It’s been a rough stretch for Lakers fans. The team is 8-15 to start this season and had win totals of 26, 17, 21, and 27 from 2013-2016. Prior to that, though, there was a Golden Age of epic proportions. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1960, the team had missed the playoffs only four times and had fewer than 40 wins in a season just six times (one being a strike-shortened season).

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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.

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Hey y’all. We’re back again, like we never left, with another Saturday Special. Today we’re kicking it off with none other than the Tall Baller From the G himself, Dirk Nowitzki. He had a nice little vintage performance, as he led the Mavericks to a win over the Thunder, going for 19/5/4/2 on 7-for-10 shooting with four threes. Dirk’s no longer a fantasy stud, but it’s nice to be able to show love to one of the greats when they deserve it. Dirk might get sporadic rest days as the season goes on, but he’ll generally be given free reign to do as he pleases while the Mavericks happily tank for a pick. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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Welcome back to another Wednesday Buy/Sell column. I strongly believe that self-reflection is key for improvement, so from now on i’ll be reviewing my calls from last week’s piece. Derrick Favors has predictably improved his play sans Gobert and even posted a 25/0/11/3/0/2/1 gem against Orlando. Since starting at the 5, he is returning fourth-round value and will look to keep it going until Gobert returns. Donovan Mitchell remains consistently inconsistent with his shooting, but all the other stats are juicy. This guy going number 13 in the draft was highway robbery. In other news, Spencer Dinwiddie and his funky name is the best call from last week. Hope you rushed to your wire and got him cause he is averaging 19.3/3.0/3.7/9.0/1.0/0.7/1.0 in his last three games. Ryan Anderson’s sell window remains open as he had himself a great game against the dream matchup that are the Suns. Derrick Rose is still injured and not worthy of a roster spot on your team. I already feel like a better person. Thanks, self-reflection!

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Before I begin, the Razzball site was down all day yesterday. Either the Russians and North Koreans were hacking us or our servers couldn’t handle all the pings from people wanting to read our content. We are flattered by either scenario. Anyways, we just wanted to apologize for what happened and thank you for being patient. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming….

I used to hang out with this girl waaaaaaaaay back in the day. She was not the prettiest girl. She was not the smartest girl, but we could have endless conversations about nothing and everything. And boy, could she dance. If you know what I mean. When I watch James Harden play, I always think about that girl. She did not look like him, you weirdos. Harden won’t dunk on anyone’s grill or make Superman-esque plays. His game is in the subtleties. He waits and probes until he sees a defender cheating one way or the other. Then, like a Viet Cong hiding in the bushes, attacks. And boy, can he shoot and Euro-step. If you know what I mean. Anyways, last night Harden scored 48 points on 12-of-22 from the field and 6-of-11 from downtown. Kobe’s like, “Does not compute.” Ladies, he’s a very charitable guy, as he went 18-of-18 from the stripe. It’s doesn’t end there, though. Harden also grabbed two boards, dished out seven dimes, pilfered two, and blocked one. I am excited, but that’s just a tent in my pants. Now, it was against the Phoenix Suns so there’s that. But how about this? He got busy with Chris Paul making his return with 21 minutes of run.

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It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time for our weekly Buy/Sell candidates. Last week, the Butler actually did it with with two strong games in a row and finally started getting to the line with 23/26 during that span. Hallelujah!!! Hope you capitalized on the buy low window, as it appears to be closing fast. This week, injuries have created interesting opportunities for some players, while the contributions from some of your aging veterans is declining. Let’s look at them in more detail…

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Dennis Schroder scored 28 points, grabbed three boards, and dished out nine dimes to lead the Hawks to a 117-115 victory over the Cavaliers. He did turn the ball over six times and did not accumulate any defensive stats, but we still love him. The Mitchell family still loved their little Dennis, even though he caused mischief whenever and wherever he went. Now, things are looking promising going forward. His usage rate is at 31%, he’s hoisting up almost 19 shots per game, averaging over 21 points, and dishing out six dimes a game. Granted, it was against the Cavs, a team with Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon starting at point that gives up fantasy manna to the position. HINT: play all point guards against the Cavs. With that said, The Menace is a top-50 player and should finish there when all is said and done.

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Image result for tj warrenImage result for bradley beal

Please click THIS. Now listen and let the beat percolate. Do what you do when you get down. Now read this:

It was a twelve-game slate, in the NBA
TJ Warren in DC, had himself a game
He hoisted 22 shots, and made 16
Just droppin’ a 40 burger, like it was no thing

But Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards
Was not going to let number 12 steal his thunder
So he launched 25 shots with no regard for life
And you know what happened next? The 40 burger was matched

Ok, I won’t ruin the song anymore than I need to. Warren also grabbed 10 boards, dished out one dime, pilfered one, and blocked two. This is what I wrote two days ago: The range of outcomes is so huge with Warren. He can play 39 minutes, score 20 points, and stuff the stat sheet OR get 24 minutes of run and shoot 1-for-6 from the field. Enjoy the ride. Man, it’s kind of cool quoting myself. Anyways, Beal grabbed six boards and dished out two dimes as a side dish for his burger. The Stocktonator liked him last night. Speaking of the Stocktonator….

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“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” (H.R.Sanders)

 

The Razzball Commenter Leagues entered into the second week with a lot of interesting matches. Injuries once again played a dramatic role, but that’s a part of the game. Managing those along with navigating the waiver wire were the keys to staying alive and dominating.

Here is how the action went down in week 2 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

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What’s up Razzballers? I have the pleasure of taking over the Saturday Daily Notes going forward. A little about myself: I’m 22, I’m Canadian, I like long walks on the beach, I cannot feel pain, and I’ve defeated a man of every race in formal combat. A medical doctor and two priests have written and signed a document confirming that I have no soul. But you didn’t come here to read about me, you came to read about sports! So let’s get into it. Here’s what I saw yesterday in fantasy basketball:

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