Last week, Jabari Parker was the first player suggested as a pickup due to the John Collins injury. I expected a rise in minutes and production but the reality was better than expected. 22/1/8.2/2.2/1/1/1.8 on 56.1%/69.1% shooting have him ranked 33rd during that span. As long as Collins remains sidelined, Jabari can be a difference-maker in fantasy. Regarding the other “buy” candidates, both Delon Wright and Troy Brown had forgettable weeks but I still believe in their value.

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We are only seven games into the season and already two of the most promising young players in the league have been suspended. DeAndre Ayton and John Collins both received a 25 game suspension due to violations of the NBA’s Anti-Drug program and, although they will appeal the decision, chances are they will have to sit out the entirety of those 25 games.

I will not voice my personal opinion as we rarely get to know the full story but in both cases it’s a huge blow for their respective teams, but simultaneously, more opportunity for other players to contribute in fantasy and real life.

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I always enjoyed the cartoons with the little red devil on one shoulder while the white angel was on the other. Maybe it’s my appreciation for the duality of life. Or maybe it’s because I understand there’s a time for talking shit and another time for just letting the results speak for themselves. Gordon Ramsay is the ultimate shit talker. How someone hasn’t grabbed a souffle and shoved it down his throat is beyond me. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what doesn’t talk shit and just delivers results? The Stocktonator. With that said, his Hell’s Kitchen franchise is a rousing success. The reality show was viewed by millions, primarily due to his berating of chefs. The restaurants seem to be popular (I’ve never gone), but I’ve heard that Ramsay isn’t just some shit talker with nothing behind it. He’s actually a good cook, but the shit-talking persona is why most people are familiar with him and his food. Gordon Hayward Heaven’s Kitchen is the complete opposite. Hayward is unassuming and has that All-American look. His game isn’t flashy but very effective. Last night, though, he put on a heavenly performance that was almost flawless:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
39 7 8 0 0 2 1/4 17/20 4/4

Unfortunately, the 40-burger wasn’t on the menu but there were plenty of goodies to go around. Granted, it was against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who don’t have the most stifling defense, but Hayward looked smooth, attacked the basket when given the opportunity, and his mid-range game was lethal. Fully healed from his gruesome leg injury two years ago, Hayward is currently the #28 player in fantasy and will likely end up in the 30-40 range come season’s end.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Last year, Jahlil Okafor had a plan to “burn fat and significantly improve his athleticism and stamina.” He hit the weight room and implemented yoga into his regimen. The biggest change was in diet, though. He had tried being a vegan, as he heard that certain foods were inflammatory. One of the side effects, though, was that it caused the iron level to be low, which affected his cardio. He needed more protein. Now, there are no processed foods, sugars, and red meat, but instead plenty of fish and chicken. As everyone that has tried to diet can attest to, there’s what’s called “cheat days.” Well, last night, Okafor had one of those, as he feasted on Denver Nuggets to the tune of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 5 0 2 1 3 0 8/13 10/13

He looked spry and nimble, cutting to the basket and pirouetting in the lane for bucket after bucket. Granted, Nikola Jokic looked completely disinterested in playing last night, but was that due to the age old question of: Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Okafor received the start and played a whopping 34 minutes because Derrick Favors sat due to a knee injury. It sounds like Favors will return shortly, so Okafor will be relegated to the bench, but when Favors does sit, Jahlil could have another cheat day and feast.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Sing the below to the tune in the video:

“And then a Herro comes along. With the tres to carry on. And you cast your fears aside. And you know you can survive. So when you feel like hope is gone. Click your team and be strong. And you’ll finally see the truth. That a Herro’s all you need.”

Tyler Herro, the 19-year-old, 13th overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft of the Miami Heat, and yet another player who John Calipari wasted at Kentucky, has been strong. Is the truth. And is all that we need. Ok, the last part is hyperbole, but he’s been very good since the Summer League. With Jimmy Butler missing the first three games of the season, Herro played 34, 32, and 35 minutes and scored 14, 14, and 8 points respectively. He also grabbed some boards and contributed some steals. Butler returned to the lineup last night, yet Herro had his most productive game to date in 29 minutes off the bench:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
29 7 2 0 0 0 3/4 7/9 12/16

The 16 free throw attempts were likely an outlier, so don’t construct the shrine yet, but Herro has proven that he belongs and can be a source of points and tres.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Two nights ago, Andre Drummond punked the Indiana Pacers worse than Dr. Dre and Snoop did Eazy-E in Dre Day. 32 points, 23 boards, 2 dimes, 3 steals, and 4 blocks! With no Blake Griffin in the lineup, it’s all about Dre. I contemplated making his performance the lede, but Kyrie’s 50-burger took precedence, so Dre Day was overshadowed. Last night, Dre was nice again, putting up a line of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 12 2 4 1 4 0 8/12 5/6

Dre is stuffing the stat sheet and shooting 13-for-16 from the free throw line so far in two games!!! Yet, he was once again overshadowed by Trae Young, as last night was Trae Day.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
38 7 9 1 0 6 6/10 11/21 10/12

He shoots from the logo at halfcourt, breaks down defenders if they get up too close, and dishes exquisite dimes. The Hawks play at a hyper-fast pace and have a plethora of shooters surrounding Trae, so every game could be a Trae Day. Do we have to start calling him Trae Souffle? Because he cooks his opponents? How about Trae Sensei? Because he educates his defenders. Put your suggestions in the comments. Anyways, Trae isn’t going to shoot so efficiently from the field every game, and the turnovers will be high, but the points, tres, dimes, and excellent free throw percentage should be there every night. If he chips in boards, then…..

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I now understand why this forward position is named power, as it is a microcosm of society at large. There is the 1% vs everyone else. For fantasy basketball, there is Giannis Antetokounmpo vs womp womp womp. While all the other positions have multiple players who could legitimately vie for the top spot, everyone bends the knee to G. This is 1985-1989 Mike Tyson-esque domination. Could a Buster Douglas come out of nowhere? Sure, as black swan events can never be discounted, but outside of injury to G, that scenario is highly unlikely.

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The Hawks won 29 games last year, but were a much tougher opponent in the second half. 29-53 is 12 games under .500, but the Hawks were only three games under .500 over the last 41. That was due to the young’uns getting better as the season progressed. The Hawks brain trust is optimistic the growth spurt continues, as they have added even more youth to the mix.

De’Andre Hunter’s Final Four heroics moved him up the draft board, and the Hawks paid a ransom to acquire him, but leadership has earned the benefit of the doubt. Their picks, combined with the teaching style of coach Lloyd Pierce and his staff, have drawn visible dividends, but will the expected leaps turn into hops? Not paying Dewayne Dedmon, when they could afford to, may hurt more than they realize.

Most projections have the Hawks winning 30-ish games. That may be conservative, but I expect a minor flirtation with .500 and another round of ping pong balls, as youth continues to mature.

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After engorging yourself on the Top 10 and Top 25, I know you’ve been writhing in anticipation for the Top 50. Before you start getting blisters on your butt, I am here to appease the pain, the anguish, and suffering. That ain’t you? You here to make fun of and throw internet tomatoes at my head? That’s cool, but if you come for the king, you best not miss. For those that get the reference, salud.

As always, keep in mind that these rankings are based on overall value from my projections. They should be utilized in the context of your roster construction, ADP, and personal preference.

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Well, here we are. Hopefully, you guys are all wrapping up successful fantasy seasons, heading into the weekend leading your championship matchups. Beyond the silly season effect, winning in fantasy basketball can be a game of timing and patience. If you were patient with the rough start of future rookie of the year runner up, Trae Young, you’ve been rewarded with a near top 50 player over the last month and shockingly, a top 10 player over the last week. If you held Trae and started him here, you’re probably doing well this postseason.

Trae Young

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
10/25 5/5 1/8 26 9 7 1 0 3

While not very efficient, Trae continued to keep the haters at bay and was in the ballpark of messing around. The Hawks have one more game this Sunday, which should be a nice cherry on top for the surging Young.

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