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.

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Dennis Schroder scored 28 points, grabbed three boards, and dished out nine dimes to lead the Hawks to a 117-115 victory over the Cavaliers. He did turn the ball over six times and did not accumulate any defensive stats, but we still love him. The Mitchell family still loved their little Dennis, even though he caused mischief whenever and wherever he went. Now, things are looking promising going forward. His usage rate is at 31%, he’s hoisting up almost 19 shots per game, averaging over 21 points, and dishing out six dimes a game. Granted, it was against the Cavs, a team with Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon starting at point that gives up fantasy manna to the position. HINT: play all point guards against the Cavs. With that said, The Menace is a top-50 player and should finish there when all is said and done.

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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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Image result for tj warrenImage result for bradley beal

Please click THIS. Now listen and let the beat percolate. Do what you do when you get down. Now read this:

It was a twelve-game slate, in the NBA
TJ Warren in DC, had himself a game
He hoisted 22 shots, and made 16
Just droppin’ a 40 burger, like it was no thing

But Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards
Was not going to let number 12 steal his thunder
So he launched 25 shots with no regard for life
And you know what happened next? The 40 burger was matched

Ok, I won’t ruin the song anymore than I need to. Warren also grabbed 10 boards, dished out one dime, pilfered one, and blocked two. This is what I wrote two days ago: The range of outcomes is so huge with Warren. He can play 39 minutes, score 20 points, and stuff the stat sheet OR get 24 minutes of run and shoot 1-for-6 from the field. Enjoy the ride. Man, it’s kind of cool quoting myself. Anyways, Beal grabbed six boards and dished out two dimes as a side dish for his burger. The Stocktonator liked him last night. Speaking of the Stocktonator….

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I can not wait for the Cleveland Lebrons to start the season. There is going to be so much pettiness, so much drama, so much F U-ness, and….so many wins. The Lebrons went 35-47 his rookie year. The next year they improved to 42-40. Those were the only years the Lebrons did not make the playoffs. Including those two years, the Lebrons went 349-225 (61% win percentage) with two 60+ win seasons and two 50 win seasons. Then, the Decision happened. The Cavaliers proceeded to go 97-215 (31% win percentage) with only one season above 30 wins. When Lebron returned, 161-85 (65% win percentage) with three seasons above 50 wins and the team’s first NBA Championship. I truly believe that this is Lebron’s last season in Cleveland. Remember this? I remember Lebron saying, “Even my wife was like, my momma and my wife was like, ‘I’m not with that.’ My mom was definitely like, ‘[expletive] that, we ain’t going back.“As I said on the pod, the only way Lebron returns to Cleveland is if Dan Gilbert sells him the team. As a result, he’s going balls to the wall this season. That Brooklyn pick? Lebron is going to use that to get someone. He’s pushing all the chips into the middle of the table to make one final last run. Even if management doesn’t sign off trading the pick, Lebron will morph into Kayser Soze….

Image result for keyser soze gif

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With this being the NBA All-Star Weekend, our typical weekend streamer options post will take a backseat to some fantasy implications of any trades that have (and will) occur with the trade deadline coming next week.  There’s been a couple of trades that already happened.  I was hoping to get a glimpse on all of them but looks like the players involved in the ORL-TOR trade didn’t suit up for their new teams.

I said fantasy implications, but let me just add to the growing voices that are asking the Magic management-WTF?!  You trade Victor Oladipo, a near solid (at the very least pretty darn serviceable) stretch 4 in Ersan Ilyasova, the #11 pick (Domantas Sabonis) for Serge Ibaka which you in turn trade for Terrence Ross and TOR’s 1st round pick which is probably no earlier than the 20th pick.  It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that ORL traded away all those essentially for Ross and that 1st round pick.  No disrespect to Ross but seriously?! </rant>

So, with both Ibaka and Ross not playing last night, we can only speculate as to see how they could initially be utilized in their respective teams.

Let’s start with Ross: I think he will end up being the starting SF.  The way I see it the starting lineup will be this:

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All we needed is a royal event! Unfurl the red carpet, roll it out in the The Colonies’ biggest city, and The Duchess will grace over his royal territory! Wow, I just made a Brooklyn Mess game sound like a big event. FOOL YOU!

As we continue to see Khris Middleton get his minutes ramped up, this was maybe the most encouraging game of the night for me yesterday, as he gets the ASB to rest up and looks ready for a big second half. Even though it’s more like a big final 1/3, but ya know, NBA… 20/3/7/3/0 for The Duchess K Middleton, with only 1 TO and shooting 7-13 with a trey. His most minutes thus far (played 26 off the bench) and I just loved this little glimpse of chemistry with Giannis Antetokounmpo with the big highlight from this game:

Guys are looking N’Sync! I would totally watch The Duchess and Greek Freak lead a boy band… Through his 4 games back, Middleton hasn’t looked like he’s lost anything, with a stellar 18:4 AST:TO, is shooting 47%, and has two 3 steal games. With Jabari Parker out and a line-up that will need a playmaker next to Greek, this could be a really fun upcoming stretch. Kudos if you were able to stash him all season on your IL, and get ready for a royal finish! Here’s what else went down on the last busy slate of action before the All-Star Weekend:

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[Editor’s note – We’re going to be having our Podcast out first thing tomorrow morning due to some scheduling stuff. Catch you with our sexy voices then!]

Man, what a night for highlight-reel dunks!

GIFs so nice I had to put up twice! Wait, that didn’t really work… But yeah, telling everyone that Gordon is cuttable sure made me feel great while writing the notes this morning! Stupid Clippers getting Lob City-ed against them! Taste of their own medicine! Career game for Gordon, going 13-21 FG (4-8 3PTM 3-6 FT) for 33/7/2/0/0. Actually, ya know, that’s not really the best line. 3 turnovers, no D stats, and 50% FT shooting… I feel a little better now re-thinking it, and good thing highlight-reel plays aren’t bonuses! Although I wish they were for my Semaj in REL! Feel free to scoop up Gordon in any leagues as I’m sure he was a popular drop, but I still wouldn’t be losing key assets for him. Let’s see if he can carry this success a few more games, fix the FT issue, and deliver on the D stats we’re know he’s physically capable of. 0.8 STL/0.6 BLK – lower stocks than last year – in an expansion of minutes?! Where’s the beef?! Hopefully I give you more meat to chew on in the notes today! Here’s what else happened last night in Fantasy Basketball action:

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Morning, Razzball Nation!  I’m filling in for Peter Kap this morning as he’s on a business trip in Jamaica.  The reason?  A getaway from DC from having to be a Wizards fan!  Well, the Redskins are good now at least!  And the Nationals have a bright future!  But the Wizards keep regressing even with paying big money to retain their stars.  Washington regressing despite more money for positions?!  I’ll just leave that there…

If I told Pete & Wizards fans that John Wall would have a 52 burger, but it would be in a loss at home to the Magic, with the team falling to a .368 win percentage, I think they’d reply saying all the other starters must’ve gotten hurt…  52/4/8/3/0 last night, shooting 18-31 FG (5-8 3PTM 11-14) and giving us back-to-back nights with 50-point performances from guys eligible for the 30-point challenge!  And the highest two scoring games on the season, on consecutive nights.  Man, what a call from NYFantaC!  Almost got the double point bonus for a 60 game!

Wall was apparently due indeed, and up to 24.1/4.2/9.8 on the season.  He actually outscored the Magic starters!  But that’s more about Vogel bringing his best players off the bench…  It’s been an explosive first few nights of this NBA week, so let’s hope it keeps going!  Here’s what else happened last night in Fantasy Basketball:

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As I try to do in my opens, I pull in some real-life news or experience to try and humanize the open. No one wants robot reporting! Just ask Mark Cuban. And that whole situation seems like such a cop out, “I’m going to ban reporters, and the reason why is that I want more human reporting!” Something else is going on there…

Anywho, for this open, I actually have relevant life experience! As previously mentioned regarding Derrick Favors, I too have suffered from IT Band Syndrome. It’s an inflammation of a thin band of nerves that connect from your hip bone on the outside of your leg, past your knee, and connected to your lower leg. Sometimes it can manifest itself in a mad sore hip, but usually it impacts the outside of your knee. When it flares up, it feels like a bone-on-bone “catching” on the outer part of your knee, like you have some horrific scar tissue from a torn meniscus (something I’ve also had). The real annoyance of the injury is you can feel awesome for a few days, then it flares up out of nowhere. You’re just walking normal, and all the sudden that “catch” makes your knee feel like you re-tore something. It’s pretty friggin’ frustrating.

So when I heard Favors was starting last night despite a flare up of knee soreness again on Saturday, I wasn’t the most surprised. I bet it felt great in warm-ups! Then at some point, I’m guessing he felt that same nerve irritation, and he ended up leaving early. I know his frustration. As a nerve thing, this isn’t really a consistent pain-tolerance thing, or a sprain to play through. It feels fine, then a sudden flare up makes your knee feel unstable. I didn’t watch any of this game, but he apparently didn’t look right, and went only 6/2/0/2/0 in 21 minutes. As I mentioned on the Pod, I nabbed some shares of Trey Lyles on Sunday given Favors’ knee issues and knowing this could be a long-term thing, getting rewarded with an 18/5/2/2/0 line with a trey. A trey from Trey! With leaving games early a persistent issue now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Favors gets treatment for a few weeks, and I would take the flier on Lyles where I could. It took me about two months of rehab and a session of dry needling to stimulate the nerves to finally shake my IT issues. Don’t watch if you don’t like needles! Here’s what else happened in fantasy hoops action last night:

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