On this exciting edition of Friday Night Lights in the NBA, there were two kinds of games that you could have watched with no real in between.

The first kind was the nail biter games that came down to the final possession. Games like Indiana vs. Orlando or Denver vs. Phoenix where each team’s superstar talent had to step up in the closing seconds of the ball game to help steal their victory. These are the games where each team can taste the victory, yet only one team is able to truly capitalize and come out the winner. The Detroit Pistons may have felt the brute of this kind of game as they fell just short of the win due to Jerami Grant being just a hair too late on getting his shot off in the closing seconds the Rockets.

On the other side were the blowouts or the “humble games.” These were the games like the Cleveland Cavaliers defeating the Brooklyn Nets for the second time this week and the Boston Celtics losing to the Philadelphia 76ers despite getting 42 points from Jaylen Brown. These are the kinds of games that can tell you a lot about a team’s weakness and force them to look in the mirror after simply being outmatched.

In a week filled with buzzer beaters and overtime victories, the Friday Night games did not disappoint as they continued the trend we saw throughout the week of high-level matchups, surprise performances, late game heroics and exciting finishes. Here are my Primetime Players from Friday Night’s matchups!

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We’re still pretty early on in the season, but it’s always a good time for some hot takes. What follows will be the totally legitimately definitive ranking of each NBA team when it comes to their fantasy production.

I took the top 100 players in total value and by per-game value, figured out how many were on each team, and ranked them. Very scientific stuff, I know. But no worries, there is a point. We’ll discuss what that means for each team, and for fantasy owners that may have the players mentioned, or have their eye on a player mentioned.

If a team has fantasy gold, does that mean they have great pace? Is it because they have a great record? Without further ado, here are your answers.

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The alerts on Channing’s phone have been going bonkers since I wrote this article. “Honey, I’m getting Google alerts for Step Up!” Jenna rolled her eyes, then placed her hand on her husband’s back, and slowly moved it in a circular motion that Miyagi would be proud of. “It’s been almost 15 years, hon. Are you sure you’re ready for this?” The reviews were not kind: This hokey, formulaic romantic drama is every bit as appalling as it sounds. Ouch. As Channing clicked on the alert, he responded with “That [email protected]#!er Son is writing about Jayson Tatum again!”

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I’ve been running the same fantasy basketball league with roughly the same players for nearly a decade now and a while back we converted it into a keeper league. This past Tuesday we had our fantasy draft. We are like most leagues in that there are a few players nearly always on the top and the rest of the league is a mixture of people who don’t care nearly as much or are just novices trying to learn. If you’re in a casual league, it probably looks a lot like this.

One important thing to keep in mind is that this is a KEEPER league, and as such 41 of Yahoo!’s top 50 players were kept and unavailable to be drafted. You’ll see them pop up in rounds much later, in most scenarios, as they were kept on the cheap. It’s a 9-cat H2H league as well with nothing to play for but a trophy we have engraved every season. We added two more teams this season that did not play at all last season and held an expansion draft before the actual draft, and we replaced one manager who decided to focus on his life instead (which is totally okay and encouraged, btw.)

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Fantasy projections are hard. We look to others in the industry for guidance without plagiarizing or pilfering, overanalyze quotes from team personnel, and process the preseason (paltry as this one is) like we’re being given tea leaves to read — when by and large they should be treated like used tea bags and be tossed. Yet, we try to put forth the best information possible — even if some of it is conjured from the Ether — because, above all, NONE of us want to hear about it later if we miss poorly.

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There are a lot of differences between Jimmy Butler and myself. I, for example, am not a five time NBA All-Star. I’ve also never been named the Most Improved Player, won a gold medal, or screamed at Karl-Anthony Towns with such vigor that I had to be sent to Philadelphia. But perhaps the biggest wedge between Jimmy and myself is our feelings toward rear-view mirrors. 

See, I’m a look back kind of guy. There’s wisdom (and cars!) back there if you care to investigate. This willingness to wallow, to ruminate, to linger and consider all the roads not traveled means that I signed myself up to do the tedious work of taking long, wistful gazes at how this first ever RazzJam went down and try to glean something useful from it. Son, our fearless leader and fellow RazzJam League 14 draftee, is here to keep an eye on my blind spots. You strike me as a reasonable guy, Son, you’re pro-mirror, right?

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Even typing the year 2020 for the title almost made my keyboard break. What an absolute mess of a year for humanity, basketball, and fantasy basketball. Usually, my Top 155 roto projections are out by September but, in this special season, we have to wait until the end of December to see some NBA action. As are result, the projections have been postponed accordingly. But they are ready now, and, for the fourth straight year, you can trust a complete internet stranger for your fantasy drafts. Hey, at least I do a yearly review of my projections from last year where you can mock me for my missteps and silently acknowledge my correct projections, because that’s how the internet works.

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Once again, Son is back for the next iteration of projections/rankings. If you missed previous editions, here you go:

Top 10
Top 25

Before I begin…

THESE RANKINGS MUST BE UTILIZED IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR LEAGUE SETTINGS, TEAM ROSTER CONSTRUCTION, AVERAGE DRAFT POSITION, AND PERSONAL PHILOSOPHIES.

I shouldn’t even name them rankings, as they are simply projections, but the people want rankings so here they are. As for my process, I went to each team and tried to figure out their rotations with minutes distributions as best I could. Then I went to each player and projected the per minute stats for each player. So, yes, there is subjectivity in the process. I’m also still refining my process and trying to get better with each iteration. With all the players in the overall pool, I then took the z-score for each category and added up those numbers to produce an overall value number. For free throw and field goal percentage, I weighted them for volume.

So, where a player lands in the rankings doesn’t mean that I would draft said player there. It simply gives a macro view of a player’s overall value.

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Entering the season, Jrue Holiday was being drafted as a top 12 player for fantasy. And for good reason, as he finished as the 22nd and 21st player on a per-game basis the past two years. Anthony Davis was gone, so the expectation was that he was going to be the alpha, with the young kids following his lead. That is not how things worked out to begin the season, though. Jrue looked like he was on a Holiday, while Brandon Ingram took the league by storm. Then Zion Williamson returned from injury and the hype was all on him. Now, Lonzo has been Ball-ing with his new shot, which looks excellent by the way, and Jrue became the forgotten man. We are silly humans because Jrue never went anywhere. Last night, Jrue reminded us that he can still barbecue the opposition. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always cooks the competition? The Stocktonator.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
37 9 8 1 1 1 3/8 13/20 8/9

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalmost messed around, which would have been the fifth time in his career. Over the past 21 games, Jrue has been a top 25 player. Over the past four games, he’s been top 15. He’s been lurking in the bushes, sniping off Charlie without anyone noticing. But I see you, Jrue! The usage rate isn’t crazy like most stars, as it’s in the 22% range, but he’s playing a ton of minutes for a team that plays at a fast offensive pace, and contributes across-the-board production. The only bugaboo to his game is the 70% free throw shooting.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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