I am back from a short hiatus with an up-to-date (or as close as I can get it) injury report to help you plan for the upcoming fantasy basketball week and to provide potential waiver wire replacements.

Here are the major injuries lingering around the NBA, some suggestions for which replacements to target, and whether you should Stash, Drop, Add, or use an I.R. spot (if your league allows it):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the first few weeks of the season, I try not to focus on the standings. I look, of course, but I do so knowing that there have been outlier games, whose impacts are more pronounced due to the small sample size. Also, most teams have a player or two that’s missed the majority of the games and they might also have been starting a replacement player that’s not going to keep it up much longer. However, we’re now about a quarter of the way through the NBA season. The data is relatively predictable. You should know which categories you need to focus on in order to gain points and which ones to ignore, either because you’re stuck at the bottom or entrenched at the top of a category (or if you always win or lose the category by a ton in head-to-head).

Today, we’ll look at the ESPN Player Rater. Tony RP’s Player Rater updates will give you a picture of who’s most valuable by position. I thought I’d go by category to see who’s doing what for us. Here are the top 20 players by category plus the bottom 20 for relevant ones, skipping players that have hardly played. So, it’s just the per-game stat leaders you may be familiar with, except that the percentage categories are weighted by volume. Turnovers are from BasketballMonster, since ESPN doesn’t include them.

So, how is this useful? Obviously, you want players that score well overall on the Player Rater. But, if you’re like me, you’ll be surprised to see some of your players pop up on these lists. Also, keeping in mind which categories you need help in, this can help you find some trade targets. Or, if you’re out of it in points or FG%, maybe ship off a guy that’s in the top 20 that’s not doing much else for you. If you’re in the middle of the pack in FT% and you see that you have one of the worst offenders there, maybe you can ditch him and gain points (just keep in mind what you might be losing in other categories from him). A lot can be gained by learning what’s actually happening compared to what we assume is happening based on previous years or projections.

Next week, I’ll get back into multi-category rankings for those that are ignoring categories, whether intentionally or as a matter of the hand you’ve been dealt. Think punt FG% & TOs, or for FT% punters: 3PTM+AST+ST+PTS+TO rankings, which are what you want to complement your FT% anchors with. That’s when you can really find trade value, since all players now have a new value to your specific team.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome back to another Wednesday Buy/Sell column. I strongly believe that self-reflection is key for improvement, so from now on i’ll be reviewing my calls from last week’s piece. Derrick Favors has predictably improved his play sans Gobert and even posted a 25/0/11/3/0/2/1 gem against Orlando. Since starting at the 5, he is returning fourth-round value and will look to keep it going until Gobert returns. Donovan Mitchell remains consistently inconsistent with his shooting, but all the other stats are juicy. This guy going number 13 in the draft was highway robbery. In other news, Spencer Dinwiddie and his funky name is the best call from last week. Hope you rushed to your wire and got him cause he is averaging 19.3/3.0/3.7/9.0/1.0/0.7/1.0 in his last three games. Ryan Anderson’s sell window remains open as he had himself a great game against the dream matchup that are the Suns. Derrick Rose is still injured and not worthy of a roster spot on your team. I already feel like a better person. Thanks, self-reflection!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time for our weekly Buy/Sell candidates. Last week, the Butler actually did it with with two strong games in a row and finally started getting to the line with 23/26 during that span. Hallelujah!!! Hope you capitalized on the buy low window, as it appears to be closing fast. This week, injuries have created interesting opportunities for some players, while the contributions from some of your aging veterans is declining. Let’s look at them in more detail…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” (Michael Phelps)

 

Trees don’t grow to the sky, but James Harden has made me rethink that statement. The last two weeks, he’s averaging 34.9 points, 5.3 3pts, 10.9 assists, and 2.0 steals, an unreal line and the number one spot in fantasy.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is a crazy time of year. Halloween just ended and now we prepare for Thanksgiving, which basically means that Christmas is almost here, which signifies the end of the year, but also means new beginnings. Whew….So much. Too much. Last night, though, everything was straightforward, as it was simply a Jrue Holiday. 34 points, five boards, and 11 dimes in 42 minutes. While the calendar year is littered with holidays (Thanks Hallmark), each one occurs once a year. That’s how we should look at Jrue’s year. We know that there will be big games littered throughout the year. Just don’t expect them to occur on a daily basis. Through 12 games, Jrue has a 19% usage rate. Anthony Davis has a 28% usage rate, while DeMarcus Cousins a 33% rate. His numbers are down across the board, except in boards. Ha! The Universe is awesome.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Part of fantasy basketball is forming a team using the predictable stats in a way that maximizes your roto points or head-to-head category wins. Another part is getting the less predictable stats right more often than your competition, whether that means you’re benefiting from an increase in value or avoiding a decrease.

It’s early, but I thought I’d take a look at what the biggest differences are in this season’s stats versus last season’s by using the ESPN Player Rater averages (per-game).

Aaron Gordon. This season’s highest leaper.

First, a quick detour while I’m talking player rater. Here’s something it teaches us that we should keep in mind. Many people think of rankings as linear. Like, the best player is the same amount better than the 5th player as the 5th player is better than the 9th player. Not so, and we see the difference especially among the top few players when we look at their overall rating. Like with most data sets, there are outliers. That’s these fantasy stars. The top five players with their per-game ratings in each of the past two seasons:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I love music. Fortunately, my young daughter does, too. We started her early on all sorts of stuff, but she eventually started requesting almost exclusively “girl songs.” So, I started combing through my CDs and mp3s for our daily drive to school, finding a decent amount of great female singers, mainly from the 90s. She really took to some (Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain), but not as much to others that I’d hoped she would (The Cranberries, Veruca Salt). We added in some more current stuff that she loves (Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor), and we have a great time. Now, I know there’s a good chance this isn’t resonating with you as much as it would if I said I’d kept trying to slip in more funk (she likes “Car Wash” and “Jungle Boogie”, at least), rock (Down on the Corner is popular with her, but there are only a few songs by Disturbed that are appropriate for four year-olds!), and rap (“Tricky” was a favorite for a while, fortunately), but stick with me, please. Because, I found something very enlightening when I introduced the very, very 90s classic, “Stay”, by Lisa Loeb. Was it that we only hear what we want to? That we won’t live forever? No, it’s this powerful line:

“You said you caught me ’cause you want me, and one day you’ll let me go. You try to give away a keeper, or keep me ’cause you know you’re just so scared to lose.”

It’s like a record scratch every time I hear that line. YOU TRY TO GIVE AWAY A KEEPER??? She was brilliantly pointing out that YOU DON’T JUST GIVE AWAY A KEEPER! But at the same time, you don’t keep a player only because you’re scared to lose! Such wisdom. For decades, I swear I didn’t know that lovely song was about fantasy basketball keeper leagues.

Lisa Loeb. Fantasy Oracle.

While we’re still quite a few games away from a large enough sample of current season stats to really trust them, let’s talk keeper/dynasty strategy (dynasty being a league in which you keep a large amount of your team for next season). I thought I’d share some tips and have some fun looking back at what we thought of past rookies so that we don’t get overly excited about these 19 year-olds that we’re currently trusting to save our teams.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Image result for eric bledsoe hair salon

Phoenix is on a self-imposed downhill slide, and Eric Bledsoe won’t have any of it.

Many are convinced that the firing of Earl Watson is in response to the soon-to-be infamous “I dont wanna be here” tweet by Bledsoe—that and, in a bigger part, because the Suns are having one, if not the most, horrendous start to a NBA season– losing by an average of 30.7 points in their first three games.  And yet, even with an assurance from Eric that he didn’t mean what he said, General Manager Ryan McDonough looks determined to trade him away for more, let’s say, programmable pieces and embrace, as if he still does not, the rebuilding process in Phoenix.

Who would’ve thought that it’d be tweet while in a hair salon that would finally do it for Eric Bledsoe? He’s been wanting a trade before the season started and now, at least according to McDonough, he’ll finally get his wish. Will it be a contender who’ll get him, or is the Suns management bitter enough to exile him to just another pigsty of a team? Well, as long as the deal would benefit them, I think they have the luxury to not care.

In no particular order, here are five takes on where Eric Bledsoe could be days from now.

Please, blog, may I have some more?