The Chicago Bulls play in the Central Division alongside the Milwaukee Bucks and the reigning league MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and yet, the Bulls are the most intriguing team in the division. This offseason they added veteran leadership, some talented young players, and the returning young guys are all a year older and more experienced. They should certainly be healthier than they were last year. Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. missed significant time last season. Zach Lavine also missed a stretch of games before being shut-down at the end of the season. Ditto for Chandler Hutchison. Denzel Valentine never even got rolling. Here are the major additions and departures from last season:

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Last week, I unveiled my Top 10. Picking near the end of the round kind of sucks, but if you are blessed with that honor, at least you’ll have first dibs on finding a soulmate. If you select one of guards, then you’ll likely be pairing them with a big. And there are plenty of options in round two. I’m curious to see how many double down on bigs this year. You’ll be chasing assists and likely punt free throw percentage, but you could really get a stranglehold on those big man cats. The only player I don’t feel great about my ranking is Jrue Holiday, but I explain my thinking below. Anyways, the Top 25 truly needs to be put into context because so much will depend on who you drafted in round one. Remember, my rankings are based on overall value from projections. 

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The first time someone called me loco, I knew exactly what it meant without knowing what it meant. It’s just one of those words. The funny thing about the word is that it’s derogatory in nature, but is often used in a flattering context. Loco means crazy in Spanish. “He went loco” could mean: he literally lost his mind or he did something at the highest level possible. Well, what do you think Bruno went Caboclo means?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
24 11 2 1 1 1 4/7 8/13 4/4

Got the start and played 35 minutes. Bruno had started nine of the last 11 games prior to last night, so he’s been getting the run. He just wasn’t doing much with the opportunity. For the season, he’s played a total of 26 games and scored in double figures just five times and grabbed double digit rebounds twice. Bruno is 23 years old and this is his fifth year in the league. With the Grizzlies out of it, he will likely receive as much run as he can handle down the stretch. The free throw shooting has been poor (63%) over the past six games, but Bruno can provide points, treys, boards, and a smattering of stocks. The usage rate is only 15, so I wouldn’t expect games like last night often, but there’s always a chance that something has clicked. Something to keep an eye on. If that happens, then we will all be going loco for Caboclo.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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It’s crunch time fantasy ballers! These are the games that make or break your season. A lot of guys who have been reliable stat-stuffers all season disappear or are rested down the stretch and waiver pickups come up with career performances. Bam Adebayo has been fairly reliable for a while, but came up huge last night going 16-11-8-0-4-5 on 6-of-11 shooting and 4-for-4 from the line. Hassan Whiteside is in Eric Spoelstra’s doghouse for one reason or another, which has opened the door for Bam to flourish. It’s all about the adds and drops at this point, so I’m not gonna get into all the big-name superstars. So let’s dive on into the daily notes, and the game-changing performances in the fantasy basketball playoffs. BAM!

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J. J. Redick has never been the lede for this world famous site. In fact, I don’t recall ever writing a blurb for him. I’m sure I have, but now that I think about it, I’m not so sure anymore. Whether I have or not is irrelevant, though, because he’s been Mehdick for most of the season. That’s not to say he hasn’t been good. He’s been useful for what you drafted him for; treys with a handful of boards and dimes, good for around top 90 value. Last night, all the parallel universes must have intersected because Redick was ridic and produced a stat line that was, frankly, out of this world.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
27 10 8 0 0 1 7/14 8/19 4/5

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalmost messed around. The 10 boards were a career high! The 8 dimes were a season high. He’s never posted a trip-dub and last night was the first dub-dub of his career! See, some funky stuff was going on in the universe last night. Anyways, it was a ceiling game for Redick, one that we will likely never see again. Enjoy the Redickulousness for a day, then go prepare for the return of Mehdick.

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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What else is there to say about James Harden? He’s been so consistently amazing that it’s easy to lose sight of just how good he is playing. Fantasy GMs that roster him have held a serious advantage all season. Every way you slice this line, it’s amazing. On one hand, he was one board away from a 40 point triple-double. If you look even closer, he was just 2 blocks away from a 5×5. That’s just ridiculous.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
12/25 14/17 3/11 41 9 11 6 3 6

Everything about this line is massive. The turnovers are tough, but we all knew that going in. He continues to be the top play and should keep it going through the rest of the fantasy playoffs. Any team facing Harden better come correct.

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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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O is the most important letter in the alphabet. Without it, we cannot spell food. It is so amazing that it can transform into a number without changing shape, and without 0, a game can never end. Before you saying anything, ties are stupid. Let’s not forget about the Big O, often elusive but well worth the wait. So, is there any wonder why Kelly Olynyk is today’s lede?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 11 1 2 1 1 5/7 8/14 1/1

Continues to start and played a whopping 45 minutes! Since entering the starting lineup 12 games ago, Kelly O has averaged 26.9 minutes, 13.7 points, 5.2 boards, 2.4 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.7 tres. He’s been shooting 52% from the field, 43% from downtown, and 95% on 1.9 attempts from the line. Over the last eight games, though, the minutes have rocketed up to 32.3 minutes and he’s been a top 25 player! Oh, Kelly O! You make me want to bellow and bestow good tidings for providing fantasy inferno. A few weeks ago, I was worried what would happy to Kelly O once James Johnson returned to the mix. I no longer have any worries from that angle. The one concern I do have is will Spoelstra stick with him if the shooting efficiency comes down, because Kelly O is not going to shoot 57% from the field forever. He’s more like a 48% shooter. Until that time, though, enjoy the ride.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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You’re all aware of the safety warning, “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear,” right? If not, please text me before you drive so I can stay home. Anyways, the warning is placed on the side mirrors of cars because the convexity of the mirror, while allowing one to see more area, also makes objects appear smaller. This gives the impression that an object is closer than it appears. So easy a SON can get it. Well, if you’ve been reading me all year, you know that I walked 500 Myles earlier in the season. It was a challenging endeavor, but all worth it in the end, as last night Myles Turner was able to post a career-high in…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
10 11 2 0 7 2 1/1 3/11 3/4

…..blocks. He had posted 6 blocks in a game five times in his career. Now, due to my loyalty when things were tough, Myles let me ride shotgun as we drove along the coast and reminsced. As he was telling me stories of his childhood, I got freaked out when I saw Brook Lopez’s face in the mirror. It kept getting bigger and bigger, like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. I was about to pass out when Myles just turned, smirked, and said, “chill out, Son. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” He then calmly explained that Lopez was a distant second to him in blocks because he played seven fewer games. Myles has 159 blocks on the season in 57 games, compared to 143 in 64 games for Lopez. That breaks down to 2.79 vs 2.23. Whew. Anyways, from a fantasy perspective, the blocks are great and he provides tres from the big man position, but because he likes to hang out on the perimeter, the boards, points, and efficiency from the field are light. He also doesn’t provide dimes. With that said, over the past four games, he’s been a top 25 player primarily on the blocks alone, as he’s Myles ahead of the competition in that category.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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