Author Archives: Greg Fox

Start, Drop & Roll: Week 6 advice

"I'm the Notre Damus of the NBA"

As we head into Week 6 of the fantasy basketball season, I took the liberty of looking up the word fantasy. It is defined as a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. It also states that many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common.

As I languish in last place in the Damn Lies league, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that this season has been far from a fantasy. And with my newfound definition of the term, I am now on the hunt for a magician to turn my season around. With that said, ladies and gentlemen, to offer this week’s selections, allow me introduce the amazing Melodini. This is the only man, in the history of American basketball, who has singlehandedly shattered the hopes and dreams of an entire city, and will get none of the blame. Truly amazing. Continue reading


Start, Drop & Roll: Week 5 advice

hey Chris, I'm wide open every time, man

We’re getting into that part of the season when many beleaguered owners begin to lose faith and start to not pay as much attention to the waiver wire and free agent pool. Don’t be one of these owners! Be more like your Start, Drop & Roll author, who thinks whining about his fantasy basketball team should be a profession. On to some sage Week 5 guidance.

Start ’em:

Nicolas Batum, SF, Portland: I, for one, can’t make up my mind on Batum this year. He has been on the wrong end of a congested swing rotation in the Great Northwest, but is making the most of his opportunities. Gerald Wallace missed the Blazers’ last game with a sprained finger and Crash has never been known to make speedy returns. Batum should offer a nice across-the-board return in a four-game week. Continue reading


Start, Drop & Roll: Week 4 Advice

We’re less three weeks into the 2011-12 season and the carnage is sickening. It seems as if half the league has a sore shoulder and the other half a torn pec. But there’s always that 1 percent, and to that end, I’d like you all to know that Stephen Curry remains sidelined with a sprained ankle; Just thought you should be made aware.

The loss of Al Horford for the season will have a dramatic effect on all fantasy leagues. The reaction of Horford’s owners was eerily reminiscent to that of the North Korean people at Kim Jong Il’s funeral. While it is impossible to equate Dear Leader’s popularity, I would imagine that the owners of Josh Smith, Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague are purchasing bouquets as we speak. This triumvirate should post terrific fantasy numbers the rest of the way, and I’m also starting to think that this is the perfect opportunity to take a flyer on Marvin Williams. He returned to the Atlanta rotation on Saturday, and if he is ever going to live up to his hype, after being selected No. 2 in the draft ahead of Deron Williams and Chris Paul, this will be his chance. As for the Hawks’ new starting center, Zaza Pachulia, I think I’d rather pick up Zsa Zsa Gabor.

On to the selections for Week 4.

Continue reading


Outrageous Claims: Anthony Randolph

We know you can literally pick up the rail-thin Ant-Rand, but should you pick him up in fantasy?

Welcome to Outrageous Claims, where the Damn Lies writers examine players that fantasy basketball owners might want to add to their teams. If you agree or disagree, or just want to vent, leave a message in the comments.

Anthony Randolph (PF/C, MIN)
I would typically never recommend a player in his mid-30s, who has been in the league 12 years, but I might make an exception when it comes to Anthony Randolph. Oh wait, Randolph is only 22? How can that be? I feel like this guy has been in the NBA since the Reagan administration.

For a young shaver, Randolph has certainly bounced around the league, but he now finds himself in a pretty good situation in Minnesota. There are 144 minutes to go around at small forward, power forward and center. Kevin Love has 40 of them, Michael Beasley may be out for a month, Anthony Tolliver is failing miserably in nearly 25 minutes per game, Derrick Williams has huge potential but is young and somewhat struggling, and Darko Milicic is as much an NBA player as Abner Goldstein. So, whether it’s by default, freakish athletic ability, or a combination of both, the 6’11 Randolph should begin to seize a regular 25-minute role on this team. Last night, he played a season-high 29 minutes against the Bulls and tallied 18 points with a block and a steal. He won’t continue to score like this, but a la Tyrus Thomas, his potential for blocks and steals is staggering.

Greg’s Claim: Randolph has gotten stronger this year, and is athletic enough to play all three frontcourt positions. I have little faith in him to produce as he has done nothing but break our hearts in the past, but let’s remember his age and the fact that he now has a body that wouldn’t be bowled over by a cool breeze. If you have a Rashard Lewis or a Chase Budinger to excavate from your roster I’d take my chances with Randolph, but keep the leash short.


Start, Drop & Roll: Week 3 Advice

How could you not love this guy?

We’re nearly two weeks into the regular season and I don’t think anyone participating in fantasy basketball has any idea what’s going on. How could the NBA think that 66 games over 125 days could possibly work? It seems as if every player is either hurt, out for no apparent reason, or simply dreadful.

Personally, I ended Week 1 in last place in the Damn Lies League, a mere 50 points out of first. I walked around my house in a stupor on Sunday evening, a la Robert the Bruce at the Scottish gravesite after betraying William Wallace. Week 2 has been much better thanks to the return of a two-legged Andrew Bynum, but as a Dorell Wright owner, I’m still teetering on the brink of driving to the Bay area and giving him a massive Indian burn.

But this column, which I will commit to on a weekly basis, is not about me and my incessant whining. It’s about you, our coveted Damn Lies readers, and your need for some good ol’ fashion advice on whom to start, sit and pick up for the coming week. Let’s get down to business. Continue reading


Outrageous Claims: James Johnson

Welcome to Outrageous Claims, where the Damn Lies writers examine players that fantasy basketball owners might want to add to their teams. If you agree or disagree, or just want to vent, leave a message in the comments.

"I read what you wrote, Greg, and right now we're only prepared to deal Love and Rubio for Johnson. That could change."

James Johnson (SF, TOR)
The Raptors are probably the toughest team in the NBA to figure out from a fantasy standpoint. Andrea Bargnani was the only guy we knew would go in the top 70 and be serviceable. Beyond him, this squad is loaded with sleepers and borderline free agent claimees, including Amir Johnson, Ed Davis, Jerryd Bayless and James Johnson. Through two games, we can make pretty strong cases for the first three as Amir is rebounding and blocking shots as the starting power forward, Davis is rebounding and blocking shots in a key bench role, and Bayless knows that there is a hospital gurney with Jose Calderon’s name on it. James Johnson has also carved out a nice role on this squad and through two games has averaged 32.5 minutes, 5.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 4.0 steals and 2.5 blocks. The steals and blocks are jaw-dropping, but the sample is too small to try to convince even a boob like David Kahn that this is the second coming of Scottie Pippen. But when taking into account that starting small forward Rasual Butler stinks on ice and that Johnson averaged 9.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steals in 28 minutes a night with Toronto last season, he should be scooped up in all deep leagues.

Greg’s Claim: If you can take a small hit in scoring, add Johnson in all leagues of 12 or more teams. He’ll serve as a nice source of blocks and steals and won’t destroy you in any other category.


Damn Lies & Statistics Season Preview: Sleepers

We are a mere nine days from the start of the regular season and have yet to deploy our annual Sleepers column, the Rolls Royce of Sleepers columns, if you will. So, without any pomp and circumstance, Greg “Ambien” Fox is ready and up to the task. Remember, it was I who announced to the world to take an unknown named LeBron James last year. It was I who said back in ’89 that this Jordan fellow might be worth a mid-round flier. It was I in ’61 who implored fantasy enthusiasts to jump on Wilt the Stilt (those of the female persuasion took me a little too literally). They threw me out of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in ’83 after I said that Edmund Sherrod would be the next Bob Cousy. I showed them back then and I’ll show you again. So without further ado… Continue reading


Fantasy & Free Agent Fest: Pacific Division

In the days leading up to the start of free agency on Dec. 9, Damn Lies & Statistics will be taking a look at each team’s potential moves, top fantasy players and more. In the final installment, Greg Fox examines the Pacific Division.

GOLDEN STATE
Fantasy-Worthy Players Under Contract (H2H Draft Round in Parentheses): G Stephen Curry (1/2), G Monta Ellis (2), F Dorell Wright (4), F/C David Lee (4)
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: F Al Thornton
Key Restricted Free Agents: G Reggie Williams
What to Look For: The Warriors remain the most exciting group of fantasy players since the salad days of the Pittsburgh Pisces. New head coach Mark Jackson is already preaching defense, but those who remember the 6-3 turnstile can’t take that too seriously. What Jackson was was a terrific lead guard, who controlled the flow of a game and made everyone around him better. If his wisdom can rub off on Stephen Curry, then the third-year point guard will deliver first-round value. Hell, I felt he was brutal last year, and he still finished as a borderline first-rounder. His backcourt mate, Monta Ellis, if he can stay out of the emergency room following his nightly 48-minute high-wire acts, can also return silly dividends. Always a big-time scorer with strong percentages, Ellis has added a 3-point shot to his repertoire in recent years. Small forward Dorell Wright was arguably fantasy’s MVP last season, coming out of nowhere to produce terrific across-the-board numbers. Don’t go spending a third-round pick on the guy as he is bound to disappoint this time around, but keep him on the radar in the fourth or fifth round. As for disappointments, Warrior big men David Lee and Andris Biedrins impaled their owners a year ago. Lee was a second-round choice for many, but a Wilson Chandler incisor to Lee’s forearm contributed to his derailment and he should bounce back nicely in 2011-12. Biedrins may have to look for work elsewhere as Golden State brass seems to be tiring of his Claude Rains impression. Keep a close eye on power forward Ekpe Udoh, who could steal some minutes in the middle and provide decent rebounds and blocks.
The Damn Lies Bold Recipe: Nothing against Biedrins, but it is not going to work for him in the Bay area. The unfortunate thing is that the Warriors are stuck as they would have to sell him at 10 cents on the dollar and they may be better off using the amnesty clause on him. This team is in need of some hard-nosed players, willing to take a charge, as well as a big man who can change some shots. Tyson Chandler comes to mind, but the Warriors can’t afford him. DeAndre Jordan, Tayshaun Prince, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes and Luch Richard Mbah a Moute all seem to fit this team’s needs. Time to take the plunge. Continue reading


Fox Unbalanced: Wake Me Up for the Playoffs, Part II

VCU has Shaka'd the world

You know, I’ve watched this VCU team a few times during the NCAA Tournament and not until the Elite Eight did I realize that Shaka Smart was the head coach. I swear I thought Nantz and Kellogg were referring to the team’s undersized big man who is killing people down low. Live and learn. He doesn’t look like a Shaka Smart… I mean, if one is born with this name, this person’s career is pretty much mapped out for him. It’s either bouncer, hitman, Zulu warrior or power forward. I wouldn’t think “coach” would be in the mix.

Last week, as the sight of my team in the Damn Lies standings had me on the brink of forging a prescription request from my internist for a cauldron of Zoloft, I escaped from the depression by breaking down the potential first round of a 10-team, eight-category, points-based playoffs league. Since it did momentarily have me thinking twice about accepting that harnessless window-washing job at the Chrysler Building, I figured I might as well put together round two.

Here was Round 1…

1. Derrick Rose

2. Kobe Bryant

3. Pau Gasol

4. Kevin Durant

5. Rajon Rondo

6. LeBron James

7. Dwyane Wade

8. Russell Westbrook

9. Serge Ibaka

10. Luol Deng

Round 2… Continue reading


Fox Unbalanced: Wake Me Up for the Playoffs

"At least this isn't Libya" is a phrase Knick fans can use for at least a few more weeks.

It’s good to be back on the beat. I’d like to thank my good friend and colleague Mr. Andriesse for exposing us as frauds the other day. Yes, our NCAA Tournament brackets were an absolute embarrassment, yes we had Temple, UCLA, Washington, Utah St. and Pitt going way further than they did, and yes we didn’t write last week because we were rendered in the fetal position while watching our teams lose in the most disgusting fashion, but it was still a better showing than my 2010-11 fantasy basketball team. Funny thing is, we predicted the Big East would stink and that Jimmer Fredette would go on a Birdesque run through the tourney, yet i don’t think we have a team still alive.

On to more pressing matters, it looks as if the, uh, “Two Superstar” theory for the Knicks isn’t exactly going as planned. The New Yawkahs fell to 7-10 since Little Anthony the Imperialist joined the fray, including back-to-back home meltdowns against Boston and Orlando. From a fantasy perspective, Melo recorded probably his finest game as a Knick last night, totaling 24 points, five rebounds, nine assists and two steals, and sent legions of Knicks supporters into cardiac arrest by shooting 50 percent (6-12) from the field. From a fan’s perspective I think Melo jerseys are dangerously close to being burned in effigy at a more prolific rate than Muammar Gaddafi posters in Libya. This is not going to end well. They went from a team in salary cap Siberia, to miraculously one with a nice little future ahead of them in which to build, finally to one in which most of that cap is being spent on three guys who fit poorly together. Just wait until Amar’e Stoudemire disappears next season. But fear not Melo fans, Mike D’Antoni will be the fall guy next year if this isn’t turned around.

There are a little more than three weeks left in the regular season and I’ve got to say that when one has no shot at a fantasy championship, there is just an empty feeling when opening a box score. I do hope that Jeff, Tom and I can put together the same playoffs league we got going last April. That was a good time and that includes the draft in which I called my picks in to Jeff while driving in a monsoon on the New Jersey Turnpike. So, for all of you like me, who are completely out of your races, let’s take a sneak peek at a potential first-round of a 10-team, eight-category, non-percentage roto playoff draft in which the categories are as follows: Points (1 pt); FT Made (1 pt); Rebounds (2 pts); Assists (2 pts); 3-Pointer Made (3 pts); Steals (5 pts); Blocks (6 pts); Turnovers (-3 pts). Continue reading


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