Whaddup Razzball nation! Welcome back to another edition of Any Given Saturday! Last night, the Thunder walked into Cleveland and embarrassed the Cavs, dropping a whopping 148 points. It was a team effort, but Russell Westbrook was especially impressive, dropping a double dimebag and going for 23/9/20/2 on 9-for-17 FG (1-for-1 3P, 4-for-5 FT) and five TOs. Russ’s efficiency is trending up nicely after being abysmal to start the season. All of a sudden, the Thunder look like an incredibly scary team. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

According to our good friends at Wikipedia, the word leprechaun is thought to come from “the Old Irish luchorpan, a compound of the roots lu (small) and corp (body). Looks at depth chart for the Boston Celtics. Nods head. Looks at mascot for the Boston Celtics. Nods head. The glove fits. Looks at OJ nodding his head vociferously from side to side. So, this iteration of the Celtics is perfect for the new-age positionless basketball, but it’s one that makes Celtics old timers cringe. Bill Walton. Dave Cowens. Robert Parish. Bill Russell. All big men that brought the pot of gold to Boston. Now, the 2017 Celtics are 34-12, the second-best record in all of basketball. Brad Stevens for President! But, a huge glaring weakness is facing off against dominant big men. Over the past two weeks, Anthony Davis went 45/16. Karl-Anthony Towns went 25/23. Even Tristan Thompson went 10/11. Tristan Thompson people! Which brings me to Joel Embiid. Last night, Embiid went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 26 16 6 1 2 4 0/1 10/19 6/7

He was a true Sixer: 6 free throws made. 6 assists. 16 boards. 26 points. Nods head vociferously like OJ. Ok, back to reality. You don’t need me to tell you that Embiid is awesome. What would be of interest, though, is that the 76ers may allow Embiid to play in back-to-back games. He’s a top 25 player for fantasy right now. If he starts getting full run, that might get OJ to nod his head vociferously up and down.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As you are reading this, men around the world are patiently waiting for their more classic facial hair looks (beards, mustaches, etc.) to come into being. These men, and some ladies, have bought their ticket to ride the raucous, risky, and really ridiculous rollercoaster of emotions and doubt that is growing out your beard.

Not Anthony Davis though. Davis walks a different path: a path where down is up and left is right and birds walk and pigs fly. Davis has been chosen by a higher power to take the journey of the Uni-Brow.

The life of “The Brow” can be a difficult one. Despite being 7-feet tall and stupid rich, The Brow can have a difficult time getting dates. You see, women just do not understand The Brow. In fact, many men do not understand The Brow. The Brow not only makes social interactions even more awkward, but it also affects the individual’s ability to stay healthy. As the eyebrows (which evolved to be separate for a reason) come together, a complex series of chemical interactions take place within the body of The Brow leading to more brittle bones, a strange desire to land on objects around the basketball hoop, and an inability to heal quickly and properly.

However, despite all of the negatives, The Brow is still one of the most dominant basketball players of his generation. We may never fully understand The Brow, but we can all understand this juicy slash: 2/48/17/0/4/3. The Brow led his Pelicans to a big win over the Knicks in overtime, showing that we are all capable of overcoming our flaws and rising to the occasion.

Here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Does anyone even remember the Wiz? I don’t know if I’ve ever set foot in one before they went out of business. Bismack Biyombo got busy last night against the Wizards, but it still wasn’t enough to get the win. He might have won you some DFS tourneys last night though, as he went 21-13-4-1-2-0 on 8-of-9 FGs and 5-of-6 FTs, and in season long leagues, he definitely helped your percentages. With Nikola Vucevic still out with a hand injury, you can enjoy at least a few more games of Biyombo starting. If you can sell-high, handle that Bis-ness. If no one’s biting, then mind your own Bis-ness.  Either way, he’s mostly a short-term asset.

Moving right along, here’s what else went down Friday night in Fantasy Hoops:

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All units. All units. Be advised. We have reports of a 187 at 7000 Coliseum Way. Subject is armed and considered dangerous. Over. 

Lou Williams is a bad, bad man. No Blake. No Milos. No Rivers. No problemo.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 50 2 7 0 0 4 8/16 16/27 10/10
Armed with but a jump shot, Lou single-handedly took down the Warriors, 125-106 in Oakland. Five-Oh. You know what sound that is. Now, he played 35 minutes and had a 39.4 usage rate last night. Here was the rest of the Clippers starting lineup: Jawun Evans, CJ Williams, Wesley Johnson, and DeAndre Jordan. That usage rate seems a little light to me. Obviously, Lou isn’t going to bring out the men in blue every night and Lou will transition back to the bench when the team gets healthy. Regardless, he’s a professional scorer of buckets and will flourish in any capacity. It wouldn’t surprise me if the men in blue make a few more appearances before the end of the season.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We are at the midway point of the NBA season and I’m sure team strengths and standings are beginning to solidify in your league. It’s a great time, especially in roto leagues, to check if you are way ahead or behind in a category and plan your trades accordingly. And for God’s sake, don’t invite the guy that traded Jimmy Butler when he was slumping for Darren Collison or the other inactive guy that hasn’t changed his lineup since Carlos Boozer’s hairline looked like this:

If you look closely you can see the reflection of the ceiling scoreboard…Talk about a bad hair day…or should I say a bad hair dye…

Ok, enough with the Boozer bullying, let’s look at last week’s suggestions from the past week. Tyus Jones has been kind of a disappointment, as he never got it going as a scorer and facilitator during Jeff Teague’s absence. On the other hand, Trey Lyles continued his excellent form with four great games and looks like the real deal. Marquese Chriss and Caris Levert suffered minor injuries so they didn’t play enough and Nicolas Batum had only one game this past week. I still believe in him, as you will read in a bit for this week’s new suggestions…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Although kinda late due to the fact it’s a Wednesday column, I wish to all you Razzball readers a Happy New Year! May all your wishes come true and your fantasy teams win it all this year. Except if you play in one of the leagues I also play…. If you do, I wish a happy Second Place and a great drafting position for next year’s draft.

Imagine an extra circle above the last zero in Chuck’s glasses because I lack the Photoshop skills to put it there myself and let’s review last week’s calls. Both Ish Smith and Bismack Biyombo have been on fire since getting the starting job, with Biyombo especially returning top 25 value during these games making me very happy for the calls. They were in fact so much on fire as Vangelis Ioannou, a Greek sportcaster, suggests in the video.

Jaycee Carroll’s face says it all…I admit we Greeks are not world-renowned for our English pronunciation skills. Moving on, Jordan Bell and Willie Cauley-Stein were also productive and look to maintain their value going forward. Finally on the sell front, Jonathon Simmons has seen his usage decline and has taken a backseat to Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier, while Dirk Nowitzki was solid but I still stand by my advice to sell. Let’s take a look at this week’s candidates now…

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“Who am i? My name is Ish

On my hand I have a dish.
I have this dish to help me wish.
When I wish to make a wish
I wave my hand with a big swish swish.
Then I say, “I wish for fish!”
And I get fish right on my dish.
So…
If you wish to make a wish,
you may swish for fish with my Ish wish dish.”

– The Good Doctor Seuss

I remember reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish when I was a little kid. The Good Doctor was indeed a genius. I had forgotten all about the book until I had kids of my own and decided to participate in the circle of life. Always puts a smile on my face when I read it to them. Anyways, Ish Smith first made us smile back in 2014 when he played for the 76ers and flashed potential. Unfortunately, he’d disappear, then flash. Disappear, then flash, until we pushed him to the side and forgot about him. Well, he’s baaaaaaaaack. With Reggie Jackson out 6-8 weeks with an ankle injury, Ish will be taking over the reigns at point guard for the Pistons. If last night was any indication, we may not have to wish for a dish. Rather, we may get lots of swish swish.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 18 7 5 1 1 1 0 9/18 0

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hi folks. I’m going to keep the chit-chat short this week, as this is just a sequel to last week’s punt rankings. Last week, I provided the top 20 players for punt-FT%/FG%/points and some other players that were heavily impacted by removing each of those categories. I also went over the punt-FT% complement players (rated by 3s+assists+steals+points-only). But, I was thinking about how often it’s beneficial to ignore the other categories when making pickups and proposing trades, too. You might be out of contention in a category, or maybe you’re dominating that category to the point that you don’t even need to think about it in future transactions (aside from trading off your surplus). So, let’s look at what happens to per-games season rankings per Basketball Monster when we punt these categories that aren’t often punted intentionally.

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I’ve got a punt free throw percentage dynasty team that I love so much that I practically cheer for missed free throws. Logically, I know this is silly, but bricked freebies are my brand, I guess you’d say. For those of you punters that can relate, today I’ll give you some adjusted player rankings for the season. And if you haven’t tried a punt strategy, or haven’t been successful with one, maybe this’ll pique your interest for next season.

Last week, I listed the top 20 players in each category as well as the relevant bottom 20. This week, we’ll kinda do the opposite. I’ll remove some categories that you might benefit from ignoring, whether it was part of your plan or you just found yourself uncompetitive in a category that’s not worth trying to catch up in by patching it together at the expense of other categories.

First, free throw punters. I’ll give you the top 20 in per-game value (and others that make big leaps) for 8-category and 9-category with free throw percentage removed (through 12/5). All of today’s lists come from Basketball Monster stat ratings. Keep in mind that you’re not just looking for the worst free throw shooters. Those are the guys that benefit the most from removing this category, but it doesn’t mean they’re the most valuable to your team. They ARE, however, significantly more valuable to a free throw punter than anyone else. So, if you’re at the bottom of your roto league in FT% (or if you never compete in head-2-head), don’t try to just add a couple good FT shooters to fix it. Maybe that gets you a roto point or two at most. Go all in, and trade off some good FT shooters for the guys below, especially those that are cheaper since they benefit the most from punting (in bold) and watch your team gain in FG%, rebounds, and blocks.

Please, blog, may I have some more?