With the season a week away, and drafts in full swing, now is the perfect time to dig deep for those late round fliers. Once you get past round 9, I believe the best strategy is to pick players who may pop in a moments notice. Whether they are in a new scheme, new location, getting more minutes or just primed for a breakout, there are potential underrated stars to be had on every team. I will go team by team in each conference and highlight a player who can be had for cheap and can make an impact sooner rather than later.

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One game away. That’s how close I was to basking in the glory of predicting a Celtics Rockets NBA Final. Instead, everyone who went chalk, was right. Without being selfish, one game away is more importantly how close the Celtics were from appearing in the NBA Finals. Without Gordon Hayward for the entire season. Without Kyrie Irving for the playoffs. It makes sense then that a team of this caliber, in the Eastern Conference that just lost the best player in the NBA, would stand pat and run it back for the 2018-19 season. With a great combination of youth and veterans, the Celtics are primed for a deep playoff run.

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I’m going to take a break from numbers this week. A break from Trey Burke, Quinn Cook, and Denzel Valentine impacting fantasy playoff teams infinitely more than Steph Curry, Demarcus Cousins, and Kawhi Leonard. A break from dealing with players on tanking teams sitting indefinitely every time someone steps on their toe, or from players on playoff teams resting without notice. Heck, a break from the NCAA tournament that only has one projected lottery pick left to watch.

This is probably going to most interest dynasty and keeper league players, but those already itching to rank and project players for next season will find this intriguing, too. Today, I’m going to look at who this summer’s free agents are. That period from the draft (draft lottery only 47 days away!) through the first week of free agency is probably my favorite on the NBA calendar, since about a third of the league seems to change teams. So many new dynamics to consider for so many teams. The impact on fantasy is huge, too. I’m definitely no insider with information to help predict who’s going where, but I do find it helpful to know whose value is likely to remain the same and whose has a wide range of outcomes. The latter are often good targets if you need to get risky to improve your keeper/dynasty team over the summer. Do you have a Terry Rozier type that would gain a ton of value if he moved on to a starting role? Is he free to do so? Also, remember to think of which teammates might be affected by these players should they change teams. For example, are the players blocking Mario Hezojna’s path to more minutes likely to get out of his way? Then again, might LeBron, PG13, and CP3 all be coming to your player’s team to squash his usage? Here are the most fantasy relevant free agents. Wow, this summer could be a big one.

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If you are wondering about the title, just look at the postscript at the end of the article. It’s not basketball related but some things are far greater.

The playoffs have started for most fantasy leagues and I hope your teams are competing in them. May the basketball gods bless you with no injuries to your key players (ahem Stephen Curry) and good percentages to lead you to the championship. If you are instead in a Roto league, like I prefer for the most part, these injuries affect you less but it’s still a good time to focus on the categories that can give you the most points in the standings and shape your team accordingly.

On a completely different subject, as soon as I saw Josh Richardson and James Johnson celebrating after a made triple, I knew I had to include it in the article.

Master Yoda, you sure look taller…..The phrase “teamwork elevates you” gets a new meaning with these guys.

As per usual, let’s check the performance from last week’s suggested players, but before that, an extra shout out to my man Nemanja Bjelica, who I mentioned 2 weeks ago and is straight carrying my teams for the past weeks (ranked 18th during this period). Larry Nance Jr. has taken full advantage of the starting role in Cleveland, with three double-doubles in his last 5 games and will maintain this production for as long as Tristan Thompson is sidelined. On the other hand, Jakob Poeltl’s impressive defensive numbers faded this week as he averaged only 1.0 block after going for 2.7 per game during the previous two weeks. Finally, Skal Labissiere had two solid games before going down with a minor injury, while Marcin Gortat and Al-Farouq Aminu proved good drop calls as they had at best forgettable performances.

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Anthony Davis gave all his fantasy owners, and fans of basketball, a scare at the end of last week when he exited with a hand injury. His owner in one of my leagues immediately messaged, “Well, there goes Davis, probably season-ending.” Well, it wasn’t season-ending and he made it back just in time to play on his 25th birthday.

Davis and his fantasy owners were celebrating in style as The Brow put up the rarest of triple-doubles: 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 blocks! Yes, 25 points on his 25th birthday is pretty friggin’ cool, but watching a guy block 10 shots and also hit a three pointer while only turning the ball over 2 times in 40 minutes is just plain amazing. His final line was: 1/25/11/3/3/10. Wow!

Here is what else I saw on a packed Sunday night:

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I remember this time back in college. A buddy of mine was visiting over Spring Break, and brought a guy that went to school with him. I had a bag of shrooms, a bag of trees, and Die Hard was playing on the tv. ‘Twas looking like a fantastic night. After we puff, puff, passed, and munch, munch, munched….my buddy’s buddy started saying that he wasn’t feeling anything and wanted some more. We advised him that he needed to chill out and let things percolate a bit, but he kept insisting. A few hours later, we found him curled up on a chair in the middle of a room, with a blanket over him, and swiveling himself round and round. My buddy’s buddy was bugging out big time, but that’s what he gets for being impatient. Which segues perfectly to Nemanja Bjelica.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 30 12 2 0 0 2 6/9 11/16 2/2

Prior to last night, Bjelica started four games for the injured Jimmy Butler. He averaged 10 points, 9 boards, 2.5 dimes, and 1.5 steals. Not bad, but not great. Here’s the thing, though. He was playing a ton of minutes. 45, 34, 34, and 33 to be exact. Last night, he played 40 minutes. It was just a matter of time. Remember earlier in the year when Butler was underperforming? Similar deal, in that it took time for things to gel. Anyways, will he be dropping 30/12 every night? Probably not, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. He has the ability and, most importantly, is going to continue getting a shit ton of minutes.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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What’s up Razzballers? In one of the more surprising finishes of the night, the Nuggets went into Cleveland strong and snatched a convincing win from under the Cavaliers. The King was slain in his own castle, mostly at the hands of Gary Harris. Harris was a beast tonight, much like he has been all week, and went off for 32/2/4/1 on 10-for-17 FG (6-for-10 3P, 6-for-6 FT) and no TOs. He’s been somewhat overlooked all season but is poised for an extremely strong finish as one of, if not the main guy on offence for a team jockeying for playoff position. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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We all know what B.C. is. Before Christ. So, A.D. means After Dagagsfgbaerta[rhfasivgpvhfamrgfviargiusefav. How the F did we end up with A.D., Anno Domini, which means “in the year of the Lord?” Seriously? A.B.C., After Birth of Christ, didn’t work? Easy as 1-2-3. Instead, the powers that be decided to go full Latin on everyone. And not any Latin, but Medieval Latin no less. I guess in that context it kind of makes sense. Anyways, there are people that believe in Jesus Christ and there are people that do not. This post is not about that. What it is, though…..and I need to tread mighty carefully here…..is a post about A.D., Anthony Davis. In the year of the Lord? That’s right. A.D. is our fantasy Lord and the Savior to one lucky owner in your league. Did he sacrifice more virgins than you? Abstain from jerking off for a year? Whatever the case may be, A.D. is currently the #1 player in fantasy. Yeah, I know, lot of games left and he will likely get hurt, but you know what? For all the crap we give him about missing time due to injury, take a look at where his final ranking was at the end of each year: 45th (rookie season), 5th, 2nd, 17th, and 2nd. For those that are not aware, last night A.D. did this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 53 18 3 1 5 1 0/1 16/29 21/26

As StatMuse tweeted out last night, the number of 50-point, 15-rebound games in the last 17 years has been six. AD has three of them. He also fouled out three Suns. For us mere mortals, all we can do is this. For those of you that have been blessed with good fortune, I’d expect plenty of this the rest of the year.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?