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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I’m old enough to remember when a simple “ha or hee hee” sufficed when conveying happiness and/or laughter over the internet. Granted, that was at a time when laughter would literally be heard because phones were strictly for voice communication. What a time to be alive. Anyways, now we are all a bunch of digital Shakespeares. Our expressions are so vast and deep that they require acronyms. ROTFL, IMMD, GTFO, WYSIWYG……Get off my lawn!!! It’s only appropriate that the player in today’s lede is none other than LaMarcus Aldridge. LMA as many call him. Unfortunately, his play the first two years in San Antonio caused many to LMAO! The points, steals, assists, rebounds, and field goal attempts all decreased from the lofty levels of his Portland days. Prompting fans in Texas to yell things NSFW. Then, a funny thing happened over the offseason. Pop sat LMA down and told him to change the O from off to offense. Essentially, turning that frown upside down. Then, the Spurs gave LMA a three-year, $72.3 million contract extension and Kawhi Leonard went down. It’s all LMA Offense now. Every offensive category has shown an improvement from last year. Yes, it’s only been 13 games, but it’s no longer a laughing matter. He’s currently a top 20 fantasy player and last night led the Spurs to victory with 32 points, five boards, four dimes, a steal, and two blocks.

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A capella music is singing without instrumental accompaniment. According to choraldirectormag.com, here’s what’s needed to create an a capella group: soloist, great bass, original music, time together, and momentum. That basically describes the Houston Rockets. Let’s break it down. Mike D’Antoni doesn’t micromanage possessions like some coaches. Things flow naturally. Soloist. James Harden. Great bass, the voice that’s low and powerful. Clint Capela fills that role by battling down low and doing the dirty work on the glass. Original music. Mike D’Antoni’s “Seven Seconds or Less” offense from the Phoenix days combined with the analytics of Daryl Morey equals “Game the Math.” Time together. Self explanatory. Momentum. The Rockets offense in a nutshell. Yesterday’s game against the Indiana Pacers was a microcosm of the synergy they’ve displayed all season enroute to an 11-3 record, with six victories in a row. Harden led the way with 26 points, five boards, 15 dimes, and two steals. Capela provided the base with 20 points, 17 boards, one dime, and one block. Eric Gordon filled his gunner role by hoisting up 11 downtowners. He finished with 21 points, one board, four dimes, two steals, and one block. If this was college, you’d think he was trying to get laid. Trevor Ariza scored 15 points, grabbed five boards, dished out a dime, and pilfered two. He’s Mr. Versatility. Can hit the high, low, and middle notes. Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker provide toughness while still being an offensive threat. It’s going to be interesting when Chris Paul returns to the fray.

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This is a crazy time of year. Halloween just ended and now we prepare for Thanksgiving, which basically means that Christmas is almost here, which signifies the end of the year, but also means new beginnings. Whew….So much. Too much. Last night, though, everything was straightforward, as it was simply a Jrue Holiday. 34 points, five boards, and 11 dimes in 42 minutes. While the calendar year is littered with holidays (Thanks Hallmark), each one occurs once a year. That’s how we should look at Jrue’s year. We know that there will be big games littered throughout the year. Just don’t expect them to occur on a daily basis. Through 12 games, Jrue has a 19% usage rate. Anthony Davis has a 28% usage rate, while DeMarcus Cousins a 33% rate. His numbers are down across the board, except in boards. Ha! The Universe is awesome.

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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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DEFCON is an alert state used by the United States Armed Forces. DEFCON 5 – All good. DEFCON 4 – Maybe I should put the donut down. DEFCON 3 – Oh shit, things getting serious up in here. DEFCON 2 – WTF?! DEFCON 1 – Annhilation is imminent. Entering the 2017-18 season, the Cavaliers were at DEFCON 5. They were coming off a trip to the NBA Finals. LeBron James was still on the team so a trip back seemed like a good possibility. Then, Kyrie Irving was traded to the Celtics in August. DEFCON 4. A move that made donut stuffers think about calories and carbs, but nothing to bring a person to actually throw one into the trash. Through the first seven games to open the season, the Cavs went 3-4. LeBron was putting up 24/7/8/1/1 and shooting 58% from the field in 37 minutes per game. Ru roh. DEFCON 3. Shit was getting serious. Like William Wallace, LeBron stepped up and led his troops into battle. He upped his minutes per to 40 and averaged a ridonkulous 39 points, seven boards, 10 dimes, one and a half blocks, and two steals in the first three games of November. Record? 1-2. WTF?! The Cavs were on the verge of DEFCON 1, but then….Kevin Love found a way. 32 points, 16 boards, three dimes, two steals, and one block in 35 minutes. He shot 9-of-14 from the field and 14-of-16 from the charity stripe. With how terrible the Cavs defense is, Love is going to be needed to step up and help carry the load with LeBron. Can he hold up, though? He missed 22 games due to injury last season. As we all know, Love often leads to heartache.

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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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Image result for kristaps porzingis in city

The five boroughs of New York City are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. But the title says 6 boroughs!!! That was typed by the hundreds of people streaming a live feed to watch me type this post on Twitch. Yes, it’s gotten to that point. Once poker was able to show the cards of the players on television, the game took off to a different level because viewers were able to get into the minds of the players. Same gist. People are now able to see the thoughts and processes that writers go through to arrange the letters of the alphabet into words and sentences so that we can hallucinate lucidly while looking at the screen. Not only that, they get to experience the emotional highs and lows. Ha! Wouldn’t that be some shit? Anyways, the Sixth Borough is located at 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York NY 10001. That’s Madison Square Garden for you non-New York folk. But that’s in the borough of Manhattan. Not anymore. Madison Square Garden is now a city-state like Vatican City in Rome. The Pope is considered the closest living person to God and is the head of state of Vatican City. Who is the pope or mayor of this new borough and what is it called? They call him/it Kristaps Porzingis. Is it a coincidence that he is often referred to as PorzinGOD? I think not. Porzingis went absolutely bonkers last night against the Denver Nuggets: 38 points, seven rebounds, two dimes, and three blocks. 14-for-26 from the field, 4-for-7 from downtown, and 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. He’s scored 30 or more points in five of six games to start the season. He’s crossing over defenders like Kevin Durant, draining baseline fadeaways like Kobe Bryant, and splashing 26 feet three pointers like Steph Curry. He does it all and has an insane 34% usage rate this season. He is the King of New York and will reign over all six boroughs in due time. If you didn’t know, the title to this post was an homage to the Beastie Boys – To The 5 Boroughs album.

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(Image courtesy of brandonspahn.com)

Two days ago, Ben “Fresh Prince” Simmons was the toast of the fantasy basketball world after posting his first career triple-dub. He got the title, picture, and intro paragraph for my nightly recap post. The amount written about him required six scrolls of the mouse. Now, my computer monitor is 12″ in height. I use Google Chrome, so the post without the ad at the top is nine inches in height. Each scroll of the mouse moves the page one inch. That sounds much more impressive than the 387 words I actually typed. Anyways, last night Lebron “King” James reminded us that he’s still one of the best basketball players on the planet. You don’t know how many times I clicked the back arrow. Is he the best or is he one of the best? I initially went with best, but eventually settled with one of the best because Lebron is not blemish-free and there are a couple of players that are in the vicinity. Anyways, 29 points, 10 boards, 13 dimes, and four blocks in 41 minutes of run last night. He shot 12-for-20 from the field and 1-for-2 from downtown. This came against the Brooklyn Nets and he did turn the ball over eight times, though. In addition, 4-for-8 from the charity stripe. Whatever.

Any excuse to post some Run DMC. Now, Lebron may be in store for an epic, epic fantasy season. Key word being may. It’s early in the season, but the Cavs may not waltz through the Eastern Conference this year. Look at the roster. Outside of Kevin Love, who’s getting buckets? Jeff Green? Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose? They will contribute in spurts but can they be counted on consistently? The Cavs just lost to the Nets in a game Lebron went HAM. Granted, it was on a back-to-back. Cavs are now 0-2 on back-to-backs by the way. That just makes the probability of Lebron going bonkers this season even higher. We all know he’s gone after this season. At least I know. This will be Lebron’s Last Stand. On a side note, why is Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer of Custer’s Last Stand so revered and famous? Didn’t he and his men get slaughtered? The FT% will hold Lebron back in fantasy, but the counting stats could be of epic proportions.

Sorry for the long intro paragraph. I just wanted to make sure it was 388 words long.

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