Hi folks. I’m going to keep the chit-chat short this week, as this is just a sequel to last week’s punt rankings. Last week, I provided the top 20 players for punt-FT%/FG%/points and some other players that were heavily impacted by removing each of those categories. I also went over the punt-FT% complement players (rated by 3s+assists+steals+points-only). But, I was thinking about how often it’s beneficial to ignore the other categories when making pickups and proposing trades, too. You might be out of contention in a category, or maybe you’re dominating that category to the point that you don’t even need to think about it in future transactions (aside from trading off your surplus). So, let’s look at what happens to per-games season rankings per Basketball Monster when we punt these categories that aren’t often punted intentionally.

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Good morrow to thee, neighbours! It was a fun night for hoops, especially if you’re a fan of mediocre basketball teams! The Atlanta Hawks scraped by the previously decent Orlando Magic and what a matchup it was! A special shoutout goes to Ersan Ilyasova who went for 26/3/4 on a perfect 9-for-9 FG with five threes, 3-for-5 FT. and no turnovers. It was a pretty spectacular game for Ersan. With Dewayne Dedmon and John Collins (and Mike Muscala) all missing from the Hawks’ frontcourt, there’s minutes to go around and Ilyasova is definitely the man in line to take them. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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I’ve got a punt free throw percentage dynasty team that I love so much that I practically cheer for missed free throws. Logically, I know this is silly, but bricked freebies are my brand, I guess you’d say. For those of you punters that can relate, today I’ll give you some adjusted player rankings for the season. And if you haven’t tried a punt strategy, or haven’t been successful with one, maybe this’ll pique your interest for next season.

Last week, I listed the top 20 players in each category as well as the relevant bottom 20. This week, we’ll kinda do the opposite. I’ll remove some categories that you might benefit from ignoring, whether it was part of your plan or you just found yourself uncompetitive in a category that’s not worth trying to catch up in by patching it together at the expense of other categories.

First, free throw punters. I’ll give you the top 20 in per-game value (and others that make big leaps) for 8-category and 9-category with free throw percentage removed (through 12/5). All of today’s lists come from Basketball Monster stat ratings. Keep in mind that you’re not just looking for the worst free throw shooters. Those are the guys that benefit the most from removing this category, but it doesn’t mean they’re the most valuable to your team. They ARE, however, significantly more valuable to a free throw punter than anyone else. So, if you’re at the bottom of your roto league in FT% (or if you never compete in head-2-head), don’t try to just add a couple good FT shooters to fix it. Maybe that gets you a roto point or two at most. Go all in, and trade off some good FT shooters for the guys below, especially those that are cheaper since they benefit the most from punting (in bold) and watch your team gain in FG%, rebounds, and blocks.

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I’m astonished having the Team of the Week, but reviewing the team there are three players in the top-10. Victor Oladipo has averaged a stratospheric 27.0 pts, 5.3 reb, 5.3 ast, 3.3 stl, 3.0 blk, and 58.9 FG%. Giannis Antetokounmpo is Giannis and Kyle Lowry put up 5.5 3pts with a perfect 100% from the line.

Here is how the action went down in Week 7 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

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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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“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

 

In 2029, the planet GJ 273b will receive a message that could change the lives of the inhabitants there. That is, if life does in fact exist. This month METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and the organizers of Sónar (a music festival), announced they had sent a series of missives towards Luyten’s star, which GJ 273b orbits. The message consists of mathematical operations and, of course, music. The team plans to send messages to thousands of other stars. Maybe we can find the planet of Giannis Antetokounmpo. This season, he is averaging 29.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.8 blocks. Since 1973, only three players have done something similar.

Players with 29+ points, 10+ rebounds, 1+ steal, 1+ block in an entire season

 Player  Season  Points  Rebounds  Steals  Blocks
 Bob McAdoo  1973-74  30.6  15.1  1.2  3.3
 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  1974-75  30.0  14.0  1.0  3.3
 Bob McAdoo  1974-75  34.5  14.1  1.1  2.1
 Bob McAdoo  1975-76  31.1  12.4  1.2  2.1
 David Robinson  1993-94  29.8  10.7  1.7  3.3
Giannis Antetokounmpo*  2017-18 29.5 10.5 1.5 1.8

(courtesy: Basketball-Reference)

Luc Mbah a Moute had a +57 in plus/minus against the Nuggets on Wednesday, which marked the highest mark in the past 20 seasons.

Last Friday, LeBron James (the key player in our team of the week), notched his 57th career triple-double. James finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds, 13 assists, and three blocks. Only Larry Bird did so (two times), and without the blocks, only four players in the last 25 years have had 27-16-13.

Player Season Points Rebounds Assists
Draymond Green 2015-16 29 17 14
James Harden 2015-16 33 17 14
Russell Westbrook 2016-17 27 17 14
James Harden 2016-17 53 16 17
LeBron James 2017-18 27 16 13

(courtesy: Basketball-Reference)

It is no coincidence that the Team of the Week had LeBron James on the roster. James was the number one player in fantasy with 26.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 8.7 assists, 3.3 3pts, one steal, and 1.3 blocks during that span. Add Trevor Ariza with 5.5 3pts, Klay Thompson with 4.0 3pts, Aaron Gordon doing well across the board, and DeAndre Jordan with his line and 75% from the free throw line and the result is a Tomahawk.

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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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The Chosen One showed up last night in Washington to restore balance to The Force (The NBA). LeBron is still awaiting the return of his Padawan, Isaiah Thomas, and he made the Wizards look like Younglings in that scene where Anakin massacres all the Younglings. Yeah, I watched some Episode III earlier in the week…Anyway, last night I caught a bit of the NBA action and this is what I saw:

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