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Fantasy Basketball: Week 5 forecaster and top 10 NBA players

Separating what we know from what we feel. Plus notes for Week 5.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, so I thiiiink this is my NBA top 10:

  1. LeBron
  2. KD
  3. Curry 1.0
  4. Boogie
  5. Kawhi

Aaaand, now it’s difficult. I don’t want to be sentimental about it, y’know? It’s a challenge to separate your feels from your knows. (Remember that old kids song? “Breeaaad, Boulders, Feels, and Knows, FEELS-AND-KNOWS!” I think that’s how it went.) Well, I know my knows about the top 5; I’m sure of those knows. But, after that, my knows don’t know. My knows only know their feels. But, my feels don’t have knows, they just have feels. So, how do I know my knows from my feels that look like knows? Y’know?

I think I explained that pretty well.

To put it another way, sentiment, or feeling, plays a much larger role in our “knows” than we care to admit. If we went by only what we know, then we would never have a good feeling about rookies, we would never make trades for players we believe in despite their numbers, and hell, we’d probably stop competing in fantasy after the first few weeks. What we know in week 3 is very rarely the same as how we feel and how we feel about a player is often more important than what we know about them.

Take, for example, Jabari Parker.

Jabari is injured right now and is (rightly) being offered in basically every trade throughout the fantasy basketball land. What we know about Jabari is that he is often injured. But, what we feel about Jabari is that he’s fun to watch and we think he can return healthy and become a player who averages 20+ points for a fun, new-NBA kinda team. He seems like the perfect running mate for Giannis; he appears to be a prototype for the current tall uber-athlete with long arms who can shoot from deep. But, again, what we KNOW is that he hasn’t been able to stay on the court. Does that Know out-value all your Feels? I would advise you to consider one fact if you’re thinking about trading, or trading for, Jabari: fantasy basketball is just a game. And, games are about feeling like you’re having a fun time, not knowing whether you’re going to win or lose. If you’re not having fun playing a game, then why play? Even if you’re losing, you can still enjoy either spoiling someone else’s season by beating them, or constructing a roster that will perform better next year. But, don’t kill yourself over something that isn’t important. If your team sucks and you love Jabari in real life, then by all means, go get him! Get real, won’t your life be better, won’t you have more fun, if you have your dudes on your team? Who cares about winning if you hate the players on your team? This is just a game, y’all. It’s nice to win, but it’s way more important to enjoy yourself. I know a guy, a 76ers fan, who’s basically traded away all his good players so that he can have as many of the new Philly guys as possible. Will he win his fantasy league this year? Probably not. But, does he care? Nope! Cuz his Philly boys will be on his team when he wins it somewhere down the road, and that victory will be all the sweeter for being fun as hell and with his favorite players.

Moving on, my sixth best player could very well be any of the following: James Harden, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson (yes, his defense is that good, and were he given an opportunity to be the star on a different team, he would shine brighter than a billion suns all oiled up on Myrtle Beach) DR. JOHN WALL, At-the-Edge-of-the-Flat-Earth Kyrie, Sergeant Westbrook, ME!, and Cincinnatus “Il Gallo” Gallinari. So, that’s six dudes for 5 spots, and I don’t really know who’d win in one-on-one matchups, so how do I decide?

6. Sarge

7. Klay Thompson

8. Harden

9. Kyrie

10. Dr. Wall

Can’t do AD because he hasn’t brought his team to the playoffs. Just hasn’t shown it, and if you’re this good, you should be able to show it. Same thing with Big KAT: he doesn’t approach the elite-elite until he can get his team to the playoffs, in my humble opinion (Boogie doesn’t count under this requirement because he’s been sabotaged by his front office and coaches his entire career). Giannis will be on here, eventually, but again: show it, fwend. We believe in you, that’s ferdamsher.

For what it’s worth, my feels would demand DeChozan be on this list. But, my knows know that my feels don’t know everything. Sigh.

Actually: you know what? I don’t care how my knows feels! We’re putting DeChozan in the top 10! You’re out, Dr. Wall! We love you, we believe in you, you are awesome to watch, but YOU HAVEN’T DONE IT YET, EITHER. DeCHOZAN has gone up against the Leviathan in the Eastern Conference Finals. DeChozan has forced his Old School game on the league for years in a row, and only now is he, begrudgingly, taking advantage of this “new-fangled tri-point thingamajig.” I want to see him, and Toronto, win a championship. I want to see him write his name in the mother-effing sky. I want Boogie to go to the Raptors!

Finally, I did consider Stanley Johnson for this list. I considered him, and then I properly dismissed him from contention. He is now shooting 40% from the field. I will let you decide if that is better or worse than his usual.

On to the Week 5 forecaster:

  • Only one team plays 2 games this week: OKC. They play Chicago and San Antonio, two of the slowest teams in pace in the NBA. If you play with weekly lineups, I’d consider sitting the Thunder trio, especially since the Spurs are a good defensive team. But! If you can’t replace them with players who are playing four games, then don’t force the issue with crappy players who happen to play three games.
  • LeBron James is now averaging the most minutes in the entire NBA. The Cavs are sub-.500. Excellent work, everyone in Cleveland! Job well done, as always.
  • The five fastest teams in pace are Brooklyn, Phoenix, Philly, the Lakers, and Golden State. Phoenix, the Lakers, and Golden State each play 4 games this week.
  • The players who average the most minutes (35+) but score the least points are: Jimmy Butler (15.7 points per game), Jrue Holiday (14.2), and Trevor Ariza (10).
  • The players who average the most points in the least amount of minutes are: D’Angelo Russell (20.9 points), Joel Embiid (19.8), Kevin Love (18.5), TJ Warren (18.4), and Tyreke Evans (17.8). None of those players average more than 30 minutes per game.
  • Enes Kanter is in the top 30 on ESPN’s player rater. So is Paul Millsap.
  • The five teams with the worst defensive rating are: Atlanta (3 games this week), Minnesota (4), Dallas (3), Phoenix (4), and the Cleveland Cavaliers (3) are the worst. I would try to target players who play Minnie or the Young Suns. Could be some easy points in those matchups.
  • Out of players who average at least 15 field goal attempts per game, Dion Waiters has the worst player ranking in my fantasy league (which has different stat cats than the base ESPN rankings), 1.23. On ESPN’s rater, Waiters Island is ranked 95th on the year with a 3.36 rating, putting him in between Dewayne Dedmon and Courtney Lee (but, still better than Lonzo Ball). He’s shooting 43% from the field and 31% from three. Last year, he had a 39.5 3PT%. He’s shooting the most 3s of his career this season. If his long shots start to swish some more, he might average 20+ points a game.
  • Robert “Bob” Covington is averaging the same amount of made 3s as Steph Curry 1.0 (3.6). Curry 1.0 averages 10 more points than Covington. Not great, Bob.
  • Enes Kanter is one of 14 players who average double digits in points and rebounds (we’re not counting Bobby Portis until he plays more). Of those 14, Kanter is the only one who isn’t owned in at least 90% of leagues.
  • Of players who average at least 9 rebounds a game, only 4 (Ben Simmons, Boogie Cousins, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic) also average at least 4 assists.
  • Dwight Howard and Joel Embiid are both averaging 4+ turnovers per game. So is Boogie Cousins, but he’s one of the five best players in the NBA, and he’s acting as a distributor for the Nawlins Pels (5.7 assists per game, the same as D’Angelo Russell, and more than Kyrie is averaging).
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is getting to the free throw line more often than LeBron James. Huh. RHJ averages almost 10 shots per game. Maybe look into the man if you’re thinking of making a trade. He’s top 60 on ESPN’s player rater, right behind Hoodie Melo and Herr Schroder. He plays 27.7 minutes per game; if those minutes go up, his stats should, too. You may be able to buy low on a very useful player.
  • The Utah Jazz play 4 games this week. They just lost Rudy Gobert for at least a month. This may be time for big men to feast against this not good team. Utah has a top 3 defensive rating, but that’s with Gobert. Here are the teams playing Utah this week: Minnesota, the Knicks, the Nets, and Orlando. Do you think Big KAT and Unicorn Porzingis will do well against backup big men? Me, too.
  • Speaking of Utah, their game versus the Nets might have been an interesting game to watch because Utah is sloooooooooooow while Brooklyn is fastfastfast. However, with Gobert out for Utah, and a lot of guards out for Brooklyn, I think this game will end up being hella ugly. Ricky Rubio versus Timofey Mozgov, the matchup we’ve all been waiting for! Odds are this game ends up 88-82 or something equally dreadful.
  • Curry 2.0, Buddy Hield, is now ranked 130th on the player rater, in between Old Man Redick and Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Go Blue!). Over the last two weeks, the New and Improved Curry 2.0 has averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds.
  • On a personal note, my starting point guard in fantasy basketball is still Austin Rivers. I told you so. I have bigs and wings who distribute to cover for that alarming fact, but, get real, that won’t work forever. He’s never averaged 3+ assists in a season. He has a 0.0 plus-minus right now, which is exactly what he had for all of last season. The good news is that he didn’t cost much, and it’s not a Sisyphean task to find guys who can get you 3 assists a game. I feel like Rivers can do better than that, but I know that he won’t. Bread, boulders, feels and knows, indeed.