The NBA trade deadline is upon us! There are already some deals that have been finalized and more are sure to be done by tomorrow, so this week’s article will be structured in a different format than usual. Instead of looking at Buy/Sell players individually, we will review each trade for fantasy winners and losers, in chronological order. But first, as per usual, let’s take a quick look at last week’s suggestions.

Patrick Beverley has been a steady contributor for the short-handed Clippers and only stands to benefit without Tobias Harris (more on this trade later). Another trade influenced Trey Burke’s value but unfortunately, he takes a huge hit in Dallas and is an easy cut candidate. Shabazz Napier and Jerryd Bayless had good performances this past week and will continue to produce until their respective teams get healthier. Finally, I still maintain that D’Angelo Russell is a prime sell candidate and his shooting this past week only reinforced this belief.

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At 3:50 pm EST on January 31, 2019, Kristaps Porzingis, along with Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, and two future first-round picks (one unprotected) were traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., Wes Matthews, and DeAndre Jordan. Whoa. There are so many layers to address that let’s just get right into it. WTF! Porzingis just got traded! 7′ 3″ and 240 pounds, Porzingis can do it all; post up, break defenders down on the perimeter, shoot from downtown, and protect the rim on defense. Really, the only thing he didn’t do much of was dish out dimes (1.3 career assists per game). He was rightfully nicknamed The Unicorn.

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When it comes to movies, the first thing that comes to mind are sequels. Well, maybe not the first thing, but it’s up there. A lot of movies are ruined when the sequels come out. Sometimes one excellent movie is exhausted into far too many parts. Then there is the nostalgic sequel, and sometimes even the nostalgic remake. We are witnessing that with Mary Poppins. A great movie is being remade with modern technology and modern twists. How about that for current events! The anticipation of those who saw the original is mounting and the hype surrounding the film has the attention of newcomers as well. That is how I feel about Willy Hernangomez.

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The Division of the Up and Comers
The Atlantic Division consists of up-and-coming teams, with the Toronto Raptors at the top of the league in wins, yet they are still learning how to incorporate Kawhi Leonard into their mix.  The Sixers are also integrating a new player in Jimmy Butler.  Boston struggled with offensive effectiveness early on, but they have started to figure things out, including an overtime thriller on Christmas against the 76ers.   The Nets have done well, winning nine of their last 10 games, a streak of success not seen in Brooklyn in many a day.  The Knicks, though, are going in the opposite direction, as they have lost nine of their last 10, but are still considered in the up and coming conversation because they have a stable of young players gaining valuable experience while their Latvian superstar, Kristaps Porzingis, mends.

Many feel the NBA season really doesn’t start until Christmas, as teams have now played about a third of the season with the strengths and weaknesses of each being exposed.  In addition, players are available as trade targets and teams that look to be lottery participants will begin to look toward the future and acquire draft assets. 

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Here we are Razzball Nation, deep in the hole of the NBA offseason when many a free agent chips fell, the NBA draft came and went, and the Summer League, where the stars of the future showcased their talents, concluded.

In true Dynasty Deep Dive fashion, I shall leave the free agent signings for my colleagues to cover, but deliver the final edition of the Dynasty Deep Dive rookie rankings so you can ponder and utilize for your upcoming dynasty rookie drafts. Be aware that these are my opinions and not indicative of anyone else at Razzball. Also, these rankings should be viewed through a long-term prism, as they are for the totality of a player’s career. Do not use for redraft leagues.

The rankings have been broken down into four parts and will be published accordingly. Who wants to read through a 12,000 word essay in one sitting? We do this for fun right?

So let’s get on with the show and enjoy my Top 15.

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What’s up Razzballers? With the season coming to a close in the next few days, this will obviously be my last Any Given Saturday of the season. It’s been a pleasure writing for y’all! Anyway enough of that, let’s get to the juicy stat lines. Anthony Davis put up another huge rainbow, going for 34/12/4/2/4 on 13-for-24 FG (0-for-1 3P, 8-for-10 FT) and only two TOs as he led the Pelicans over the Warriors on the road in Golden State. He’s been an absolute monster all year, and especially so in the second half of the season. Best of all, he’s managed to stay relatively healthy. I don’t think anybody is even close to him in terms of fantasy MVP. Long live the Brow. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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Don’t take Anthony Davis in the top 5. He’ll miss at least 25 games. Avoid Old Man LeBron James, because he rests all the time. Tyreke Evans has only played 65 games in the last two years combined. Not even worth drafting.

A few of the prevailing opinions going into the season that I thought had gotten a bit overblown. The risk of missing games is scary, but it’s not often very predictable. And yes, I’m cherry picking examples, but AD has played 54 of the first 60 games and is #4 on the ESPN Player Rater (#3 per game). LeBron hasn’t sat one game yet, is among the league leaders in minutes per game again, and is #1 (#5 per game). Tyreke  has played 49 of 59 games, sitting five of those when the team was holding him out before the trade deadline. He’s #58 (#44 per game). And sure, that’s partly due to Mike Conley missing almost the whole season. Yes, there are examples of injury fears being once again substantiated, like in the case of Danilo Gallinari. It’s all guesswork. It’s part of the fun, predicting what a season will bring. But, figuring out the puzzle can drive you mad.

Today, I thought we’d have a little fun revisiting some preseason predictions. Maybe we can learn a bit about what types of projections are more trustworthy than others. Maybe not. I also don’t think this would be a great way to figure out who’s great at predicting things like sleepers and breakouts, because this is a small sample size. Continue to look at the methodology behind the predictions to see if it’s backed up by reason. I just figured that we rarely actually go back to see what was right and what was way off. If it teaches us something for next preseason, great.

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“ Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” (Aaron Levenstein)

 

There are two weeks left in the regular season for fantasy. With the injury to Jimmy Butler, joining the club of DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kawhi Leonard, this year seems like an elimination game. On the other hand, Anthony Davis has been video game-esque. Over the last five games, he’s averaging 42.3 pts, 14.8 rebs, 3.8 stls, and 3.0 blks.

Here is how the action went down in Week 18 & 19 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

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What’s up Razzball nation? We’re back with our first edition of Any Given Saturday since the All-Star break and last night was a nice, heavy slate to get us back into things. There weren’t a lot of marquee matchups, but Damian Lillard kept things interesting as he pushed his tired Blazers past the Suns. He went for 40/10/5/1 on 13-for-27 FG (3-for-11 3P, 11-for-15 FT), four TOs and a clean game-winning basket. Dame has been lighting it up recently and could be the type of guy to be the fantasy playoff MVP. Anyways, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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With less than a third of the season remaining the battle for a playoff spot in the West is fiercer than ever. Utah’s latest winning streak has complicated matters even more and currently six teams are separated by just three wins.

Presumably, the Pelicans are the odd man out with DeMarcus Cousins done for the year, but anything can happen in the remaining games so I wouldn’t bet against any team. I’m very interested to see in the comments your own predictions about the final standings in the Western Conference. The commenter with the best prediction will win my eternal love, as it’s Valentine’s day today, and a Brian Scalabrine bobblehead. The last part is a lie, because if I ever get my hands on such a bobblehead I’m never giving it away….

Moving on to last week’s calls, Michael Beasley unsurprisingly took a big chunk of Kristaps Porzingis’ usage and during the last week averaged 19.7 points with 8.3 rebounds. Hope you were quick enough and scooped him off the waiver wire, as he can be a game changer for the fantasy playoffs. Josh Jackson also had a good scoring week and, if you can offset his bad percentages, is a great keep as the youth movement continues in Phoenix. Finally, Tyrone Wallace’s minutes are on a free fall and you can safely move on if you haven’t already, while Isaiah Thomas was one of the victims of Cleveland’s deadline frenzy and will close the year as a Laker. I think his outlook improves with this move, as he will try and prove he deserves the max deal he craves, but is bad news for Josh Hart’s ROS outlook. It will be interesting to see how Luke Walton tweaks his rotation when Lonzo Ball returns and if Thomas can embrace a sixth man role for the young Lakers.

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