Light the beam! Despite being on the opposing team’s home floor, “Light the beam!” chants erupted in the Crypto.com Arena for almost the entire final three minutes of the game. The Kings came out and dominated with all five of their starters finishing in double figures, along with Malik Monk and Chimezie Metu who combine for 23 points off the bench.

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week Five!  In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you down the stretch of your head-to-head matchup.  A number of last week’s recommendations panned out, with no-brainers like Aleksej Pokusevski, Cam Payne, and Gabe Vincent stepping up to provide big production.  This week presents a totally different picture, with a slew of teams playing just two games for the week and one team playing five.  Plus, we have new injuries and illnesses to consider.

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Welcome, Razzball Nation! We continue our weekly dive into uncovering value for players who, at the infancy stage of the season, have yet to yield the dividends envisioned on draft day. For those new to the column, allow me to again go over what the criteria is to be a player featured here. I look for players who are performing well below, not only their ADP (average draft position), but historical production as well. I search for pathways that could indicate improvement, such as heavy minutes and/or increased usage.

This week we are in the 6ix, The T Dot, The North or whatever other nickname you are familiar with when describing Toronto.

Heavy Drizzy Drake quotables afoot.

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The NBA on Friday Night rolled back the clock two nights too early (the end of daylight savings is Sunday 2 a.m.), harkening the days where big men ruled the professional basketball roost. There were myriad starting backcourts taking the night off with injuries and “injuries” (the league loves it when teams rest their stars on Friday night!), leading to a slew of point-forward play and 7-footers trying out for the 3-point contest.

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Hello Razzball Nation! I am here to provide you with my picks and insights for this monster of a 10-game slate on Wednesday. I am hoping to do this every Wednesday for this season, so if you like these picks keep tuning in.

My number one piece of advice for NBA DFS is to be on top of injury updates. Contests are won and lost on backups becoming starters and starters getting increased usage from injuries. Especially in the NBA, random injuries happen every night, players get rested for no reason, and the tanking is rampant (looking at you Thunder and Spurs). You need to be on top of your lineups up until lock, and on some nights with questionable guys with later start times after lock. On a 10-game slate like we have here, value will open up throughout the day and early evening based on injury reports.

That being said, with our current knowledge of injury news (Tuesday night) let’s get down to it. Pricing is always (Fanduel/ Draftkings). I mostly play tournaments and my picks will always bias towards volatility and upside.

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As the early part of the NBA 2022-23 season churns on, a lot of storylines and off-the-court drama permeates. Some of these were built off the back from previous seasons; the trending bewilderment of Ben Simmons, the Lakers continued struggles while inadvertently tanking for Wembanyama while the Pelicans have the rights to their first-round pick also remains a bold strategy. Kyrie Irving is still a hateful idiot. But there are also new and interesting storylines being created right now, like the Jazz competing with the Spurs and TrailbBlazers for the number one seed (early, but you can talk about it!), the Clippers being a mess, the resurgence of James Harden… and the Bucks continue their quest for 82-0, squeaking out a win last night. While there’s a lot to ridicule (mostly the Nets), there’s a lot of interesting items both on and off the court that have made this season already special. Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Son had a nice moment of self-reflection on the latest podcast, recognizing how he – and we all – tend to get easily sucked into preseason storylines that make us overhype or dismiss certain players without questioning the herd mentality around said player. 

Case in point: Myles Turner, who was discussed more for his potential to be traded than for his promising fantasy game. After sitting out a couple games and taking one to ease back to form, Turner put up 27 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2 assists while shooting 3-4 from three, 7-14 from the field and 10-10 from the line as the Pacers beat the Wizards 127-117. The trade talk will eventually reemerge, but in the meantime, Turner owners may get to feast on a steady diet of blocks with quality numbers across the board. It’s worth remembering he’s just 26, when big guys usually enter their prime. If that age and experience turns into consistency for Turner, there’s Top 15 value to be had here. 

More notes from a busy Friday night in the Association:

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The Cleveland Cavaliers were able to pick up their first win of the season as Donovan Mitchell became the first player in Cavs history to open the season with back-to-back 30-point games.
This home opener was also the season debut for All-Star guard Zach LaVine who led the Bulls with 23 points; Notable news came out after the game that LaVine will likely not play in back-to-backs this season due to his knee injury.

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The Indiana Pacers enter the 2022-23 season as everyone’s favorite punching bag. The organization, in recent vintage, has been unwilling to execute an all-out tank like the 76ers in the Hinkie era or the current Sam Presti-led iteration of the Oklahoma City Thunder. This year is shaping up to be a notable exception to that history. The Pacers will begin the season without any reliable small forwards on the roster and a dearth of quality wing defenders. Buddy Hield will likely start at that spot in what will be a three-guard starting lineup of Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, Buddy Hield, Jalen Smith, and Myles Turner. The chatter in league circles (as reported by just about every reputable NBA media member) is that Turner will be traded sooner rather than later. Of course, it should be noted, that we’ve heard that story before and, at least for now, Turner remains on the roster

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Welcome back to DFS Dunks, playoff edition. It’s me, cousin Timmy, coming at you with the best plays to win your DFS contests tonight. We have a three-game slate this lovely Thursday. All three series are in Game Six. Phoenix, Philly, and Dallas are in the drivers seat with the chance to close out the series tonight. I think two of them do, more on that later. Devin Booker is OUT for the Suns tonight but could be ready for Game 7 if we get there. Donavan Mitchell is nursing a few injuries and the Jazz look like they are ready to join the bus to Cancun after getting blown out by 25 in Game 5. Finally, I think Toronto, even without Fred VanVleet has a good shot to take this series to a Game 7. Embiid is playing with a hurt thumb and had been minimized by Toronto with his usage rate dropping to 24% in Game 5. His usage rate for the season was 37.5%. Ok enough small talk, you ready for some playoff DFS? Let’s get to my favorite plays of the night.

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There were quite a few players who exploded for big performances on Friday, but Obi Toppin deserves the fantasy star of the night award the most, for a career-high 35 points on 6-9 three-point shooting. Toppin has scored 19 or more in his last four games starting and looks like he is getting more comfortable in the NBA with every minute he plays. This stretch of starts was a possible look into the future if Julius Randle is traded or if Toppin manages to get more minutes next to Randle next year. Obi will remain as an interesting stash in dynasty leagues with an undetermined role moving into next year. Immanuel Quickley ended the night with 23 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds as he saw more minutes than usual with RJ Barrett leaving the game with a knee injury. Quickley continues to show upside in all facets of the game and is leaving the Knicks with a difficult decision on what to do at the point guard position next year. His role has a lot to do with what the Knicks do in the offseason.

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