What’s up Razzballers? We had a doozy of a game last night in Toronto between the Raptors and the Warriors. I don’t typically like to give the lede to players on the losing team, but this was the best game in a night of great games, and DeMar DeRozan was the star of the show. He was a big reason the Raptors were even competitive as he went for 42/5/3 on 17-for-31 FG (0-for-4 3P, 8-for-10 FT) and two TOs. This was in a game the Raptors lost by just two after being down 81 to 54 (!) at halftime. The end was a big clusterfrick too. No other Raptor  played more than 30 minutes, as the almost-comeback was mostly led by DeMar and the bench since Kyle Lowry was out with injury. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Top o’ the morning, Razzballers. It was a battle of the past versus future down in the Garden last night, with the Knicks besting the Thunder. Unfortunately, Kristaps Porzingis sat with a knee injury. Fortunately, Michael Beasley gifted us all a gem of a game in his place, going for 30/5/4/0/2 on 11-for-18 FG (2-for-2 3P, 6-for-7 FT) and only turning it over twice. Beas has put up some nice fantasy lines when given the minutes, but that doesn’t happen too frequently. Next time Porzingis misses time, keep Beas in mind for the stream. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the first few weeks of the season, I try not to focus on the standings. I look, of course, but I do so knowing that there have been outlier games, whose impacts are more pronounced due to the small sample size. Also, most teams have a player or two that’s missed the majority of the games and they might also have been starting a replacement player that’s not going to keep it up much longer. However, we’re now about a quarter of the way through the NBA season. The data is relatively predictable. You should know which categories you need to focus on in order to gain points and which ones to ignore, either because you’re stuck at the bottom or entrenched at the top of a category (or if you always win or lose the category by a ton in head-to-head).

Today, we’ll look at the ESPN Player Rater. Tony RP’s Player Rater updates will give you a picture of who’s most valuable by position. I thought I’d go by category to see who’s doing what for us. Here are the top 20 players by category plus the bottom 20 for relevant ones, skipping players that have hardly played. So, it’s just the per-game stat leaders you may be familiar with, except that the percentage categories are weighted by volume. Turnovers are from BasketballMonster, since ESPN doesn’t include them.

So, how is this useful? Obviously, you want players that score well overall on the Player Rater. But, if you’re like me, you’ll be surprised to see some of your players pop up on these lists. Also, keeping in mind which categories you need help in, this can help you find some trade targets. Or, if you’re out of it in points or FG%, maybe ship off a guy that’s in the top 20 that’s not doing much else for you. If you’re in the middle of the pack in FT% and you see that you have one of the worst offenders there, maybe you can ditch him and gain points (just keep in mind what you might be losing in other categories from him). A lot can be gained by learning what’s actually happening compared to what we assume is happening based on previous years or projections.

Next week, I’ll get back into multi-category rankings for those that are ignoring categories, whether intentionally or as a matter of the hand you’ve been dealt. Think punt FG% & TOs, or for FT% punters: 3PTM+AST+ST+PTS+TO rankings, which are what you want to complement your FT% anchors with. That’s when you can really find trade value, since all players now have a new value to your specific team.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In the Batman movies, Commissioner Gordon is portrayed as a subservient, damsel in distress character. “Oh no! There’s trouble in Gotham. Let me run up to the rooftop to signal the Batman so that he can take care of everything.” I kid. Commissioner Gordon was old and needed the youth, strength, and resources that Batman could provide. But, before he became a useless POS, Jim Gordon served in the US Marine Corps and was a Special Forces veteran who could kick some serious ass. That’s where we are at with Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic. He’s only 22 years old and 6′ 9″ 220 pounds. He can dribble, shoot, rebound, block, pass, jump like a flea, and run like a gazelle. He’s basically the new and improved version of Blake Griffin. Sad to see the Matrix slowly phasing out Blake for Aaron. Anyways, last night the NBA’s Commissioner Gordon put up the first 40-burger of his career:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 40 15 4 4 1 1 6/12 13/23 8/11

He led his team to a 121-108 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team led by Russell Westbrook, aka Beastbrook but I prefer to call him the Hulk. Off the court, Westbrook seems like a funny, charismatic guy. On the court, SMASH….SMASH….SMASH! Dude plays with reckless abandon, which results in an abundance of turnovers, but he will dunk on your grill at every opportunity. And keep coming. And coming. And coming. He truly leaves everything on the court, which is why I’d always want the Hulk on my side, because I know he’d always have my back. As for last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 37 11 5 5 0 7 7/10 11/23 8/12
Please, blog, may I have some more?

Image result for draymond green

One of the reasons I prefer fantasy basketball to fantasy football is that in basketball it is much less likely to have your entire season derailed by an injury. That being said, opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season twisted my world view right along with Gordon Hayward’s ankle. Ouch!

It is when these things happen that I am reminded of two famous quotes: “Knowledge is power,” which I saw on a bumper sticker, and “Chaos is a ladder,” words spoken by the scheming Littlefinger in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. An injury can open the door for this year’s waiver wire MVP or at least offer a younger player an opportunity to get more minutes and become fantasy relevant. In order to take advantage you must not only act quickly, but you need to know which players will benefit the most, and that my friend is not easy.

So without further ado, here are the major injuries lingering around the NBA, some suggestions for which replacements to target, and whether you should stash, drop, or use an I.R. spot (if your league allows it):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Final week for most leagues.  It’s that one time of the fantasy season when it doesn’t matter who you’d drop (unless it’s a keeper/dynasty), ‘coz if you’re still managing your team, then it must be playing for something.

In my opinion, the moves available this week is very limited unless one of your top guys encounter an injury or team setup is where you have 2+ guys playing for the teams not playing on Friday and/or Sunday.  This is because there are 11 games that will be played on those days.  So really if you haven’t streamed on Thurs, you really probably want to load up for Saturday’s slate especially if the players’ last game for the week is Friday or Saturday (MIN, LAC, DET, ORL, POR, SAC).

So for today, I’ll only focus on Saturday’s games.  Tad anti climactic being the final edition of this series for this fantasy season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The biggest news from Tuesday may have happened off the court. Prior to playing the Chicago Bulls, the Toronto Raptors traded Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka.

Playing in what will be one of the last games without Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas nearly posted a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Dwyane Casey wasn’t sure if Ibaka would join the team before the All-Star Break so Valanciunas might have one more game sans-Ibaka (Wednesday night), but I expect his numbers to take a hit playing alongside Ibaka. Both guys should still be valuable so I wouldn’t even think about dropping either guy.

The biggest beneficiary of the trade is Norman Powell, who will see an increase in production with Ross gone. Powell led the Raptors in scoring off the bench versus the Bulls with 13 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

The trade couldn’t have happened quickly enough. DeMar DeRozan had an off night, scoring 18 points (5-19 FG), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, as the Raptors dropped their 11th game in the last 15. To add insult to injury, the Bulls weren’t even at full strength, with Dwyane Wade (wrist) and Nikola Mirotic (back spasms) sitting.

Kyle Lowry was the only bright spot for the Raptors, posting 22 points (8-17 FG, 4-11 3PT FG), 4 assists, and 4 threes.

Now here’s the rest of this Valentine’s Day edition of the Daily Notes:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No Super Bowl hangover in the NBA, that’s for sure! A full helping of action with 11 games on the slate, starting with a phenomenal national game on TNT to kick off the next 2 months, where there’s nothing but NBA going on. Well, hockey too, sorry Viz! And college basketball! Dammit, well, basketball isn’t competing with NFL or MLB for a bit, and the face of the NBA let everyone know, with a preposterous buzzer-beater to get the Cavs in OT and eventually beat the Wiz (snapping their 17-game home winning streak):

That Wizards fan says it all! Who says LeBron James is old?! 32/7/17/2/2 in an unreal performance on national TV, in a game the NBA couldn’t have scripted to go any better the night after the NFL got their best game ever played. Well, maybe a little hyperbole, but it was OK… Along with that line, he hit 6 treys and 12-18 from the field, but only 2-5 FT!? Wouldn’t have needed that buzzer beater if he could just hit his damned FT!!! He actually fouled out early in OT too, but Kyrie Irving then took over as the alpha, scoring 11 of his 23 in OT in an otherwise disappointing game. Then there’s of course Kevin Love, who went OFF for 39/12/3/3/0 with 6 treys and 11-11 FT. Needed every bit outta the big 3 to beat a hot Wizards team on the road! During the game, Frank Isola (who you may know from Around the Horn and ish) reported LeBron is pushing the Cavs management to trade Love for Carmelo Anthony. LeBron then went all Trump on his ass in postgame. “Fake News!” But ya know, fighting the rumors off in a less dictatory-way, even as The King… Here’s what else went down last night in a busy Monday of hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Even Tom Brady would agree it’s time to do some hot Yogi!

Since getting to the Mavs on a 10-day deal, all Yogi Ferrell has done is play 37:29 MPG (which would be 3rd highest in the NBA) and lead Dallas to 4-straight wins. Break up the red hot Cubans! And the Mavericks were straight dealing in Portland Friday night – especially early – hitting their first 7 shots and building a big lead, which was just enough to hold Portland off. No one was hotter than Hot Yogi either! I think we have a new nickname! Shot an absurd 11-17 FG, including tying a rookie record (!!!!!) 9-11 3PTM, for a 32/2/5 line.

I do have to wonder on that huge last one though, what in the world is Al-Farouq Aminu doing?! He just stands there deer-in-the-headlights as the dude who hit 8 treys in the game has the ball wide open, and just lets him take the open shot! God, I hate Aminu, he’s always a craw in my fantasy side! Or something like that… Anyway, you’re of course adding Ferrell where you can if he’s somehow survived on your wire over the weekend, but let’s not expect the second coming of Steph Curry or anything. They already have a Curry on this team! Side note – anyone see Seth Curry‘s awful muttonchops this game?!

Even Dirk Nowitzki is like, “Ewwwwwww! You look like the Fall Out Boy singer!”

After the game, news broke that he’s going to sign a 2-year before his first 10-day expires (I’m not sure how much is guaranteed, but still is cool to see him get paid!). Time to crack open the scotch and smoke a fatty! And by fatty, I mean a Cuban! Wait, not Marc Cuban, ahhhh! While it’s a fun story for Hot Yogi, in 18 D-League games he averaged only 2.7 treys, and he only hit 8 treys in 10 games for Brooklyn. Sure, he wasn’t getting this kind of run, but he had an opportunity on a worse team and didn’t find the trigger like this… So enjoy this ride while it lasts if you nabbed him, but beware minutes crunches – when you hear Deron Williams‘ knee crunches – as he limps his way back onto the court. Until then, Hot Yogi!

Here’s what else went down over the weekend in Fantasy Basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?