December 25, 2017, 3:55 am
On the first day of Christmas, the Raptors gave to me…
DeMar DeRozan started making threes.
On the second day or Christmas, the Magic gave to me…
Kidding. I wouldn’t do that to you.
That classic tune did give me an idea for what to write about in this Dish though.
There were no games on Sunday to break down so I’m going to give you guys (or girls) my top-12 “Pleasant-Surprise Gifts” for fantasy owners this season, but first…
Since Bruski is no Scrooge he’s giving the HB community a discounted premium membership for the rest of 2017. Click here and you can get it for just $14.99.
Now on to my grown-up Christmas list.
1) LeBron James is the best player in fantasy.
Not that it’s a complete surprise, as he’s been King-of-the-hill before, but there wasn’t a single voice in the fantasy community predicting him to be number one come Christmas. Some people even recommended fading him until the second round. He’ll probably still rest down the stretch, but there’s nothing to complain about with his production.
2) DeMarcus Cousins is right behind him.
The consensus did have Boogie in the first round, but near the end. There were legitimate concerns about him meshing with Anthony Davis, but he has put those to rest. He’s sitting at number three on ESPN’s Player Rater and should continue to roll.
3) Victor Oladipo is right behind THEM.
This is my favorite gift of the season. I was higher than most on Dipo and while I’m not going to claim I saw him at seven, I thought top-25 was a lock if he got his groove back. Now I think he could legitimately finish in the top-10, and will be no worse than top-20.
4) Kyrie Irving is the number one PG.
This is another of my personal back-pats this season. Unlike with Dipo, I did think Kyrie could be a top-10 player without James, since he was before LBJ got to Cleveland. He’s going to have to battle for the top PG spot, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him hold it.
5) Andre Drummond is making free-throws!
This one took the entire planet by surprise. He’s still only hitting just over 60-percent on the season, but combine that with a ridiculous 3.6 assists per game and you have him sitting at number 24 on the PR. Personally I think the improvement at the line is for real, and with the new play-making ability he’s looking like a legitimate Christmas miracle.
6) DeMar DeRozan is finally hitting threes.
As a Raptors fan and DD owner, this is a great sight to see. The lack of a 3-point shot was a big hole in his game and if he can push to even 1.5 per game, watch out. He’s not going to be James Harden anytime soon, but right before the break he made 13-of-20 in his last three games. Merry Christmas indeed.
7) Paul George is stealing everything.
Anyone who knows PG13’s game knows that he’s a defensive-minded player, but anyone who says they knew he would have 80 steals by Christmas is full of it. Fantasy owners who nabbed him are killing it in the steals category and there’s no reason to think he won’t keep picking pockets like Will Smith in “Focus”.
8) Kevin Durant is second in total blocks.
Like George, we know that KD plays D, but he’s kicked it up a notch this season. His previous high is 1.6 per game while this year he’s at 2.2. He was a top pick anyway so this isn’t game-changing stuff, it’s more of a nice bonus. Like getting that remote-control car you really wanted with batteries included.
9) LaMarcus Aldridge returns to form.
It’s fair to say that LA’s tenure in SA has been a disappointment, but the injury to Kawhi Leonard gave him a golden opportunity and he took it. The consensus seems to be that he’ll take a big hit when Leonard returns to starters minutes, but I’m not so sure. They wouldn’t be the first team to have two top-20 fantasy players on their roster.
10) Tyreke Evans thinks it 2009.
The ghost of Christmas past has possessed Evans this season, the best he’s had since winning ROY really. Coming off a combined 65 games over the last three seasons, he probably went undrafted in most standard-sized leagues so the ROI is huge. I don’t think anyone expects this to last, but owners are loving what they got so far.
Adams was one of my favorite sleepers going into the season because I thought the addition of two elite 3-point shooters (and Patterson) was going to free up a ton of space for him to operate and his scoring and FG-percentage have both gotten a bump.
Kanter I was less sure about. We knew he had some offensive game, but we also assumed he was going to be on the bench again. I took a shot in one of my 10 leagues and I’m obviously happy with the result, and see no reason to expect much regression.
12) This rookie class is the best in like ever!
I was going to single out certain rookies who have been way better than expected, but it would have taken up half of my list. I’ve never seen a class having this much of an impact on fantasy so soon, and I’ve been playing this game for a little while.
Plus we haven’t really seen Markelle Fultz or Jonathan Isaac get run yet and Lonzo Ball and Dennis Smith Jr. still suck, which should turn around eventually. The future of real and fantasy hoops are as bight as Rudolph’s nose.
That will do it for this special edition of the Daily Dish.
Thanks for suffering through my bad Christmas metaphors, I make no apologies.
And to anyone who doesn’t celebrate Santa Day, happy holidays…
Or not, if that’s how you roll.