Oh yes. Kemba was top shelf last night. 5-47-6-5-0-0-1. Took a lot of shots, no pun intended. 27 was the final tally, but he was hitting them (17 FGM). Kemba has been just a tiny bit of a letdown to start the year, but this game puts him right back on track. It wasn’t enough to beat the powerhouse Chicago Bulls though, as they fell 123-120 and dropped to 5-9 on the season. Man, the East is not good…The Knicks might make the playoffs! There were a lot of games last night, so I’ll try to touch on the most important/interesting stat lines. Anywho, here’s what went down on Friday in the NBA:

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The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player with only one number. This is not a perfect tool and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but this is useful to help improve and evaluate your team.

In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.

If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.

I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.

If you have any question let me know.

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I’m old enough to remember when a simple “ha or hee hee” sufficed when conveying happiness and/or laughter over the internet. Granted, that was at a time when laughter would literally be heard because phones were strictly for voice communication. What a time to be alive. Anyways, now we are all a bunch of digital Shakespeares. Our expressions are so vast and deep that they require acronyms. ROTFL, IMMD, GTFO, WYSIWYG……Get off my lawn!!! It’s only appropriate that the player in today’s lede is none other than LaMarcus Aldridge. LMA as many call him. Unfortunately, his play the first two years in San Antonio caused many to LMAO! The points, steals, assists, rebounds, and field goal attempts all decreased from the lofty levels of his Portland days. Prompting fans in Texas to yell things NSFW. Then, a funny thing happened over the offseason. Pop sat LMA down and told him to change the O from off to offense. Essentially, turning that frown upside down. Then, the Spurs gave LMA a three-year, $72.3 million contract extension and Kawhi Leonard went down. It’s all LMA Offense now. Every offensive category has shown an improvement from last year. Yes, it’s only been 13 games, but it’s no longer a laughing matter. He’s currently a top 20 fantasy player and last night led the Spurs to victory with 32 points, five boards, four dimes, a steal, and two blocks.

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A capella music is singing without instrumental accompaniment. According to choraldirectormag.com, here’s what’s needed to create an a capella group: soloist, great bass, original music, time together, and momentum. That basically describes the Houston Rockets. Let’s break it down. Mike D’Antoni doesn’t micromanage possessions like some coaches. Things flow naturally. Soloist. James Harden. Great bass, the voice that’s low and powerful. Clint Capela fills that role by battling down low and doing the dirty work on the glass. Original music. Mike D’Antoni’s “Seven Seconds or Less” offense from the Phoenix days combined with the analytics of Daryl Morey equals “Game the Math.” Time together. Self explanatory. Momentum. The Rockets offense in a nutshell. Yesterday’s game against the Indiana Pacers was a microcosm of the synergy they’ve displayed all season enroute to an 11-3 record, with six victories in a row. Harden led the way with 26 points, five boards, 15 dimes, and two steals. Capela provided the base with 20 points, 17 boards, one dime, and one block. Eric Gordon filled his gunner role by hoisting up 11 downtowners. He finished with 21 points, one board, four dimes, two steals, and one block. If this was college, you’d think he was trying to get laid. Trevor Ariza scored 15 points, grabbed five boards, dished out a dime, and pilfered two. He’s Mr. Versatility. Can hit the high, low, and middle notes. Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker provide toughness while still being an offensive threat. It’s going to be interesting when Chris Paul returns to the fray.

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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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Part of fantasy basketball is forming a team using the predictable stats in a way that maximizes your roto points or head-to-head category wins. Another part is getting the less predictable stats right more often than your competition, whether that means you’re benefiting from an increase in value or avoiding a decrease.

It’s early, but I thought I’d take a look at what the biggest differences are in this season’s stats versus last season’s by using the ESPN Player Rater averages (per-game).

Aaron Gordon. This season’s highest leaper.

First, a quick detour while I’m talking player rater. Here’s something it teaches us that we should keep in mind. Many people think of rankings as linear. Like, the best player is the same amount better than the 5th player as the 5th player is better than the 9th player. Not so, and we see the difference especially among the top few players when we look at their overall rating. Like with most data sets, there are outliers. That’s these fantasy stars. The top five players with their per-game ratings in each of the past two seasons:

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“If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.” (Mario Andretti)

We’re now in Week Four, but the speed of the events has been surprisingly rapid. Without counting injuries, this may be a great opportunity to buy low or sell high.

DeMarcus Cousins with 2.4 3pts, 1.9 stl, 1.9 blk, 28.6 points, and 13.7  rebounds is an incredible line, but perhaps unsustainable. More incredible are the Stranger Things in FT so far this season. Andre Drummond shooting 75% and Clint Capela 78% from the line. Nobody would’ve believed that in August.

Kristaps Porzingis is now a first-round player, a position that he looks ready to maintain for the remainder of the year, and the key to our team of the week. Through nine games he is averaging 30.2 points, 1.7 threes, 7.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and strong 82.6% in FT.

On the other side, Jimmy Butler is a great buy low candidate, as his owners are probably impatient right now. Butler said he’s focusing on winning, not his own statistics, and Thibodeau said the scoring will come as he gets more comfortable with the team. Other players on the buy low side are Kyle Lowry, Eric Bledsoe, Paul Millsap and Gorgui Dieng.

And now the highlights from Week 3 in the RCLs:

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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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The Chosen One showed up last night in Washington to restore balance to The Force (The NBA). LeBron is still awaiting the return of his Padawan, Isaiah Thomas, and he made the Wizards look like Younglings in that scene where Anakin massacres all the Younglings. Yeah, I watched some Episode III earlier in the week…Anyway, last night I caught a bit of the NBA action and this is what I saw:

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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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