First of all, I want to wish everyone a happy New Year. If you’re just getting into your fantasy basketball season because football is now over, I don’t blame you, and welcome.

I’m not going to sit here and lie to everyone. I am pissed at the Lakers organization. Should I give them another day or two before dumping on their parade? Maybe yes, maybe no. The recently highlighted Ivica Zubac has relegated to DNP duties when JaVale McGee returned from his respiratory infection. I was just trying to think up a good nickname for Zubac. Was thinking “The Tap” (for the “IV” in Ivica), “ZU-LA”, “ViZa” (not to be confused with the credit card), and “Big Z”, just so LeBron thinks Zydrunas Ilgauskas is back in town and lets the kid play. So this is all for naught because it looks like the franchise is opting for the old over the new. With that said, I am holding for a game or two before I cut him loose. I don’t think Tyson Chandler is the key, Zubac should be in the rotation going forward, and I think a night off after his nice run is well deserved. Stay tuned.

As for today’s suggestion, Tomas Satoransky has to be owned. John

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In Latin, Anno Domini means “in the year of the Lord.” Any coincidence that Anthony Davis is the fantasy lord? I think not. AD was the consensus overall number one pick coming into the season, and for good reason. He hammer times and moon walks over the competition by literally doing everything. For the infidels who blasphemously inserted another player on the throne, take a look at last nights line and ponder your unfulfilling existence.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 16 8 3 3 1 0 13/21 6/7

This wasn’t no “Devin Booker score 70 points in a double digit loss” line. This was a “let’s beatdown the Houston Rockets by 19 points” line. Bend the knee.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I grew up before cable television, when a remote control was, “Son, get your ass off the couch and change the channel.” The number of channels could be counted on two hands. So, many of my fond memories were from watching infomericals. Tom Vu was one and will always have a special place in my heart, while the other one was Billy Blanks and his Tae Bo. That was the OG. Seriously, everything now should pay homage and pay royalties to Blanks. Anyways, after more than 20 years, Tae Bo is still going strong. There are fitness centers and classes all across the county and Billy Blanks still has, not only an operational website, but one that looks legit. Which brings me to Zach Randolph, aka Z-Bo. He’s so OG that his friends…in middle school….named him Z-Bo after Deebo. This is his 18th season in the NBA, yet, like Tae Bo, is still going strong. Last night, Z-Bo went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 26 12 2 1 0 4 3/6 11/23 1/2

He played 32 minutes. So, that thing about the Kings going young. Yeah…..Z-Bo has actually played 32, 32, and 28 minutes the past three games. But he did not see the court the two games before that. He’s only a streaming option or a DFS play in the right matchup. He must’ve been licking his lips when he saw that Dante Cunningham would be guarding him last night. He went so OG that he knocked him out of the game with injury. I’m getting all nostalgic and will try one of the Tae Bo workouts. Shit, I shouldn’t have done that. Still effective, like Z-Bo.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I love food. American. Korean. Chinese. Italian. French. Vietnamese. Brazilian. I show no discrimination towards race or culture. There’s a reason why I am now nine quarters, after being a svelt 165 pounds for most of my early adulthood. The only bias I have is towards mayonnaise. I’m dry heaving just looking at the words on the screen. Anyways, so it was with enjoyable delight that Beal Parmigiana and 40-burgers were on the menu last night. Mmm Mmmm good. Delicioso.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 41 12 7 2 0 5 6/11 15/26 5/7

Bradley Beal played 46 minutes and sliced and diced the Thunder D like a Benihana chef. Who cares that the Wizards lost 112-121? Outside of the thousands? millions? that root for the team. Oh, and the folk that layed or took the 5 points. All this talk of burgers and parmigianas is getting me hungry. Enjoy the Top 40 production from Beal while I dig into my pasta with tomato sauce. Slllllllluuuuuuurrrrp.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. It’s a day that many take for granted. Many focus on the fact that there’s basketball all day or that there’s no school or work or something about someone having a dream. MLK day is about celebrating the greatness of a man. Who called out the establishment. Who stood up for the rights of the oppressed. Who wanted to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” The King was truly a great man, which brings me to the King of the NBA, LeBron James. Last night, the LeBrons faced off against the Warriors and lost 118-108. In defeat, James went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 32 8 6 3 4 8 0/2 12/18 8/13

I almost did not make him the lede for this post. There were players that scored more points. There were players that collected double-dubs. There were multiple players who almost messed around. There were players that led their team to victory. I almost overlooked LeBron, but then I came to my senses. Look at that line! It’s freaking amazing. Ok, the turnovers aren’t great but I said he’s a King, not God. Anyways, sometimes we don’t truly appreciate the greatness of LeBron. We hold him to such a high standard that we expect more. The crazy thing is that “more” is usually attainable. Think about that. Anyways, it’s only appropriate that I made the King of the NBA the lede for a post on the day after Martin Luther King day. Both are great, yet both are underappreciated at times. Let’s never forget either.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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I was very surprised when I Googled Triple D’s. Triple D’s Place, a Jamaican restaurant and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Where were the big, beautiful breasteses? We have truly advanced as a society. Anyways, it’s bad if you get a D in school. Mcy D’s is good when you are hungry. How about for fantasy? Double D, DeMar DeRozan, has been a valuable fantasy player for quite some time. He has averaged over 20 points per game in each of the last five seasons. He has grabbed around 4.5 boards, dished out close to four dimes, 211’d around one, knocked down 82% of his free throws, and shot 45% from the field. The two areas that he lacked in were blocks and threes. Well, last night, DD was lighting it up from three-land.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
45 5 3 2 1 2 6/9 13/21 13/15

It’s only appropriate that he shot 6-of-9 from downtown, huh? The Universe is awesome. Now, before you start getting all excited, DD’s season high for threes was only three. On the year, he’s making 0.7 on 2.5 attempts. Well above his career average, but fewer than the 0.8 on 2.7 attempts back in 2013 season. Last night’s game was more than likely an outlier, but we can all dream. I guess that’s the only thing one can do regarding Triple D’s. Unless you like Jamaican food and Guy Fieri.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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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:

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In all walks of life, we yearn for predictability. How long will the commute take? Is it going to rain tomorrow? Will the Big One occur tomorrow (I live in Cali)? What if we could predict the stats for every player on a nightly basis? That would be a good thing, right? Ever do a fantasy draft in NBA 2K or Madden against the computer? How about a fantasy basketball mock draft against the AI? What if your significant other did the exact same routine under the sheets every single time? Life would get boring and mundane. Imagine a world with no surprises. Imagine a world with no highs and lows. Just a living flat line. Fantasy sports would become an efficient market with everyone valuing players the same. I bring all this up because Victor Oladipo‘s career has been anything but predictable. Selected by the Orlando Magic with the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, greatness was expected. And why not? At 6’ 4″ 210 pounds with a 42″ vertical jump, Oladipo had the physcial tools. Judging from his production at Indiana University, he also had the skills. But then life happened. After three seasons in Orlando, the team traded him to Oklahoma City. After one season in OKC, he was shipped off to Indiana for Paul George. Maybe he wasn’t ready. Maybe he didn’t gel with his teammates. There are so many factors to consider, but one thing is certain: He’s found a home with the Pacers. Oladipo is scoring almost eight more points than last year on four more shot attempts, the shooting percentage has increased substantially (from both the suburbs and downtown), the rebounds are up, assists are up, steals are up, and blocks are up. I guess I could’ve just said every statistical category has improved, but I like the dramatic effect of spelling everything out. He’s the 14th overall player right now!!! Anyways, yesterday against the Nuggets, Oladipo played 45 minutes in an OT game and went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 47 7 6 2 1 4 6/12 15/28 11/13

Oladipo Ho! Oladipo Ho! Oladipo Ho!

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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I try not to use the same player twice as the lede for this post. You’d think with over 300 players in the NBA, that wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, teams do not play every day and most of the players are not worthy. Sure, I could write up Nik Stauskas and how he didn’t score, rebound, assist, steal, or block in eight minutes of run. I could go into detail how he turned the ball over twice and picked up a personal foul, but even Momma Stauskas would be like, “I had to pause the curling match for this crap?” So, as much as I try not to use the same player for the lede, sometimes a performance is just too good. Last Wednesday, Devin Booker was The Razzballer after he dropped 33 points on the hapless Bulls. That was nothing compared to what he did to the Philadelphia 76ers:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 46 8 1 2 1 3 5/8 17/32 7/8

Booker started the game shooting 1-for-8. So, according to my handy dandy desktop abacus, he shot .666 the rest of the way. Ahhhh, the Devil lives!

The Wells Fargo Center used to be located at 3601 Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19148. You can now just input 46 Booker St, Philadelphia, PA 00100 into your GPS from now on.

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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?