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?

Dinner was done, the kids were in bed, the dog was walked, and I was just about to kick back and finally watch the next episode of Stranger Things Season 2, when my phone buzzed. It was an email from Son letting me know that he had not left the bathroom since happy hour ended at his local sushi joint and he needed me to write today’s fantasy recap. So of course being the dedicated Razzball soldier I am, I let him know that I would add to my assist total and take the rock. It was only after agreeing to write the recap that I realized this was one of the busiest nights of basketball all season, so Son, I want to see a doctor’s note.

I know I have some big shoes to fill, but I will do my best to entertain the masses with a recap of yesterday’s action.

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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.

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The new season began and god, I couldn’t be happier. All the watching and analyzing of meaningless preseason games, all the theory-crafting of the rotations and playing time belong in the past. The real deal is here. Let the fantasy season officially begin. This weekly column will be divided into two separate parts. The Buy column will contain players that are either sitting on the wire in most standard leagues (and they shouldn’t) or you have a good buy low opportunity, as they will outperform their current value for the rest of the season. On the other hand, the Sell column is dedicated to players that are either hurting your team and you need to flat out release them or players that are playing at a higher level than they will for the rest of the season (so it would be smart to sell high on them). I will point out that since it’s the first week of the season there are clearer buy than sell opportunities. Patience is a virtue and you might want to give some of the players at least another week before making any decision which you will regret later (Jokic last year anyone?).

Without further ado lets dive into the Buy/Sell for the first week.

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Hello guys, the RCL season is back!!

The first week of the season is always difficult, but this one can be summarized in three words: injury, injury, and injury. If you have Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard and, especially, Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Lin, this is a tough start. With the addition of a big number of players with troubles like Miles Turner, Milos Teodosic, Jonas Valanciunas, and boxing time in Chicago.

Rosters with those players have suffered this week, making the start to the season a difficult one. As much as statistical analysis has advanced in the game of fantasy, luck still remains a key component.

Otherwise, those blessed with extraterrestial performances from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry,or Anthony Davis have done well:

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Mike James. Talk about a blast from the past. This guy was the ultimate backup PG with some random, formative, fantasy friendly seasons. From 1998-2015, James played for 10 different franchises including two stints with the Bulls and Mavericks. 12 teams in 17 years. If I had a poster child for steroids in the NBA, Mike James would be my man. He never averaged over 11.8 PPG and 4.2 AST. He literally was the perfect backup. Come in for 20 minutes a game, play off the ball at times, start 10+ times per year due to injury or rest. Scratch that, only the pansies of this decade take games off for rest. But for one single season in 2005, playing across the border for the Raptors of Toronto, Mike James not only started 79 games, he averaged 20.3 points with 5.8 assists at the ripe old age of 30. If that’s not the Barry Bonds of basketball, I don’t know what is. This wasn’t in the era where everyone was hitting 20 homers, or rather averaging 20 points a game, but rather during a time where defense was still being played, a ton of draft picks were at least 2 year college players, or Lebron James, and Dwight Howard was the next big thing, besides Lebron James. So Mike James, take a bow, because no one has uttered your name since that blurb about you playing in Turkey in 2011… until now.

Take a bow, Mike

When you google Mike James NBA, two wikipedia pages pop up. Mike James (basketball, born 1975) and Mike James (basketball, born 1990). The Mike James I want to discuss is the 27 year old PG for the Phoenix Suns. This Mike James was one of the best high school players in Oregon his senior year yet found himself stuck at DIII East Arizona College. He then found his way to Lamar University. No relation to Lamar Odom, or any of the Ball brothers, although I would not be shocked if Lavar had something do with Lamar Odom and his University. He actually had a fantastic senior year, but from the years 2012 until now, James, Mike James, has played in Croatia, Israel, Italy, Greece, and Spain. Five countries in three years. Now, who has two thumbs and finds himself on the verge of being on your fantasy team?

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Image result for draymond green

One of the reasons I prefer fantasy basketball to fantasy football is that in basketball it is much less likely to have your entire season derailed by an injury. That being said, opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season twisted my world view right along with Gordon Hayward’s ankle. Ouch!

It is when these things happen that I am reminded of two famous quotes: “Knowledge is power,” which I saw on a bumper sticker, and “Chaos is a ladder,” words spoken by the scheming Littlefinger in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. An injury can open the door for this year’s waiver wire MVP or at least offer a younger player an opportunity to get more minutes and become fantasy relevant. In order to take advantage you must not only act quickly, but you need to know which players will benefit the most, and that my friend is not easy.

So without further ado, here are the major injuries lingering around the NBA, some suggestions for which replacements to target, and whether you should stash, drop, or use an I.R. spot (if your league allows it):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

How did you read the title to this post? Was it, “Oh, What a Night!” or was it, “Oh, What a Night…” because we got both last night. The NBA was finally back after a crazy offseason and provided matchups that had us all salivating: Boston vs Cleveland and Houston vs Golden State. Hot diggidy! Unfortunately, the story of the night was the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward. Last night was finally having great sex with the “crush.” Not having to do the walk of shame. Making it to the morning. Even going out to the local joint for breakast. Then…..the “crush” goes Exorcist and pukes all over your food, clothes, and the table….with some chunks causing collatoral damage to the innocent byeaters. Get well soon Hayward. Our thoughts are with you. Since this is a fantasy website, we have to get into the impact of injury. The Celtics started the game with Kyrie Irving at PG, Gordon Hayward at SG, Jaylen Brown at SF, Jayson Tatum at PF, and Al Horford at C. With Marcus Morris injured, I’d imagine that they continue to play small ball with Tatum at PF, Brown at SF, and Marcus Smart at SG. Terry Rozier would receive elevated minutes backing up both Kyrie and Smart.

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UPDATED: 10/9/2017

Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:

Image result for it's alive

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There are a ton of elite point guards that will be taken in the first three rounds of your draft. From Russell Westbrook to Mike Conley, there are not enough guys to go around for everybody. Okay, maybe there are, but nobody in any league I’ve ever been in was into sharing. There are even elite wings that will get you point-guard-like assists. This is mainly Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, but can even apply to guys like Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler.

But what happens if you’re picking in round 3 and you haven’t gotten an elite assist getter yet?

Do you panic? No.

Do you reach? Not for a point guard, but maybe for your beer (unless it’s Bud Light– if it’s Bud Light you throw that shit in the trash and re-evaluate.)

This is where you can adopt the “punt assist” strategy. This punt strategy often gets overlooked by more common punting strategies such as punting free throws, but it’s very helpful if the assist dominoes don’t fall in your favour the first few rounds. Here are some guys to target if you decide to go down the punt assist route, and how your team should shape up by the end of the draft.

Please, blog, may I have some more?