The defending NBA Champion Toronto Raptors (that has such a nice ring to it) return to defend their title with all the key pieces intact, except for the devastating loss of Danny Green. They’ll miss his defense, dead-eye shooting, and the occasional spectacular block. Outside of Green, there’s really no one else that the Raptors will miss as they ramp up for yet another successful year. Well, I suppose they miss JVal, Caboclo, and Wright, but those guys were dealt mid-season so they don’t really count for the the purpose of this exercise. Anyone else I forgot to mention?

Ok fine, I guess it’s about time I face reality and accept the fact that Kawhi is forever gone, taking his talents to La La Land. The Raps had a brilliant year and a historic playoffs run, but they will have to temper expectations this year. Kyle Lowry just turned 33 and one has to wonder how much gas he’s got left in the tank. Pascal Siakam is their young star, who leads a team full of hungry young guns and a few vets who can still contribute. Expect to Raps to be a playoff team, but I’m afraid the glory days are a thing of the past. Winter has come and gone, and so has the King of the North.

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I have mentioned many times how sad I get when major injuries happen in the NBA. As a person that used to play competitive basketball, I know how heart-breaking they can be and how tough the physical and mental recovery can get. Unfortunately, Jusuf Nurkic suffered a brutal one yesterday, fracturing his left tibia and fibula (these are essentially the two long bones in the leg). It’s a huge blow to Portland’s playoff aspirations, but the most important thing is for Nurkic to return healthy next season. Get well soon big man!!Danuel House was the most consistent contributor from last week’s suggestions with 3 triples per game, while Jakob Poeltl and Fred VanVleet were both steady, if unspectacular. Dorian Finney-Smith’s 4-game week is over and so is his streamer appeal. Finally, Hassan Whiteside was the main Sell candidate and with 19, 24, 5, and 14 minutes played last week, you can guess that nothing has changed dramatically.

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DeAndre Jordan is 6′ 11″ 265 pounds. He is a literal giant, but when thinking about giants, DeAndre rarely enters the consciousness. Michael? Maybe. Andre? Definitely. San Francisco and New York? For sure. But we need a #Movement to educate the haters and short people in the world. Did you know that there are 2800 people who are seven feet or taller in the world? There are 7.4 billion people on Earth. If my handy dandy abacus hasn’t failed me, that’s 0.000038% of the population. There are 43 seven-footers in the NBA. He’s a giant. End of story. For you smart asses, 1 inch doesn’t make that much of a difference when it’s 6′ 11″ versus 7′. Now, 6″ compared to 7″ is huge. Anyways, if that doesn’t do it for you, then check out his line from yesterday:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 13 4 2 2 3 0 7/10 6/7

In 34 minutes! He had played 20, 18, and 22 minutes the prior three games, so the Fizdale risk always has to be factored in. With that said, when DJ plays, the music is bumping, as he provides boards, some dimes, stocks, and excellent field goal percentage. The most eye-opening statistic has been the 82% free throw shooting on 3.3 attempts over the past six games. A GIANT improvement from the 70% he’s been posting on the season and 46.5% career number.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Collin Sexton, the 8th overall pick of the Cavs in the 2018 NBA Draft, started the season off slowly. He came off the bench the first 10 games of the season, averaging 23 minutes, 10.5 points, and shooting 40% from the field. He was inserted into the starting lineup for game number 11 and has held onto that role all season. There were ups and downs, as the shooting efficiency was poor and the contributions in the other categories were minimal. For fantasy, he was a top 250 player. Something has clicked, though.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
25 2 3 0 0 4 4/7 10/18 1/1

Sexton has now scored at least 20 points in seven straight games. He’s been a top 35 player over that span. Maybe he ate a blue pill or something. Anyways, you know the warning: call a doctor if erection last longer than 4 hours. Well, Sexton has been going on for much longer than that and he’s in straight DGAF mode right now, averaging over 17 shots per game. Here’s the thing, though. He’s shooting 56% from the field. He’s not going to be able to maintain that efficiency forever. And when that comes down, you’ll be holding a limp biscuit because Sexton doesn’t contribute much in the other categories. Very miminal contributions in the D cats and around 3 boards and dimes each. Enjoy the hot streak, but this Sexton will not last forever.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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This past week was a frantic one. Injuries to key players wreaked havoc for H2H leagues. Many last seeds overcame the undisputed first seed favourites, which is why owners both love and hate the head-to-head format. I particularly enjoyed discussing in the comments about readers’ leagues and how diligently they prepared for the week, in an attempt to maximize their teams’ games and subsequently improve their chances for a win. This week we have some very high-profile names as Sell candidates, but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. It’s playoffs time after all!

The candidates from last week were overall helpful, with Mikal Bridges contributing close to 3 steals per game and Moe Harkless also bringing the hustle stats. The one player that stood out however was Jalen Brunson, who has the starting spot locked up in Dallas and is playing heavy minutes. He looks like the real deal and his playing time will be safe going forward with the Mavs in player development mode. Finally, Tim Hardaway Jr. saw an increase in minutes and triples made, but his fg% is still a major problem and Tyler Johnson got injured so there is zero incentive to hold onto him.

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When you think of the great basketball players this season, who does your mind gravitate towards? James Harden? Paul George? Steph Curry? Karl-Anthony Towns? Giannis Antetokounmpo? There are likely 15-20 other players you would list before arriving at Andre Drummond. The free throw shooting stinks and he doesn’t provide treys, but you know what?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 21 5 2 1 1 0 9/20 3/6

That’s what’s up. Dre leads the league in dub-dubs with 58 and has posted a 20/20 game 12 times this season. He’s 10th in blocks per game, 11th in steals per game, 1st in rebounds, and 19th in field goal percentage. On the season, he’s a top 25 player for fantasy. Yes, the free throw shooting and lack of treys put a ceiling on his value, but he does so much in the other categories that…..we must never forget about Dre.

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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G – General Audiences. PG – Parental Guidance Suggested. PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned. R – Restricted. NC-17 – Adults Only. Then it jumps to XXX. Unfortunately, this is not a category for Xander Cage, but more of the Pornhub variety. That’s obviously NSFW. Well, we need to have a new category thanks to Paul George. PG NSFW.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
47 12 10 2 0 2 8/13 15/26 9/11

Children can still watch because there is no nudity or violence, but his performances have been NSFW because he’s been turning defenders into mush. Like the scorpion who injects venom into its prey and liquifies the insides. Plus, all the hooting, hollering, and people trying to copy his moves in the workplace is not safe. Man, I’m still so sad that PG is not a Laker. As you’ll see later, too much crying for me in one post. Anyways, PG has been freaking unbelievable this season. He’s the #3 player for fantasy, and he’s been there consistently all season long. Over the past six games, he’s the #2 player!!! The usage rate has been 33 and he’s been averaging 23 shot attempts, 38 points, 5,8 tres, 6.8 boards, 2.8 dimes, and 2.3 steals. His performance has been porn for his owners all season long.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?