Music of the Traffic – Week 8

Are the Lakers too soft to win games? That’s what Kobe Bryant said during practice on Thursday, his first this month.

“You m—-f—— are soft like Charmin in this m—-f—-. God damn, is this the type of s— that’s going on in these practices? Now I see why we’ve lost 20 f—ing games. We’re soft like Charmin. We’re soft like s—.”

Tell us how you really feel.

But don’t read too much into it. Kobe was just having fun at practice by trash-talking with his teammates, after Nick Young started him off by telling him “Nobody in the world can guard me one-on-one.” Bryant’s response when asked his thoughts on Young’s claim; “Thank god, I’m not from this world.”

But Bryant – and Young for that matter – both believe teammates such as Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson need to toughen up and stand up for themselves more at practice. “You can’t back down from a challenge, no matter who it is,” Young said.

Charmin took the opportunity to market their brand further by tweeting out;

Meanwhile, Coach Byron Scott looked at the positives of having his MVP back on the practice floor: “Any time (No.) 24 practices, it’s going to be an intense practice,” Scott said. “I think he brings out the best in the guys. It’s a good way to start the trip … I don’t think anything irritated him. I just think he did a great job of getting everyone else fired up. He’s always fired up. That’s the great thing about him. He’s such a competitor. When he comes out here the intensity level in practice goes sky high and he challenges guys, which is what you should do.”

It seemed to work as the Lakers held on for a close win on the road in San Antonio on Friday.

Ever feel like your fantasy team needs to harden up? Maybe you just need to inject some new life into your squad like Kobe did into the Lakers’ practice session.

Downtown is listening to the Music of the Traffic to help you find the reinforcements needed so your team will never back down from a challenge.

Week 8 (Dec 15 – Dec 21)



2 Games: GSW

Another jam-packed schedule comes our way in Week 8. Again, 19 of the 30 teams play 4 games, 10 play 3 times, while it seems the only thing that can slow Steve Kerr’s Warriors is their schedule with just 2 games on tap. If you’ve been looking for a reason to cut someone like Marreese Speights or Andre Iguodala and you can find better value on waivers to maximise games played this week, then go for it.

The following players may be available in standard 10 or 12 team leagues.

Tyler Zeller (F/C, BOS): I mentioned Tyler briefly last week as one to watch after recommending younger brother Cody. Well, not wanting to miss out on the Zeller coming out party, Tyler has emerged as a viable big man option in 12 team leagues and completed the best week of his young career. Starting with that career night versus the Lakers, Tyler has averaged 14.8pts, 8.2reb, 0.8blk and shot at an impressive .660FG%; good for top 50 value in Yahoo leagues. In the battle of House Zeller on Wednesday, Tyler got the upper hand with 13pts and 8reb despite his Celtics losing. Tyler is available in over 80% of Yahoo leagues and nearly 90% of ESPN leagues and, with a 4 game week ahead, should be owned as long as he’s starting.Sergey Karasev (SG, BKN): One just to watch for now, Karasev has supplanted Bojan Bogdanovic in the starting line-up and has played his best ball since being drafted in the first round by Cleveland in 2013. I liked this kid in that draft and it looks like he’s finally getting a chance to prove he belongs. Over his past 3 games, he’s scored 9.3pts with 3reb, 1.3stl and hit a couple of threes. Again, just one to watch right now, but if he keeps his minutes and scoring up, could be worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Corey Brewer (G/F, MIN): Much to my chagrin, we have a #BrewerWatch going in one of my leagues right now. It was started by someone familiar to you all, whose nickname rhymes with Grizz but will remain anonymous. In any event, Not-Grizz has been telling our league about Brewer’s prowess in steals the past 2 weeks and he’s not wrong. In 8 games so far this month, Brewer has swiped a crazy 22 steals (2.75 per game) including 14 over his past 3 games alone. Not done with just contributing on the defensive end, Corey’s also been diming and rebounding (5apg and 5rpg over his past 6). He’s scoring in double digits (just) but not hitting as many 3s as in seasons past, plus his FG% is putrid (.345 FG% over the past 2 weeks), which is part of the reason I’ve struggled with the #BrewerWatch. Having said that, there are very few people who can contribute across the categories that Brewer has been, so his value is rather unique right now. If you can afford to dump someone and need the steals, then he’s worth an add. Just remember, if it doesn’t work out for you, blame “Not-Grizz” (by tweeting @liam_santa).

Evan Fournier (G, ORL): Typically a little erratic due to poor FG%, high turnovers and inconsistent minutes, Fournier has delivered solid 12-team value over the past week. In 3 games he’s averaged 13.3pts, 4reb, 2.7ast, 1.3 3ptm, a healthy .514 FG% and limited his turnovers with a 4:1 A/T ratio, while playing nearly 29mpg and continuing to start alongside Victor Oladipo. Owned in just 28% of Yahoo and 30% of ESPN leagues, if Fournier keeps up this level of production, you can stop calling him erratic and start calling him a value-add in a 4 game week for Orlando.

Robert Covington (F, PHI): I’m hesitant to recommend these Sixers youngsters who seemingly get hot for a week and then fade into oblivion when their D-League talent catches up with them, however, once you have a down game and then bounce right back, that tells me you may actually have some talent. Covington went undrafted out of Tennessee State, but has really poured it on over the past 5 games. He’s averaged 18.4pts, 5.4reb, 3.4 3ptm, 1.2stl and a decent .508 FG%, bumped that up to 21ppg in the Sixers two wins and hit 6-10 from downtown on Friday at Brooklyn. He’s averaging nearly 29mpg over that span, looks set to keep that going and is one of the hottest adds in fantasy hoops right now. Still available in over 70% of Yahoo leagues and 90% of ESPN leagues, if you’re looking for someone who is unafraid, then Covington is your man.Patrick Patterson (F/C, TOR): Patterson thrived when first dealt to Toronto last season but this year has taken a back seat to Jonas Valanciunas’ marked improvement. He’s starting to find his form (and minutes) again as he’s now scored in double-digits in 7 of his past 8 games, averaged 29mpg over that span, and in his last 3, he’s produced top 20 value with 14pts, 6.7reb, 2.7 3ptm, 1blk and a healthy .600 FG%. The Drakes also have 4 games for Pat-Pat to shine in, so grab him while you can.

Rudy Gobert (C, UTA): The long-armed Frenchman has always had potential and after strong showings at both the NBA Summer League and the FIBA World Cup, it was clear that he was not just a project. Gobert has killed on a per-36 minute basis this season, averaging 12pts, 11.7reb, 0.9stl and a whopping 3.5blk, while shooting at .613 FG%. His minutes have been slowly trending upwards anyway, but with Derrick Favors leaving the arena in a walking boot on Friday after suffering an ankle injury, Go-Go-Gadget-Arms will have a real opportunity to shine. In a season high 26 minutes on Friday, he asserted himself with 9pts (2-2FG, 5-6FT), 11reb, 1stl and a ‘magnifique’ 5 blocks. You can expect more of the same if his minutes remain in the mid to high 20s and with that, he should be owned in all 12-team and some 10-team formats, especially if you need FG%, rebounds and blocks.

If you’re looking to drop someone to make room for one of these names, the following players can be let go from your roster.

Jameer Nelson (PG, DAL): Don’t be fooled by his 18pts, 4 3ptm, 4reb and 4ast at Memphis on Wednesday; Nelson has been unproductive even in 14-team leagues this year, plus he has a shoulder injury right now. Devin Harris will benefit most, but neither should be owned at the moment.

Spencer Hawes (F/C, LAC): It pains me to say it as I’ve always been a fan of his fantasy-friendly game, but Hawes cannot be carried on rosters any more. On top of his struggles (6.3pts, 3.9reb, .420FG% on the season), he badly twisted his knee on Friday night and may be out a few games or longer. There are better options on waivers right now.

Elfrid Payton (PG, ORL): See Evan Fournier, plus Payton is just flat out struggling to produce despite a healthy dose of minutes. Should not be owned right now.


Practice is a good way to build rapport with your teammates, but calling them out might not be. Calling out your underperforming fantasy players by just dropping them to waivers is much easier. As long as you have a viable alternative in mind, you can cruise to a charmin-tastic Week 8 win.


Follow me on Twitter @tomhersz for updates

Follow Downtown @Downtownball

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When you’re introduced to the NBA as a 6 year old in 1984, staying up late to watch Bird, Magic and Dr. J, it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with the game. I became consumed with the Association, and as my own game was developing, I tried to emulate as much as I could at an early age and learn how to play “the right way”. I have memories as a teenager of being glued to Saturday Basketball on TV and spending every spare cent I had on basketball cards and replica jerseys and so began my obsession with NBA knowledge and stats. I played my first season of Fantasy Hoops in 2002, as my serious playing days were slowing down. I now play in 5 or 6 leagues every year. To say I’m obsessed with Fantasy Hoops would be an understatement. To say I love nothing more than sharing my opinion on a player’s value would be entirely accurate, and I guess, the reason why I’m here. Follow me on twitter: @tomhersz @downtownball

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