October is upon us and that is a wonderful thing. The leaves turn beauteous colors while the weather provides crisp breezes. Both adults and kids get to dress up. Kids to beg for huge bags of candy. Adults to fantasize and act silly. There is even a holiday when some folks get to stay home from work to celebrate the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus! But the real greatness of October lies in the fact that it is the month where our sports converge together like women for the 70% off sale at Nordstroms. College football, which if you haven’t heard, is its own religion in the South, and the NFL are into their second month. The guys in the US and Canada start wielding sticks and slapping pucks around, as the NHL season begins. Our national pastime breaks into its glorious playoff season. But for fantasy hoopheads, the most important thing that happens is the NBA season kicks off in earnest.

It is almost here. We have just a few days until October 16, and there are mock drafts, real drafts, online drafts, auction drafts, snake drafts, and dynasty drafts scheduled over the next two weeks in every hamlet in this fair country.

On September 28th, we saw Gordon Hayward in the Boston Green to kick off the preseason. Each team will play five games that don’t count in preparation for those that do. What then to watch for to help you  hoodwink all your buddies and have the best draft imaginable?

I will look Division by Division to give you some keys to watch that might provide some guidance.

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I’m a dualistic kind of guy. Two sides to every coin. Can’t make lemonade without lemon and water. Takes two to tango. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. A stick has two ends. I guess I’m the king of cliches and idioms now. Anyways, when I think of “firsts,” a gamut of emotions and experiences fill my mind and body. There have been many firsts that were excellent. First kiss was amazing. First dunk was exhilirating. I don’t give a shit that it was only with a volleyball. First banana cream pie from Apple Pie was orgasmic. As we all know, not all firsts are memorable. First speeding ticket. First accident. Doesn’t have to be of the driving variety. First time shitting the pants. Well, Terry Rozier had a bunch of firsts last night. First career start. And…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 17 11 10 2 2 2 3/6 6/14 2/4

First time messing around. You know what that calls for….

Rozier got the start because Kyrie Irving sat due to injury. In addition, Marcus Smart was unavailable, so Rozier ended up playing 33 minutes. This is obviously an outlier game but….Per 36, Rozier is scoring 14.1 points, grabbing 6.8 rebounds, dishing out 3.3 dimes, and stealing 1.6. Just remember for the future if a similar situation arises. I’ll never forget my first kiss. I’ll never forget the day Rozier got his first start and messed around.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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  Basketball is probably the most predictable sport out there. The vast number of possessions each game allow us to ascertain a reasonable expectation of production. But, there’s a reason why the cliche, “That’s why they play the games” exists. Shit happens. Someone gets injured. Another gets sick. A player parties too hard the night […]

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Jordan Clarkson drops 33 points as Lakers “Breakaway” from the Pacers on Friday night. Clarkson, “Because of You” Lakers were able to win a game while shooting 14.3% from the free throw line; an NBA record for lowest FT% in a win.  Clarkson was the only Laker to actually make any free throws (2-for-3), while the rest of the team went 0-for-11.  Despite this weird anomaly, the Lakers were able to “Walk Away” with a a victory against a pretty good Pacers team. The Pacers were coming off a back-to-back, but the Lakers have now won five of their last seven after a really rough stretch.

Anyway, here’s what else happened on Friday in Fantasy Hoops:

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Somehow, we’re already halfway through the NBA season. You know your team(s). The only major unknowns left are who else will get hurt, who will get shut down, and who will get a big value increase due to those injuries and the shutting down of said teammates. Aside from trying to grab some young guys that might get some extra run down the stretch, what else can you do to increase your odds of winning at this point? Well, staying active and streaming hot players will work wonders. But beyond that, I suggest checking out your team’s standing in each of what I’ll call the forgotten stats. Even the most astute fantasy player is going to be drawn to points, rebounds, assists, and threes out of habit and because of the way that we’re most often presented with stats.

I’m going to update you on the leaders in the boring and unsexy categories of field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals, and blocks (in addition to FG% + FT% and steals + blocks). I’m sure some of you might be much more focused on the % categories than I just mentioned, but I think most players treat them as an afterthought. So, since others are more likely to ignore these forgotten stats, take advantage of that and focus on them if you can stand to gain points there. I think you’ll find that these categories are often led by some lesser names that can be had more cheaply than the points/rebounds/assists stars. Many are even available in most leagues.

Here are your most effective players in order of Basketball Monster’s per-game values (percentages are weighted) by category or combined categories through 1/9.

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Good morning, and welcome back to another edition of Any Given Saturday. A huge slate of games last night, but the most impressive performance of them all came from The Rocky Horror Victor Show himself, Victor Oladipo. Our boy put forth a pristine 38/4/6/1/1 on 13-for-23 FG (2-for-8 3P, 10-for-10 FT) and no TOs, as he led the Pacers to the overtime win over the Nets. Dipo has been a top-10 guy in 9-cat so far and it doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down any time soon. I was higher than most on Dipo coming into the season, but I don’t think anybody predicted a season like this. If you got him near his ADP, you’re laughing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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I was very surprised when I Googled Triple D’s. Triple D’s Place, a Jamaican restaurant and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Where were the big, beautiful breasteses? We have truly advanced as a society. Anyways, it’s bad if you get a D in school. Mcy D’s is good when you are hungry. How about for fantasy? Double D, DeMar DeRozan, has been a valuable fantasy player for quite some time. He has averaged over 20 points per game in each of the last five seasons. He has grabbed around 4.5 boards, dished out close to four dimes, 211’d around one, knocked down 82% of his free throws, and shot 45% from the field. The two areas that he lacked in were blocks and threes. Well, last night, DD was lighting it up from three-land.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
45 5 3 2 1 2 6/9 13/21 13/15

It’s only appropriate that he shot 6-of-9 from downtown, huh? The Universe is awesome. Now, before you start getting all excited, DD’s season high for threes was only three. On the year, he’s making 0.7 on 2.5 attempts. Well above his career average, but fewer than the 0.8 on 2.7 attempts back in 2013 season. Last night’s game was more than likely an outlier, but we can all dream. I guess that’s the only thing one can do regarding Triple D’s. Unless you like Jamaican food and Guy Fieri.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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When watching Kyle Kuzma play basketball, all I can think about is the Notorious B.I.G. One of my favorite songs is Juicy.

Many in the NBA thought Kuzma wouldn’t amount to nothin’. Now he’s in the limelight ’cause his hoops game is tight. Now honies play him close like butter played toast. Ha! What a line. Biggie Smalls was the illest. Anyways, Kuzma went from negative to positive and it all started when he was drafted 27th overall in the NBA Draft. The Summer League followed, where he dominated and led the Lakers to hoisting the trophy. Then the regular season started. He scored double figures in five of his first seven NBA games. It was on, baby bay-bee. In fact, there’s only been one other game in which he failed to score double digits. What’s even more remarkable is that he’s played 27 games, yet only started 11. Kuuuuuuuuuuuz! It all came to a culmination last night against the Rockets.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 38 7 4 0 1 0 7/10 12/17 7/10

This is no fluke. Kuz has been balling from day one and is only going to get better. It’s on, baby bay-bee!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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In my younger days, I used to run with a pretty deep crew. Most of them were older and more experienced than me. Most were better looking and had more charisma then me. Emphasis on most. Not being the man was just fine. You’d be surprised at how many layups you’d get by just being. All of this happened on the basketball court as well. Anyways, with so much attention on the alphas, dudes like me would be afforded all sorts of opportunities to score. At some point, the stars would align and everything would come to a climax. Whether it be on the court or at the club, there’s always that moment. Last night, Clint Capela had his moment.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 24 20 3 0 2 2 0 10/12 4/5

It was his first 20/20 game of the season and he actually hit his free throws. Chris Paul, James Harden, and Eric Gordon all had great games, but it was all about Capela last night. Now, most of his opportunities came because of all the attention given to the superstars on the team. No matter. Production is production. And that’s how it’s going to be all season. Capela is a top 30 fantasy player right now. Imagine if he shot better than 58% from the charity stripe.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Ahhhhh, our epic Jusuf Nurkic vs. Nikola Jock Itch debates. 16-17 might become remembered as the year of the Nuggets big men Civil War. I wanna be on Iron Man’s side!

In a gutsy battle with the Craptors, the Nugs almost pulled out a great road win, putting together a huge 3rd quarter and getting a lead for most of the 4th. We the North still ended up notching the W, and so did Slim and the Nurk > Joke contingent! I still feel like I have to remind everyone that I ranked Nurk ahead of all experts, and was middle-of-the-pack-to-slightly-below-consensus on Jokic. But alas, I did think Slim was a little crazy saying he wanted Nurk over Joke outright, and after last night, it’s looking like it’s going to be a coin flip any given outing. The real head-scratcher is Nurkic lead the team with a preposterous 38 minutes. Lunacy! Ended up going 13/18/1/1/5 in a great line, but did struggle with the %s, shooting 5-14 FG and 3-7 FT. He’s just so big out there… Look at poor Pit-Pat trying to block him, what are you doing Pit-Pat?!

I think this matchup made sense, as Nurk is a good fit to D up The Luminescent Lithuanian, and with his size and D presence, can help out on the Lowry and DeRozan iso drives. Erstwhile, I thought Nikola Jokic looked pretty good, but only played 22 minutes, going 12/4/1/0/0. Shot 6-9, but 4 TO?! The Nugs only had 8 TO as a whole, so friggin’ Jock Itch had half their giveaways, plus had 4 fouls in that limited run. Just wasn’t his night.

So what to do with these guys? I think you gotta just deploy them as usual, and hope the coin flips your way any given game. As long as it doesn’t pull a Watchmen and land standing up. I think that was Watchmen, I know it was in the dumb movie Ed too, about Joey from Friends teaching a monkey to pitch. Hahahaha, how terrible. I just had to link the trailer, because I watched it for 30 seconds to be sure I was citing the right movie, and holy crap. This is the most fantastic 2 minutes of my life:

If that doesn’t make you laugh, nothing will! I’m all over the place this morning… To wrap that metaphor, I guess Kenneth Faried would be if the coin landed straight up, and at least he only saw 15 minutes. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Nurk gets 22 minutes next time out, Jock Itch 35, and Jock Itch has the big game. Going to be frustrating game to game. But for last night, Slim gets to gloat! Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?