Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fear the Bobcat

Say what you want about Larry Brown and his soiled linen of a run with the Knicks, the old goat has really helped mold an extremely talented young Charlotte team into one tough comprehensive nut.  The Bobcats beat the Lakers tonight, sweeping the season series from, arguably, the best team in basketball, and coupled with the Bulls loss, Charlotte has moved to within 2 games of a playoff berth.  It won't be easy, but the Bobcats could very well make the playoffs.  I chuckle when I think about Charlotte going head-to-head with Lebron and the Cavs, but just making the postseason is a great first step for a team definitely headed in the right direction.

In slightly more hilarious news, the Kings played host to the Hornets, and easily the loudest ovation of the night (and possibly the season) came when Vlade Divac made a not-so-rare apperance at half time.  Then Peja emerged from behind Vlade's towering figure, his ailing back/knee/pride forcing him into the NBA's "board room" street clothes, his jaw hanging open slightly more than usual.  It was a veritable who's who of Sacramento lore.  Geoff Petrie said a few words while the Kings announcers pleasured themselves to Youtube footage of the 2002 Webber-era squad.  The crowd was eating up every moment of the halftime ordeal...then the game started up again, and nobody gave a crap.

A nine game night means fantasy impact up the wa-zoo.  Let's get right down to it, with a triple-helping of n.e.r.d. tonight.  Theme: Windows Operating Systems.

Windows XP (I seriously contemplated Windows 3.1 for the top spot, but in the end XP did so much to eliminate freezes that I just had to give it the nod):
  • Wilson Chandler - 3 steals and 4 blocks!  Come on folks, listen to me.
Windows 3.1 (a close 2nd place, the graphical leap from DOS allowed Joe the Plumber (early 90's edition) to get his hands on a computer, and starting booking speedy Drano appointments on a 95 lb. PC):
  • Flip Murray - I'm a bit skeptical myself, but Flip seems to fit right into the Hawks system.  As a team, the defensive side of the ball is priority #1, but Flip provides some instant offense off the bench to jumpstart the second unit.  Should hit some 3's, score some points, and maybe collect a steal or two in the process.
  • Kirk Hinrich - John "please pronounce the 'L'" Salmons tweaked his groin when Luol Deng allegedly greased up his hotel bathroom floor.  Salmons is due back any day, but Hinrich should be solid until his return.  Be careful here, though, as Hinrich could slide back into anonymity overnight.
  • Mike Miller - The starting lineup in Minnesota is one of my top bowel irritants.  One night on the bench, the next back in the starting 5, it's so outrageously unpredictable, I just can't put Miller in the top group.  When he's starting, though, he is worthy of a Windows XP.
  • Rodney Carney - A new name on our fantasy pickup list.  Acquired in a midseason trade, Carney is getting a chance to play for the T'Wolves, and as long as Randy Foye is out, he'll be hoisting threes like they're going out of style.  A specialist, and nothing more.
  • Chris Duhon - Shot the ball poorly, but still managed 11 assists.  Firmly entrenched in the middle tier.
  • Andres Nocioni - The other, other Argentinian (Manu G. and Luis Scola take the cake as Tweedles Dee and Dum) looks like "the man" in Sactown again, though we've seen this before.  If he's playing, he could conceivably combine 3's, rebounds, and defensive stats, but on any given night, the Kings could run 2 or 3 of their other wing forwards onto the court, and Nocioni will lay an egg.  I still like him as a high-upside player if you can determine that he's starting.
  • Steve Blake - Ultra-efficient three-point shooter and distributer.  'Nuff said.
Windows Vista (somehow the programmers felt improving Windows XP meant "add 75 new menus, change the names of everything, and make sure people click "OK" at least 3 times before running any scripts):
  • Hilton Armstrong - For some reason, fantasy "gurus" are telling folks to keep an eye on Hilton Armstrong.  I suppose I'm in the minority when I say that unless you're in a 14-team league (my, what big leagues you have!), there are going to be better options available.  Especially now, when 2/3 of all teams are no longer monitoring the waiver wire.  And don't give me some balogna about the consolation bracket being worth the effort.  Start prepping your baseball team and stop interfering with your league's perfectly good winning teams.
Website of the day - The link I posted a few days ago didn't seem to work too well (with regards to streaming video).  I think I may have found a better one!  Please give this site a try, and let me know how it goes.  I managed to get the Kings/Hornets game on this site tonight, but I want to see if I can locate a page that posts games daily:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Heat: Jordanaires Remix

Turn your mental clocks back a few years to a thrilling time, when Michael Jordan violated the Washington Wizards roster so badly that Jumpman had to return to the hardwood himself, knees 94% filled with various fluids and pride 100% shattered.  There were a few highlights to that team.  One was, of course the nickname that the sports media gave to the team: Michael and the Jordanaires, due to the 11 non-Jordans uncanny resemblance to background singers.  The other notable highlight had to be the two America's Funniest Home Video-worthy ocular balloons exploding out of Popeye Jones's head.

My proposal for the night is to start referring to this year's Miami Heat by a similar name.  No, the Heat aren't starting a Power Forward that could appear at toddler's birthdays without a clown get-up, but if that team could go 10-72 without Dwyane Wade, I'd be floored.  In an herculean effort (reminiscient of Jordan, to be sure, though Michael would have won the game), Wade took 34 shots, and nearly pushed the Heat past Dwight Howard's Magic, one of the toughest teams in the league.  As a point of reference, Dwyane took 4 more shots than the 4 other starters combined, and only 18 fewer than the combined field goal attempts of his entire team.  Ladies and gentlemen: Dwyane Wade and the Back Burners.

Only 4 games on the slate tonight, so we'll go theme-less.  I'll try to make the rest of the player information doubly hilarious to make up for the lack of theme.

Definitely Worth the Effort:
  • Wilson Chandler - When a BAD game is 14 points, 7 boards, 2 assists, a steal and a 3ball, that's when you know you've made it.  I'll work on getting in touch with Wilson Chandler Bing's PR people to let them know.
Maybe You Like?:
  • Chris Duhon - He got thoroughly outplayed by Deron Williams in a point guard match-up that turned out exactly as everyone predicted, but Duhon is rested after taking a week off, and he'll generally get you 10 points, 10 assists, and a couple threes.
  • Mario Chalmers - Hit or miss, that's really the problem with the kid.  Every so often, The Superintendent (of the group formerly known as the Back Burners) will knock down 2 threes and grab 4 or 5 steals, but in between is dicey.  Not for the faint of heart.
  • Ramon Sessions - Like Chalmers, the fluctuating lines can be a bit nerve-racking, but if his teammates are making shots, Sessions can then get a little room to operate himself.  In such cases, 15-7-7 nights are more than possible.
Desperation Heaves:
  • Jared Jeffries - For some unknown reason, Jared Jeffries played over 30 minutes tonight.  Okay, the reason is known -- Larry Hughes sucks.  I know, I'm as surprised as you.  In any case, give Jeffries another look before you waste a roster spot.
Good news for folks in Oakland.  Jamal Crawford, who had been lost in the Castro Valley area for nearly 2 weeks (surviving on mostly berries and small waterfowl), located a BART terminal and will be playing for the Warriors soon.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Road to the Semifinals

The top dogs in most leagues are just now setting their sights back on a trophy after enjoying (or squirming throughout) the coveted "Bye" week, while the lucky few who remain after a devastating quarterfinal match will saddle up for another brutal playoff contest.  I just watched a good friend's team go down in a tear-stained blaze of glory thanks to some unlikely three-point barrages in the Phoenix-Sacramento game.  It's incredible the impact that one game, one shot can have on a fantasy team's future, but such are fantasy sports, much like the real thing, only less sweaty.

Speaking of perspiration, after a slow start, the Cavaliers looked like they could have walked past the Mavericks today.  Dallas is about as inconsistent a good team as the league can offer right now.  One night, they might very well sack up and beat the Spurs, and the next get run out of their home gym by a laughable team sporting a win percentage near .300.  This Dallas loss might be the only thing keeping Phoenix's sputtering playoff drive from expiring.  The Suns have lost 3 straight on the road, getting embarassed tonight in the Land of the Cowbell.  For one fleeting moment, Gavin Maloof heard the sound of birds chirping.

Rather than pour over my weekend choices for last minute runs at various categories, I thought we could return to the normal pick-up list from now until late Thursday night.  Be forewarned that there will be multiple rants throughout the week, as well.  And I'll tell you one other thing -- we are getting darn close to the start of the baseball season.  Continue to monitor your fantasy league page for breaking news on baseball players, and, of course, Rotoworld.com.  Once the fantasy NBA playoffs come to a close, we'll blast into MLB with a full head of steam.

Now the pick-ups, courtesy of our good friends at Parker Brothers, a subsidiary of Hasbro.

Monopoly (the gold standard of all games board):
  • Thaddeus Young - The athletic 76er has learned how to rebound, at least temporarily, which means, tada! he's worth starting all the time.
  • Grant Hill - With the sole disclaimer that he should be BENCHED on the second night of a back-to-back.
Scrabble (much like the players listed below, thought and caution are required):
  • Tyrus Thomas - The defensive numbers are positively outrageous lately.
  • Mike Miller - Back in the starting lineup for the Timberwolves, which means his stat lines should have *cough* more taste while remaining less filling.  I regret typing that already.
  • Ryan Gomes - Kevin McHale tinkered with the starting 5 in Minnesota, but so long as Gomes is playing alongside Mike Miller and they're both seeing 30+ minutes, they are both quite versatile.
  • Glen Davis - Even once Garnett comes back, his minutes will be limited, and Davis should be the chunky PF chomping on the excess playing time.
  • Brandon Rush - Indiana is in the LottoZone, so it's time to bust out the youngsters.  Rush has been inserted in the starting lineup, and is suddenly playing 35 minutes a game and hucking up 20 shots per night.  Could be one of the late-late-late season sleepers, like Ramon Sessions was last year.
  • Spencer Hawes - Available in a scant few leagues due to posting big numbers early in the season, if he's around I highly suggest grabbing him.  Hawes is that rare big man that also hoists a few 3's (though doesn't make too many, even a couple can make all the difference).
  • Jason Thompson - The yin to Hawes's yang, Thompson is the more powerful, but they appear to be working in tandem quite nicely, almost splitting rebounds right down the middle.
  • Jarrett Jack - Firmly back in the starting lineup for the Pacers, thanks to the team's better all-around play when he's on the court.  A very good free throw shooter that doesn't turn the ball over.  If your team is already good defensively, Jack could be a nice low-defense, high-offense complement.
Mastermind (a spectacular board game...for the first 10 minutes):
  • Jared Dudley - He's contributing off the bench for the Suns, but there's no telling when he might post the mysterious 2 point, 1 turnover night.
  • Javaris Crittendon - Mike James is, well, dead to me (and to Wizards fans, if there are any left), but with Arenas playing every other game, Crittendon is the odd man out.
And if you made it to the end of the list, you shall be rewarded with your strategic play of the week:
Set your lineup deliberately.  Do not rush to play everybody.  Start slowly, with only your best players on the floor on Monday through Wednesday.  Then, come Thursday, re-evaluate what you need to defeat your opponent.  At that point, make changes.  Since you saved an extra 4-6 games presumably, you can make up additional ground in the categories you choose.

Feel free to email with more questions, or just post them in the comments section!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Some Bold Predictions, Some Daring

Let's see how I fared, actual vs. predicted outcomes of this fine Saturday's games.  Pasted below is last night's prediction, followed by the actual result and difference.  If I overestimated, for example, I will use the abbreviation -1 to signify that the player performed slightly worse than expected.  Relevant stats only.

Predicted:
  • Joakim Noah - 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks
  • Tyrus Thomas - 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
  • Kirk Hinrich - 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 threes, 2 steals
  • Jarrett Jack - 15 points, 5 assists, 80% free throws, 1 steal
  • Will Bynum - 14 points, 6 assists
  • Raja Bell - 2 threes, 1 steal
  • Wilson Chandler - 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 three
  • Chris Duhon - 10 points, 7 assists, 2 threes
  • Charlie Bell - 17 points, 2 threes
  • Kelenna Azubuike - 16 points, 2 threes, 1 steal
  • Grant Hill - 12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 55% FG
  • Matt Barnes - 8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 three
  • Ronnie Brewer - 11 points, 3 steals, 2 threes
  • Steve Blake - 10 points, 3 threes, 5 assists
  • Rudy Fernandez - 14 points, 3 threes, 100% FT
Actual:
  • Joakim Noah - 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks (-1 rebound)
  • Tyrus Thomas - 18 points, 8 rebounds, 0 steals, 7 blocks (+5 points, +1 rebound, -2 steals, +6 blocks)
  • Kirk Hinrich - 6 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 three, 0 steals (-4 points, -2 rebounds, -1 three, -2 steals)
  • Jarrett Jack - 10 points, 9 assists, N/A FT%, 2 steals (-5 points, +4 assists, +1 steal)
  • Will Bynum - 9 points, 4 assists (-5 points, -2 assists) - Rip Hamilton's return tossed this one in the garbage from the get-go
  • Raja Bell - 0 threes, 0 steals (yikes, did have 14 points and 8 boards at least)
  • Wilson Chandler - 18 points, 9 boards, 2 threes, 2 steals, 3 blocks (+5 points, +2 rebounds, +1 three, +2 blocks - take great pride if you went with Wilson)
  • Chris Duhon - 6 points, 8 assists, 1 three (-4 points, +1 assist, -1 three)
  • Charlie Bell - 2 points, 0 threes (-15 points, -2 threes - a full-fledged sulfur bomb of a game)
  • Kelenna Azubuike - 21 points, 3 threes, 1 steal (+5 points, +1 three - a solid play, indeed)
  • Grant Hill - 19 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 45% FG (+7 points, +3 rebounds, +1 assist, +2 steals, -10% FG - the Suns were solid, fantasy-wise, in their contest tonight)
  • Matt Barnes - 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 threes, 2 steals (+6 points, +5 rebounds, -1 assist, +1 three, +1 steal - overtime never hurt nobody)
  • Ronnie Brewer - 12 points, 2 steals, 0 threes (+1 point, -1 steal, -2 threes)
  • Steve Blake - 5 points, 1 three, 4 assists (-5 points, -2 threes, -1 assist)
  • Rudy Fernandez - 7 points, 1 three, FT% N/A (-7 points, -2 threes - this game with Memphis was over VERY early, but at least Rudy grabbed a pair of steals.  Hope that helped deal with the pain from the Blazers putrid fantasy lines)
All in all, I'm not afraid to say that I'm a rather impressive oracle.  In the tradition of the Ancient Greeks, I think I'm going to chill on my pile of gold offerings with some burning bay leaves, and see how close I get to Sunday's lines.  If you're still looking at who to grab, I have pasted yesterday's pertinent info below.  And as something of a post-script, Agent Zero (Gilbert Arenas) appears to be the world's best player who hasn't been in a game in about 2 years.  If he's available, pick him up, and rock on!

  • Trevor Ariza - 2 steals, 1 three
  • Joakim NoahTyrus ThomasKirk Hinrich - see Saturday
  • Thaddeus Young - 22 points, 1 steal
  • Will Bynum
  • Glen Davis - 14 points, 8 rebounds, 60% FG
  • Jarrett Jack
  • Grant Hill, Matt Barnes
  • Francisco Garcia - 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 threes, 1 steal
  • Spencer Hawes - 12 points, 8 rebounds, 1 three
  • Jason Thompson - 14 points, 10 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block


Friday, March 27, 2009

One, Playoff Weekend

Because the site is still just in its infancy, matters of organization will develop over time.  As lord high commander, I have decided that during all fantasy playoffs, rants, raves and other miscellaneous gobbledegook will be shelved in favor of pure, shimmering fantasy brilliance.  I had gotten into the habit of just listing the best performances of the night, but that isn't necessarily the most important factor come playoff time.  So, on playoff weekends ONLY we will go into "preview mode," and list some exciting players that can help RIGHT NOW, as every one of these players will be active this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, separated by list).  To really test my mettle, I'll even try to predict their relevant lines for the weekend's games -- some stats excluded.

Saturday (you officially have about 90 minutes to pick these guys up before the clock rolls over):
  • Joakim Noah - 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks
  • Tyrus Thomas - 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
  • Kirk Hinrich - 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 threes, 2 steals
  • Jarrett Jack - 15 points, 5 assists, 80% free throws, 1 steal
  • Will Bynum - 14 points, 6 assists
  • Raja Bell - 2 threes, 1 steal
  • Wilson Chandler - 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 three
  • Chris Duhon - 10 points, 7 assists, 2 threes
  • Charlie Bell - 17 points, 2 threes
  • Kelenna Azubuike - 16 points, 2 threes, 1 steal
  • Grant Hill - 12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 55% FG
  • Matt Barnes - 8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 three
  • Ronnie Brewer - 11 points, 3 steals, 2 threes
  • Steve Blake - 10 points, 3 threes, 5 assists
  • Rudy Fernandez - 14 points, 3 threes, 100% FT
Sunday (Highly suggest you see how your team performs Saturday before deciding what you need most):
  • Trevor Ariza - 2 steals, 1 three
  • Joakim Noah, Tyrus Thomas, Kirk Hinrich - see Saturday
  • Thaddeus Young - 22 points, 1 steal
  • Will Bynum
  • Glen Davis - 14 points, 8 rebounds, 60% FG
  • Jarrett Jack
  • Grant Hill, Matt Barnes
  • Francisco Garcia - 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 threes, 1 steal
  • Spencer Hawes - 12 points, 8 rebounds, 1 three
  • Jason Thompson - 14 points, 10 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
Go get 'em, champ.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Masses Have Spoken, Edition 1

Readers of Fantasy Sports, One-a-Day overwhelmingly picked the Lakers to win the NBA Championship, and I have trouble taking issue with the voters' choice.  The Lakers have passed every test this year with flying colors, including snapping the Celtics AND Cavs absurd winning streaks on their respective home floors!  The potential return of Andrew Bynum would be enormous for the Zen Master's umpteenth #1 seed, but no one really knows for sure Bynum's time-table or how effective he'll be if he does make it back.  I've said it in passing, but I honestly feel the Lakers' greatest challenge, right now, is not coming from the Eastern Conference.  The Cavaliers are an amazing team, but unless Mo Williams scores 30 every night, they don't have the firepower to stay with the Lakers.  Currently, the playoff-bound team with the best chance of beating LA in a series is the full, healthy Utah Jazz.  The arena formerly known as the Delta Center remains one of the toughest buildings in the league for road teams (like Denver, though less severe, Salt Lake City is at an altitude), and if the Jazz can get lucky in a road game or two, they've got a shot.  The Lakers swept the season series from both the Cavaliers and the Celtics, and while the playoffs are always a different bird, the Lakers' dominance does have to count for something.

The one-week Poll over on the right sidebar seems to have worked out quite nicely.  A handful of votes, then we'll start a new one up immediately thereafter.  Here is the numerical breakdown for the last poll, before a new one is posted tomorrow:
1) Lakers (50%)
2) Cavaliers (18%)
3) Hawks (12%)
t-4) Magic, Rockets and Celtics (6% each)
7) Spurs (0%)

I can't help but laugh at the Spurs, though it's not as if this poll means anything.  I just wish we had the connections or initiative to take a screenshot of the poll results and paste them to Tim Duncan's locker.  Given Duncan's usual demeanor, I suspect he'd bury the tears deep in his throat, pack up his jersey and take Ime Udoka out for Baskin Robbins to see who can try more flavors.

On the fantasy front, for those still engaged in a playoff run, we have a few names that warrant monitoring from tonight's 3 games.  I want to make a quick point before listing the players.  This is not the time of year to be taking risks with players.  Additionally, if you are competing with a team that is simply LIGHTS OUT in any one category, you may want to think about benching your players that excel in that aspect of the game.  You don't have to win every category to advance -- just the majority.  This strategy may require the benching of a very good player, which is often tough for managers to do, but now is not the time to back down.  To use an example, last year my team was middle-of-the-road in scoring.  I could beat the weak teams and the teams that suffered mid-week injuries, but I rarely came out on top against a good, healthy team in Points.  In the playoffs, it made more sense to bench one of my scorers (e.g. Richard Hamilton), and pick up a player off waivers that could provide a boost in one of the closer categories.  I highly suggest this method as a way for a weaker overall team to defeat a more talented opponent and advance to victory.  That being said, here are the players that can help in a few key categories... make sure to check which days these players are active before dropping someone too early:
  • Rudy Fernandez - 3 pointers - Available in a lot of leagues after missing significant time with nagging injuries.
  • Will Bynum - points and maybe assists - Who knows what's really going on in Detroit with all the injuries, but Bynum is hot right now, and should remain so until Hamilton's return (which may or may not occur on Sunday).
  • Kirk Hinrich - A bit of everything - Still played over 30 minutes despite the return of Derrick Rose.  Hinrich is worth watching, but I don't trust him yet.
  • Joakim Noah - Rebounds and blocks - Due to his minutes hovering in the 28 neighborhood, Noah could have a stinker on any given night, but his intensity and action will usually allow him a few rebounds even on those evenings when Noah decides to lay brick.
  • Tyrus Thomas - Points, rebounds, defense - When he's not in the coach's dog house, Thomas is one of the most valuable fantasy players in the league, combining a very high FG% with a ton of rebounds, steals AND blocks.  Unfortunately, there's just no telling when he might leave a turd in Vinny Del Negro's loafers and ride the pine for 3 straight games.  Still, could be a late-week answered prayer, and I would never stop anyone from deploying him.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Doc Rivers, Overprotective Mother

I'm just waiting for the rumors to surface that Doc packs Paul Pierce a sack lunch on game days.  A nice PB&J, maybe a banana, definitely a Capri Sun, and a loving note.

As an LA guy, I can't bring myself to truly like the Celtics, but I'm betting I can build rapport with Celtic nation with tonight's assessment of Doc Rivers.  Enough is enough, Dr. Rivers, if that IS your real degree.  Your team is, to a certain extent, flailing, and with this evening's tough loss to the Magic in the books, the Celtics have fallen into a tie with the aforementioned Orlando Sleight-of-Hand (it's an illusion, Michael).  Rivers has repeated over and over that he'd rather sacrifice home court to be at full strength come playoff time, but after watching Boston play to the tune of a 2-4 road record in March, I'd say it's time to abandon "stay the course."  Might I suggest the alternative of strategy B - "win the game?"

Kevin Garnett has only been allowed to play around 16 minutes per game since coming back from his rather serious injury.  Yes, playing KG for 40 minutes does increase the chance that he reinjures his leg, and puts him at greater risk of suffering an auxiliary injury, but this is Kevin Garnett we're talking about, not Marcus Camby.  Of Garnett's 13 prior NBA seasons, the Big Ticket has never, and I'll pause to let your mind begin to wrap itself around this, NEVER, missed more than 11 games.  I'd offer the rather mundane commentary that Kevin Garnett isn't terribly injury prone, and the slightly more absurd corollary that he'd probably play through a torn ligament if it meant his team would win.

As a final thought, if the Celtics do fall behind the Magic, they'd be forced to play Philadelphia in the first round instead of the reeling Pistons, the Magic without home court in the second round, and the Cavs on the road in the Eastern Conference finals.  A cake walk, right?

The Playoff Pickup List continues...

Perform untold acts of masochism for:
  • Thaddeus Young - ...if you need points.
  • Wilson Chandler - ...if you need fair all-around game.
Keep an eye out for:
  • Andray Blatche - The battle for the center spot in Washington may be leaning the way of the Blatche.  The entire Wizards roster is so darn pathetic, if Blatche is merely IN the game, he should factor into the box score.  It's not like he has anyone to defer to, aside from trick-releaser Antawn "Don't Call me Anton" Jamison.
  • Udonis Haslem - Oh No Udon('t)is had a pleasant little double-double, but still isn't a factor defensively.  If you need a one-day rebounder, Haslem could be useful, but he is certainly not a long-term option.
  • Jeff Foster - Troy Murphy is hurt again, and Foster, a soaring rebounder, will make with the glass-crashing until T.R.O.Y. returns.
  • Chris Duhon - Believe it or not, after a top-30 start to the season, Duhon's recent slump led to quite a few teams letting go of the Knicks point guard.  Mike D'Antoni wants Duhon playing 40 minutes a game, and when he does, he's darn close to a double-double, points and assists.
  • Matt Barnes - A must-have two weeks ago, Barnes dropped off when Grant Hill's foot healed.  May be finding his stroke again, and if he gets hot, could contribute in a variety of tough-to-find specialty categories (3's and steals, namely).
  • Ronnie Brewer - Was playing through some tendinitis, but had a very nice multi-cat game tonight against the Suns.  Phoenix will do some statistical inflation, but this may be a sign that Brewer is getting right again.
Smite:
  • Charlie Bell - What's a Buck worth, these days?
  • Anderson Varejao - Zero consistency.
  • Mike Taylor - One decent game against the Knicks, with overtime.  Do it again and we'll talk.
Err - I hate to think I am the only person seeing these advertisements for cellulite treatment.  Makes me laugh every time I load the page.  

Also, nice work in the NEW SMACK ZONE to those of you who not only located but also posted.  If you're on the prowl, check the right sidebar about half-way down the page.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Made a Promise

To everyone that I would post every day, but I'll be quite clear that flying east across this fine nation, while advantageous with respect to the jet stream, is not at all conducive to following sports.  I may also rethink booking future travels with a layover in Chicago.  It's a truly gorgeous city from the sky when the sun is shining down, but when the wind and rain howl across the tail of a Boeing 737, it makes you glad you forgot to eat lunch.  Next time, Sky Harbor shall be my layover home.  On the ranting and raving side of things, this may be that one day every not-so-often that I may need to lean on the readers for commentary, since all I'm getting is a box score recap.

From the looks of things, the Lakers handled the Thunder, perhaps riding the tidal wave of momentum they built during an heroic 4th quarter comeback, and subsequent stomping of the Chicago Bulls.  The Bulls won, too, as a side note, and have taken firm control of the East's final playoff spot.  They're still not very good, but from the looks of things, can get about as hot as any team in the league on the offensive side of the ball.  Defense needs a ton of work.  Poor Detroit was just starting to put things together when Hamilton went down.  They're clinging to the 7th seed, Chicago breathing down their necks.  Rip needs to double the dose of Bengay on his ailing groin.

As this post makes its way from my fingers into cyberspace, Utah is in the process of extending their home win streak to 13.  I figured they'd probably win this game, but not with this much ease.  The Rockets poor shooting finally caught up to them when they ran into a team that can out-execute solid defense.  Jerry Sloan's been there before.  Shane Battier was forced to take a few shots tonight -- he made a couple, but it looks like Utah's defensive gameplan worked out just fine in the long term.  If Utah's younger players can figure out how to make ball go in hoop on the road, they may be the one Western Conference team that has enough firepower to compete with the Lakers.  I didn't say they'd beat 'em, but it would be a better playoff series than Lakers/AnyoneElseInTheWest.

Painfully slow day on the fantasy front as well, just a pair of players on the "Watch List":
  • Will Bynum - Anybody playing off the bench is subject to some pretty substantial stat fluctuations, and Bynum is a prime example of just that.  If Rip Hamilton returns soon, which looks to be the case, then Bynum will fade off the radar.
  • Kirk Hinrich - He has been a fantasy star before, but will likely contribute only until Derrick Rose returns, and he's just day-to-day.  If you think you can squeeze Hinrich onto your roster IN CASE he starts on Thursday, be my guest, but you better not be dropping anybody worthwhile.
Tomorrow, back to full strength on the betting front, as I'll be getting the EST jump on the Vegas line in the early a.m.  Should be able to catch a few of the eleven whopping NBA games on the docket.


Monday, March 23, 2009

The Big Svelte

The Smack Zone returneth!  Now ANYONE can post in the live chat window.  Scroll down just below the Daily Wager zone and make your presence known.  You can also see if anyone else is on the site, ready to return your Smack ten-fold.

The fantasy NBA playoffs are rocking along at full tilt, but the only thing I cared about tonight was finding a live stream of the Suns-Nuggets game online.  I was able to eventually stumble onto a decent webcast (all things equal, my budget of $0 means any webcast would do) at the following link:


I'm not positive if readers of this blog can access future games at that site, but TODAY at least, it was instant access to some generous fellow's subscription to NBA League Pass.  Probably not on the level, but it beats the hell out of paying the $200 annual rate.  Give the page a try (it's not an ad, I don't get a dime for it), see if it works, and maybe we'll all be much happier for it.

Back to the task at hand, though, and that is celebrating the suddenly-re-relevant Phoenix Suns.  I can't help it; despite their inability to make one stinking free throw (and make a winner out of our daily wager), the Suns, maybe more than most other teams, deserve good things.  Year after year the San Antonio Spurs either broke their hearts (or sterna -- dictionary.com claims "sternums" is also acceptable, but that seems like the cheap way out), or goaded the Suns into unbelievable suspensions.  

Tangent - doesn't it seem like it's time the "players off the bench" rule was amended for certain situations?  Maybe have the league review the tape, as they do when players decide teeth need to be extracted, and players rushing off the bench can be doled out a range of punishments, rather than a blanket suspension.

Back to topic -- it's high time Steve Nash led the Suns into the playoffs, met the Spurs, and served a double helping of face-bash.  This is the year to beat the Spurs, too.  They're beginning to look old, and you know they'll find a way to score some young talent soon.  As we speak, Gregg Popovich is selling his beard for some additional salary cap space and a bottle of Proactiv.

Playoff pick-up time -- because anything less would be uncivilized.  A simple theme, so as not to confuse during a very important time of year.

Eagle (two under par; quite impressive, old bean):
  • Steve Blake - I've been touting Blake for a few days straight, and, for what it's worth, Rotoworld just finally got around to mentioning him as a potential pick-up.  That's unacceptable, and frankly I think they're spreading themselves too thin.  Still, for up-to-the-minute news on injuries, that's your place.  Blake is jacking up 3's at a remarkable rate, and even though he made only 3-of-12 tonight, anybody shooting TWELVE 3-pointers in one game (albeit one overtime period) is ready to lift your team to victory.  He is also quite adept at taking care of the ball, and has top-5 assist-to-turnover ratio upside.
Birdie (nice approach):
  • Grant Hill - The only reason Grant's not in the "Eagle zone" is because he doesn't shoot the 3-ball.  Posting double-digit points nightly, and handles the ball when Nash is resting.
  • Wilson Chandler - Duhon's minutes are ramping back up, but Larry Hughes is out now.  Chandler is a rather odd combination of points, rebounds, and 3's from the SF position.
  • J.R. Smith - Dropped one rank out of the top tier, but still starting and will get his fair share of shots nightly.  Lackluster defensive effort tonight, though, against a Suns team that is already prone to the turnover.
  • Kendrick Perkins - People still aren't listening to me on this one.  Kevin Garnett's return may actually help Perkins, since he can go back to enforcing and leave the lateral movement to KG.
Bogey (be careful when you launch your 6-iron):
  • Flip Murray - Atlanta had this game in hand by halftime, and Flip got a few "gar-bazhe" minutes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Brass Tacks Sunday

I'm afraid tonight's article will be slightly more brief than usual, due in great part to March Madness, and due at least some degree to the lack of NBA betting picks.  Obviously, hindsight is crystal clear, and I should have gone with my gut on Philly to cover in Sacramento for today's only line, but here we are.  I just couldn't bring myself to pick winners in these Sunday games, which, for the most part, featured games that were about as compelling as watching a dog make friends with a fire hydrant.  Clippers-Raptors and Thunder-T'Wolves were my personal favorites.  That right there is 96 minutes I'd rather spend getting a root canal from a cage fighter.

The Rockets did beat the Spurs in a battle for the division lead, and one of the teams almost broke 90 points.  Shane Battier deposited another "No-Stats, All-Star" performance with 6 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 33 minutes.  I suppose you truly must be an incredible basketball superstar (and bordering on clairvoyant) to stay THAT far away from the ball itself for nearly 3 quarters of a game.  I feel the only comparison I can draw that truly elucidates The Shane's perfection is to a standardized tester who scores below zero.  The law of averages states that a guess on every question would result in no points, but if you KNOW the answer to the question, as The Shane clearly does, you can consciously avoid it and become a champion.  

I'm also in a bit of a foul state, as, for the second consecutive year, I missed my fantasy baseball draft due to a prior engagement.  I really couldn't ask for a better time than Sunday evening, so it's no one's fault but my own for not looking ahead.  As I was saying to one of the site's regular readers, if I can take this baseball team to any kind of trophy, be it lustrous gold, shimmering silver, or rusty trombronze, I'll be pretty pleased with myself.  In an effort to promote the site (and save face!), I will enter an additional league (possibly public) with the express purpose of not looking like a jackass.

But enough bellyaching, let's make some fantasy.  In the greatest stretch of the century, tonight's theme...letters!

"S" (So curvaceous, there's not a flat spot to be found; also pluralizes just about everything, which is straight bad):
  • Rodney Stuckey - Returned from injury and clobbered over the weekend.  Get him and start him whether or not Rip Hamilton comes back this week.
  • Spencer Hawes - Really coming into his own now that Brad Miller is out of the picture.  The team around him still smells of elderberries, but despite the losses, the up-tempo style will lead to nice fantasy numbers.
"M" (A complex letter, large in both size and stature.  Holds down the midpoint):
  • Steve Novak - Laid an egg on Friday, but bounced back with a 3-for-4 night from downtown earlier this evening.  As I noted before, if you can deploy Novak in a high-scoring game, he could push you over the top in 3's for the week.
  • Keyon Dooling - Still an injury play with Devin Harris out.  Keep checking Rotoworld.com for updates on Harris's health, and if Devin's laid up on any given night, run Dooling out there for some nice across the board stats (minus blocks).
  • Francisco Garcia/Beno Udrih/Jason Thompson - It took some time for the lineup to shake out, but now that we're getting a clear picture of the Kings' main 5, they all appear to be fantasy relevant (much like all 5 starters in Phoenix).  Definitely give some serious thought before using this feisty litter against good defenses, but they'll be nice plays against offensive-minded opponents.
"H" (A letter without a true sound, just forcing its users to exhale; especially troublesome after an Outback Steakhouse "Bloomin' Onion"):
  • Hilton Armstrong - Do not be fooled by the double-double.
  • Aaron Afflalo - He may be good some day down the line; he certainly has the athleticism for it.  For now, though, he is merely benefiting from a berzerker barrage of injuries in Motown.  And even then his numbers aren't that impressive.
Picks at 10am tomorrow!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

May The Best Team Win

This was one of those rare days of NBA basketball where only one underdog got the best of their marginally more talented opponent.  The four best teams in the NBA all played tonight, and all four won, though not without some drama in Chicago.  The Cavs clobbered the surging Hawks, Orlando and Boston were fortunate enough to have games scheduled with a combined 45-93 opponent's record, but Los Angeles was forced to exert some effort.  Their second half dominance deserves some credit, but perhaps lost in the shuffle is the fine recent work of Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro.

I was as skeptical as the next guy when Chicago brought in ol' "Vinny of the Black," and it seemed like he was about one loss away from joining me in unemployment when the Bulls made a key trade with the Sacramento Kings.  The last 2-3 years of trades will surely be marked by the Lakers' repeated fleecing of the Memphis Grizzlies, but this Bulls/Kings trade was a fairly spectacular blunder by the increasingly desperate Maloofs and their imploding wallets.  For those unaware, Sacramento is currently mired in a painful (and frightfully absurd) battle for a new basketball arena.  For a city as devoted to their basketball team as Sacramento, an arena should have been much easier to acquire.  But, as we all know, the economy is poor, the Maloofs are about as patient as two Mark Cubans, and the Kings were losing.  The best course of action?  Ship out John Salmons and Brad Miller, your team's best defender (and second-leading scorer) and one of the top-5 passing big men in the league for Andres Nocioni: "itis" edition, Drew Gooden's expiring contract, an 8x10 glossy of Ike Diogu, and...Cedric Simmons?  Yikes.  The next logical question, following a full assessment of this trade would have to be, "Will Vegas get a football or basketball team first?"

And some final food for thought.  Phoenix, now beginning to play with some urgency, is 4.0 games behind Dallas for the Western Conference's final playoff  spot.  Is there enough time left, and enough gas left in the Big Oil Tanker's reserve?

Saturday pick-up time, theme: flavors of medicine.

Grape (the best by default because it doesn't taste like "medicine"):
  • Trevor Ariza - Points, 3's, and a robust sack of steals, all without turning the ball over.
Minimal (sometimes described as "honey-lemon," I'm convinced a factory worker just cried in the blend):
  • Tyrus Thomas - Played over 40 minutes for the first time in ages, and posted certifiably succulent numbers.  Maybe this game will light a small campfire in his belly.  Pick him up, bench him for one more game to get a good look, then decide.
  • Jarrett Jack - He had been spiraling, but apparently a head-butt from T.J. Ford was enough to get the motor going.  An evening like tonight should be enough to earn him another start.
  • Steve Blake - Don't say I didn't warn you.  It was clear he was getting his stroke back, and tonight's half-dozen 3-pointers will probably catch the other managers' attention.  You may still have a few minutes to pick up Blake, and I suggest you use them wisely.
  • Joel Przybilla - Greg Oden is playing hurt, whether or not he wants to admit it, but Portland keeps winning.  I've been working hard to come up with a Godzilla joke, but the best I can do is to spell it all crazy-like.  Is Gdzoilla funny?  I guess not...
  • Wilson Chandler - Larry Hughes hurt his toe, so Chandler should get even better.  But "even better" in Knickglish might still offend your senses.
Cherry (does sucking down the grossest crap in the universe really make diseases go bye-bye?):
  • Glen Davis - A career night is a fine accomplishment and all, but Garnett's minutes are ramping up, and Kendrick Perkins is holding down fort at the 5.
  • Ramon Sessions - I'm afraid it may officially be time to cut bait with Sessions.  All the playing time is starting to catch up with the youngster.  Be aware, though, that once he develops the stamina to last an entire NBA season, Sessions will be a top-50 player.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Team Basketball

I officially hit my breaking point for putrid shooting and 23 second possessions being mislabeled "team basketball."  The San Antonio Spurs style of play, for instance, is not "fun" or the "prototype for winning basketball."  It's old and slow.  Sure the team wins; they have the best power forward in basketball, and perhaps one of the best ever.  But taking 16 seconds to feed the ball to Tim Duncan on the low block isn't "good execution," it's delaying the inevitable.   Truly, this team could benefit from, as Bill Walton once hilariously suggested could exist, the Robert Horry Post-Entry Pass Instructional Video Set.  If you're going to run a play for Duncan, run the play already!  The Lakers get the ball to Pau Gasol in the post in 6 seconds, are an incredible passing team, and play games that don't conjure images of WWI.  And just so I don't get unfairly pegged as a Spur-hater, I can't stand Rockets games either.  At least with Houston, though, I don't have to watch Bruce Bowen dry hump his opponent, then complain that his unique "hip thrust defense" isn't a foul.  I will give credit where credit is due, though.  The Pistons recent championship teams were running intricate plays on offense that took more than 2 seconds to develop.  They get the coveted reprieve in tonight's rather needless rant.

Golden State won again, now 11-8 with Monta Ellis.  I have absolutely no clue what sort of lineup Don Nelson is going to play on any given night, but it's beginning to look like the rookies are making some small strides.  Very small.  I must admit, though, I remain slightly partial to Don Nelson and his rugrats.  The up-tempo style of offense and the adrenaline pumping intensity that the Warriors brought into the playoffs two years ago was reason enough to watch basketball for the next five seasons.  Plus, Don Nelson remains the only head coach I've heard do an early afternoon interview while drinking a Miller High Life.  Ah, the finer things.

On the daily wager front, a solid 2-1 day moves me back above .500 since the conclusion of my 7-game win streak.  Not a terribly impressive 5-4 over the last 4 days, but if you took every bet over that range, you're still up approximately six-tenths of your average bet.  Due to the incredibly high volume of games today, I secretly put together an 8-game progressive parlay.  My rollercoaster ride was really more of one big hill, and one big drop, as I nailed the first 5 picks, then missed the final 3.  Will I learn my lesson?  Probably not.  One of these days fortune is bound to smile upon me (or you).  This may also be why I let loose on the Spurs and Rockets, two of the three teams that failed to orchestrate a pro-me outcome.  Screw the Nuggets, too.

You may notice some omissions from the pick-up list tonight, but with the massive game slate, I had to narrow it down to the top few in each category.  Theme: midday programming.

Law and Order (the true top dog of the 2pm lineup.  McCoy is sure to impress):
  • J.R. Smith - He doesn't play again until Monday, but with tonight's career-changing effort hell officially froze over.
Home Improvement (who among us hasn't been saved from a painful viewing of any tri-syllabic Steven Seagal movie by Tim Allen, JTT, and big Richard Karn?):
  • Jason Thompson - A few solid games in a row has secured Thompson's tier-two position.  He's a big-ish player with good athleticism who will (generally) get points and rebounds.  Also, steals seem to come easier than blocks for Thompson at this point in his career.
  • Wilson Chandler - Still starting, though New York is slumping badly as a team right now.  Maybe grab him, bench him until the Knicks fight through this team-wide disaster, then fire him into your lineup.
  • Kendrick Perkins - With Garnett back, Perkins can take over his rightful position as enforcer.  Expect high FG%, good rebounding numbers, and top-10 blocks the rest of the way.
  • Chris Andersen - His minutes will fluctuate based on the competition, but against younger, less controlled teams (like the Wizards tonight), Andersen should see nice run.  Rumor has it if Andersen can make it through the entire season without getting suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy he will get a tattoo.  Just hang on for another 2 months, Chris.  The ROOR and Xbox will still be there in May.
  • Samuel Dalembert - Inexplicable why it took Dalembert 4.5 months to start playing.  Too damn bad I dropped him after 4.2.
Malcolm in the Middle (Married with Children without the funny):
  • Will Bynum - The injuries in Detroit are really piling up, but that's no reason to pick up Bynum.  In fact, based on the surname, it's just a matter of time before Will ruins one of his knees.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today Was a Good Day

Thursdays generally make my life a little more difficult, since there are rarely more than 3 games.  It does, however, give me a day to either celebrate or rue the various happenings related to this website.  There isn't much else to cover, sadly.  I just watched the Warriors turn the ball over on 4 consecutive possessions.  And we're not talking about the Lakers' suffocating defense forcing mistakes, and getting hands in the passing lanes.  These were passes that appeared to be fired out of a potato gun.  D.J. Mbenga and the Lakers cheering squad should be finishing this game, but knowing the Lakers' tendency to take their foot off the accelerator, this will probably come down to the wire.

For those who gave up on me after my 1-3 wagering day, shame on you!  Atlanta squeezed by the (-6) line and beat Dallas by 8, also holding the Mavericks to just 15 points in the 4th quarter.  And that was how we got back on track.  I feel we all owe the Hawks a debt of gratitude.  Maybe if we have a schoolteacher reading the site, they can convince their 3rd grade class to write letters to Joe Johnson.  They might actually get a real response, instead of the disappointing letter I remember opening, just a short 3 months after mailing my state Senator.  I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure the secretary that handled my letter didn't even bother to correctly spell my last name.  Tell me it wouldn't be a much better lesson for a bright, young lad to get a partially intelligible handwritten memo from the Hawks star guard.

Also worth celebrating is the fact that there are, apparently, about 25 alternatives to Google Adsense floating about on the internet.  This has pleased me to no end, and readers can relax in the knowledge that the quality of posts will only increase.

Please do continue to tell others of the site, comment on posts, and invite folks into the associated facebook group.  The more, the merrier; more participation in the site from the readers makes maintaining the page a hoot!

'Tis time now for the pick-ups.  I was all jazzed to launch into a succulent theme, but then realized that there aren't any "Must-Adds" today, just "Mid-Tier" filler, and a few "Drops/Ignores."  I will instead turn to my auxiliary theme: binary.

1
  • Joel Przybilla - Greg Oden is playing again, but Przybilla seems to have worked himself into a nice 30 minutes per game groove.  I would pause for a moment before adding him, but at this point, Przybilla still seems like a safe bet.
  • Steve Blake - Portland's starting point guard is rounding back into early season shape.  He was, for a while, one of the most consistently decent guards in the league.  Blake will rack up between 6-9 assists every night, and hit at least a 3-pointer, often more.  Won't drastically alter your team's make-up, but if you give Blake 3 or 4 starts in a given week, he could put you over the top in two categories without hurting you in the others.
  • Trevor Ariza - May even steal your heart, if you would just let him.  Since moving into the starting lineup, Ariza has posted 2, 4, 3, 2, and 3 steals.  He'll make a handful of 3's, and doesn't turn the ball over.
0
  • Travis Outlaw - Just not helpful enough to warrant a roster spot.
  • Ryan Hollins - Erick Dampier, right on cue, got his double-double and then decided enough was enough.  Doctors are working around the clock to rebuild him, and in the meantime Hollins will deliver Dampier-like fantasy lumps of coal to owners worldwide.

ESPN's Pile of Money

Somewhere in Bristol, Connecticut, 4 men in sport coats are stepping back from the ledge, and calling their favorite escort service.  Let us travel into the world of the Leader in Sports...

It's 6:55pm EST, and it's clear that our early game will not contain Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, or Kevin Garnett, and the viewing audience will be trimmed to Mario Chalmers' immediate family.  Things look pretty bleak.  I wonder if those rumors about pop rocks and cola are true.

And then Boston and Miami went into overtime, Paul Pierce decided he didn't need to fake an injury to steal the spotlight, ESPN aired a few extra advertisements, and it was good.

Now it's time for a sure winner: Rockets and Pistons.  But wait, what's this?  A nearly unprecented exhibition in shooting futility?  We're on pace for a 72-64 Rockets win?  That overindulgent schmuck Mike Tirico is going to spend a solid 4 minutes lauding everything about Shane Battier but his privates?  How far down is it from the 12th floor?

And then Detroit and Houston went into DOUBLE overtime, Yao scored 31 points between bouts of diarrhea, ESPN aired a double-few extra ad spots, and it was good.

Will TNT be as lucky tomorrow, and will it matter?  

*UPDATE* GOT NEW ADS ON THE PAGE!  I'M SO PLEASED.  No thanks to Adsense.

Now, the quick picks, sans-theme.  No sense convoluting my already insane style.

Top Shelf!
  • Antonio McDyess - There's no way he's still available.  This is officially the final notice.
  • Rodney Stuckey - A lousy shooting percentage against Houston tonight, but his 21 and 10 night is tough to whine about.  With Rip Hamilton out, Stuckey should put up monstrous lines.  With Hamilton back, he should still perform at a high level.
Middle Shelf?
  • Jason Thompson - Like most youngsters, his numbers will fluctuate.  This appears to be one of those upswings, so I suggest milking Jason with all of your might.  He'll be solid for rebounds, defensive stats, and maybe some points.
  • Kendrick Perkins - He may lumber like a freakishly athletic zombie, but when healthy, he can bump and bruise with the best of 'em.
  • Joel Przybilla - Rebounds and blocks, same as usual.
  • J.R. Smith - It's about darn time J.R. accepted his rightful place as a 3-point specialist.  I'm still not convinced it will last, but if you're in a daily league, you can take a chance and use him against the league's most pathetic defenses.
  • Grant Hill - It does at least appear as though Grant is healthy again.  Unfortunately, he's now taking a large bite out of Matt Barnes's numbers.  With Leandro Barbosa hurt, both should provide adequate value in the high-scoring Phoenix offense.
  • Steve Novak - Maybe the best 3-point shooter in basketball.  Canned another 6 3's tonight in a rare Clippers victory.  He could potentially win you the category singlehandedly right now, as Novak has hit 21 threeballs over his last FOUR games.  Yowza!
Ignore/Dump
  • Keyon Dooling - Devin Harris replacement factor.
  • Nick Collison - (Scratches head)
  • Kwame Brown - That is, unless you enjoy having your underpants yanked over your head.  Yes, I'm implying that picking up Kwame Brown is the equivalent of giving yourself an atomic wedgie.
Well, I thought perhaps we escaped the dreaded "off night" over in the Daily Wager zone, but it appears I was wrong.  Last night's break even effort was just a prelude to tonight's sportspick hernia.  My apologies.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Muppets in Georgia

I know I'm not the only person that thinks Mike Bibby covertly does some voice work for Kermit the Frog.  Lately, though, Kermie and his band of roundball Hawks have been anything but flimsy little puppets (I'm not close enough to the team, however, to make any claims about any arms lodged in their hindquarters).  I may be getting a tad ahead of myself with a remark like this, but is there truly a team out there that wants anything to do with the Hawks right now?  This club was an upstart bunch last year, then gave the Eastern Conference all it could handle in the playoffs.  Now, after a strong start and a midseason lull, the Hawks are cranking up the volume down the stretch.  After smashing Sacramento tonight, Atlanta has put together a nice 6-game win streak, with (almost) steadily increasing margins of victory: 4, 10, 7, 14, 18, 18.

As a counterbalance, it is only fair to point out that the Hawks are in the midst of a 7-game homestand.  If Atlanta begins to win on the road, look out.

Speaking of winning, the Warriors moved to 10-7 with a healthy Monta Ellis.  Tonight's victory was over the hapless Clippers, but still somewhat impressive considering Golden State was missing Andris Biedrins, Jamal Crawford and Stephen Jackson.  The win also sealed a season series win over the Clips.  Golden State can mount that trophy in the glass case right next to Don Nelson's beer bong and Jermareo Davidson's signed "Fantastic Voyage" LP.  There was one man who most certainly gave a crap about tonight's win: Chris Mullin.  You can bet your bottom dollar he felt some small satisfaction, as Chris can officially crumple up the last copy of Baron Davis's voided Warriors contract and use it as a lavatory wipe.

Last order of business before tonight's Free Agent Attack is a quick glance over at the Daily Wager zone.  A 1-1 day marked the end of my 4-day winning streak (7-0).  I was beginning to worry that I was due for a bad day, but breaking even is about the best case scenario in that respect.  I do issue an apology, though, to those rocking the exotic parlay.  One of these days we'll hit a perfect 4-0 and you can really pull in a nice haul.  When someone invents an html "tip jar" you can be damn sure I'll set one up.

Off to fantasy land.  Theme: Fantasy Land.  Can Disney sue me for this?

The Matterhorn Bobsleds (a little bumpy, but generally enjoyable):
  • Rafer Alston - Still has his issues with FG%, but he'll hit some 3's, and Orlando is good enough that at least a few of his passes (good or bad) will result in a made shot.
  • Kendrick Perkins - The whiniest role-player since Rick Fox is beginning to look healthy again.  Should be good for a nice shooting percentage, rebounds and blocks.
  • Rodney Stuckey - Will continue to produce at a high level, especially now that Rip Hamilton is suffering from a sore groin.  Somehow I just don't think it's prudent to go by the name "Rip" and expect to remain fully healthy.
  • Samuel Dalembert - It pains me to say it, but Dalembert seems to have figured things out again.  I give him 5 or 6 more games of productivity before he regresses, and whoever it is that's currently coaching the Sixers has to employ electroshock to get him out of the locker room before the game.
  • Trevor Ariza - 2 more steals, 3 3-pointers, 60% shooting, 16 points, 8 rebounds.  Tough to complain about his move into the starting lineup.  On a more serious note, the LAPD has called off the search for Luke Walton and his bag of airballs.
The Storybook Canal Boat Ride (the most disappointing result possible following a trip into a whale's mouth):
  • Aaron Afflalo - Don't kid yourself.
  • Erick Dampier - Had his double-double for the 2009 calendar year.  Remember to set your calendar for November 12th.  Erick Dampier Day lives on.
  • The Warriors - Who the heck knows what's going on out there with the rotation.  You can certainly pick one up, but I would never recommend starting one in a weekly league.  There are other ways to win.
*NEW POLL ON THE SITE TONIGHT - LET YOUR OPINION BE HEARD!*

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Killed a Lion

In a rather uninspiring Monday, I thought a classic Dikembe Mutombo quote would do best to grab some attention.  It's no coincidence, either, that Dikembe logged 25 minutes and 3 finger-wagging blocks in an impressive Houston road victory over division rival New Orleans.  The Rockets are certainly a better team with Yao healthy (he has the sniffles), but this was quite a feat for Mutombo, who may or may not be 51 years old.  Much like the secret of the Tootsie Pop, Mutombo's actual age is a truth the world just isn't ready to know.

In similar, yet entirely unrelated news, I am the smartest man alive.  The Nuggets just finished headbutting the Nets, and as I predicted, the Bobcats handled the Raptors with ease.  I will, for posterity's sake, take the conservative approach and just call today a 1-win betting day, but I'll take all the accolades that come with picking winners while flying across the U.S.  Readers of this page may want to consider gettin' while the gettin's good, since I have about as much confidence in baseball wagering as I do in Chris Andersen's sobriety.

If you see a 20-dollar bill on the ground, you...
  • Joel Przybilla - Joel rebound.  Joel block.
  • J.R. Smith - I do not endorse this gentleman, but he will make a few 3's.  Still, if you're going to gamble, why not take my daily picks?
Key Drop of the Night:
  • Nenad Krstic - Nenad "Don't add vowels to my name" Krstic (who, along with Przybilla, are cofounders of the Coalition for Concentrated Consonants) no longer deserves a roster spot on your team.  Kevin Durant is back, and it's time to put Nenad in a wicker basket and float him downriver.  It might turn out well for him, if history is any indication.
Your friendly webmaster is marooned in Los Angeles for the next week, and while that does separate me from the early morning NBA lines (which are usually the best to bet on, before the sites can adjust), it should be a pleasure to watch NBA games end by 10pm.  I'm not saying it's fair, but I can definitely understand how east coast bias comes to pass.  Most fools on EST are just simply not about to stay up to 1:30am just to watch the end of a Portland-Golden State winner-take-some grudge match.  Who would?

Please do not hesitate to leave comments.  Still without a job, responding to your mostly hilarious remarks adds a little sweet something to my afternoons.  Also, please continue to help spread the word.  After a tremendous Thurday of last week, the readership has waned a tad.  Let's get the interest back up to peak levels!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

And Then There Were...

*UPDATE* It has come to my attention that numerous leagues still have one week left.  You will not be ignored.  Friday night I will post another weekend pick-up list for the desperate manager trying to steal the 6th seed on the season's final nights.  Please do continue reading the site in the meantime, as the playoff pick-up lists will remain thorough and comprehensive.

6.

It's playoff time, and you can bid farewell to the half of your league that just didn't cut it (and clearly hasn't been reading FantasySports, One-a-Day).  Feel free to trash-talk a bit, though I can't promise any of those in the consolation bracket will be reading your notes.  First and second place are gearing up for the ever-important "Bye" while seeds 3 through 6 get to duke it out in the quarterfinals.

Today's message is extended mostly to teams 1 and 2.  Do not rest on your laurels.  A fantasy "bye" most certainly does not mean a managerial one.  This is a time of year when real NBA teams start to make drastic (and sometimes insane) personnel moves, and you need to be ready to jettison dead weight in favor of some up-and-coming superstars.  Last year around this time Milwaukee decided to hand the team over to young gun Ramon Sessions, and he went positively nuts over the final few weeks/fantasy playoffs.  There hasn't been a great deal of that just yet, but don't be fooled: the changes are coming.  And that is why, my fine patrons, the pick-up list will continue with only a few minor changes.  I see no real purpose in including names that belong on the "watch list."  There simply isn't time to track a player for a few weeks.  Not to mention, less work for me.

If you're a clever fellow, you'll pick up the theme as we go...

The Good:
  • Antonio McDyess - The greatest Antonio of them all.
  • Matt Barnes - Wishes he could play Golden State every night.
The Bad (Kinda good):
  • Trevor Ariza - We all knew he would get a couple steals (I believe Trevor is 9th in the NBA in that department), but a career high in points and a handful of 3's was a pretty juicy bonus.  Make no mistake, even in the starting lineup, Trevor loves to help you.  Just let him.
  • Kendrick Perkins - Overlooked by many (myself included), Perkins is still posting half-decent rebounding and block numbers.  His free-throw shooting is awful, but shoots around 60% from the field.
  • Mark Gasol - Keeps on hunting his feathered prey.
  • Joel Przybilla - Big men appear to be a dime a dozen.  Want 10 cents?
  • Samuel Dalembert - The fact that he's back to functioning is enough to make me sick.
The Ugly:
  • Pops Mensah-Bonsu - Inexplicable performance today.  What the hell?
  • Jason Thompson - May earn your trust in time, but I wouldn't risk using him yet.
Hope that helped.  As some chow for thought, as of this very moment, Phoenix is 5.0 games out o the playoffs in the Western Conference.  The New York Knicks are just 1.0 game back of Milwaukee.  Think the Suns miss Mike D'Antoni?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Penultimatum

I noticed shortly after giving this article a title that it conveys the complete wrong play on words. I left it. I was attempting to merge penultimate and ultimatum, but just about any word that starts with "pen" is inevitably going to slither into the gutter.

The New York Times published an article recently (I'm not even going to link it; screw 'em) touting Shane Battier as the "No-Stats All-Star."  I will admit, and I've done so before, that Shane Battier is a good defender.  He is generally disliked by his opponents for his strength and aggression, which is not necessarily proof, but fairly convincing evidence that he gets in their heads.  Beyond that, though, what's the big deal?  It's so convenient for sports fans, especially writers and analysts, to claim they're giving credit to the no-nonsense defender who deserves so much, yet gets so little.  Garbage.  What about the role-playing 3rd man off the bench in Miami who strolled into Phoenix this year and won the 3-point contest while all the brains were claiming he had no shot?  Why is it so important that Shane Battier be recognized, when a TRUE all-star would most certainly find a way to get himself open for more than ONE miserable field goal attempt in forty minutes on the floor?  Sure, one could argue that he's "playing within himself," or "letting the game come to him," but those are just code for "he has offensive deficiencies that he tries to make up for with defensive intensity and overly gregarious praise from his teammates."  So, in opposition to the article, I propose Shane Battier not be known as the "No-Stats All-Star," but instead as "New Bruce Bowen."

That just about tops off our mug o' ranting, but fantasy news is just as important.  Tonight was the second-to-last day of the fantasy regular season in most 8-to-12 team leagues. If you're one of the many managers trying to squeeze your rather plump team into the narrow corridor of the playoffs, tonight is your last chance to go on an add/drop spree. What stat would give you that final point? Assists? Is it rebounds? The slightly earlier posting tonight is my attempt to give you folks a few minutes to mull things over. The double-dose of bullet-points will cover both long-term value and the elusive "one-day-only, I-need-at-least-five-assists end-of-season" players.

Before the lists, the site update: a few additions and one noted subtraction today (though we hope it's temporary). First, the Daily Wager Archive has been moved onto a separate page (http://danbesbris.blogspot.com/2009/03/daily-wager-archive.html), which can be accessed both through the Blog Archive and by the link in the right sidebar just below today's Daily Wager Guide. Second, I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for a free account with EasyCounter.com, a site that tracks website activity. You may notice the tiny counter at the bottom edge of the right sidebar. That counter shows every page load, but I (adjusts spectacles), the webmaster, have access to a bevy of exciting features. Third, you may have noticed the lack of Google-content. It may return, but in the meantime, enjoy the distraction-free FantasySports.

List One - The Quick Fix Sunday Grab-bag, Sorted by Statistical Category (all players in this list play tomorrow):

FG% - Samuel Dalembert, Mark Gasol

FT% - Jarrett Jack, Steve Blake

3's - Charlie Bell, Steve Blake, Kyle Korver, Wilson Chandler, Andres Nocioni, Matt Barnes

Pts - Thaddeus Young, Jarrett Jack, Rodney Stuckey, Wilson Chandler, Matt Barnes

Rebs - Samuel Dalembert, Leon Powe, Joel Przybilla, Mark Gasol, Antonio McDyess

Assts - Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake, Rodney Stuckey, Rafer Alston

Steals - Mario Chalmers, Trevor Ariza, Ronnie Brewer 

Blocks - Samuel Dalembert, Joel Przybilla

Surely at least one of the gentleman in any given category should be available in your league for last minute services.  The best part?  You can drop them at 12:01am, just over 3 short hours from now, for whoever can help your team in its potential playoff romp.

List Two - The Regular Old List, Categorized by Skill, Rated on Tonight's Performance; Theme, Possessions on a Remote, Uninhabited Island:

Fresh Water (You can't drink saltwater.  Well, you can, but you'd be rewarded with two scoops of death):
  • Ryan Gomes - Consider this point belabored.
Tasty Victuals:
  • Matt Barnes - A slower night, by his standards, but still contributing in a number of categories.  A solid choice for tomorrow's tilt with Golden State, and certainly a candidate to remain on your team for the playoffs.
A Toy (Might I recommend a yo-yo?):
  • Kyle Korver - I hunted (and pecked), but could find no reason for starter CJ Miles to play just 16 minutes, and Korver to roll for 47 minutes off the bench.  Maybe Jerry Sloan's been playing out a disturbing Demi Moore fantasy at the team hotel and needed a leading man.  Who knows?  Keep your eye on NBAshton, in case he starts to log decent court-time.
  • Grant Hill - The seasoned vet has been healthy, and for what it's worth, I'm proud of Hill.  From a fantasy perspective, though, he's been everything short of anything.  A decent line tonight may indicate his foot troubles are beginning to subside, but watch from afar for now.
  • Ronny Turiaf *update* - Andris Biedrins is out a week, and Turiaf is in prime position to fly-swat the, well, flies for the next 3-4 games.
More Sand:
  • Renaldo Balkman - Do not be deceived.  Another injury in Denver, and this time it's Balkman that improved.  Stay away from reserves on the Nuggets as they are merely, *COUGH*, fool's gold.  And I'm spent.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Don Nelson Hates Two-Wheelers

Let's crack this TGIF edition open with some player notes - theme: cell phones.

Zack Morris's infamous brick phone (a hero of our time):
  • Antonio McDyess - I still can't believe my eyes, but Antonio is truly shining as Detroit's starting center (he'll move back to PF when Rasheed returns).  There is simply too much shock and far too great a quantity of awe on my part to make heads or tails of it, but he's a fantasy juggernaut right now.
  • Ryan Gomes/Mike Miller - As long as Randy Foye is out, these two will captain the Timberwolves sinking ship.  For fantasy purposes, it's better to be a good player(s) on a bad team.
iPhone (We're just lying to ourselves if we claim we don't want one, even if it's just to look cool):
  • Rodney Stuckey - Not his finest recent performance, but better than most.
  • Thaddeus Young - The points keep pouring in.  Rumor has it Thaddeus has been working with a noted local 6th grade bully to get over his fear of rebounding.
  • Leon Powe - The Big Beneficiary wedged the entire Grizzlies roster into a plastic cup.  Tremendous for one more game, then back to a solid, if fantasy-irrelevant bench player.
  • Mark Gasol - You can take the man out of the wild, but you can't take the wild out of the man; Pau's half-man, half-wolf brother remains a top center pick-up.
  • Wilson Chandler - Chris Duhon finally decided to take a few games off, and Chandler should see a nice boost.  It's a gamble, but it could just pay off for the fantasy owner who rolls the dice.
  • Rasual Butler - Four more 3-pointers makes 10 in the last 2 games.  Specialist, extraordinaire.
Blackberry Storm, Blackberry Touch, Blackberry Burrito Bowl, etc.:
  • Samuel Dalembert - After posting two week's worth of games that made Shawn Bradley turn his head in shame, Dalembert branded the Bulls, taking Joakim Noah over his knee and laying into him with Rodman-like rage.  Keep your eye on Sammy.  I ran out of patience with him recently, but a few games like this one and he'll be back off the waiver wire.
Any phone that just makes phone calls (heaven forbid!):
  • Mikael Pietrus - Posted first-round numbers tonight, but will scamper back into the woods when Turkoglu gets right.
  • Nick Young - Caron Butler's hamstring tightened up again, and Young had a nice game, but just too many health question marks on the Wizards to trust anyone.
  • Anderson Varejao - Supremely overrated from a fantasy perspective.  There are at least 3 or 4 other big men who will serve you better in the short and long term.
That was your curveball of the night, pick-ups BEFORE the commentary!  As you may or may not have gathered, the brief focus of tonight's article (rant) is that rag-tag bunch up in Northern California.  Baron Davis left for the Clippers, and both the Warriors AND the Clippers have made 2009 the year of the gas bubble.  Davis's aggressive, rebellious style of play fit much better into Don Nelson's small-ball scheme up in Oakland, but he is not solely to blame for the Warriors precipitous drop-off.

A stat that I haven't seen posted many places is the Warriors record with and without Monta Ellis.  Maybe that point is better publicized by the bay, but across the rest of the globe, we're left to believe that Golden State has nothing now, and little to look forward to.  These numbers, though, are ABSURD.  Without Monta "Wheelieee!" Ellis court side, the Warriors are 14-36.  With Monta, they're 9-6.  That's a difference in win percentage of 32 full points.  Chris Mullin, you did not deserve this.

A one-sentence paragraph, for your reading pleasure: Doesn't Lebron deserve a superhero nickname?  Thoughts, comments?

And now the horn-tooting.  Another solid day of wagering advice.  After a 4-4 start to the week, we've gone 6-1 over the last 2 nights.  It's bound to balance out a little bit at some point, but a hot streak's a hot streak.  Hop on this freight train and make it rain!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kobe Smash

The last four nights have reaffirmed one of the last remaining truths in the NBA -- you do not, under any circumstances, want to schedule a contest with the Lakers after Kobe gets clobbered.  The Lakers took a few sizable lumps in their trip to the Rose Garden (where, for the record, L.A. has a rich history of losing), but have followed up that loss with back-to-back 102-point scoring efforts (both wins) against the two toughest defenses in the Western Conference.  I guess we know which way we should throw our money in all future Laker games following a loss.  Oh, and they clinched a playoff spot.  I do have some slight bias, but I wonder if the Lakers might have had a chance to shoot for 70 wins if Andrew Bynum wasn't the secret lovechild of Greg Oden and a stork.

Not a great deal of mockery in tonight's post.  TNT loves to line up their top-tier match-ups on Thursdays, and with neither game disappointing (unless you're a fan of a good, old-fashioned 88-76, 2005 Spurs-Pistons Finals battle-royale), tonight shall be a night of rejoicing!  Just sit back for the next few minutes, and realize that for one miraculous night we will not be subjected to the following teams: Timberwolves, Clippers, Kings, Grizzlies, Wizards, Bulls, Bucks, Bobcats, Nets, Pacers, and Thunder.  I feel at peace.

On top of all of that, there appear to be almost NO fantasy implications thus far, aside from perhaps Trevor Ariza moving into the starting lineup and drifting gingerly onto some desperate owner's radar.  We'll still drop a fancy little bullet-point list into the post, but fantasy buffs beware, brevity is hot right now.  No theme tonight; not going to waste a bullet on a night with two names.

Pick Up Now!
  • Matt Barnes - Not 100% sure why, but Barnes continues to get minutes in Phoenix.  I get the feeling that it might have something to do with his aggression.  Come back with me to a simpler time, if you will, when Matt Barnes was a goofy UCLA undergraduate.  A Cal point guard moved swiftly towards his goal, the basket, and was rudely greeted by one of the most directed "elbow-to-skull" attacks that I've ever witnessed.  That play alone, which occurred in 2002, makes Matt Barnes the best defensive player on the Suns current roster.
With a watchful eye:
  • Trevor Ariza - Moving into the starting lineup is generally a good thing, though I'm not sure in this case.  Ariza had become the king of the bench-moles with his all-out effort, but now finds himself competing with Kobe, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Derek Fisher for shots.  Keeping one eye on Trevor couldn't hurt, but maintain caution.
And as long as we've got a post on the shorter side of average, FS,OD is calling forth the ancient art form of the "pree-vyoo."  Baseball season is only a few short weeks away, and it's time I laid some groundwork for a transition.  This site is primarily dedicated to the fantasy craft, so it's going to be darn near impossible to give requisite attention to both the NBA fantasy playoffs and the MLB draft.  With that in mind, I am going to opt to stick with the NBA fantasy season until its conclusion in just about 4 weeks.  For more on baseball drafts, consult the Yahoo! experts, Rotoworld.com (as usual), or just do a Google search using my custom bar at the top-right of this page.

After one week of action, this website continues to grow stronger.  Today marked the greatest fan activity (I have reports, just trust me) since the site's inception.  Until the morrow!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Bigger Their Buyout, the Harder They Fall

But at least they can pick up some of Spree's sweet spinners on their way down!

Now generally, I'm not one to write about what's trendy, but the agony and excruciating pain I began to endure tonight was overwhelming.  How can I legitimately call this a SPORTS website, and not take cheap shots at Stephon Marbury?  With my greatest restraint, I simply ask you, the reader, to track down the fabled STARBURY.  Surely you remember the only basketball shoe made entirely of cereal box tops and masking tape.  Please contribute in the Comments section.  Nothing I write about the shoe could possibly be as hilarious as your combined thoughts!

Segueing into my Reader's Digest "Cheers" moment -- thanks to everyone who has been visiting daily.  The site has been an overwhelming success through the first week.  If we can keep the interest high, the daily wager section on the winning side of even, and continue to grow in popularity, the sky is truly the limit.  I've done it before, but I should note the convenience of the Subscribe feature.  It can place the blog on your igoogle.com home page, in your Google Reader portfolio, or most any other whacked out docking port you feel is best.  A toast to the readers!

As a multi-player aside: don't fret too much about your Thunder tonight.  Every team playing the second half of a back-to-back in Denver ends up gasping for air by quarter 3, and clinging to existence by the fourth.  They'll all be back to normal soon enough.  Now, to sort through some Tuesday clutter.  Theme: video game consoles!

NES (Brings-a-tear-to-my-eye outstanding):
  • Rodney Stuckey - Rodney added rebounding to his game tonight, now virtually covering every reasonable statistic.  I'm not even sure Iverson's return will alter his impressive stats.  Make no mistake, the kid is good, but with Iverson sapping poor Stuckey's confidence with locker room jabs like, "Stuck, that's MY rock to clank off the underside of the hoop," Rodney was a sinking stone.  But, no more!
  • Ryan Gomes - Randy Foye's ankle went Exorcist, and Gomes is now the big dog in MN.
N64 (Quite impressive, ushered in a new dimension):
  • Antonio McDyess - Inflated numbers against the Knicks in OT, but still another solid performance that begs the question, "Has someone been reanimating dead tissue?"
  • Joel Przybilla - The Vanilla Gorilla got his rebounds and blocks again.  One cannot underestimate the value of a specialist come playoff time.  Don't say Danny Boy didn't warn ya!
  • Thaddeus Young - Getting his stroke back is the understatement of the week.  Young punched in 29 points on 65% shooting, but, as we've discussed before, doesn't do much else.  To his credit, Thaddeus did drop a pair of "balls of distance" upon his foes.
  • Leon Powe - As expected, Powe (Go Bears) stuffed a fat double-double down the throats of the Miami Warmth.  Need a fairly reliable rebounder for the rest of the week?  Captain Highstep is your man.
Sega Master System (Sounds promising, but what is it?):
  • Rasual Butler - Prepare yourself for some cornball when Butler has an off night (I've been prepping the joke "Unrasual" for a few days now), but in the meantime, lather up your Herbal Essense to the sound of 6 three pointers.  Rasual may find himself on my secret 3rd fantasy team before the week ends.
  • Mark Gasol - Manbeast was bound to slow a tad, but he's still a viable center option.
  • Ronnie Brewer - I want to be fair, so Brewer gets only a partial thumbs up (some sort of hybird toe-thumb?).  That being said, his 14 points and 2 steals without a turnover isn't unbearable.
  • Mario Chalmers - The lowest rung in this third tier, Chalmers is the sort of fantasy player that might (though in all likelihood I'll end up scorning the device later) get me to use the Yahoo! Fantasy "Watch Player" feature.  
Nintendo Virtual Boy (How does a green cube constitute virtual reality?  This blows.):
  • Paul Millsap - Millsap has performed adequately off the bench in each of the last two contests, but the slowly improving health of Carlos Boozer still means that Millsap is packing his $25 carry-on and puddle-jumping out of fantasy relevance.
  • Josh Powell - Grab the cushion, it's back to the pine next time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bang the Eardrum

While the apparent demise of the Phoenix Suns with or without Terry Porter could have soured me on the NBA tonight, I simply couldn't wait until the end of the Clippers-Cavs slap-fest to express just how warm and fuzzy Marcus Camby's return makes me feel.  It's not every day a multimillionaire athlete finds himself the butt of the cliche "In one ear and out the other."

For those unaware, Marcus Camby has been suffering from an inner ear infection that has partially ruptured his eardrum, and has been causing dizziness and migraine headaches.  For those who like to poke fun at potentially bad situations (raises hand), I found myself developing a mental picture of looking directly through the head of one of the NBA's best defensive big men.  It's been a long hard road for Marcus, and from all of us here at FS,OD we wish you a hearty "Get Well Soon," and may you never find your head imploding again.

Last remark before we leap headfirst into the pickup barrel o' fun.  I know it's easy to find yourself less than inclined to explore the entirety of danbesbris.blogspot.com, but there are constantly new items to find.  Believe me, I do try to keep the widgets to a minimum, and those that I do choose to add I feel are explicitly necessary.  So, take a moment to scroll down the right sidebar and observe the new Live Player Updates java.  It won't completely nullify the use of juggernauts like Rotowire and Rotoworld, but it should provide this website a little more in the way of important real and fantasy announcements.

How 'bout them daily wagers today, eh?  Soy campeon.  Now the picks, and while I'm feeling my oats, it's blackjack time!

21!!!
  • Ronnie Brewer - 5 more steals, 100% FT's, 63% shooting tonight, 0 turnovers.  This hand pays 3-to-2.
  • Jarrett Jack - Over 20 points again.  Pays 6-to-5.
  • Larry Hughes - I assume he's been picked up in just about every league now, but leaving Lurry-Time off this list would be a travesty.
  • Spencer Hawes - It was mentioned to me that I was commonly leaving out players I believed to be long since acquired.  This is another.
19!
  • Ramon Sessions - Still good, still available in a lot of leagues.  Do yourself a favor and at least play the hand (see if he's available).  Bit of a metaphorical stretch, but bear with me.  As most guards do, blasted the Knicks for a monster game, but worth grabbing and starting against the leagues 15 worst defenses.
  • Al Thornton - Back in the mid-tier slammer, Thornton still appears to be getting his shots despite the Clippers return to full strength, which is, roughly speaking, the combined power of a pack of sleepy 3rd graders.  Al will shoot close to 50%, score a few points, and generally nets a block or two as well.
  • Matt Barnes/Leandro Barbosa - Still getting the minutes and the stats while Grant Hill plays facilitator.
  • Roger Mason - Another repeat offender in the middle tier.  You'll get sub-.500 shooting, some points, a few threes, and not much else.  A role player in real life and in fantasy sports.
17.
  • Drew Gooden - Expected to play in a week for San Antonio, and should see a fair number of minutes at the 4 and 5.  I'm just not sold on him yet, but if you're looking to stash a potential rebounder for the playoffs, Drew could be something of a short-sighted sleeper.
  • J.J. Barea - Rick "Fletcher Reede" Carlisle has opted to start Barea with Josh Howard out, and the stocky product of Northeastern should have a few decent scoring outbursts.  I'm less than thrilled by his potential.
  • Thabo Sefolosha & Nenad Krstic - Thunderwatch continues! Jeff Green came back tonight, and Nenabo Sefolorstic still put up decent numbers.  Clinging to relevance, since word is Kevin Durant will play this weekend.
16...
  • Paul Millsap - Carlos Boozer is tending to a sore ankle, so this is a two game spike for Bruisin' Paul Millie Millsap.  Make no mistake, this is not 8-8, this is 10-6.  Avoid.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Boarding School

If this website focused on results in the real world, I'd have pages upon pages to pour over.  The Lakers got spanked by Brandon Roy's metaphorical paddle; the Iverson-less Pistons got another monster win, this time over the Magic; Dwyane Wade may have put frosting on his MVP cookie-cake; hell froze over (Washington won).

Unfortunately, though, as a fantasy page, we can merely focus on a few key big men that may find a way to factor into your fantasy playoff picture.  We'll get to that.  First, I think I owe my readership an apology for my first poor NBA picks effort.  While 1-2 was a shame, things could have been worse.  That being said, I went against a rule that every sports enthusiast should respect, and I got what I deserve.  What rule, you ask?  Well, it's not written anywhere, but it's pretty darn simple -- if watching a particular team makes you feel like you're passing a stone, DON'T BET ON THEM!  And yet, here we are, ruing the day the NBA made every team play every other and we got stuck with a T'Wolves-Wizards tragedy.

Side note: should have nailed Miami.  When they went into the 4th up 10, I got confident.  Now, on to tonight's brief pick-list.  Theme: rebounding!

Crashing the boards:
  1. Antonio McDyess - I listed McDyess as a rebound specialist late last week, and I'm committed to that description.  He grabbed 18 tonight against a very strong Magic front line.  He'll have a poor game every so often, as he's not truly involved in the offense, but he should prove to be a valuable commodity when you're trying to lock up rebounds in a playoff battle.
Fender-bending the boards:
  1. Joakim Noah - Most participants in a 2OT contest should put up marginal numbers, but what's more intriguing is that Noah and Brad Miller got the minutes, and Tyrus Thomas hit the pine.  Most experts figured Miller would grab Noah's playing time, but the inconsistency from Thomas is throwing things all out of whack in Chi-town.  Get Noah in your sights, and if you need a big man, stuff him on your roster.  If not, lie in wait, and watch.
Nuzzling the boards:
  1. Joel Przybilla - Greg Oden is supposedly becoming frustrated by his injuries, which means a two things.  First, if you're in charge of bringing Greg his morning scone, that shit better be good or you're in line for a pummeling.  Second, he's not coming back for a bit longer.  Przybilla generally puts up solid lines against the Lakers, and did so again tonight, but don't be fooled.  He is rarely going to crack double-digits in scoring, will probably average 8 rebounds a night, and might block a few shots against undersized teams that force the ball into the paint.
Tomorrow, the great sports pick turnaround.  I'm due for another 2-0 day!
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