Every franchise in the league has hit the twenty-five game mark; a sizzling point in the campaign where front offices can assess performance and predict team success or lay groundwork for the imminency of trade season. Coaches, fans and super-casuals have an idea of what the rest of the year will bring their favorite squad. Teams that are supposed to be tanking are looking like contenders, contenders are getting key players back from injury, all while the middling ones are pretending not to be dreaming of that 7’7 unicorn bombing opposing defenses from 30 feet. On one leg. I’d tank too. You’re in the midst of it all, on a two-week losing streak and the victim of constant undeserved, shame-filled rhetoric in the group chat. I bet you haven’t opened it since last Sunday. Have hope. There’s still plenty of games left, but we need to figure out what got you here.
You didn’t draft the league’s best SG
We all know him well at this point. The guy that bemoaned double teams in open gym runs that one summer. The guy that celebrated dropping 70 in a blowout loss on Instagram with one of the worst teams that year. The league’s newest irritant getting under all our favorite player’s skins. Love him or hate him, he’s the best 2 guard in the league right now. Kobe was right, again. If you haven’t watched Suns’ basketball from the end of last season to now, you’re missing one of the more complete shows in basketball. He’s a phenomenal lead guard when CP3 sits, and a destructive force mid-range extended when the Point God is on the floor. He rebounds, plays passing lanes like a hawk and competes doggedly every minute he’s on the floor. Devin Booker’s matching career highs in points, blocks and rebounds while turning the ball over less. He averaged a whopping 54.5 Fantasy Points in November and is currently ranked 14th on the Player Rater in points leagues. Book was 10th before his nagging injury. With CP3 back, don’t assume this maniac production will dip. Chris Paul is completely fine taking a backseat to him now. Managers like me won’t even consider trading him, so don’t ask.
You panicked and drafted KAT early
The Minnesota-Utah trade caused a simultaneous wave of head scratches across the basketball world. Surely, KAT would almost certainly be moved to bolster the pairing of Ant and Gobert, giving Edwards free rein as the offensive engine and letting Rudy single handedly anchor defenses as he’s famed to? Nah. The T-Wolves sit 11th in the West as of this writing and Minnesota’s front office seems content with the squad’s current iteration. Since the emergence of Anthony Edwards this season Town’s scoring has dipped, and he’s now rebounding and accumulating blocks at a career-low rate due to Rudy Gobert’s presence. This is what Minnesota wanted, but we’re talking about squeezing all of KAT’s talent (offensive, mainly) into points for your weekly win. Before his injury cost him 4-6 weeks, he was ranked as the fifth best C, but you probably drafted him with your first pick in those deeper leagues. You’re undoubtedly rethinking that choice.
Your obsession with perennial Load-Management All-Stars
We know who they are. As a Clippers fan, it pains me to write this. But I knew better than to draft anyone not named Zubac or Mann from the Clips to my team. We’ve seen less Load Management injury designations this year, now termed “injury management”. It’s been a league-wide epidemic for some time and we’re all going through it. These players are oft immensely talented game-changers, and when they’re back in the lineup you can trade for pieces that actually participate in sixty-plus games while they have some value.
Not using the Waiver Wire effectively
Don’t assume managers that navigate the Fantasy Waiver Wire effectively are watching each and every game and following every team. We’re not. We read a few headlines from our sports apps and take a calculated gamble. Here’s a tip: Head over to the players tab and filter for the last 15 days’ stats. You’re welcome. Now you can directly correlate how players like Caleb Martin have been performing in the absence of his teams’ stars, or monitor Malik Monk’s emergence as an early 6MOTY candidate to their upped fantasy value. These short-term gains are very important for squeezing out wins. Pick a star, any star. If they’re on the injury report, look to the second and third stringers to get immediate minutes. Great teams like the Grizzlies and Pelicans make efficient use of their depth without missing a beat, thus enabling role players to get some shine and ultimately valuable points for your squad. Semi-competitive leagues have a limit to how much you can do this, so use your drops wisely.
You wanted drinks and turned Auto-Draft on
I’ll admit, I was almost guilty of this. I fell to this cardinal sin last year, and the year before that. Enough about me, you’re the alcoholic here looking to better your team. Maybe next year you can convince the other managers to hold a Sunday draft at 2 p.m. There’s no way you’ll be out drinking again, right…? Right?