February 26, 2018, 2:02 pm
It’s a sunny day in mid-October and you’re lost in thought about how amped up you are for the season. You heart this ridiculous professional basketball league and all its viral glory and this will be the year it’s going to reward your endless love with a fantasy title. You study and prepare for the competition. Nothing and no one will hold you back from dominating your draft and ripping through your pathetic rivals.
Draft Day comes, you get a late pick, but that’s ok. You’re ready for anything.
Round One – Kawhi Leonard. Don’t freak out about the quad. It’s a quad for God’s sake. It’s not like he lost an appendage. He’ll be fine. He’s the best player available on your board.
Round Two – DeMarcus Cousins. Legit superstar center and not worried how he’ll mesh with Unibrow. They’ve had a whole offseason to figure it out.
Round Three – Gordon Hayward. The Celtics are all in. He and Kyrie could be special together.
Round Four – Mike Conley. Focused on fontcourt early, but need to shift to guard and Conley is as reliable as they come at the point.
Round Five – Nicolas Batum. The multicategory Swiss army knife. Knee injury, shmee injury, most reports say he’s going to be just fine to start the season.
And as the draft rolls on…
You’re convinced that in rounds six and seven that Brandon Ingram and Marquese Chriss are primed to break out. You just know in round eight that Brook Lopez would pick up right where he left off in LA and be a solid 2nd center. And you shriek when owner after owner passes on Avery Bradley, James Johnson and Taurean Prince in rounds nine, 10, and 11. And you finally sweep up Milos Teodosic and Richaun Holmes at the end of the draft believing they would have solid and possibly expanding roles on their teams.
Good lord that looks like a script to a Saw film. I think you all know how this horror flick turns out. If it weren’t for Boogie’s monster stats before he got hurt, this team would easily be in dead last in their league’s standings. But if your draft looked something like this in your dynasty league, don’t fret. Grab a hold of all the beer, bourbon, and wine spritzers your grubby fingers can handle and commence the process of getting yourself and your fantasy team nice and tanked.
No matter how much Adam Silver pouts and tsk tsks about it, tanking is a time honored tradition in the NBA and it should be in fantasy as well. If you’re in a keeper league, and why wouldn’t you be, then you don’t stop proactively being an aggressive GM just because this season is a lost one. If this season goes to hell, then you need to put yourself in the best position possible to do much better next year. And that means getting your Hinkie on and making your own tank fueled military parade right through your league. With that in mind, here’s a Do’s and Don’ts guide to tanking the right way and getting the most out of your quest to hit rock bottom.
DON’T – Tank half assed.
If you’re going to tank, be committed to it. If you prefer to play spoiler to the playoff teams, that’s fine, but where does that get you? You’re not going to get a butt pat and an ‘attaboy’ for your effort to play the 2nd place team to a 5-4 loss as opposed to a 7-2 loss.
Once you know you’re out of the playoff race, go for broke. Try to leave no stone left unturned. Trust that Process and know that if you use the system to tank properly, you will be in position to get some sweet keepers and top picks for next season.
DO – Accept less value on players you have no intention of keeping.
I’m terrible with money, but last time I checked five cents on the dollar is better than zero cents on the dollar. I’m not suggesting that you raise the dander of your league’s commissioner, but if you’re in a keeper league and know that you simply can’t or won’t keep some pricey veterans, why not take what you can get with a major flier on a rookie or young guy just to be rid of them. In these types of scenarios, something is better than nothing on a tanking fantasy team.
Say you have Carmelo Anthony. And of course you do because rule of law is that Melo needs to be on at least one terrible team and he’s no longer on the Knicks. We know that he’s not the player he once was and is currently the third or possibly fourth banana on a very good Thunder team. It’s easy for most fantasy owners to dismiss Melo as just washed up and a knee issue away from missing multiple games. He’s going to be a later pick or won’t be worth the salary to keep him on your team for next year.
What rival owners may also be ignoring is that this season he’s still a near-top-100 player and averaging the fewest minutes per game of his entire career. I’m sure the Thunder hope that he won’t be as gassed with having to carry the burden of 40-plus minute games while trying to do everything to play his way out of James Dolan’s billion dollar dumpster fire. Also, much of his top-100 ranking is being held down by his field goal percentage. A closer look shows that his 3-point shots and shooting percentage is mostly in line with his last few seasons. It’s his 2-point shooting that’s down on less shots. It’s very possible that if he can get himself some more bunnies from Russ, that a course correction is in order.
There’s value in that version of Melo for the remaining weeks of the season. But if an owner is still reluctant to give much up, why not offer to take a risk to make a deal happen? What if the other owner is still holding onto someone like Jonathan Isaac despite being the last man on his bench? Isaac has been injured and is not even in the top-250 in value on the season. He’s unlikely to make a big dent in the Magic rotation for the remainder of the season even though they’re rebuilding given his injury woes. Isaac may never pan out, that’s just the way it goes with some draft picks. But why not take a shot to find out?
So if you have a chance, take some deep risks with remaining trades. It’ll mean taking significantly lower value on certain players, but you never know when you might end up scratching off the right lottery ticket.
DON’T – Make any more waiver claims.
First, you’re only going to piss off other owners who could use some potential late season gems like David Nwaba or Emmanuel Mudiay for their playoff pushes. Second, a lot of the guys on waivers only have value due to other injured players ahead of them on depth charts. Andrew Harrison is going to be an ownable asset from here on out, but he’s useless in the future with a healthy Mike Conley. Third, again, you should be focused on getting the best picks and keepers possible, not trying to find a Joe Schmo rotation guy who happened to have been thrust into a bigger role.
DON’T – Play injured players
It takes two damn minutes to set a lineup on a mobile device. Don’t be a deadbeat owner, start a healthy lineup every week. No one wants THAT person in their league and I want commissioners across America to institute rules that are enforceable by law that will shame and hurl poop at fantasy owners in the streets like they’re Cersei Lannister when they give up and ignore lineups. You see that red tag, keep em on the bench.
DO – Start your youngsters
If playing the youngsters is the standard operating procedure for tanking NBA teams, it should be yours too. Start some of your younger players and keepers in lieu of the vets on your team. Unleash your Dragan Bender. Order a John Collins at the bar. Let Jordan Bell be the one for whom it tolls. And sorry Josh Jackson, but you are for real. There’s plenty of room for you all on these tracks to Tankonia.
DO – Subtle lineup changes to increases your tanking chances
Not all tanking needs to be so brazen. Subtle, under the radar moves can make a difference too. Very simply, if you don’t have a ton of rookies or young guys, take a closer look at schedules for the week. Perhaps you have two perfectly good-but-not-great point guards in Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder on your team. You notice that Teague has four games this week and Schroeder only has three. Start Schroder over Teague in that case so you’re not counting as many stats. Or if they both have four games, and Schroder has home games against the Magic, Nets, Cavs, and Knicks, but Teague is on the road against the Grizzlies, Mavs, Jazz, and Blazers, then give Teague the nod. Just a little extra thought can give you that extra tanking edge.
Bottom line is that there are ways to tank without being a useless bum of an owner that drags down the quality of your league. Don’t ignore your team to go off and play crappy blues music like you’re New York’s booger picking Cablevision heir. Call out your tanking all you want, you’re not Mark Cuban, your league can’t fine you. But if you’re honest with yourself and the status of your team a good roster purging can feel cathartic. I love winning just as much as anyone, but I love me a good fire sale too. So if you’re down and out, do everything in your power to put yourself in a position to draft a Luka Doncic or Deandre Ayton and you’ll find that your tanking will have paid off in the long run.
Player of the Week Who Has a Personal Vendetta Against Me
Trey Burke had two strikes against him as of one month ago. In college, he was a standout Michigan player, and I enjoy the success of the Wolverines as much as I enjoy a kick in the groin. Fortunately he was terrible as a pro, but then he signed with the Knicks in January, a team that I enjoy as much as getting a root canal while being kicked in the groin. Still, the Knicks drafted Frank Ntilikina, traded for Emmanuel Mudiay, and for some reason still employs Jarrett Jack, so how much damage could Trey Burke possibly do.
Of course two games, two 26-point outbursts for Burke lead to two fantasy beatdowns for yours truly. Strike three! Damn you Trey Burke! Why couldn’t you have just stayed in the G-League, where the G stands for “Go away forever you one-dimensional bust!”
Adventures in DFS
Not having basketball DFS due to the All-Star break was maddening. What the hell else am I supposed to do during the day when I alter lineups 4,698 times? Work? GTFO! Then what about the nights I spend freaking the hell out over hoops scores? Do you really expect me to have actual conversations with my family in place of constantly checking my DFS apps? Hell no!
So time without the NBA goes on and I see one of those free promotions for the NHL. It’s free so why not try some hockey lineups and see if I could be any good at this. (Spoiler alert: I am terrible at this)
So for starters, Connor McDavid, ok he’s like the next great thing, right? In the lineup.
Here are some former New York Rangers that I remember and have some value. In you go.
And goalie hmmm, well, I see the Coyotes are last in goal scoring so Carey Price of the Canadiens, make me proud!
Like everything else I do with NBA DFS, I see my lineup and start to talk to myself confidently about my selections so I plunk a few extra dollars down on some single entries.
I finished 25,240 out of 27,916.
The lesson as always is that I am a dummy and shouldn’t gamble on these toothless skating goons and this moronic ice sport that I don’t know a damn thing about. Stick to basketball Josh, you stupid dumb degenerate.
Guys I Like This Week
Here are some top-100 or so players I like this week. This is me ensuring these players slip and snap an ankle getting out of a bathtub.
Danilo Gallinari – He’s looked good since his return from injury and among his four this week are a couple of revenge games at home against the Knicks and on the road at Denver.
D’Angelo Russell – Back in with the starters and gets what should be four fairly high scoring games that the Nets will try to keep pace in
Dwight Powell – Four games, three at home against some putrid defenses
Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield – Five games for the Kings and these two are the only ones you can rely on to suit up and play meaningful minutes for five all of them
Kent Bazemore and John Collins – Hawks are tanking, but with Ilyasova being bought out, their minutes should be secure for four at home against high scoring offenses
Andrew Harrison – Outside of one tough matchup on the road in Boston, Harrison has the point guard position to himself against three other non-existent defenses
Guys I Will Avoid This Week
Here are some top-100 or so players I don’t like this week. This is me standing under the rim while these players gear up to dunk on my skinny ass for all of Twitter to see.
Kyle Anderson – Only two games and he now has Rudy Gay to deal with again
Andrew Wiggins – Already been a rough season for him and now he gets three on the West Coast against tough Ds
Eric Gordon – Always gets less usage behind CP3 and Beard, and has two games this week against pace plodders
Kentavious Caldwell Pope – Lonzo coming back and road games against the Heat and Spurs. Woof.
Justin Holiday – Despite his solid ranking on the season, he’s a cut candidate if he’s going to see healthy scratches at random times
BONUS: It’s nearly impossible to sit any of the Warriors Big Four, but this week they have three on the East Coast and two have potential blowouts written all over them against the Knicks and Hawks. There’s risk of starters getting rest days or less minutes due running tanking teams out of the gym.
Paul George seemingly has a knack for doing this to me. He’s been outstanding this season, but when I need him most, he goes and does this:
Saturday, November 25th against the Mavs he goes 1-for-12 including a goose egg from deep. That Saturday I go from 5-4 to 3-6 and can’t recover.
Sunday, December 3rd he goes two for 17 including six, count em, six turnovers against the Spurs. I go from a 6-3 lead to a 2-6-1 loss and in back to back weeks, PG-13 has me reeling.
So thinking that these woes are behind me, George puts up a 1-for-14 doozy against the defending champs on national TV this past Saturday night. I go from 6-3 to trailing 4-5 and I’m fortunate to eek out a 4-4-1 tie on Sunday night.
I sincerely hope George has gotten these weekend benders out of his system because these Bloody Sunday hangovers are becoming increasingly painful.
As always, if you have a good Bloody Sunday story, let me know on twitter @JoshMillman.