In the animal kingdom, lions hang with lions, while gazelles chill with gazelles. Makes sense, as one group likes to eat the other. In the human world, things are a bit more complicated. Humans come in different sizes, shapes, colors, and live in different environments and locations all throughout the world. With that said, a human is still a human. It’s cool to identify with another person or group that has similarities to you, as it brings a level of comfort and security. I get it. But most of the problems of this world arise when we focus on the differences to discriminate and differentiate. When I was younger, I’d often see kids referred to as “sellouts” if they didn’t hang out with kids of their own race. Seriously, who gives a shit? I’m not hanging out with someone just because they are Korean. If said person is cool, that’s all that f***ing matters. So, it is with tremendous angst that I must voice my displeasure for the cat community, which texted me all Sunday about Karl-Anthony Towns. Yes, cats and dogs are basically humans. They think KAT is one of theirs. He’s been meowing and purring for the past couple of years, but on Sunday, a transformation occurred. KAT was howling like a wolf. KAT was playing like the dog that he is. 32/12/2/0/1/1. 12-of-26 from the field, 2-of-6 from downtown, and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Ahh-woooooooooo! KAT is not a sellout. KAT is just a baller. A very, very, very good baller.

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Dinner was done, the kids were in bed, the dog was walked, and I was just about to kick back and finally watch the next episode of Stranger Things Season 2, when my phone buzzed. It was an email from Son letting me know that he had not left the bathroom since happy hour ended at his local sushi joint and he needed me to write today’s fantasy recap. So of course being the dedicated Razzball soldier I am, I let him know that I would add to my assist total and take the rock. It was only after agreeing to write the recap that I realized this was one of the busiest nights of basketball all season, so Son, I want to see a doctor’s note.

I know I have some big shoes to fill, but I will do my best to entertain the masses with a recap of yesterday’s action.

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Howdy basketboys and girls, welcome back to another Saturday recap special. There was a great game last night as Ben Simmons and the Sixers almost cooked Steph Curry’s Warriors. The Sixers jumped out to an early 47-28 lead after the first quarter, but the Warriors did Warriors things and pulled off their own 47-15 rout in the third quarter to take back the lead and put the game away. Simmons had 23/8/12 on 11-for-15 shooting and only one turnover in the close loss. Wow. We knew he was great, but he’s blowing past everyone’s expectations this season. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy basketball:

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Back when I was a youngun and not lazy as hell, I used to play in a pickup basketball game, mostly of men 10+ years older than me. There was an older guy, Lou, who came to play in full gear. Wrist bands, knee braces, slicked back silver hair. He would bring up the ball, run the point, fake passes that fooled nobody, wave his finger around like he was running a play, the whole kit and caboodle. The only thing he lacked were rec-specs. He even hit the occasional flat footer from the top of the key. When Lou scored, the whole place sighed, making the defender feel like shit. At the end of the game, Lou would take off his shirt, wipe down his sweat, make you feel like you’re in a public pool locker room, zip up his nylon jacket, and wish everyone a good evening. He also cursed like a trucker and set the most illegal picks known to man.

Kind of like this guy

Something about Lou Williams reminds me of good ol’ Lou. When Williams comes off the bench, you know he’s shooting, but you can’t stop it. He takes some shots that make you close your eyes, yet, he’s draining them. He plays every game like it’s a revenge game, and his stat line somehow never disappoints. Williams is 17 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.2 3PM per game, shooting 45% from the field and over 90% from the line. Those are useful numbers. It makes no sense to me whatsoever that he’s available in leagues across America. We’re talking about a guy with multi-positional eligibility, who’s been unconscious from all over the floor, especially the last week or so, and he’s not virtually owned. Now, maybe, just maybe, the only reason why I have him as my man pots and pans this week is because I wanted to write about my boy Lou from back in the day, but, please, go out and pick up Lou Will asap, because dude is going Jon H-A-M every, single, night.

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What’s Gucci, sportsfans? It’s ya boy Baids and we’re back again for another installment of the Saturday Daily Notes. What I first noticed was my boy DSJ. It may have been in a loss, but local favourite, Dennis Smith Jr, came through in a big way, hitting a nice little rainbow for 21/5/6/2/2 with only one turnover on 8-of-16 shooting with two threes. He’s one of the most NBA-ready rookies I’ve seen, and I’d probably rather have him over the likes of Lonzo Ball in redrafts. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy basketball:

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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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It’s the third installment of Buy/Sell and I’m already out of prologue ideas. That’s not good. And I’ve just burned the “I don’t have a prologue” prologue. Hmmm, to divert your attention let’s talk about some of the calls from last week. TJ McConnell has been more than serviceable, Lillard predictably started knocking down his shots (shutting down his buy low window in the process), and Moore and Crowder were blah. The controversial Murray pick confirmed his inconsistency scoring. Six, 26, 20, 24, three, nine, and four points in his last seven. I remain optimistic, but the dud against the Nets (one of the worst teams defending the PG spot) definitely hurt. Boogie and the Virgin continued dominating, but I stand by my advice to sell. The best call may end up being Henson who, with Monroe going to Phoenix, has a great opportunity to maintain his value for the rest of the season. With all that out of the way let’s look at our new candidates.

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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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The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player with only one number. This is not a perfect tool, and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but this is useful to improve and evaluate your team.

In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.

If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.

I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.

And now for Week 3:

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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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