February 11, 2014

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NBA Fantasy Trades You Should Make

By: Joe Williams

The NBA trade deadline is just a few days away. The trade deadline in your fantasy league is probably pretty close too. Now is the time to look over your roster and make the deal that will get you into the playoffs and hopefully make a run to the title. Fortunately for me, I am in second place at the moment, so I am just looking at what will help me when the playoffs start. But if you’re team is in the middle of the pack or worse, you need to make a move. I’ve got a few suggestions.

Deron Williams for D.J. Augustin or Randy Foye
DWill is still a much bigger star than Augustin or Foye but they are outproducing him and its not that close. Augustin is getting plenty of minutes in Chicago thanks to another devastating injury to Derrick Rose. Foye is also seeing plenty of action in Denver. Williams is shooting just 72 percent on free throws while Augustin and Foye are hitting 85 and 88 percent. Williams is averaging 12.5 points while Augustin and Foye are putting up 17 and 16 over the last month. Both guys are hitting twice as many 3’s as Williams.

Derrick Rose

With Derrick Rose out, D.J. Augustin is getting a lot of playing time in Chicago.

Dwyane Wade for Trevor Ariza
If someone offered you Wade in return for Ariza, normally that would be a no-brainer. But this year, Wade has been extremely frustrating to own. It seems like every time I need him to produce, he sits out. You can’t produce from the bench and Ariza doesn’t spend much time there. He’s on the floor for 38 minutes a game right now. I just don’t trust Wade to play consistently. Miami is obviously trying to save him for a playoff run. You might even get somebody to give you two players for Wade.

Chris Bosh for Paul Millsap
Bosh has been on fire lately. So its a good time to try and sell high on him. Paul Millsap is quietly have a great season. Especially with Al Horford going down for Atlanta. My problem with Bosh is that as the fantasy playoffs begin, the Heat probably won’t have anything to play for and will have the big three getting ready for the playoffs. (If they wanted the No. 1 seed, they’d have found a way to beat the Jazz the other night) Meanwhile, the Hawks will be in a battle for home-court advantage and need all the Millsap they can get.

Pau Gasol for Zach Randolph
If you make this trade now, you can get a few extra games from Randolph while Gasol recovers from his groin injury. But even when Gasol returns, I’d rather have Randolph. Gasol is about to be traded and when he gets to a new team, he’s not going to get the ball and produce as much a he is in L.A. And even if he stays in L.A., Kobe Bryant will be back pretty soon and take a lot of those shots that Gasol has been getting. I’m actually proposing this trade in my league today. I hope “Fear the Beard” isn’t reading this.

Dwight Howard for Andre Drummond

Every team in the NBA would jump at the chance to get Dwight Howard. Some guys in your fantasy league will too. Hopefully one of them has Andre Drummond. If Howard is on your team, you are probably getting killed in free throw shooting. So why not go all in and trade Howard for another big man who is even worse from the charity stripe? You aren’t getting anything out of that stat anyway and Drummond will bring up your field goal percentage and rebounds while cutting down on your turnovers.

January 28, 2014

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NBA All-Star Reserve Picks

By: Joe Williams

I’m taking a day off from the Super Bowl mania so I don’t suffer an overload before the big game. So instead, here’s who I think should be in New Orleans for the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 16.

In the West, the starters are Kevin Durant, Stephan Curry, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Kobe Bryant. The fans have once again stolen a spot from someone who deserves to be there and voted in a guy who has played only six games this year. It looks like Kobe Bryant will spend the game sitting on the bench while someone like Goran Dragic probably gets left off the team.

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin will be an All-Star game starter for the West.

Who should be the reserves in the West? (Chris Paul would be a sure thing but I’m assuming he will not play due to his injury).

LaMarcus Aldridge
This guy should be a starter. He’s leading Portland into title contention and putting up 24-12-3. Aldridge is in the MVP discussion.

DeMarcus Cousins
Just because the Kings are terrible doesn’t mean that Cousins shouldn’t be on this team. 22-12-3 tells me he’s one of the top four centers in the league.

Anthony Davis
He’s one of the most valuable players in fantasy basketball. Davis‘ 20-10-3 with his shooting percentage is a big boost for my roster. He’s the best player in the city hosting the game. He has to be on this team.

James Harden
Harden is putting up 24-5-5 per game, has Houston in the hunt in the West and may be sporting the greatest beard in NBA history.

Dwight Howard
He’s the best big man in the game when he wants to be. Howard’s 18-12-3 could be even better if he hit more than 52 percent of his free throws.

Damian Lillard
Along with Aldridge, Damian Lillard has elevated Portland into contender status. He’s hitting 3’s at a crazy rate and giving the Blazers 20-6. And there may not be a better guy with the ball at the end of a game.

Goran Dragic
Didn’t we think the Suns were going to contend for the No. 1 pick in the draft? Not with this guy running the show. 19-6 a night and he has his team at 26-18.

Note: The last spot came down to Dragic or Dirk Nowitzki, who is one of my favorite players. So thanks a lot fans for making me leave Dirk off the team.

In the East, we’ve got LeBron James, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony and another guy who doesn’t deserve the spot….Dwyane Wade. Nothing against Wade…he just sits out too much to get that spot in my opinion.

Roy Hibbert
Roy Hibbert is the anchor of the league’s best defense on the league’s best team and averages close to a double-double.

Al Jefferson
Everyone said he left Utah for Charlotte to get paid. Nobody thought it was to make a run at the playoffs, but at 19-27 the Bobcats are currently eighth in the East. (That’s not saying much.)

Kyle Lowry
The Toronto Raptors are in third place in the East. He is a big reason why, averaging 16-7-4.

Paul Millsap
Atlanta is still in the hunt for the three seed, even without the services of Al Horford. Without Millsap’s 17-8-3 a night they would be in trouble.

Joakim Noah
Noah is the best player left on a team that just won’t go away no matter how many of their best players do. He does a little of everything for Chicago.

John Wall
Washington is currently sixth in the East and Wall is leading the conference in assists. I’m putting him on the team and hoping not to see any dance moves.

Arron Afflalo
Yeah, his team is terrible. But it’s not Afflalo’s fault. Just imagine what Orlando would be like without him.

October 29, 2013

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NBA Season Preview

By: Joe Williams

The 2013-14 NBA season begins tonight when the Pacers host the Magic, the Bulls visit the Heat and the Lakers and Clippers battle for bragging rights in LA. Will Miami win a third straight title? Can Derrick Rose return to being Derrick Rose? How many teams will be tanking for a better spot in next summer’s draft? I’m going with NO, YES, and 7. What else might happen?

Will this be the year Durant and the Thunder win the NBA Championship?

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will get the most attention…but not for their play on the court. We won’t get to celebrate Christmas without first hearing a constant barrage of trade rumors and free agency speculation surrounding them both.

Dwight Howard will feel left out and mention to reporters that he’s not sure he should have picked Houston. He goes on to say that James Harden’s beard is a distraction for the team and tells Jeremy Lin to feed him the ball more often.

Despite all of the rumors, Rajon Rondo will not be traded. Neither will Pau Gasol.

Jason Collins will eventually be picked up. A Tebow style circus will follow that team for the rest of the year.

On more than one occasion, Michael Jordan will say that he’s still good enough to start for the Bobcats. After checking the standings in the Southeast division, nobody will argue with him.

Jimmer Fredette will be traded to the Utah Jazz.

Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson switches shooting hands and has success with the change.

With their eye on the first pick in the draft, the Philadelphia 76ers coaching staff asks everyone on the roster to do the same saying that they will be unguardable by 2015 if they make the change now.

Kobe Bryant makes his season debut on Christmas when the Lakers host LeBron James and the Miami Heat. He will help the Lakers win games, but won’t be the superstar we are used to seeing until the regular season is nearly over.

David Stern will once again fine Mark Cuban. But this time it will be for flopping after Cuban drops to the ground (on the sidelines) in disbelief of a foul call that costs his Mavericks a win.

The NBA will announce drastic changes to the All-Star Weekend. This will be the final season of the slam dunk contest.

The media will tell us that Kevin Durant and Dwayne Wade have an intense rivalry over Durant’s comments that James Harden is better than Dwayne Wade. It will never play out on the court. The same can’t be said for Miami and Brooklyn. Those games will be heated and lead to the suspensions of multiple players.

New Orleans and Detroit will return to the playoffs. The Lakers and Celtics will not.

Divison winners: Atlantic-Brooklyn Nets, Central-Chicago Bulls, Southeast-Miami Heat, Pacific-Golden State Warriors, Southwest-Houston Rockets, Northwest-Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Durant wins his first MVP award.

Oklahoma City wins the NBA title.

July 31, 2013

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In Case You Missed It

By: Joe Williams

We all know about the Aaron Hernandez situation, Dwight Howard taking his talents to Houston and Ryan Braun getting suspended, but that’s not all the crazy stuff that happened in July. In case you actually have a life, here are a few stories that you may have missed.

Longtime New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur actually got to draft his son Anthony Brodeur for the Devils during the NHL draft.

During last week’s RBC Canadian Open, Hunter Mahan withdrew from the tournament to attend the birth of his first child. Mahan was leading the tournament and didn’t pull out until just before he was supposed to begin his third round, leaving his playing partner John Merrick playing in the final group by himself.

Not only did the Cincinnati Reds play a game in San Francisco as the home team, but during one of the  four-game series between the teams, the Giants grounds crew had a bit of trouble lining up the batter’s box. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding a photo of the screw up online.

When former Florida State offensive lineman Menelik Watson received his championship ring for the team’s win over Georgia Tech in the ACC title game, he was the only Seminoles player that got a ring that reads “2012 SEC Champions.” The rest of the team got rings with the correct conference inscribed on them.

The NCAA claimed that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo committed an NCAA violation when he tweeted “Welcome to the family” to a Class of 2015 wide receiver who recently committed to the University of Michigan.

“Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen fired one of the worst first pitches I have ever seen. Video of that won’t be hard to find either.

A linebacker at the University of Florida was arrested for sticking his head in a police car and barking at a police dog.

One Cleveland Indians fan pulled off an incredible feat, catching four foul balls in the same game…the odds of which are about one in one trillion.

Another fan in Cleveland wasn’t so lucky. When Scott Entsminger passed away earlier this month, this ended up in his obituary…”A lifelong Cleveland Browns fan and season ticket holder, he also wrote a song each year and sent it to the Cleveland Browns as well as offering other advice on how to run the team. He respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.”

A battle royal erupted between two former Thai Olympic teammates during a doubles badminton match. They started trash-talking before the match even started and things continued to escalate until they fought from one end of the arena to the other. Both players received a black card.

And in the wildest story of the month former NBA player Baron Davis (the guy with the huge beard before James Harden) said that he was abducted by aliens while on a drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles during a podcast interview. I’m not even going to go there on this one.

I can’t wait to see what happens in August as the NFL season approaches, and the baseball playoff races heat up.

July 30, 2013

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The Week in Sports

By: Anson Whaley

Alfonso Soriano returns to Yankees: In desperate need of offense with so many injuries to key players, the New York Yankees turned to a familiar face, trading for outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Soriano began his career in New York as a second baseman before later playing for the Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals, and most recently, the Chicago Cubs. The outfielder is past his prime, but a recent hot streak was proof that he can still provide a surge of power. After hitting only nine home runs in the first three months of the season, Soriano has hit nearly that many already in July with eight this month heading into this past weekend.

Jeremy Maclin out for year: NFL training camps are underway and that can only mean one thing – injuries won’t be far behind. The biggest casualty thus far may be the Eagles’ young wide receiver, Jeremy Maclin, who is out for the season after tearing an ACL in a practice. With perhaps their best wideout injured, Philadelphia’s season gets off to a rocky start. The team still has DeSean Jackson at receiver, but Maclin’s loss gives rookie head coach Chip Kelly less to work with on offense – his area of expertise.

Jaromir Jagr signs with New Jersey Devils: Even at 41, Jaromir Jagr isn’t ready to hang up his skates. After playing for the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars last year, the winger has signed a one-year $2 million deal with the New Jersey Devils. Jagr isn’t the player he once was, but still has a little left in the tank after scoring 35 points (including 16 goals in 45 games this past season). Plus, with Ilya Kovalchuk leaving New Jersey to play in Russia, the team was in desperate need of scoring. Jagr ranks eighth all-time among NHL players in scoring and his 681 career goals are good for tenth overall.

Lebron > Kobe in ESPN poll: When it comes to the most popular player in the NBA, LeBron James passed up Kobe Bryant for the first time in a few years according to an ESPN poll. Bryant had beaten out James the past few seasons, but after his second consecutive title, James overtook him last week. Really, it’s just proof that time heals all wounds. Immediately after the much-scrutinized “Decision” broadcast where James announced his intention to leave Cleveland for Miami, he took a huge publicity hit and was even viewed as a villain by many. But after a few years with the Heat and winning a couple of rings, liking LeBron is once again okay.

101 Russian women set a skydiving record: Yeah, I’m not even going to try to add anything to this. Feel free to watch for yourself.

Matt Garza pickup costly for Rangers: Matt Garza may not quite be a household name, but the pitcher could be the best starter that gets dealt before baseball’s trade deadline this season. At 7-1 with a 2.87 ERA, Garza is having a career year and was heavily desired by contenders before he was traded to the Texas Rangers by the Cubs. Garza didn’t come cheap, however. He cost Texas two of their top prospects entering this season, pitcher Justin Grimm and first baseman Mike Olt. Both have struggled to a degree this season, but Grimm has seven wins with the major league team while Olt has 12 home runs in the minors. The trade also cost the Rangers C.J. Edwards, a flamethrower who has dominated Rookie League and Class A in the minors the past two seasons. Also, keep in mind that Garza could only be a rental player as he’s due to become a free agent after this year. All things considered, the Rangers need to not only make the playoffs, but maybe even reach a World Series for this trade to come out in their favor.

Tim Hudson injury hurts Braves: Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson suffered a devastating injury last week when his ankle was broken by the Mets’ Eric Young, Jr. in a collision at first base. The injury was a big one as the veteran will miss the rest of the season. That hurts Atlanta’s playoff chances at least a bit and the team is already looking around for a potential trade. The Braves hold a comfortable lead in the NL East, but should the team hold on for a playoff spot, Hudson’s veteran presence will be sorely missed in the postseason.

Matt Harvey likely to end season early: Similar to what the Washington Nationals did with prized young pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the New York Mets are planning to keep Matt Harvey on a limit for the rest of the year. Mets manager Terry Collins has said Harvey has about ten more starts left instead of the 13 or so he may reach if he continued to pitch every fifth day. While similar to Strasburg’s situation, though, it’s a bit different considering the Mets aren’t likely to be in the playoffs as the Nats were. One thing that will be interesting, though, is to see if the loss in starts costs Harvey when it comes to the Cy Young voting.