Weed. Pot. Grass. Dope. Reefer. Ganga. Hash. Herb. Chronic. These are all names for marijuana, but not all weed is the same. There’s swag, dank, kind, kush, etc. The quality, aroma, taste, and potency differ depending on which you choose. Obviously, the higher the quality, the better the high, but sometimes the bargain basement green can be just as productive as the most expensive. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s of the highest quality? The Stocktonator. The Sacramento Kings drafted Marvin Bagley with the second overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Yes, ahead of Luka Doncic. Regardless, Bagley is high quality, but unfortunately he fractured his thumb in the season opener. Enter Nemanja Bjelica. The Nemanja isn’t bargain basement, but he’s not the highest quality either. He is more than capable of producing and can even access the highest of high ceilings. Last night was one of those games:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 7 4 1 1 0 4/7 13/18 0

Nemanja has started 21 games this season and produced top 85 value for fantasy. He provides points, tres, boards, a handful of dimes, and a little something something in the defensive cats. The percentages are decent as well. Over the past four games, though, he’s been the #12 player, as he’s averaged 17.5 points, 2.5 tres, 7.8 boards, 3.3 dimes, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks while shooting 53% from the field. The Nemanja has been potent! Now for the buzzkill. Bagley is set to return soon. Once that happens, he will likely get around 20 minutes of run per game.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I used to spend hours upon hours upon hours upon hours playing franchise mode in NBA 2K. I was a fantasy draft guy, so I’d draft my team. Then I’d go into the playbook and select all the plays I wanted for my offensive system. The rotations and minutes distribution would be all taken care of. I’d make sure the players were happy with their roles, and ensure contracts were all taken care of. Finally, I’d spend hours upon hours upon hours upon hours tweaking the sliders so that the game would play as realistically as possible. One slider in particular would always cause me much consternation: the injury slider. If I put it too low, then no one would ever get injured and the simulation experience would be tainted. On the other hand, if I put it too high, then I’d want to throw my controller into the wall….repeatedly. Well, whoever is handling the NBA matrix has put the injury slider too high! Just yesterday, Brandon Ingram’s knee tightened up before the game and will now have an MRI on Tuesday. Danuel House suffered back contusions and left the game after 12 minutes. De’Aaron Fox sprained his ankle during practice and will be out at least 3-4 weeks. Finally, Gordon Hayward will be out six weeks after undergoing surgery on his injured hand. Whew! Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never gets injured and is always there working for you? The Stocktonator. O. G. Anunoby left after 2 minutes due to an eye injury. Landry Shamet only played 12 minutes due to an ankle injury. Now, from a fantasy perspective, if Ingram misses time, then Josh Hart will likely start in his place. Jrue Holiday should be the one to soak up the most usage. If House is unable to play, Ben McLemore would likely replace him in the starting lineup. With Fox out for a while, Cory Joseph will likely start but Bogdan Bogdanovic probably benefits the most. There’s been talk that Fox could be out more than 3-4 weeks, and when he does return, he won’t be as explosive. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson should see a bump in playing time if Anunoby misses time. As for Shamet, Rodney McGruder could see more run or Lou Williams may get a few more minutes. Not sure there’s a direct beneficiary from the situation, but we will monitor to see how Doc decides to play it. Since we can’t rage quit and press reset on the box, we must make do with what we have and offer sacrifices to the injury gods.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

LA’s “other” team no longer, the Clippers made a splash this offseason, putting together an unbelievable duo to complete with the other power couples throughout the NBA landscape. Arguably the signing and the trade of the off season belonged to the Clippers. With a newfound focus on defense, the Clippers still have enough fire-power to keep up on the offensive end while locking down teams 1 through 5. The length of Patrick Beverley, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard is going to very hard to penetrate and having guys like Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac waiting at the rim will make it hard to finish.

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The first time someone called me loco, I knew exactly what it meant without knowing what it meant. It’s just one of those words. The funny thing about the word is that it’s derogatory in nature, but is often used in a flattering context. Loco means crazy in Spanish. “He went loco” could mean: he literally lost his mind or he did something at the highest level possible. Well, what do you think Bruno went Caboclo means?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
24 11 2 1 1 1 4/7 8/13 4/4

Got the start and played 35 minutes. Bruno had started nine of the last 11 games prior to last night, so he’s been getting the run. He just wasn’t doing much with the opportunity. For the season, he’s played a total of 26 games and scored in double figures just five times and grabbed double digit rebounds twice. Bruno is 23 years old and this is his fifth year in the league. With the Grizzlies out of it, he will likely receive as much run as he can handle down the stretch. The free throw shooting has been poor (63%) over the past six games, but Bruno can provide points, treys, boards, and a smattering of stocks. The usage rate is only 15, so I wouldn’t expect games like last night often, but there’s always a chance that something has clicked. Something to keep an eye on. If that happens, then we will all be going loco for Caboclo.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This past week was a frantic one. Injuries to key players wreaked havoc for H2H leagues. Many last seeds overcame the undisputed first seed favourites, which is why owners both love and hate the head-to-head format. I particularly enjoyed discussing in the comments about readers’ leagues and how diligently they prepared for the week, in an attempt to maximize their teams’ games and subsequently improve their chances for a win. This week we have some very high-profile names as Sell candidates, but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. It’s playoffs time after all!

The candidates from last week were overall helpful, with Mikal Bridges contributing close to 3 steals per game and Moe Harkless also bringing the hustle stats. The one player that stood out however was Jalen Brunson, who has the starting spot locked up in Dallas and is playing heavy minutes. He looks like the real deal and his playing time will be safe going forward with the Mavs in player development mode. Finally, Tim Hardaway Jr. saw an increase in minutes and triples made, but his fg% is still a major problem and Tyler Johnson got injured so there is zero incentive to hold onto him.

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The fantasy playoffs are finally here. If you are a roto fan, like me, this does not mean much apart from a slight focus to the categories you stand to gain or lose some points. But for my H2H people out there, this is when the real season begins. Every game and every stat counts and players that are not performing or have a medium-term injury are not welcome any more. Be aggressive with your adds and drops and don’t keep players “for the next matchup” unless you are absolutely sure there will be a next matchup. Because most fantasy leagues are past their trade deadline, this article and all the rest until the end of the season will focus more on adds and drops to the waiver wire and much less on trade targets.

Taking a look at last week’s candidates, the Grizzlies played just 2 games, so Delon Wright can not be adequately judged. He looked good in both these games and I still like him due to the potential of a Mike Conley shutdown. Harry Giles was average at best and the return of Marvin Bagley does not help, while both Danny Green and Malik Beasley proved worthy Sell suggestions, as there are better options available on your wire. As mentioned above, the time for hard but necessary cuts is now, so if a player is underperforming don’t hesitate to get a hot free agent in his place.

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As the season winds down and we jockey for position in roto leagues or load up on categories in the head-to-head playoffs, it’s imperative that we track down some category specialists to get us over the top. And with so many new fantasy contributors due to injury or tanking, the specialists aren’t necessarily the same old names. Fortunately, that makes some of them available in most leagues.

Let’s get right to it. Looking at per-game numbers for the last month, which takes us back to the trade deadline, here are the best likely-available guys to grab. Note that I skipped turnovers. Since those are so sporadic, I’d just go with the season-long numbers there. For head-to-head matchups, you might even be able to just sit a few players at the end of the week that can’t help you in any other categories to win turnovers.

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While perusing the standings the other day, I was surprised to see we’re already past the half-way mark of the NBA season. And for those in head-to-head leagues, that means we’re almost 2/3rds of the way through the fantasy regular season! It’s time to take stock of our team(s) and see where injuries, pick-ups, and dropped busts have left us situated. For example, half my starters this week on one team have been free agent pickups. I have some idea of my team’s strengths and weaknesses, but it’s a vastly different group than what I started with. Once we identify our short-comings, it’s as simple as grabbing a couple centers for a pair of guards to make up ground in boards and blocks, right? Maybe. But there are constraints that might make it more complicated than that. You may be losing stats you need by doing that and you may not be able to fit two extra centers into your lineup, anyway.

This week I’d like to bring up a concept many of you are probably familiar with, but often goes forgotten: Out-of-position stats. What if you’re low in rebounds, but you don’t have room to add/start a center? Well, you could trade a traditional point guard (assuming you were set with PG stats) for Dejounte Murray (9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, and yes, by the way, I’m choosing an alternate universe in which he’s healthy for this hypothetical situation). Considering trading for or picking up players that get atypical stats for their position can make a ton of sense for a lot of reasons. Maybe you lost a big assist guy like John Wall or your dominant rebounder in Clint Capela. Maybe you’ve got another out-of-position stats guy that hurts you because of what he lacks (Dejounte’s assists and three-pointers, for example). Also, when you have out-of-position stats, like say Nikola Mirotic’s 3s, you can afford to have additional atypical players that others in your league might devalue, like Elfrid Payton, a guard that doesn’t hit many threes. Get creative and check out some of the players I’ve listed below.

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This week we take a look at the Northwest Division, which boasts some exciting teams to watch, some great individual offensive talents, and one seriously unresolved soap opera situation. This division is filled with teams that keep coming at you; hardworking, team-oriented outfits that don’t stop until the whole tree is on the ground. In other words, what the Timberwolves want to be.

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