Tag Archives: Josh Howard

I’ll Be Damned: Deadline Winners

It was a ridiculous trade deadline this year, one that will be analyzed for a while with ramifications still ramificating and stuff. We haven’t seen where all the bought out players will sign, nor have we even seen every traded player suit up for their new team. Folks have analyzed each deal extensively, so for this post I’m just going to concentrate on players who weren’t traded and whose values are rising based on last week’s upheavals.

TRADE DEADLINE WINNERS

Kris Humphries (PF, NJN) – Humphries is going to put up a lot of double-doubles the rest of the way, as I don’t see Brandan Wright making inroads into the rotation. Should be owned in all leagues.

Chase Budinger (SF, HOU) – A no-brainer pickup now that Shane Battier is gone. Budinger has had one great game and one bad game, and that might continue for a while. He’s very talented, though, and he’ll at least help you in three-pointers.

Gerald Henderson (SG, CHA) – With Gerald Wallace in Portland, Stephen Jackson shifts to small forward and Henderson is the team’s new ‘2’. He probably won’t make a huge impact in shallow leagues but is definitely worth a speculative add right now. Perhaps he can become a poor man’s DeMar DeRozan.

James Harden (SG, OKC) – Harden can’t help but pick up more playing time with Jeff Green traded away. He’s good for threes, steals and great percentages for a shooting guard. His teammate Serge Ibaka is another huge winner, but he’s still not a complete guarantee to receive the big minutes we all want him to play. If Ibaka played 35 minutes a game he’d be ridiculous. For now, we’ll have settle for really good. Continue reading


Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: Washington Wizards

Poet Lil’ John, most famously known for penning the rhyme “Get Low,” said of the Washington Wizards: “To the window, to John Wall. To the sweat drop down my basketballs.” I believe I heard him correctly, and what I think he was trying to say was that John Wall has arrived, so open your windows and clean off your balls, cause it’s going to get hot in here (sic). The Wizards are coming off what may have been both the worst of times and the best of times. Gone is the gun-toting Javaris Crittenton along with the idea that Gilbert Arenas is a franchise player, and here are the days of two young budding superstars in Wall and Andray Blatche. Damn it feels good to be a Wiz fan (good = OK).

 

"Excuse me, Mr. Wall, but do you know which way the beach is?"

 

LIES
Arenas has played a grand total of 47 games over the past three seasons. Anyone who thinks that he’s going to be a fantasy bargain this season is in for a Ravishing Rick Rude awakening. Yes, Arenas can score the basketball, shoot threes and pick up close to two steals per game, but he also kills you in oh so many categories. He’s a bulk shooter with a career FG% of 42.6, a bulk free-throw shooter (7.4 attempts per game) who can just barely hit 80% of his attempts, and a pretend point guard who turns the ball over 3.3 times per game. Factor in the health, attitude, and new role with the team (Robin to Wall’s Batman) and you’re looking at a 6th rounder, as far as I can see. The risk is not worth the reward. Again, he’s played in only 47 games over the past three seasons. Remember last year when we all got excited because Arenas was “finally healthy?” Yeah, he still found a way to screw his fantasy owners. (Bitter much, Lorenzo?)

DAMN LIES
The Wizards re-signed Al Thornton‘s clone, Josh Howard, making both players generally useless from a fantasy perspective. Both are scoring wings with little value to add to a fantasy roster. Howard can rebound the ball well (6.0 per game), but he too has had a tough time staying on the court over the past two seasons. His defense is minimal (1.1 steals) and his FG% has decreased in each of the last five seasons. Factor in the timeshare between these two and you’re looking at a deep-league roster fill in both cases. I do get a little jazzed over Thornton from time-to-time, but just looking at his numbers you can see that he adds nothing more than a 12-15 point-per-game scorer.

STATISTICS
Blatche was the second-half performer of the 2009-10 season (sorry, Darren Collison). He averaged 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 48.1% shooting from the floor in 36 starts. Bingo, bango. I would take him in the late-5th if he’s still available. You still worry about his immaturity, but in round five it’s OK to take a shot on a player like Blatche. I promise you. As for Wall I think you’ll get a great bargain on him in the 5th or 6th round. I imiagine he’ll finish as a top 30 player, though I don’t suggest you use a 3rd-round pick to find out. I like JaVale McGee as well. If he can stay out of foul trouble and stay on the court he can be a beast in the middle. Last season his per-36 numbers were quite impressive: 14.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks. The other big who you’ll see come off the board in your draft is Yi Jianlian. If you can sell me on Yi then I’ll say something nice about him. But, in order for me to be sold you have to convince me that he’ll stay healthy enough to play in at least 70 games (something he’s yet to do in his three years in the league). Though I will admit that he does have the ability to give you one 3-pointer, one block, and one steal per game. I just don’t think he’ll be on the court enough to make those numbers matter.

DEPTH CHART
PG – John Wall, Kirk Hinrich
SG – Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young
SF – Al Thornton, Josh Howard
PF – Andray Blatche, Yi Jianlian
C – JaVale McGee, Hilton Armstrong

Up Next: Atlanta Hawks

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Daily Lies & Statistics: A couple of lemons

It was a wild five-game night in the NBA on Monday, with the equivalent of a week’s worth of injuries and interesting stat lines. What stands out to me are the injuries to Josh Howard and – you’re not gonna believe it – Tracy McGrady. Howard had to be carried off the court with a sprained knee eight minutes into the Wizards-Bulls tilt, while McGrady is already in doubt for tonight’s game after tweaking his surgically-repaired knee. Did these teams keep the receipts?

The Damn Lies bloggers keep a Word file with the following text to make cutting and pasting easy: "Tracy McGrady will miss tonight's game vs. (insert team here) with knee problems."

Elsewhere, Tyson Chandler and Nazr Mohammed sat out with ailments, paving the way for a Theo Ratliff start that made me do a triple-take when perusing the box score. In Utah, Deron Williams sat out with a quad contusion and Andrei Kirilenko rested with back spasms.

On the court, we saw some monster lines, the top two from centers Andrew Bogut and Brendan Haywood. Bogut was that 12-year-old kid who grows up faster than his classmates against the smallish Knicks, as his 24 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks attest. The Knicks struggled to just 67 points, and if McGrady has to shut it down this could get very ugly. Over in Dallas, the Mavs yawned their way to a 91-82 win over the Danny Granger-less Pacers as Haywood went for 13 and 20 with three blocks. Granger sat for personal reasons, which is my excuse for everything.

More lines of note:

Bucks 83, Knicks 67: My vision is like 20/140, but apparently I wasn’t seeing double at Sergio Rodriguez’s eight steals last night. He started for the Knicks and played 29 minutes, and I’m glad I picked him up in the Damn Lies league even if he doesn’t approach eight steals again. Eddie House is a popular pickup but he struggled with just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting last night. Greg and I were discussing how House never, ever misses a shot yet routinely shoots below 40 percent from the field. We’re perplexed, but then again we are often bewildered by burning questions such as “Where do all the lost pens go?” and “How the hell are there enough cows to feed everyone?” If you can answer either of those, let us know. On the Milwaukee side, we saw John Salmons move into the starting lineup himself and score 15 points in 40 minutes. Sounds about right. I get the feeling that one of these days Brandon Jennings (1-9 FG, 4 points) is going to come clean and tell us he’s not really a lefty, that he’s just messing around.

Wizards 101, Bulls 95: Howard’s injury cast a Chris Paul over the proceedings, but these two teams were determined to not give fans their money’s worth. It turned out to be a close game, albeit one where Ronald Murray was the second-leading scorer for Chicago. Andray Blatche is fantasy gold since the trade deadline, going for 25 and 11 with two steals and two blocks last night. It looks like he’s for real.

Mavericks 91, Pacers 82: There’s nothing else I can add to this game. Check for yourself. Yawn.

Hawks 105, Jazz 100: Nice win for the Hawks against a hot team, but yeah, Williams and Kirilenko didn’t suit up. Joe Johnson (28-6-6) continues his quest for a max contract, and Josh Smith (18-9-5, 2 blk) is the 17th-best player in Yahoo’s rankings over the last month. With Jamal Crawford relishing the microwave role off the bench and the toughness of Al Horford underneath, nobody will want to play this team in the postseason.

Clippers 98, Charlotte 94: Drew Gooden suited up for the first time and played 28 minutes off the bench for the Clips. He hurt DeAndre Jordan’s minutes and this is something to watch. Why the Clippers wouldn’t play Jordan as much as possible is beyond me, but Gooden is the solid veteran presence who probably makes them a better team when he’s out there. Charlotte was done in by insisting that Stephen Jackson lead them, and naturally S-Jax’s 1-16 shooting line will do nothing to convince him that he isn’t God’s gift to basketball. Will Larry Brown continue to pee games away by running plays down the stretch for this clown? We’ll see. Gerald Wallace, on the other hand, was magnifique: 32 points, 12 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals, 2 threes. I’m sorry, but if the Bobcats finish better than .500 this year, he should get MVP votes.


Fantasy Basketball Roundtable: Change is a good thing

This is a fun week for NBA fans as Thursday’s 3 p.m. EST trade deadline approaches. Not an hour goes by without four or five juicy trade rumors firing through cyberspace, and I can’t speak for my fellow fantasy scribes but I fear I might crash Twitter’s servers all by myself.

For fantasy owners, particularly those still in contention for a championship, the highs of following trade rumors are often juxtaposed with the fear that any deal made will adversely affect one of your own guys. If you have Corey Maggette, for instance, you can’t be thrilled about the prospects of a trade to Cleveland, where he’d be forced to defend and fit in with a deep group of guards, with no minutes available at the small forward spot (currently occupied by… let me check my depth charts… oh yeah, LeBron James).

LeBron is one of the busiest GMs in the league this time of year.

For those of you (notice I didn’t say “us”) who prefer their glasses half full, trades can sometimes help. For every guy who loses value, someone else gains, right? Not necessarily, but if you are carrying, say, DeAndre Jordan, he’s all-of-a-sudden a sneaky value play the rest of the way with the Clippers moving Marcus Camby to Portland.

We’ve heard numerous names bandied about in the past few weeks, and as we’re right up against the deadline, we polled some fantasy basketball writers as to their thoughts on the deadline and which players they think could benefit, fantasy-wise, from a change of scenery.

Participating this week are:

Ryan Lester, LestersLegends.com
Brian Spencer, Empty the Bench
Tommy Beer, Hoopsworld
Patrick Madden, Give Me the Rock
Tom Lorenzo, Damn Lies & Statistics blogger and RotoExperts.com Fantasy Basketball Editor

THE QUESTION: Out of the many names being bandied about in rumors, who do you think could/will benefit the most from a change of scenery from a fantasy perspective?

Josh Howard
Not all trades are made equal. For example, it’s hard to imagine Antawn Jamison‘s fantasy value not taking a hit if the rumors of a deal to the Celtics came to fruition. The move would be about bolstering the Celtics’ lineup, and I’m sure Jamison wouldn’t mind giving up some of his production to actually be on a team with a chance.

On the flip side, a player a player who was just dealt to the Wizards should see his value soar. Of course I’m talking about Dallas’ Josh Howard. His minutes are down with the Mavs this year and his overall production is worse than even his rookie season. Safe to say he’s worn out his welcome in Big D. Washington, however should welcome him with open arms. He gives them a versatile scorer, capable of scoring both inside and outside. Sometimes a change of scenery is what a player needs to clear his mind and start fresh. Under Flip Saunders I expect an increase in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and three-pointers. I would expect his shooting percentage to increase as well.
-Ryan Lester

J.J. Hickson
Since he seems to be the one Cleveland Cavaliers trade chip that’s being eyed in terms of actual on-court value, not just an expiring contract, J.J. Hickson is a guy to scoop up as a speculative add before the Cavs make their move. Whether he ultimately goes to Washington in a deal for Antawn Jamison, to Phoenix in the long-rumored Amare ‘Stoudemire blockbuster, or to another dark horse lurking in the background, he’s likely going to step right into the starting lineup and get big minutes from here on out.

Hickson has emerged this season as a borderline add in deep leagues for fantasy owners in need of a moderate boost in points, boards, and field-goal percentage. Over his last five games, the 19th-overall pick of the ’08 draft has averaged 13 points and 5 boards on 60% shooting: modest numbers, sure, but he’s doing it in just 20 minutes a night, and his game seems to be improving, along with his confidence, each step of the way.

While more minutes should naturally lead to more points and boards, most are waiting to see where else he can contribute given the chance. He’s only averaging 0.3 assists, 0.4 steals, and 0.4 blocks per so far this season, but we’ve all seen what skilled players can do on bad teams offering ample opportunity for production. I expect at least a semi-significant uptick in all three categories if/once he’s moved, and when that happens he’ll be giving fantasy teams a nice boost down the stretch.
-Brian Spencer

Antawn Jamison
I think the player who would benefit in a big way from a trade would be Antawn Jamison. For weeks now, it has been rumored than Jamison may get dealt to the Cavs, as Cleveland looks to build a championship team around LeBron. From a reality standpoint, I think it is a great move for Cleveland. From a fantasy perspective, I think it hurts Jamison’s roto value.

In Cleveland, the Cavs play at a slower pace than Flip Saunders offense. Moreover, Jamison will defer to LeBron, and sometime to Shaq. I think Antawn’s shot attempts will decrease, which is never a good thing. In
addition, the Cavs are one of the league’s best rebounding teams. That means there will be fewer boards for Jamison to corral. However, one positive may be a bump up in three-pointers and FG%, as Jamison will benefit from teams collapsing on LeBron and James kicking it out to an open Antawn.
-Tommy Beer

Tyrus Thomas
If you’re looking for a man in need of a change of scenery, look no further than Tyrus Thomas. The Bulls forward has been jerked around by the team since he was drafted and has responded back in kind, with long stretches of uninspired play and well documented tirades aimed at Vinny Del Negro. But through his mostly disappointing run with the Bulls, we seen flashes of the player he could become. An example: over the Bulls’ last two games, with the team attempting to showcase him for a trade, Thomas has averaged 13.5 points, 7 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2 blocks in 30+ minutes a game.

The Bulls are including Thomas in just about every Bulls trade rumor that crops up, including the latest move to acquire Tracy McGrady and his expiring contract. The Spurs are also said to be making a play for Thomas. Wherever he lands, simply stepping away from the baggage that surrounds him in Chicago and starting anew will likely mean more motivated play from Thomas on a night-to-night basis. And if he lands on a team like The Rockets or Spurs where he could potentially start, look for Thomas to have a monster finish to this season.
-Patrick Madden

Tyrus Thomas
Call it puppy love, or call it “nasty” love. Whatever you may want to call it, I still can’t seem to escape my infatuation with Tyrus Thomas. And for this exercise I can’t help but think that a change of scenery may do him some good. We’ve seen Thomas approach Josh Smith levels in the past, especially on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, Thomas has better per 36 numbers on defense with 1.6 steals and 2.4 blocks per game over his career as compared to 1.2 steals and 2.4 blocks for Smith. Right now, Thomas just isn’t getting the opportunity to put his best foot forward in Chicago. The rumor-mill has the Knicks, Rockets, Spurs, and Nuggets as some of the teams who are interested in Thomas. Go to all four teams! Thomas is such a great athlete he could probably be in four places at once. OK, now I just trended back into nasty love. Being available in 45 percent of Yahoo! leagues, the right move could give plenty of owners an opportunity to pick up, at the very least, a guy who can give you 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks. That would be huge down the stretch.
-Tom Lorenzo

Some interesting choices here, particularly the infuriating Thomas. I own him in one league and have added about six religions to my repertoire to increase my praying power and cover all my bases in hopes of a fantasy-friendly destination for Thomas first, with eternal salvation second, time permitting.

Jamison probably spends his evenings drinking and playing with ESPN’s Trade Machine, he’s been mentioned so much. I’d be shocked if he was still in Washington by Thursday, and both Boston and Cleveland will probably make strong pushes for him in the coming hours.

Other names who could get moved or come close to it: Stoudemire, Nate Robinson, McGrady, Kirk Hinrich, Al Harrington, Kevin Martin, and numerous dark horse candidates such as anyone wearing a Pistons jersey (including fans).

The Fantasy Roundtable is a weekly meeting of the minds featuring many of the top fantasy hoops bloggers and writers on the web. Check back each week for new analysis at any of the sites listed above.


Shooting Guard rankings and analysis

By Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse

It’s time to rank and analyze the top shooting guards in fantasy drafts. We chose these SGs based on their projected roles with their respective teams, keeping in mind that several shooting guards and small forwards will have hybrid positional eligibility. Rankings are very subjective and should always be fluid for the person drafting. Always tier out your cheat sheets before the draft as well. For our purposes, these rankings represent less of a statistical formula analysis and more of a comfort level with each player, taking into account factors such as injury history, upside potential and age. Format is based on standard eight-category rotisserie style (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG).

2009-10 Shooting Guard Rankings

Tom’s Top 25 Jeff’s Top 25
1. Dwyane Wade 1. Dwyane Wade
2. Kobe Bryant 2. Kobe Bryant
3. Brandon Roy 3. Brandon Roy
4. Kevin Martin 4. Joe Johnson
5. Joe Johnson 5. Kevin Martin
6. Andre Iguodala 6. Andre Iguodala
7. Vince Carter 7. Vince Carter
8. Ben Gordon 8. Ray Allen
9. O.J. Mayo 9. John Salmons
10. Ray Allen 10. Jason Richardson
11. Jason Richardson 11. Stephen Jackson
12. Manu Ginobili 12. O.J. Mayo
13. Jason Terry 13. Ben Gordon
14. Leandro Barbosa 14. Eric Gordon
15. J.R. Smith 15. J.R. Smith
16. John Salmons 16. Jason Terry
17. Randy Foye 17. Michael Redd
18. Stephen Jackson 18. Josh Howard
19. Eric Gordon 19. Manu Ginobili
20. Michael Redd 20. Leandro Barbosa
21. Courtney Lee 21. Randy Foye
22. Wilson Chandler 22. Richard Hamilton
23. Josh Howard 23. Wilson Chandler
24. Richard Hamilton 24. Courtney Lee
25. Brandon Rush 25. Ronnie Brewer

BREAKING DOWN THE SHOOTING GUARD POSITION

Three Questions for Tom

Jeff: We both place J.R. Smith at 15th, as if he was a sensible, safe selection in the middle rounds. Is this the year the volatile Smith has a true breakout? What’s the highest he could rise on this list if everything comes together?

Tom: I suppose what I love about Smith is that he is a high-risk/high-reward kind of guy. It almost seems dangerous to own him! He’s an extremely talented ballplayer who could possibly lead the league in three-pointers made, add a steal-plus per game, and average 20 points. That’s not bad from a guy sitting in the middle of the pack. Of course he is going to miss the first seven games of the season and he does have a questionable attitude, which together could result in a disastrous season. I wrote about Smith earlier in the summer and my main point for him having a breakout season was this: he has been handed the starting ‘two’ guard position. There is no one standing in Smith’s way, except for Smith himself. Do I trust him? No. But if he’s the third shooting guard on my roster I’ll be pretty happy knowing that the upside this guy has could vault him into top 10 value by the end of the season.

Jeff: We differ significantly on several players, one of them being John Salmons. What’s your worry there? Shouldn’t he play a large role in the Chicago offense with Ben Gordon out of town?

Tom: I guess the problem I have with Salmons is that he’s never proven to be anything but a talent in the 50-75 range. Look at last season, for example. Even when Salmons was on a Kevin Martin-less Sacramento team he went about his business averaging 18/4/3 with a steal and 1.5 three-pointers. Nice stat-line, but I’m not buying that he is anything more than that. The Bulls are now in the hands of Derrick Rose and, for better or worse, Luol Deng. Salmons to me is who he is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m more inclined to look at a guy like O.J. Mayo who has a tremendous upside or a Ray Allen who excels in certain categories, while Salmons is just good in a handful of them.

Jeff: I know you’re dying to pump up Leandro Barbosa, so go ahead and tell me why you have him 14th. But I’ll make this a two-parter: If your Barbosa love is based on Phoenix’s up-tempo style and lack of depth, shouldn’t Jason Richardson have an even better year now that’s he’s used to playing with Steve Nash? How do you see Richardson doing this year?

Tom: The Barbosa seed was planted when the great Tommy Landry of RotoExperts fame touted Barbosa as a “near-elite” fantasy player in an email exchange we had. I disputed that claim to a certain extent, but I’m not sure he’s far from being a fantasy stud this season (ed. note: Barbosa, not Landry). If you want to talk about Richardson getting “used to” Nash, we have to mention the many years that Barbosa spent as Nash’s understudy and running the break alongside him for stretches throughout his career. I like Richardson this year too, but much like J.R. Smith has been given an opportunity this season to shine, so too has Barbosa. Matt Barnes is long gone, the up-tempo style of play is back with Shaq now in Cleveland, and there is still no viable back-up for Nash at the point. It’s not far-fetched to think that Barbosa could steal 1.5 balls and drain 1.5 threes per game this season. Add into the equation the fact that he shot 88.1 percent from the line, scored nearly 15 points per game on the season, and poured in 20.1 points per in the 11 games that he started. There’s my Barbosa hype, but when it comes to Richardson I think he’s in for a great season as well. I’m not sure he’ll be the 2007-08 Richardson that averaged 21.8 points and 3.0 treys per game, but he’ll approach 20 points and he should come close to 2.0 three-pointers. Alvin Gentry and Nash have been known to elevate players, so he may exceed those expectations. I’d also keep an eye on which position he plays. Grant Hill revitalized his career in Phoenix, but he can longer play 30 minutes per game over an 82 game span. So you might see a Nash-Barbosa-Richardson lineup that will be extremely fun (and fast) to watch.

Three Questions for Jeff

Tom: You have Ben Gordon as your 13th-rated shooting guard. Weren’t we all supposed to get excited once he was out of Chicago and the spotlight was put on him? How come you aren’t excited about Gordon in Detroit?

Jeff: Probably because Richard Hamilton is still there, and so is Tayshaun Prince, and the situation is kind of a mess in my mind. Gordon has always struck me as an undersized defensive liability who is streaky offensively. He has a point guard in Rodney Stuckey who is actually a shooting guard. He’s got his contract. I’m wary. That said, don’t look too much into the number 13. There’s not much difference between Nos. 8 and, say, 17 on my list.

Tom: There is a triumvirate of former fantasy studs sitting in the 17-19 range on your list (Michael Redd, Josh Howard, Manu Ginobili). All three players have been susceptible to injury in the past, but have also shown top-flight talent when healthy. If I could grant you that all three would be healthy this season, which one would you rather own and why?

Jeff: I suppose Ginobili, but my concern with him is more the addition of Richard Jefferson taking some shots away and the Spurs probably being so good that they can do their usual resting of Manu for the playoffs. A healthy Redd on a terrible Milwaukee team could get his scoring back up to levels we’re used to, but the Bucks are going to get blown out pretty regularly. I don’t know if Howard has ever been a fantasy stud, he’s more of a solid mid-round option who will do just enough in most categories not to hurt you. Unfortunately, I think we’re at the point where its a mistake to count on more than 70 games from any of them, and thus they aren’t worth reaching for in drafts.

Tom: Let’s get into the Allen Iverson debate. Two part question here, Jeff: Is Allen Iverson worth a roster spot on fantasy teams this year AND what effect will he have (if any) on O.J. Mayo?

Jeff: Sure, Iverson’s worth a roster spot in leagues with a deep bench. I wouldn’t start him unless either Mayo or Mike Conley got hurt. That brings us to Mayo. You best believe I’m concerned about Iverson’s role here. I’m also fascinated. How is A.I. going to fit in on this team? Is he willing to come off the bench? If not, then what? They are willing to stunt the growth of their promising backcourt to sell a few more seats? I know God played a big role in the negotiations, but so did Chris Wallace, so things evened out. This is a horrible trade from a basketball AND fantasy standpoint, and that’s depressing in several ways. Mayo slid several spots on my list after this signing was announced, and won’t rise back up until I see Iverson becoming a good teammate and mentor before my eyes. Color me cynical.

Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse will break down the Small Forward position in the next few days. If you have comments, questions or suggestions, drop ’em in the Comments Section. Also, be sure to follow Tom and Jeff on Twitter and check out RotoExperts.com for the most comprehensive fantasy sports coverage on the web.


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