There was a time when Top Ramen was life. Cheap, easy to make, and quite delicious. It’s a good thing I didn’t stay poor for long because researchers concluded that eating too much ramen noodles could increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Hold on. Let me go smoke a cigarette real quick. Ok, I’m back <cough cough>. I knew I had made it in the world when I was able to eschew the Top Ramen and scrape open a box of Golden Curry. Still easy to make, but to fully experience the awesomeness of each packet, rice and some veggies were a necessity. You need a cooker to make rice. That’s a huge step up in the hierarchy. It’s akin to when man figured out how to make tools and weapons to hunt and gather. Anyways, thinking about those wonderful days of my life got me thinking to the brothers, Seth and Steph Curry. Seth is Top Ramen, while Steph is Golden Curry. Both are productive and satisfy one’s fantasy appetite, but Steph takes it to a level that only a few can appreciate. Last night, Steph scored 39 points, grabbed 11 boards, dished out seven dimes, and pilfered three on 14-of-24 shooting from the field and 4-of-10 from downtown. The 39 points and 11 boards were both season highs. Now, Kevin Durant did not play in this game and the opposition was the Brooklyn Nets. With that said, this Curry has been hot and spicy to the tune of the number two overall player in fantasy.

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A new era has dawned in Milwaukee. The Eric Bledsoe era! Hopefully, this malcontent doesn’t foul up Giannis’ MVP caliber season. Only time will tell, but from the looks of last night, he seems to be fitting in nicely. One game is a small sample size obviously, but they topped the Spurs in San Antonio which is a good sign. Any way there was an eight game slate of games on the night so let’s jump right in to the action.

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Part of fantasy basketball is forming a team using the predictable stats in a way that maximizes your roto points or head-to-head category wins. Another part is getting the less predictable stats right more often than your competition, whether that means you’re benefiting from an increase in value or avoiding a decrease.

It’s early, but I thought I’d take a look at what the biggest differences are in this season’s stats versus last season’s by using the ESPN Player Rater averages (per-game).

Aaron Gordon. This season’s highest leaper.

First, a quick detour while I’m talking player rater. Here’s something it teaches us that we should keep in mind. Many people think of rankings as linear. Like, the best player is the same amount better than the 5th player as the 5th player is better than the 9th player. Not so, and we see the difference especially among the top few players when we look at their overall rating. Like with most data sets, there are outliers. That’s these fantasy stars. The top five players with their per-game ratings in each of the past two seasons:

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The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player with only one number. This is not a perfect tool, and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but this is useful to improve and evaluate your team.

In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.

If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.

I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.

And now for Week 3:

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Image result for arvydas sabonis domantas sabonis

Domantas Sabonis had a tough rookie season. He averaged 5.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1 assist, 0.5 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 20.1 minutes per game. The NBA was a lot different than playing the Santa Claras and Pepperdines night in and night out. He needed a break, so he called up pops after the season ended. “Tetis, let’s take a trip somewhere this summer. You good for Fourth of July weekend?” Arvydas replied, “Taip, good idea. It’s been a long time since we went to Gotland. I’ll make the arrangements.” After spending five days lounging at the beach and drinking quarts of beer, Arvydas decided that he wanted to check out some of the old castles littered around the country. “Domantas, you want to join me?” “No thanks,” was the reply. “I just want to relax on the beach.” So off Arvydas went to visit Lojsta Castle, where he wandered aimlessly until he saw a tent with a woman sitting inside. “Come in, come in” she said. Intrigued, Arvydas sat down and marveled at how the tent was able to accomodate his massive frame. “What would you give to be able to play in the NBA again?” she asked. As a man that never got flustered, Arvydas looked her straight in the eyes and replied, “My soul.” On July 6, 2017, Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo were traded to Indiana for Paul George. Is it a coincidence that Bill Walton once said that “he had the skills of Larry Bird?” I think not. Last night, Arvydas…I mean Domantas scored 12 points, grabbed 16 boards, and dished out five dimes in 25 minutes. If the game wasn’t such a blowout, he would’ve put up more numbers. Sabonis has grabbed at least 10 boards in each of the past five games and scored in double-digits in four. He’s also had two games with at least five assists. Remember that stat line from his rookie year? Well, so far, granted in a super small sample size of six games, he’s averaging 13 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 25.8 minutes. Arvydas lives! Now, Myles Turner should be returning soon so Sabonis should cede minutes. But, but, but….he’s likely sewed up the backup center spot and could play alongside Myles at times to give the Pacers an interesting frontcourt combo. What if Arvydas and Domantas really did switch bodies?

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(image courtesy of Courtside Attire)

Ben Simmons became the first player, since Hambone Williams in 1967, to post a triple-dub within his first four career games last night (stat courtesy of ESPN Stats). Freaking Oscar Robertson put up three triple-dubs in his first four career games. GOAT. Anyways, the final stat line for Simmons: 21 pts, 12 boards, 10 dimes, and one steal on 8-for-11 shooting. So this is what everyone’s been talking about! Before he even played a professional game, the City of Philadelphia nicknamed Simmons the “Fresh Prince.” After last night’s performance, it may be an apt nickname but….let’s not completely dismiss the OG Fresh Prince.

Did Ben ever grab the opening tip and drain a half-court shot before his feet touched the ground? Did Ben ever cut across the lane, catch the ball at the left elbow, then scoop it underhanded without turning to face the bucket? And banking it in? Huh? Huh? So, before we go crowning his ass, let’s pay some respect to the OG. I’ll be honest. I had some doubts regarding Ben coming into this year. I did think that he would grab boards and drop a ton of dimes, but would his lack of outside shot hold him down? After watching him play, he can get to the rim at will. He is so long and such a graceful strider that resistance is futile. He kind of reminds me of Giannis in that aspect. Ben has trouble finishing strong, though, while Giannis….uh…uh….oh my…..awwwwwwwwwww. Sorry, I just had to “take care” of something real quick. I also had some concerns that the Sixers would be conservative with Ben. Well, he’s playing 34.6 minutes on average over the first four games. Concern eradicated. He’s shooting 49.1% from the field, grabbing 10.8 boards, dishing out seven dimes, and pilfering one a game. There are no threes in his game with very few blocks (0.3). And he’s turning the ball over three times a game, but Ben is going to improve as the season rolls along. Who’s better? Will Smith or Ben Simmons? Will has a more diverse and explosive offensive game. He straight up clowns his opponents, but gotta knock him for level of competition. I gotta go with Ben here. It’s just no fun playing with Black Holes.

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UPDATED: 10/9/2017

Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:

Image result for it's alive

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Hey basketball nerds. My name is Ringer, one of the new writers for Razzball basketball. I’m very excited to start writing about fantasy basketball. Not like, lose your virginity excited, but definitely more excited than D’Angelo Russell was after getting shipped off to Brooklyn. 

http://gph.is/2pOQ8Kd

Probably about as excited as any team not named Golden State is going into the NBA season, since I think that anybody taking six games from them in the playoffs would be considered an achievement.

I’ve been a huge basketball fan for as long as I can remember and got introduced to fantasy basketball four or five seasons ago. All you need to know about my first year in fantasy basketball was that I drafted Carmelo Anthony with my first pick. Because he got buckets. I lost that league. Needless to say I’ve learned a lot since then.

One of my favourite things about fantasy basketball is the countless draft strategies that people have. There are so many different ways to build a league-winning team. You got the punt FT teams, the punt turnover teams, the guy that doesn’t seem to draft anybody but point guards or big men, and of course, the auto draft team. That team is as likely to win your league as the New York Knicks are to winning the NBA championship because, as you guys know, Yahoo fantasy basketball always has a bunch of guys ranked way above or below where they should be. If they didn’t, why else would you be here? Hopefully, this article will help make sure that your team is at least better than the guy that drafts Joe Ingles before the end of the fifth round.

*Note that these are only guidelines. Grab that player you love if he falls to you. Don’t reach if you don’t have to. Also, these guidelines are for 12 team head-to-head standard leagues, as a lot of things change in bigger leagues or leagues with different settings.

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Whew. 100 down. 100 to go. It’s been a helluva ride, but we almost there. This is where things get really interesting, as it’s a group where some starters still reside, but is mostly populated with bench players. Do you go with a specialist or someone that contributes across the board? Decisions decisions.

Yes! I’m freaking pumped now. Go do your thing right now! I’m going to finish this post then run like Forrest Gump.

If you missed them, here are the links for:

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