I would like to dedicate today’s intro to Joakim Noah, who announced his retirement from the game of basketball this week. Noah was a player who based his career solely on defense, but he was an imposing presence in the paint and a great defensive anchor, resulting in two All-Star appearances and a Defensive Player of the Year award. During his two best years in Chicago, he was also a solid fantasy contributor, finishing both years inside the top 20 with solid big man stats plus out-of-position assists. His unique free throw shooting style was also memorable, albeit usually for the wrong reasons.

This week is double for many leagues, counting stats up until the 14th of March, due to the All-Star break. I am really perplexed by the fact that the NBA decided to organize an All-Star game this year, amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, but it will at least be a good chance for players to get a breather and nurse some of their lingering injuries, as they get ready for the second half of the season.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Saddiq Bey and Jalen Brunson have been solid, Jae’sean Tate got fewer minutes than I thought but I still like him, and Saben Lee was underwhelming. If you are losing minutes to Dennis Smith Jr, you are in trouble. But he is a rookie, so he gets a pass. Finally, Elfrid Payton was, is, and will remain a “Sell” candidate with the season he is having in New York and is currently also injured.

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Yep, I’m going to subject you all to my friends and family league yet again. We’re at the midway point of our regular season after today, so I wanted to go back and see where my predictions from the preseason were right and wrong, and which fantasy players are performing better or worse than their average draft position (ADP).

What I hope you can take from this is how to better formulate your strategy in your own leagues, and what seems to work best for people in a relatively average league. Our league is listed as a “silver” league on Yahoo!, which isn’t really scientific but indicates our team levels combined are slightly below the average of “gold.” We have two platinum, one gold, four silver, and five bronze managers. It’s a top-heavy league, which is the case in most scenarios as the people who run the league seem to be far more invested.

Anyways, the below records and rankings are based on if the scores stay the same as they are at the writing of this article. Those are subject to change, but not by much.

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There’s an argument to made for LaVine or Giannis being the lede tonight (spoiler alert: 40 burgers ahead), but I’m going a different direction in my first ever recap. Karl-Anthony Towns returned to an NBA court last night against the Clippers following his bout with Covid. It’s just the fifth game he’s played this season, and while the line is hardly a stunner by KAT standards, it’s just really good to see this dude back on the floor. The impact that the pandemic has had on his family is well documented, so on a human level, it’s wonderful news that he’s back on his feet. Fantasy players will be rejoicing too, as replacing the sheer volume of goodies KAT provides has been a tall order.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 3PT FG FT
18 10 3 1 0 3 2 8/15 0/0

He played 31 minutes tonight, which should quiet some concerns about conditioning. Whatever. He’s here. Welcome back, KAT!

Here’s what else I saw from last night’s action…

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The number 3 is considered a mystical and magical one by many because the Universe is predicated on it. There’s the Holy Trinity. Three little bears. Larry, Moe, and Curly. Past, present, and future. Birth, life, and death. Beginning, middle, and end. Menage a trois. Yummy. Outside of a circle, the minimum number of sides you need to create a pattern is three. Only a third person can break a tie to decide where to go eat. Last night, Fred VanVleet, who has three capital letters in his name and wears the number twenty-three, went H. A. M.

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The Toronto Raptors have finally strung together wins while the Philadelphia 76ers are making statements with wins over the Lakers and the Celtics. After another week of NBA action, the Philadelphia 76ers find themselves on top of the East with a 13-6 record followed by the Bucks, the Pacers, and the Nets to round off the top 4. The Celtics are in the middle of the pack after dropping a couple of games thanks to their absences while the Cavs find themselves still at .500 after some gritty performances and wins. The Hawks are also at .500 while the Knicks find themselves at the 8th seed tied with the Orlando Magic. I think this is how the East will look like moving forwards just instead of the Hawks and the Knicks and maybe even the Cavs it will have the Heat, the Raptors joining the top 8. This means that one of the Knicks or Cavs may find themselves in a playoff spot which is insane to think about. But with this season who knows? The Wizards continue to struggle and Bradley Beal continues to look miserable. Maybe signing that extension wasn’t a good idea huh, Brad? This week, I want to put the Wizards in the spotlight.

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Friday Night Lights are known to bring the best out of athletes. Big-time performances, breakout players, and competitive scores are all things that make Friday Night games the best. On a Friday full of high scoring finishes, franchise record-breaking feats, and careers highs, these games may have given us some of the best performances of the season far. From the Battle of the Ball Brothers to the offensive clinic put on by Bradley Beal and Caris LeVert in losing efforts, the individual performances highlighted some potential All-Star worthy players we all need to keep tabs on. The Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors also SHOT THE LIGHTS OUT in big-time wins where they shot historically well from three. On a night full of great moments, it is hard to sum it all up in one place and really put it into perspective…Oh that is right, I did all that and more for you down below as we look at the NBA’s Friday Night Top Performers!

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I’ve been running the same fantasy basketball league with roughly the same players for nearly a decade now and a while back we converted it into a keeper league. This past Tuesday we had our fantasy draft. We are like most leagues in that there are a few players nearly always on the top and the rest of the league is a mixture of people who don’t care nearly as much or are just novices trying to learn. If you’re in a casual league, it probably looks a lot like this.

One important thing to keep in mind is that this is a KEEPER league, and as such 41 of Yahoo!’s top 50 players were kept and unavailable to be drafted. You’ll see them pop up in rounds much later, in most scenarios, as they were kept on the cheap. It’s a 9-cat H2H league as well with nothing to play for but a trophy we have engraved every season. We added two more teams this season that did not play at all last season and held an expansion draft before the actual draft, and we replaced one manager who decided to focus on his life instead (which is totally okay and encouraged, btw.)

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