• I preached patience and not panic in the last Facepalm and guess what dear Hoop-Ball friends, that’s still the case. I don’t go back on my words that easily. Contrary to however you’re feeling about your prospects at this moment, two weeks is not the be-all end-all. The fantasy regular season is only 9% complete. That means there’s 91% of the season left. And last time I checked, if you nail 91% of an exam, you’re getting an A-. Hey, that’s not so bad! We all can’t be valedictorians, but you just want to make sure you’re doing well enough in your course work in order to nail the Final Exams.

    But since school sucks, is boring, and you spend most of your time in classes wondering if you’ll ever muster up the courage to talk to that one girl who said ‘hi’ to you that one time, let’s remember that you’re playing fantasy basketball.

    (Editor’s Note: Stay in school, kids.)

    That’s way more fun than creating a pool of saliva on your desk. Same as going out to your favorite bar or club, way better and apt for your discussion. While we’re in the metaphor business, you’ve been to this particular basketball disco before you know how the songs go. The party may start off slow. You probably just need to grab a drink and work your way around the room a bit. Then if the beat picks up just that one time, then it can breathe life into you and your team and get you right back into the middle of the dance floor. Nothing like liquid and internet sports courage to throw you right back into the mix.

    Hell, the ladies might even be impressed with some of your moves. Not likely, but hey, you’re feeling good out there and you’re confident enough to take a shot at something out of your league and who knows where things can go from there. Sometimes all it takes is one win to get things moving back in the right direction.

    In order to do all that, the most important thing is to stay cool. And I’m here to help you do that with a guide to whether or not you should or should not be panicking this early in the fantasy season.

    PANIC if you’ve lost both of your first two weeks 2-7. We’re just going to do some simple math despite my previous declarations of school boredom and drool. If you’ve started 4-14 and you have 20 weeks left in the regular season, then you need to win every week by a score at least a score of 5-4 to finish with a record of 104-94. That’s a .525 winning percentage. If you might be able to get away with that in a 10-team league where six make the playoffs, but in a 12-teamer, you’re right on the borderline. And considering that you’ve started 4-14, do you really have confidence that your team is going to pick it back up without some drastic maneuvering? Hit that button and start blowing things up.

    DON’T PANIC If your record is better than 4-14 for the same mathematical reasons above. You don’t have to win every week from here on out and may have a little bit of wiggle room if you can put together a solid 6-3 week from time to time. A bad stretch can happen to any team and try to remember that it’s no different in weeks 1-2 than it would be in weeks 13-14.

    DON’T PANIC and take the time to study your stats and your league breakdown if you have one. If you see that your various categories stack up with other teams in the league even if your record does not, then hang in there. That luck does tend to balance itself out. The toughest part of fantasy is realizing that yes, you’re playing against your opponent, but you have zero control over how your opponent plays. But if you’re doing the right things to put yourself in positions to win, then those wins will come in the long run.

    PANIC if your breakdown matches your record. That means your team is bad and your record reflects your terribleness like an Evil Queen in Snow White. But…

    DON’T PANIC and accept 50 cents on the dollar for star players. I don’t care how bad of a start Kyrie Irving has had, do not trade him for two players you could get in the 5th or 6th round of your draft. If your depth is horrible and you feel like you need to do a 2 for 1 deal, then make sure you’re still getting a borderline stud like a Khris Middleton or Donovan Mitchell, who’s had a slow start of his own, who can do it across the board and fetch a mid-round piece to offset the difference.

    PANIC if you live in Cleveland and are below .500 in fantasy. Yes, you could conceivably come back in your league, but you needed fantasy to remove the post-LeBron aftertaste from the Cavs and the Browns teasing you for three weeks. If you have a lousy team, then what is there until it’s April and the Indians are back to get trounced by the Astros and Red Sox?

    DON’T PANIC if you’re from Boston because you guys are winning everything. Actually never mind…

    PANIC if you’re from Boston because I and everyone else in this world wish nothing but ill on your fantasy teams because your real teams and fans are the most grating in all of sports. Rooting for Boston teams is the same as rooting for famine.

    PANIC if you see a big goddamn Grizzly Bear charging at you. Have you seen The Revenant? Get the hell out of there!

    DON’T PANIC if you realize it’s just Jaren Jackson Jr. Phew, he’s not a Grizzly that will harm you. At least not personally. He’s probably a nice guy to boot, but heaven help you if you don’t have him in a dynasty league. He’s is already and going to be quite good.

    PANIC if you’ve got a bunch of injured players like Kevin Love, Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis, and Will Barton and are running out of injured spots. You can only hoard IR players for so long. Remember when you love something, set it free. And if it’s meant to be you, just, you take it back.

    But really, DON’T PANIC. Lot of basketball left folks and anything can happen like Klay going for 52 or Jimmy Butler finally changing addresses.

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK WHO HAS A PERSONAL VENDETTA AGAINST ME

    I am a devout Nets fan and this week has had me reeling. It started with them murder deathing the Cavs which is great, but everyone has been murder deathing the Cavs. But then the week ended with a brutal, miserable and just about unfathomable loss to the Pelicans in a game that had them blow a comfortable lead in the final two minutes because of basic basketball things. Like don’t foul and give away free points and don’t make dumb turnovers. Then a wild comeback against the Warriors fell short on Sunday followed by a tired legs, lifeless loss to the crosstown rival Dolans. I like that on most nights the Nets have fighting spirit in them. I would love it if that would translate into wins against good teams.

    Worse than that is trying to figure this team out from a fantasy perspective. They are an absolute lineup mess for anything that isn’t a daily league, and even those are dicey. You either got in on the Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen hype or you got left standing on the tracks with the train coming through. I of course got Jack Parkman’d. But one player on the Nets I did get in on was Spencer Dinwiddie. The same Dinwiddie who believed he was the most improved player in the NBA last season. The same Dinwiddie who isn’t sniffing a top-150 season thus far.

    SO DAMN YOU SPENCER DINWIDDIE! If you want to be treated like an All-Star caliber player, then perhaps start playing like one. Don’t feign excuses with Kenny Atkinson’s rotations, play better and force his hand. You’re playing for a big contract and my far-more-important fantasy teams so get your priorities straight and pick up your play.

    YOU’RE PROBABLY FEELING LIKE YOUR PROSPECTS ARE 99 OUT OF 100 IF YOUR DRAFT LOOKED LIKE THIS

    Round 1 – Stephen Curry
    Round 2 – Kyle Lowry
    Round 3 – Khris Middleton
    Round 4 – Deandre Ayton
    Round 5 – Nikola Vucevic
    Round 6 – Jonas Valanciunas
    Round 7 – Kyle Kuzma
    Round 8 – D’Angelo Russell
    Round 9 – Brook Lopez
    Round 10 – Carmelo Anthony
    Round 11 – Montrezl Harrell
    Round 12 – Danilo Gallinari
    Round 13 – Danny Green

    YOU’RE PROBABLY ONLY GIVING YOURSELF 50-50 IF YOUR DRAFT LOOKED LIKE THIS

    Round 1 – James Harden
    Round 2 – Ben Simmons
    Round 3 – Kevin Love
    Round 4 – Otto Porter
    Round 5 – Aaron Gordon
    Round 6 – Enes Kanter
    Round 7 – Jeff Teague
    Round 8 – Eric Gordon
    Round 9 – Trae Young
    Round 10 – Serge Ibaka
    Round 11 – Wendell Carter Jr.
    Round 12 – Kyle Anderson
    Round 13 – Avery Bradley

    I bet if you were able to draft both Harden and Simmons you squealed with glee. Then once you got the F/C combo of Love, Porter, Gordon and Kanter in the next four rounds you were verklempt. I’m willing to bet that a lot of the time that I post these crappy week results and you see a lot of your players on here that chances were if your draft did look like this, then you probably felt pretty damn confident and were walking around your house afterward like you’re Vince McMahon headed toward the ring. Reality has a way of humbling all of us and dumping a bunch of bricks on our heads.

    ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS

    I’ll be looking at some mid to late-tier players who I’ll be keeping an eye on throughout the season on a week to week basis. Based on how their past few and upcoming few games go, I’ll decide whether or not I will be confidently holding (rock), feeling a little bit flimsy or unsure of (paper), or will just be cutting altogether, like you just told your spouse that you don’t want to have any more kids and will be seeing a doctor about it (scissors, obviously). These are the players we drafted who can make or break our seasons and they’ll be dissected most when we try to make moves to the top of the standings. Here are some more players in my thought process.

    Rocks

    Jerami Grant – I’m betting that the percentages will improve now that Grant seems to be locked in as a starter. If that happens and you combine that with his sneaky cash counters then you’ve got a guy who will be roster mainstay and starter with the right matchups

    Ish Smith – Luke Kennard is going to be out for a while, Stanley Johnson may very well be a bust, and Reggie Bullock is who he is. Add the fact that Dwane Casey likes to play his point guards together to be faster and Smith should continue to see close to 30 a night for a while. His shooting percentage will likely come down, but his dimes and steals should increase to keep his value where it is.

    Zach Collins – You’re right to be concerned about inconsistency and that his numbers are buoyed by an unsustainable near 70 percent from the floor and his 6-block night in the opener. But he’s been contributing in every category and doing it in 20 minutes a night. There aren’t many people still available who can do it across the board that might still be available and if he can get closer to 25 a night then you have a steal on your hands.

    Paper

    Cameron Payne – Payne is not a sexy pickup by any means and he isn’t going to get you any style points. However, the Bulls are a disaster and Payne will get all the minutes he can handle. There will be plenty of counting stats over the next few weeks, but they could come at a cost. I you can hope for the best and ride that out he could help before he becomes his regular useless self once the Bulls start getting healthy again.

    Mo Bamba – The blocks and boards are nice, but the percentages (both FG and FT) are anything but. The minutes should increase as the season goes along, but Bamba is showing early that he’s still a work in progress. Patience and a deep bench is needed to hang onto Big Mo.

    Eric Gordon – His game is largely scoring dependent and he’s shooting just abysmally right now. With Harden injured and Chris Paul guaranteed to be injured, he’ll have plenty of time to go on a hot streak. Gordon shooting 23 percent for the rest of the season is highly unlikely.

    Scissors

    The Cleveland Cavaliers – Unless your names are Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. then hit the pavement. Even if you think there’s some value that can be had with Love being on the sidelines for a bit, do you really want to try to mess with Tristan Thompson, Kyle Korver, Sam Dekker, Cedi Osman or Ante Zizic to see what they do with those minutes? If you said yes, you’re either a liar or a masochist.

    Pau Gasol – It seems like Pop is trying to get the most out of his smaller lineups, especially with Jakob Poeltl (deep sigh) struggling to adapt. Even still, one double-double for the Spaniard doesn’t hide the fact that the Hall of Famer is still fading fast and not seeing more than 20 minutes a night.

    Alex Len – Dewayne Dedmon came back and dominated against the Bulls in only his second game of the season. Alex Len only saw 16 minutes that night and that’s probably where he’ll be the rest of the season with a healthy Dedmon. The hopes of any sleeper appeal for Len have faded fast.

    ADVENTURES IN DFS

    I’m out of DraftKings money already. I didn’t even make it two damn weeks into the season. First of all, I’m admittedly terrible at DFS and trying to juggle two different platforms in addition to five different fantasy teams has been more than my idiot hands and my mobile device can handle. At the same time, it’s my own doing. I could get nothing right. Every time I thought I had a solid game stack of a high scoring affair locked in, some other game outdid it. Every time I thought I had a premium value pick ready to go because someone else was injured, it was a different value pick that popped off. Some of the great DFS players and advice that I follow on Twitter just wasn’t working. It’s probably for the best that I take a break from DraftKings for the time being. I may revisit when I’m out of FanDuel money as well and begging for Venmo or PayPal funds on a street corner.

    Speaking of FanDuel, I’m trying to rebound from some losses and spot a NO vs DEN game that has all the making of a trip to the fantasy fireworks factory. In addition, you have a sitting Elfrid Payton and Anthony Davis and oh goodie it’s going to rain points and values like beads and test tube shots. But FanDuel just had to pee in the punchbowl. The only non-injured PGs listed in this game are Jamal Murray and Tim Frazier. Instead, Jrue Holiday, Ian Clark, and Monte Morris to boot are listed as SGs in addition to traditional SGs like Gary Harris and Torrey Craig. Are you kidding me FanDuel? You’re already taking an absurd vig on all the action, do you really need to screw with positional eligibility to extort your users? God I may be both homeless and back on DraftKings sooner than I want to be.

    BLOODY SUNDAY

    My 10-team H2H league is loaded. So much so that I don’t know who to drop since it’s daily lineups and I need to play matchups sometimes. So naturally when I try to ride things out, I wind up watching big leads evaporate on Sundays. Twice now in this league I’ve seen as much as 8-1 leads finish with 5-4 wins. But of these players who the hell would you drop? Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid, Jamal Murray, Nikola Mirotic, Josh Richardson, Enes Kanter, John Collins, Nic Batum, Buddy Hield, Dario Saric, Larry Nance Jr, and DeMarcus Cousins. So naturally its nobodies like Joe Harris and Kelly Oubre that can shoot terribly and still cost me points and 3s when those categories happen to be close.

    Being ahead each week is fine, but again, there’s blood out there and now twice I’ve seen what should have been easy ways to pad myself in the standings go to just winding up in the mix of things.

    Anytime you’ve got a good Bloody Sunday story. Reach out to me on Twitter @JoshMillman and I’ll happily, and not so happily, commiserate with you.

    Enjoy the rest of the week people!

Fantasy News

  • Jalen Adams
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have waived Jalen Adams, Javon Bess and Kavell Bigby-Williams.

    It's the time for coaches to decide who will and will not make the 15 man roster. Adams, Bess and KBW will look to latch onto a G-League affiliate.

    Source: Pelicans PR on Twitter

  • Hassan Whiteside
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Hassan Whiteside (left ankle sprain) was limited to non-contact work during Saturday's practice, but expects to play in the Blazers' opener.

    Whiteside left Wednesday's preseason game after injuring his ankle through 16 minutes of play. Whiteside expects to be fine for Wednesday and is in line to have a bounce back season in his new threads.

    Source: Joe Freeman on Twitter

  • Max Strus
    PG, Boston Celtics

    The Celtics have waived Max Strus.

    The writing was on the wall with this one, as Javonte Green had been the frontrunner for the 15th and final roster spot.

    Source: Gary Washburn on Twitter

  • Jemerrio Jones
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    The Bucks have signed Jemerrio Jones.

    The Wizards waived Jones three days ago and he did not last long on the market. Jones spent time with the Lakers last season and averaged 4.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 23.8 mpg.

    Source: Bucks PR on Twitter

  • Milton Doyle
    SG, Chicago Bulls

    The Bulls have waived Milton Doyle, Justin Simon and Simisola Shittu.

    Bulls head coach Jim Boylan mentioned using one of the possible two-way contracts on a player outside of the organization and the Bulls leaving themselves with 16 players on their rosters points to exactly that.

    Source: Bulls PR on Twitter

  • Chris Silva
    C, Miami Heat

    The Heat have signed Chris Silva and Daryl Macon to two-way deals.

    The Heat also waived Kyle Alexander, Davon Reed, Skyler Flatten and Bubu Palo. This leaves the team with 14 players on their active roster. Silva and Macon will have limited roles and little to no value in fantasy.

    Source: Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald

  • Pau Gasol
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Pau Gasol (left foot surgery) will not not be ready to play by opening night.

    Gasol has been working his way back from from surgery but will not have a big role this season regardless. The Blazers also brought in Hasan Whiteside to man center, while Jusuf Nurkic recovers.

    Source: Joe Freeman on Twitter

  • Mike Conley
    Team, Utah Jazz

    The Jazz and Quin Snyder have agreed to a contract extension.

    Snyder had two years left on his current deal, but the team wanted to lock up their head coach for the longterm before the season started. Snyder has a winning percentage of .606 over the past three seasons.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Ryan Anderson
    PF, Houston Rockets

    Ryan Anderson may spend some time at backup center this season.

    Though Anderson has typically been a power forward throughout his career, the Rockets think he can function as a capable small-ball five to open up driving lanes for their star guards. "It’s definitely a role we talked about here. I think it’s something I can be really effective at. This team can play in a lot of different ways. I think center could be a good title now," Anderson said. He's a 3-point specialist in deep formats, but the fact that he'll have a new route to playing time increases his stock marginally.

    Source: Houston Chronicle

  • Wendell Carter Jr.
    PF, Chicago Bulls

    Wendell Carter Jr. was a full participant in Saturday's practice.

    Typically there's no need to update a player who played in their last game, but Carter has dealt with multiple injuries throughout the offseason and tweaked his thumb prior to Thursday's preseason finale. Fantasy managers should keep their fingers crossed that WCJ can keep this clean bill of health throughout the season, as the talented sophomore has top-60 upside if everything breaks right for him.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter