.

It’s a five-game slate tonight that starts at 7:30 ET and with the news midday yesterday that Kevin Durant is going to start a seven-day quarantine means people will be flocking to Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert in droves. It’s probably not wise to fade both of those guys, but fading one can make your lineup contrarian enough to nab the big one. I’ll probably fade one in 1/3 of my lineups, then the other in 1/3 of my lineups, and have 1/3 of my lineups with both. One important thing to keep in mind that a lot of people will overlook is that LeVert had his 61.3 Fanduel point blowup without KD AND Kyrie.

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We’re just a shade under 1/10th of the way through the season, which is not at all a marker but something to think about, I guess. Overreactions abound during this time as owners of players who start hot begin designing their customized championship t-shirts and owners of under-performing players make poor choices by cutting the line far too early. It’s only week two, everyone just CALM DOWN!

One thing is for certain: We’re starting to get an idea about which teams are for real and which ones aren’t all that good. And there have been some surprises. In fantasy, it’s key to start looking right now at the struggling teams. Why? They’re far more likely to shake things up than a team that is groovin along. That means player values will shift and there’s space in there for a savvy fantasy manager to gain some value.

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When I play franchise modes in any video game, I try and make it as realistic as possible. I’ll play games out, accept the draft order, not cheese, eat losses when they come, make trades that make sense, and all in all be a good citizen. Injuries? They have to on for sure. But, but, but….I have a confession to make. I have restarted more than one franchise when stupid injuries occurred early on that didn’t make sense. That was my rationale. I feel dirty now. That said, injuries are a part of the game and they make me sad.

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I’ve been running the same fantasy basketball league with roughly the same players for nearly a decade now and a while back we converted it into a keeper league. This past Tuesday we had our fantasy draft. We are like most leagues in that there are a few players nearly always on the top and the rest of the league is a mixture of people who don’t care nearly as much or are just novices trying to learn. If you’re in a casual league, it probably looks a lot like this.

One important thing to keep in mind is that this is a KEEPER league, and as such 41 of Yahoo!’s top 50 players were kept and unavailable to be drafted. You’ll see them pop up in rounds much later, in most scenarios, as they were kept on the cheap. It’s a 9-cat H2H league as well with nothing to play for but a trophy we have engraved every season. We added two more teams this season that did not play at all last season and held an expansion draft before the actual draft, and we replaced one manager who decided to focus on his life instead (which is totally okay and encouraged, btw.)

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The Dallas Mavericks were a historically great offense last season, posting the greatest offensive rating ever recorded at 115.9. Most of that due to Luka Doncic’s improvement to MVP levels. Luka put up 28/9/8 in his second season in the pros and the Mavericks put the ball in his hands as much as possible to facilitate their offense. This offseason the Mavericks needed to improve on defense, and they did.

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The NBA season may only be 72 games this season, but it’s still going to be a long and grueling slugfest regardless. The players we consider locks for value now will be the drops of tomorrow, and the undrafted players will suddenly become league-winners overnight.

But how does that happen?

Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game. Lineup shifts are a real thing too as people slide into and out of minutes. A lot of that is hard to predict but likely trade candidates, on the other hand, are less difficult to forecast.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are a lot of differences between Jimmy Butler and myself. I, for example, am not a five time NBA All-Star. I’ve also never been named the Most Improved Player, won a gold medal, or screamed at Karl-Anthony Towns with such vigor that I had to be sent to Philadelphia. But perhaps the biggest wedge between Jimmy and myself is our feelings toward rear-view mirrors. 

See, I’m a look back kind of guy. There’s wisdom (and cars!) back there if you care to investigate. This willingness to wallow, to ruminate, to linger and consider all the roads not traveled means that I signed myself up to do the tedious work of taking long, wistful gazes at how this first ever RazzJam went down and try to glean something useful from it. Son, our fearless leader and fellow RazzJam League 14 draftee, is here to keep an eye on my blind spots. You strike me as a reasonable guy, Son, you’re pro-mirror, right?

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There’s always a lot of attention on who is the top dog in fantasy basketball and who to take early on, but the back end of the draft is often ignored. This makes sense since a lot of leagues allow for picks ups and drops, so the guys you snag in the end could very well end up on the waiver wire multiple times throughout the season.

But what if I told you that it’s entirely possible to find great value at the end of your drafts? Snagging a mid round value play in the final rounds is my bread and butter, and it sets up a lot of interesting scenarios, as you will have more trade chips to dangle and dominate your league even if your top guys have to miss some time. Pro tip: They will. Even more pro tip: It’s a lot more likely this year with COVID.

Please, blog, may I have some more?