• Another week in the books and hopefully this one was even better for you all. For those of you who are already on the path to pure and unapologetic domination, that’s great! Keep your hands on the wheel and your foot on the gas. For those of you who might be curled up into a ball in a dark corner of your basement, don’t worry, there’s still time to let some light back in.

    Regardless of how you’re feeling about your team this Sunday night into Monday morning, you’re going to want to try to stay ahead of the curve or continue make some adjustments. As the season progresses, you’re going to need to get more creative with the moves you make. Whether you’re taking that celebratory morning sip of coffee or wondering if you too could make an adorable fluffy white bunny come out of a comedically large hat, here’s some pointers no matter what type of fantasy mood you’re in.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Goga Bitadze, C, Indiana Pacers – 19 minutes, nine points, four rebounds, three assists, four blocks, one 3-pointer, 4-of-7 FG

    If you haven’t guessed by the title, you should be inspecting your waiver wires for Goga. The beauty of Goga Bitadze is that he doesn’t need Gadget arms or a Gadget ‘copter to rack up big time block numbers. He doesn’t need a ton of minutes either.

    With Myles Turner set to miss another couple of weeks, Goga is a perfect pickup in standard leagues. The Pacers will need his size and foul trouble is the only thing that can hold back Bitadze as he fouled out against the Bulls in only 19 minutes. But he accomplished a lot in those minutes and the supply of centers who can swat like he can and knock down from deep is practically non-existent. If you’ve lost guys like Turner, Ayton, or Bagley to start the year and are struggling to stay afloat, Goga has the kind of upside you need to possibly salvage your old shipwreck.

    Avery Bradley, G/F, Los Angeles Lakers – 27 minutes, 16 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steals, 7-of-9 FG, 1-of-1 FT

    Avery Bradley is no one’s idea of an exciting pickup. They all don’t have to be exciting to be effective.

    During his prime Celtics years, Bradley was a surefire top-100 player. He’s been a great three and D player throughout his career with the only drawback being his health. He maintained that he’s feeling 100% this season and he looks it so far. With defenses so focused on LeBron and AD, Bradley has gotten off to a top-150 start and has been efficient doing so. Rajon Rondo’s return could put a dent into his time, but the Lakers would be wise to keep his defensive capabilities on the court.

    Drop Zone

    We’re not saying that you have to drop any of these guys, only that you should at least consider it depending who’s on your waiver wire. Your mileage may vary based on league size and team build, but for the most part we’ll try to cut dead weight in the 12-team range.

    Eric Gordon

    Mike D’Antoni gave Gordon the start against the Heat to try and get him going offensively. After all, when you can sit a top-50 player in Danuel House for a guy shooting under 30% you just have to do it. Gordon responded to D’Antoni’s attempt at a confidence boost by shooting 20%.

    Trying to figure out when Eric Gordon will get hot is a fool’s errand. We know he won’t shoot 28% the rest of the season, but we also know he won’t shoot much better than 40% either. There’s only enough room in this league for one Jordan Clarkson and you need none of them on your fantasy teams.

    JaVale McGee

    The darling of #NBATwitter and last season’s fantasy teams, JaVale has the capability of putting up some big fantasy lines in a limited amount of minutes. The problem is this year, the minutes remain limited, but his production has also been..er..limited.

    McGee had the Lakers center spot to his lonesome last season with Ivica Zubac both unproven, then later traded away. Now he’s in a very lopsided competition with Dwight Howard who has been badly outplaying him. For those of you who might be hanging on because of his per-minute capabilities, don’t. This isn’t the same Lakers team and this clearly isn’t the same JaVale either.

    Injury Report

    We started last week with Zach Collins we can do the same since this will be the last time we do this season. Collins will be going under the knife to repair his dislocated shoulder which means any hopes of a breakout season didn’t make it out of October. Moving on.

    Jacob Evans will miss the next several weeks with an adductor strain so you can cross him off your list of potential Warriors who can try to fill the massive void left by Steph Curry.

    Kevon Looney is going for more testing on his neuropathic condition so don’t expect him back anytime soon with the Dubs staring down a lost season.

    D’Angelo Russell’s ankle injury from Friday isn’t serious and is expected to return soon. Start him confidently knowing that he’ll be asked to carry the Warriors on a nightly basis.

    Dennis Smith Jr. is back with the Knicks but did not play on Sunday. We’d tell you that he could get a ton of time once he officially returns with Elfrid Payton nursing a hamstring injury, but that would mean relying on David Fizdale doing anything conventionally, which doesn’t happen very often.

    Brandon Ingram appeared to have escaped a serious head injury and is not in concussion protocol. Fire up the early season Fantasy-MVP candidate.

    Domantas Sabonis missed Sunday night’s game against the Bulls with a left calf contusion. It doesn’t sound serious, but you never know with calf injuries, right? Consider him day-to-day.

    The Bulls keep listing Wendell Carter Jr. as probable with his thumb sprain and it’s probable that he’ll continue to work toward his breakout season. Keep starting the Bulls 2nd year big man.

    Justise Winslow missed Sunday’s game with a stiff back but is travelling with the Heat this week on their road trip. Stay on top of news and have alternatives to this week ready if need be.

    The load managing begins for Russell Westbrook on Monday. It’ll be the 2nd night of a back-to-back and that mean Russ will only be available for two games at most this week.

    Derrick Rose has already been ruled out for Monday with a hamstring issue. Despite how banged up the Piston’s backcourt is, they are not going to risk a long-term issue with Rose so it would be wise to keep him on your bench this week.

    Derrick Favors is being listed as questionable for Monday as he tries to get his knee a little less sore. It’s been an awful start for Favors and hopefully his knee is well enough to start to make his draft stock look worthwhile.

    Jaren Jackson Jr. is listed as doubtful for Monday against the Rockets. Triple-J was dinged up a bunch last season so his current knee soreness isn’t exactly putting those concerns about his durability to rest.

    However, Brandon Clarke is listed as probable and could eat with JJJ on the shelf.

    Blake Griffin is inching closer to a return but is still being listed as out for Monday. Give him another week or so.

    Avery Bradley left early on Sunday night, but Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel said he got kicked in the knee area and doesn’t think it’s serious.

    We’ll wrap this up with the proper bookend to Zach Collins in that Hassan Whiteside is probable for Monday’s game against the Warriors. The Blazers frontcourt could be all sorts of horrifying without both Collins and Whiteside so it’s a relief for them and owners alike that his knee issue isn’t serious.

    Aggressive Defense

    Two weeks into the season you start to get a better feel of your team and more confidence if your team gets out to a fast start. Obviously, you want to keep the momentum going, but you also don’t want to fall prey to any sort of regression. You don’t need to do a full-on overhaul, but there are some simple things to do to try and hold your position and fend off anyone who hopes to take your spot at the top.

    Buying low and selling high is a start. Now, this doesn’t mean trying to trade for Nikola Jokic by offering Kendrick Nunn and Tristan Thompson. That will only upset your leaguemates dear readers so don’t do that. What it means is identifying players that have helped you get to your early season lead and seeing if there’s someone who appears to be floundering on someone else’s team. This could mean creating a deal that’s focused on selling Brandon Ingram for someone like Buddy Hield. That might be something both owners can get behind.

    The other is playing the long game. If someone has given up on a player that you believed in this season prematurely, don’t be afraid to snatch them up. For example, there are plenty of people fed up with Otto Porter Jr., but it’s utter lunacy to drop him. If you have a hasty owner in your league and can tolerate waiting for Porter to get past his various scratches, then you could wind up with a free top-50 player for the rest of the season.

    Hurry-Up Offense

    The other side of the coin is that you’re down and down badly. You drafted Steph Curry, Deandre Ayton, Myles Turner, Zion Williamson, Marvin Bagley, and you get the picture.

    But this isn’t time to panic. This is the time to pick your spots and take some calculated shots. Did you lose Myles Turner? The definitely pick up Goga. Or find someone else on the wire that looks like a per-36 darling and is ready for opportunity while other players are nursing injuries.

    Is holding Ayton killing your stats? Then don’t be afraid to sell him to someone thinking they can sit on him if you can get back a Bam Adebayo or Thomas Bryant. Of course,x` you’re not going to get the same value for a Deandre Ayton or Myles Turner. But some value is better than none and all you need is to try to keep things afloat and maybe eke out a win or two until the cavalry comes.

    The bottom line is that I started last season 10-16-1 in a 9-cat H2H league after three weeks. I won that league. There’s still a lot of season left to go and a lot of opportunity to make up ground with the right maneuvers.

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