Mondays can be rough for many. Some may be recovering from too many adult beverages, while others may still have the bass bumping in their heads from the clubbing. There are those that went out of town and….are still mentally there. Whatever the case may be, for those that don’t work on the weekends, Mondays are a recuperation and recovery day. Which is apparently what happened in the NBA, as players were scratched left and right, and many others got injured during the game. I’m not saying that the nightlife was the culprit, but I just wrote it so….All jokes aside, yesterday was one of the craziest slates I’ve seen in a while. Below is a list of the inactives:

Pre-game:

John Wall (heel)
Ish Smith (groin)
Kyrie Irving (shoulder)
Gordon Hayward (illness)
Al Horford (knee)
Aron Baynes (ankle)
Blake Griffin (rest)
Reggie Bullock (ankle)
Hassan Whiteside (personal)
Evan Fournier (personal)
Stanley Johnson (knee)
E’Twaun Moore (rest)
Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (neck)
Jamal Crawford (knee)
During the game:

Jimmy Butler (groin)
Henry Ellenson (ankle)
Glenn Robinson III (ankle)
Otto Porter Jr. (knee)
Nikola Mirotic (ankle)
Tristan Thompson (foot)
Lou Williams (hamstring)
Thank goodness tomorrow is Tuesday.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Remember those times when that girl or guy would call or text and mention that the parents were gone? Ooohhh, how I miss those times? I would get so excited. Well, the last two games in Houston, Chris Paul has been a good neighbor and notified the team that he’s out. Oooohhhh, that means it’s James Harden‘s time to get us Harden excited. On the season, Harden is leading the league with a 36.5 usage rate, but when Paul is off the court, that number spikes to 45.8!!! On Saturday, Harden scored 40 points and dished out 13 dimes. Last night….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
54 8 13 3 0 11 7/15 17/32 13/15

A fifty burger with 13 assists and 11 turnovers. That’s truly messing around. Anyways, even with the 5.8 turnovers per game (which leads the league by over 1 per game), Harden is still the #4 player in fantasy. If that doesn’t get you Harden excited, then you’ve got issues I don’t want to subscribe to. Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator was Harden excited, as it had him as the #1 player last night. Now that’s something you can subscribe to.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ok, maybe they didn’t forget him, but Andre Drummond definitely doesn’t get the credit he’s due. He might have gotten lost in a massive 13-game night, filled with double-doubles, but let’s give Dre his due. He’s leading the league in rebounding, going for 16 boards a game, and averaging a career-high 19.4 points.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
9/18 5/8 0/1 23 20 1 3 5 1

I’m not sure what’s more impressive, the 23 and 20 or the 8 combined stocks. Over the past three seasons, Drummond had been averaging 1.5 steals per game (those are guard number!) So far this year, he’s only averaging 0.9 steals, but that is still great for a center. If the steals come back up, so will his fantasy value, but the free throw percentage will always be his anchor. If you punt free throw percentage, Drummond is a clear-cut top 10 player. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I recently met a conspiracy theorist. He seemed so proud and satisfied that he had the inside scoop on so many topics (“You know what’s going on in Cuba, don’t you?”), while the rest of us only know what the government wants us to know. Well, I went down a rabbit hole to which he directed me just for kicks. Wow, there are a lot of crazies out there trying to obtain knowledge that no one else has, regardless of how insane it is. Shout out to Kyrie.

I realized, though, that I can relate. At least when it comes to fantasy basketball. There’s certainly a draw to uncovering a conspiracy and being part of only a small group of people that feels wiser than everyone else. Or, more relatably, being the only person to know a secret. This is how I felt the first time I manipulated a fantasy bball player rater. I was finally confident enough in my Excel skills to subtract categorical columns for punt rankings. I had decided to go all-in on a punt free throw percentage 8-category Roto dynasty team. Removing the FT% category dramatically changes the value of many players. I realized that I could trade players for much more than they were worth to me while acquiring players for much less than they were worth to me. Obviously, the downside was taking last place in a category. But since I was near the bottom in FT% anyway, I only lost maybe 2 points there while gaining something like 7 or 8 total points combined in other categories. The problem in a league like that is that I would’ve needed to get first in nearly every other category to win it all. I peaked at second place.

Yeah, yeah, you’re aware of the simplest of punt strategies. I know. But, aside from overrating rookies in dynasty drafts, this is really what I’m most passionate about: the concept of ignoring categories that aren’t going to help or hurt you.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to keep it pretty simple this week. I’d like to check in on category leaders to help figure out who the best specialists might be this season. There’s a lot of value sitting out in the free agent pool just waiting for you to stream it. Adding and rotating through these category specialists applies in roto leagues when you notice individual categories in which you stand to gain a few points. But, this information will probably help the most in head-to-head leagues where you should be swapping out at least a couple players each week (assuming you can) to customize and maximize your stats in a way that nets you the most category wins against your opponent.

“So… you’re just pasting an NBA stat leaders’ page?” Nope. I’m only going to feature players rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Italicized players are owned in less than 25%. For shooting percentages, I’m using Basketball Monster’s values that are weighted for volume. Next week, I’ll do sorta the opposite and list the punt specialists (value rankings with each individual category removed), as well as the rankings according to some other helpful stat combinations. I’ll leave out the flukey or injured players to save you some time here, as well.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio, played high school ball for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, which is located in Akron, Ohio, and was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, whose stadium is a 50 minute drive from Akron, Ohio. He is the SON that morphed into the King, but no reign endures forever and every SON eventually leaves the nest (two times now for LBJ). When LeBron left back in 2010, the Cavaliers went from winning 61 games and losing in the Eastern Conference Semis to losing 63 games. He did leave behind a couple of SONs, though: Daniel GibSON, J.J. HickSON, and Antawn JamiSON. Barf. Last year, the Cavaliers wont 50 games and lost in the NBA Finals. With LeBron moving to Hollywood, the Cavaliers were 1-11 entering last night’s game. Vomit. This time, though, LeBron left behind a different group of SONs (Tristan ThompSON, Jordan ClarkSON, and Andrew HarriSON), who produced a performance befitting a king last night for a 113-89 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Tristan ThompSON

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
11 21 5 0 0 4 0 5/6 1/2

TT has been en fuego lately, as he’s produced a double-dub in four straight games, has averaged 32 minutes over that span, has hoisted up 11 shots per game, and has been a top 100 player for fantasy! What world are we living in? If you need blocks and boards, this is one reality show you want to subscribe to. Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator must love reality tv because it liked Thompson last night.

Jordan ClarkSON

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
24 5 2 0 1 4 1/4 9/15 5/5

Clarkson is a professional hucker and chucker, as he’s jacked up 13.5 shots in 23.8 minutes on the season. Due to all the recent injuries, Clarkson has been receiving over 28 minutes per game (three games) and has been contributing in boards and assists. Seriously, we are living in a world where Tristan Thompson is a top 100 player for fantasy and Jordan Clarkson is contributing in other categories besides points.

Andrew HarriSON

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
2 2 2 0 0 1 0/2 0/3 2/2

Played 13 minutes. That’s when you know things are going good. Andrew is the forgotten SON because he sucks, but he’s family, so we have to show him some love.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome back Otto, we greatly missed you. After a painfully slow start to the season, and a missed game due to a toe injury, Otto Porter Jr. finally broke out yesterday with a 19/5/6/4/2/2/0 roto gem against the Mavericks. He was featured in the Buy column last week, so I hope you capitalized on the buy-low opportunity and got him at a discount. I have valid hope that he can continue improving due to the attention the P&R between Howard and Wall demands. As for the other suggested players, LaMarcus Aldridge predictably started making more shots and improved his value, Rodney Hood hasn’t really done anything great with his opportunity in Cleveland yet, and Josh Okogie has been OK, but I expect greater things from him with Butler set to miss more games. Finally, regarding the sell candidates, DeAndre Jordan continues making his free throws but I think that will eventually stop, and Wesley Matthews seems determined to prove me wrong because he continues scoring even with Harrison Barnes back. I still believe he is a sell high candidate because Barnes will eventually get back up to speed.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

We live in crazy times, when nothing can be trusted. That tweet? Better check for the blue mark and read the name AFTER the @. That picture or video? With photoshop and other editing software, it can be very difficult to distinguish what is real and what is fake. The boobs or the butt on the girl from across the room? How about a free trial period? Oh geez, that didn’t come out right. A certification of authenticity perhaps? The news? It’s always been used as a tool to further agendas and “inform” the people, but the lack of objectivity and amount of Hollywood-esque manipulation these days make my head hurt. Thank goodness for sports and De’Aaron Fox.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 10 15 1 0 3 3/4 9/13 10/11

Fox messed around last night, but it was all good. Entering last night’s game, the Kings were 5th in offensive pace. Fox has been a huge reason why. Anyways, he can score, grabs a good number of rebounds for a guard (4.6), is dishing out 7.8 dimes, and is shooting 50% from the field. Holla! Not all is good, though. The free throw percentage is only 67%, no threeecolas, and the turnovers are high at 3.3. Fox did shoot 72% from the line last year, so there’s reason for optimism. He’s only 20 years old and this is his second year in the league, so improvement should be expected. Fox is currently the 79th player according to Basketball Monster.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Perplexed by the title of the article? Wondering what the hell is this guy talking about? Perfect. Continue reading to find out how it is all connected to this week’s player. I shall call this “Titlebait” and it shall be the poor man’s “Clickbait”.

I have made lots of Buy/Sell calls in this column throughout the years. Some good (Butler last year), some bad, and some atrocious (ahem…Jahlil…ahem…Okafor). But no player has ever provided a quicker profit than Klay Thompson, who went completely bonkers on the Bulls with 52 points and a NBA record 14 triples in just 26 minutes, and is someone I just happened to highlight in last week’s Buy/Sell column.

We can safely assume that the buy-low window is shut. Just continue admiring the beauty of the GSW system and how they have perfected the art of off-ball screens and cutting without the basketball.

The other Warrior mentioned in my previous article was Draymond Green, who increased his scoring but still has room for improvement. Danny Green and Bryn Forbes have also helped fantasy owners this past week, with Green having an opportunity to hold his value for the rest of the season. As for the Sell candidates, Blake Griffin predictably slowed down a bit, but can still get you a great player in a potential trade (which I advise you to pursue). Danilo Gallinari has been awesome, but it’s all about health with him. Jordan Bell and Jakob Poeltl have done nothing to warrant ownership, even in deeper formats. I blame Obama and the preseason hype for these two.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I try to reserve the lede for players that had unbelieveable games. It usually works out because one of the superstars is always doing something amazing. Every once in a while, though, an outlier happens which pushes all others to the wayside. Last night, we had one of those events, as the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrated their first win of the season over the Atlanta Hawks. Geez, how bad are the Hawks? Anyways, the Cavs are dead-last in defensive efficiency and near the bottom in offensive pace, assists, efficient field goal percentage, and true shooting percentage. Good times. Looking at the schedule, they play the Hawks once more on December 29th. 2-80!!!

When looking at the stats below, make sure you view them in the proper context: they played the Atlanta Hawks.

Please, blog, may I have some more?