Sleepers. Breakouts. Busts. Bargains. Overrated. Underrated. That’s about all we think about in the weeks (months, for many of us) leading up to the fantasy NBA season. Even if your methods are sound, you’re not going to be right about all of them. Of course, that’s mainly due to injuries that directly affected the number of games played or indirectly affected a player’s role. But despite that, I thought it would be fun to review the season’s biggest overachievers and underachievers. Pat yourself on the back for good ones. Know that we feel your pain caused by the bad ones.

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Who doesn’t like a good favor? Go to a wedding or a birthday party and get a gift bag? Cool, unless it’s filled with soap, then not cool. Ask a friend to do something and they do it? Precious. When everyone raises their hands after you ask, “All in favor?” Nothing better, unless it’s to vote you off the island. Then…..that just makes me sad. Anyways, after his perfomance last night, we should all like  Derrick Favors:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
15 15 1 2 1 2 0 6/10 3/3

The matchup against the Hawks was ideal, but even so, Favors has been a top 60 player over the past eight games. He doesn’t play an exhorbitant amount of minutes (23 per game), which obviously caps his upside, but he is efficient and produces when he’s on court. His main source of production is in blocks and stocks. PaRappa the Rappa would be proud.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I’ve always enjoyed the Godzilla franchise. When I was young, it was all about the monsters fighting, special effects, and destruction levied upon the landscape. As I got older and delved into the origins, I appreciated the franchise that much more. As with most things in life, though, the journey is cyclical and it’s back to the good old awe-inspiring, destructive force. Which brings me to Giannis Antetokoummpo. All season, I’ve been calling him G, as he’s a straight gangster, and when he balls the F out, it’s been Nuthin’ but a G Thang. There have been moments of O. M. G. But yesterday, everything became crystal clear.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
52 16 7 2 1 1 3/8 15/26 19/21

A 50-burger and this…..

He called Ben Simmons a “f’ing baby” but then Simmons came back and dunked on his head. In addition, Joel Embiid produced a 40-burger and the Sixers defeated the Bucks, 130-125. I felt like I was watching a Godzilla movie in which he had to fight Gigan, Destoroyah, Mothra, and Ghidorah at the same time. Anyways, Gzilla is a freaking beast. Top 5 player over the past seven games. He’s been averaging 30.3 points, 1.1 treys, 13.1 boards, 6.3 dimes, 1 steal, and 1 block while shooting 58% from the field and 82% from the free throw line on a whopping 11.4 attempts! The turnovers are high, but whatever. Now, with Malcolm Brogdon out for a while, Gzilla may be making more appearances down the stretch, as Brogdon had a usage rate in the low-20s. Other teams better hope they have a couple of monsters to negate Gzilla, because he’s coming to wreak havoc.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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I thought I’d send out a reminder for those of you in keeper leagues. This probably applies more to roto players than head-to-headers, since those in roto leagues aren’t scraping and clawing for every last game they can get with their limited moves. I’m talking about stashing some of next year’s potential breakouts. Yeah, just about everyone worth taking next year is on a roster already… just about. In my keeper league, I once grabbed this Draymond Green character in the last few weeks of the season, since he’d been on a hot streak. He ended up finishing as a top-30 player the following season. Nearly the exact same story for C.J. McCollum the next year. And if I’d have been on my game at the end of last season, I’d have grabbed Cedi Osman, preventing me from having to waste an early draft pick on him this season (we keep a lot of players). There’s a ton of unknown between now and next October’s fantasy drafts (gloriously entertaining unknown, by the way), but we can make some educated guesses at this point. Do you have some players you know you’re not keeping next season that also aren’t making a difference on your team? Replace ’em with lottery tickets, and maybe one or two will pay off. They could at least give you some extra trade value.Some keeper and dynasty leagues don’t have a trade deadline, so I’ll be including some players here that might be near-universally owned in addition to those who have a good shot at being free agents in your league. Speaking of free agents, that’s how we’re going to unearth some of our targets. The other aspect I’ll look at are rookies and second-year players that could be in line for a bump in playing time and usage. And there will be some nice overlap in who we find from each strategy, I’m sure.

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I usually highlight a player for the lede, but today, it’s all about the playoffs for many of you. You’ve scratched and clawed for 21 weeks. If you heeded my advice, you also likely sacrificed a few virgins as well. Anyways, don’t get complacent now. Utilize all your moves for the week. Send out the scouts and project your opponent. Where is he/she weak? How does your squad match up? Games played, minutes, and opportunities are truly king now. It’s win this week or go home. I wish everyone good fortune and let’s bring home some chips for the Razzball family!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming. Here’s what I saw in yesterday’s action:

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If you grew up in the 90s, there’s no doubt you heard “Steal My Sunshine” by Len. The radio stations only played it five times every hour for months on end. Remember, this was before iPods, iPhones, Spotify, and XM Radio. It was also a time when MTV and VH1 would actually….you know…play music videos, so the inundation was widespread and impossible to eradicate. The song had a nice summer vibe to it and made one feel happy, but if you dig into the lyrics, it’s about depression…at least in the beginning, but the song is ultimately about overcoming depression and being happy. Well, Alex Len has been a source of depression for fantasy owners for a long, long time. We’ve always been tantalized by the potential but he could never put it together on a consistent basis. Last night, though, it all came together….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 9 2 0 2 0 5/8 9/18 5/8

…at least for one night, a career-high night in points no less. Now, don’t get gassed because he received his first start since late December, as John Collins and Omari Spellman both did not play due to injury. He did play 36 minutes in the prior game and put up 24/10, but that game went to triple overtime. In addition, both games were against the Bulls. Put your head down in shame Bulls. Anyways, when the Hawks get healthy, Len will return to coming off the bench and receiving fewer than 20 minutes of run, but keep in mind that when injuries strike, Len does have some upside. He has eight dub-dubs on the season.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Whether it’s fair or not, Trae Young will always be compared to the future MVP-caliber player Luke Doncic. It’s not his fault that Atlanta made that draft day trade. While there were some seriously shaky runs earlier in the season, Trae has been on fire recently. He is just barely standard league relevant for the season, but over his last three games, he’s clocking in at a fresh #14 ranking in standard 9-cat leagues, averaging 31.7/3.7/8.7 with 4 3’s. He’s also shooting 93.9% on an insane 11 free throws per game. While he may never be at Doncic’s level, he can still make for an elite fantasy player and is showing off at the moment.

Trae Young

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
17/35 9/11 6/13 49 8 16 1 1 9

So close. I was hoping he could get the 50 mark in this one, but this is an otherwise amazing performance. The 49/8/16 is enormous. The efficiency and 6 3’s are killer. In fact, he is the first rookie to go for 45 points and 10 assists since MJ. The 9 turnovers are whack, but that’s the price you pay for playing a mind-boggling 55 minutes. Hopefully they can set him up in the hyperbaric chamber to recover.

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Beal is too good for this John Wall-less Wizards team. He did everything in his power to carry his squad, but it still wasn’t enough. As long as Washington seems to think they should be fighting for the 8th seed, Beal should be rolling with some real top 15 potential.

Bradley Beal

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
16/25 10/10 4/10 46 6 7 0 1 1

If the Wizards come to their senses, Beal’s minutes and production will come down, but for now, fantasy GMs should be ecstatic to roster the All Star. He should offer huge boosts in scoring with plenty of production across the board. Last night, there was a lack of defensive stats, but he was too busy making nearly half his team’s points. Also of note, check those free throws!

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If I lived in the country, I’d like to be within walking distance of a brook. Hearing and watching water flow is so relaxing to me. Plus, it could help irrigate my farmland and hopefully fish would swim rampant in it. I like watching fish. I’m a terrible fisherman, though, which bodes well for the fish. Funny story. My buddy took me fishing off the pier once and I caught this fish that was maybe six inches long. Kid next to me, maybe eight years old, looks at my fish, then looks me dead in the eye and says, “That ain’t no fish!” F U kid. Anyways, I mention a brook because I know what to expect from it. It’s going to bring water, fish, and it damn well ain’t going anywhere. Unless the neighbor upstream builds a dam. Damn! Russell Westbrook brings that same consistency.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
44 14 11 1 2 5 4/12 18/30 4/4

11 straight trip-dubs! He now has 128 for his career, 10 behind Magic Johnson and 53 behind Oscar Robertson. He should knock that out in two seasons tops. From a fantasy perspective, the high turnovers and low shooting efficiency keep him down (top 35 over the past seven games), but the counting stats. Oh, those counting stats. He’s AVERAGING a trip-dub. They flow like water down the Westbrook.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The All-Star Break means three more weeks, or 2.5 more matchups, until the head-to-head playoffs begin in most leagues. And even for Roto-Leaguers, we’re already 70% of the way through the season. At this point, you know your teams. Or, at least you can if you take a few minutes to examine them. Odds are that there are stat categories that hardly matter to you by now. Once again, that can be because of a punt strategy or simply because of the way your team and league shook out. For example, though I didn’t intend to punt any categories this season, I ended up dead last in FG% in a roto league with no chance of catching up. That category doesn’t mean anything to me now, so I can ignore it. Similarly, in the head-to-head Razzball Experts League, I have little chance to win assists in any given week. I could try to make that up or I could double down and load up on the other categories. I have a feeling your teams may have also lost some categories early. Or maybe more likely, you have a team that just dominates a category or two to the point that you can ignore it and still win. And even if you don’t find yourself far out in front or way behind in any categories, there are likely a few roto stats where you’re too far away from the teams above and below you to worry about them.

So, today it’s time to check up on who might be available and extra-valuable to YOUR team. We’re not just looking at traditional hot waiver wire pickups. Some of them would apply, but glance through this list after you know what stats you can safely ignore, and see if somebody’s right for you. Consider using the opposite train of thought when deciding who to drop, too. You’re lapping the competition in rebounds? You may want to drop an end-of-the-roster big instead of a worse overall player.

You’ll see the top players I recommend that are available in at least one-third of Yahoo leagues here, along with their 8-category and 9-cateogry punt rankings that are based on the per-game performances of the past 60 days (through 2/12) according to Basketball Monster.

Please, blog, may I have some more?