Mid-Season 2018: Voltron

It’s the same old same old for Voltron division this year, with the exact #1-4 from last season intact. [Pre-season 2018]

Red Dagger (8-3-1)
It’s no surprise to see Thien atop the the standings here, as Red Dagger is once again a leading contender for a Russell Conference title. Having gone all-in before the season with the trade for Carmelo Anthony, this year is ring-or-bust for Thien. Unfortunately, OKC Melo hasn’t been quite as advertised, even though he’s still putting up pretty (inefficient) good numbers. The backslide story continues with John Wall, who has been both injured and lessened somewhat. No matter because Gary Harris has delivered in spades so far this season with 16.7 PTS, 2.2 3PT, 1.9 STL, on 49.0 FG%. He’s picked up the slack for Melo and Wall, and let’s not forget this team still features DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Lillard.

It’s unfortunate Patrick Beverly got hurt though, as he was having a find season as well. But hey, when you’re good, you're good, as Thien added rookie sharpshooter Lauri Markkanen, nice backups in Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb, and continues to build depth through constant digging on the free agent wire. This Dagger is headed straight for another playoffs!

So Buckets (7-4-1)
With seven wins already, Josh’s team is likely headed to a playoff spot too, even if digging into their record reveals a team that’s been mostly beating up on the weaker teams. Still, this is a squad ranked second in PTS, which is impressive isn’t it? There’s four prime time scorers on this team: DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, and CJ McCollum. All four are fantasy studs, and now DeRozan has added a three point shot too. Add in sophomore Dario Saric being able to carve out a role in Philly still — 17.6 PTS, 7.3 REB, 3.7 AST, 2.4 3PT, 1.1 STL — and it’s been kind of okay that Rudy Gobert has only suited up for half the available games. With such a strong core — don’t forget Jabari Parker waiting on IR — So Buckets could be poised to take on the big boys in the second half of the season. Remember, this was the team that upset Russell juggernaut Chunky Monkeys in RD1 of the playoffs last year!

Team Cameltoe (3-9)
We’re not sure what happened here. We thought Cameltoe was headed toward major success after a fantastic dispersal draft that gave rookie owner Felipe a competitive roster from the start. Instead, a late season slide last year has more or less continued this season as they are currently on a six game losing streak. How does a team with Anthony Davis and Hassan Whiteside rank last in REB?! (This team also ranked last in REB, AST, moves, and second-to-last in STL.) Sure, both injury prone big men have missed some games but that’s part of their charm.

Buddy Hield has been okay as a deep threat, Elfrid Payton still does his Rondo-lite impression, and Darren Collison still has a starting job, so things shouldn’t be this bad. JJ Redick has been excellent in Philadelphia too. Of course, maybe this is part of Felipe’s plan, as he waits on rookies Josh Jackson, Malik Monk, and IR stashed Harry Giles to grow up? Still, a stellar 2017-18 NBA rookie class and Cameltoe hasn’t had any of his three hit yet... Patience, patience!

Snack Bears (2-10)
Speaking of rookies that haven’t quite popped, De’Aaron Fox, drafted fourth this past year in SlamNation, has been outplayed by quite a few rookies already. It was expected that Fox may not shoot well from the get-go, but his Super Saiyan speed and copious amounts of available playing time in Sacramento was supposed to give him more than 10.1 PTS and 4.0 AST per game right? Same thing with rookie Jonathan Isaac, who was pitched as a versatile swingman, but hasn’t flashed much of anything. So yeah, Snack Bears is headed to another Toilet Bowl, and possibly the worst record in the league.

The thing is, we like this team! Kristaps Porzingis has evolved another level, Andre Drummond can hit free throws now (a clear trade win for Snack post-mega deal), Dwight Howard is averaging a shocking 15.7 PTS, 12.1 REB, 1.2 BLK on 53.5 FG%, Marcus Smart and Rajon Rondo fit this "no PTS by design" team, and Will Barton has been very useful alongside Evan Fournier. Go up and down this roster and it should all spell out more than two wins. We haven’t even mentioned Spencer Dinwiddie, who has been on a tear in Brooklyn recently. We know this is a weird team, set to tank certain categories, but it would seem like there’s enough talent here to gather up for a proper Toilet Bowl run. Let’s hope Brandon can get it together and earn a top pick in next year’s draft!

Mid-Season 2018: Transformers

A division that gave us no winning teams last year is back on the rise! [Pre-season 2018]

Another Bad Creation (9-3)
After falling into a division title despite a losing record, ABC is here to prove that last year was no fluke. Jostling for a three-peat division title, Oliver’s team is positioned as the best team in Chamberlain Conference so far, which is quite an accomplishment. A full year of Russell Westbrook has helped the team, as well as the re-emergence of LaMarcus Aldridge. But the one key factor that can’t be overlooked is the incredible play of Tyreke Evans, who has been averaging 19.7 PTS, 5.1 REB, 4.7 AST, 2.2 3PT, and 1.1 STL per game, with good percentages too. That’s some superstar level production at a cheap price from the draft. Add in the PTS/REB from Enes Kanter, TJ Warren’s scoring prolificacy, and this team isn’t all that worried about Dirk Nowitzki and Dwayne Wade fading out. Currently on an eight game winning streak, Another Bad Creation looks to be headed for another (hopefully deep) playoff run!

Sager’s Suits and Ties (8-4)
What a surprise! Coming off a rookie year in which Matt only won four games, we assumed 2018 would be a rebuilding year. How wrong we were! SST came to play this season and despite injuries to preseason starting point guard Jeremy Lin, they’ve compiled a stellar record — with all four losses coming 4-5 also — and are for their first division title. What’s going on exactly? One word: Oladipo! Victor Oladipo was the fourth pick in 2017's dispersal draft but he’s elevated himself to (fantasy) superstar levels with 24.5 PTS, 5.2 REB, 4.1 AST, 2.7 3PT, 1.9 STL, 1.0 BLK, and 49.2 FG%. I had to write that all out because how many shooting guards have such incredible numbers? Alongside that, Lou Williams is contributing his usual points and threes, plus the continued good health of Bradley Beal has given SST a killer shooting guard lineup. Sure, Blake Griffin has been dinged up and Draymond Green has taken a dip with his scoring (again), but with so much firepower from the guards, Matt is headed toward a dramatic turnaround.

Squirtle Squad (6-6)
A 4-1 start had us thinking Squirtles was going to ride Giannis Antetokounmpo back to respectability after an eight-win season last year but like the real life Bucks, The Greek Freak may be lacking in some teammate help. It’s been three straight losses for Brian’s squad, albeit against top competition, and it’ll be a battle to get into the playoffs. The recent injury to Nikola Vucevic — who added a lovely 1.4 3PT this season — isn’t going to help. In addition, sophomore keepers Marquese Chriss and Thon Maker have both taken steps back and any promise they showed might be gone soon. The great news is that this year’s prize rookie, Lonzo Ball, the return on making the Toilet Bowl finals, has been much better the last month, averaging 13.9 PTS, 7.7 REB, 7.2 REB, 2.8 3PT, 1.8 STL, and 0.9 BLK, albeit still on horrific shooting. With Ball getting better, Giannis being Giannis, and the soon to be returned Zach LaVine, Squirtles will settle in for a wild card battle for the playoffs, or maybe they’ll sink back into the Toilet Bowl and try to get another high pick?

LA Buffy (2-9-1)
After three seasons of dipping in and around 0.500, the wheels have fallen off the Buffy wagon after starting off 1-6. We knew it would be a rough ride with Isaiah Thomas out, but Danilo Gallinari, George Hill, and Austin Rivers have all missed time too. At least Khris Middleton has been healthy and doing fantastic with a well-balanced and robust stat line as a sneaky great swingman! And Domantas Sabonis has surprised after being freed from OKC, dumping in nice rebounds, points, and field goal percentage.Plus, sophomore Brandon Ingram is looking very solid with 16.1 PTS, 5.4 REB, 3.3 REB, and 0.8 STL/BLK a game. There’s a decent mix of young and old here but health is the major factor. If IT4 has a big second half, and this team gets a bit more healthy, Buffy will have a puncher’s chance in the Toilet Bowl, which would be his fifth straight appearance…

Rivalry Week: WK11


Okay so Rivalry Week didn’t exactly take off did it? We only had two or three teams call each other out so in lieu of actually doing that, I just set up some logical rivalry matchups!

LA Buffy (2-7-1) vs Fat Jubas (4-6)
Roger and Eric are both multiple title winners in our long running fantasy football league, Catch the Damn Ball, so it makes sense they’ll want to extend their competition to the gridiron.

Swamp Dragons (3-5-2) vs So Buckets (6-3-1)
Eddie and Josh entered the league at the same time, in 2012, and will forever be linked in SlamNation lore, so this one will be for bragging rights!

Chunky Monkeys (10-0) vs Funk Coalition (6-3-1)
Longtime friends, but rarely rivals, except on the fantasy field, Jon wants to take out Evan and have three shots at usurping the current undefeated team in the league...

Squirtle Squad (6-4) vs Another Bad Creation (7-3)
Another longtime football pairing, Brian and Oliver have competed over titles in Maize and Blue and these two division-mates are currently running #1 and #2 in Transformers division so let’s give them another matchup!

Sour Snails (7-3) vs Red Dagger (7-2-1)
Brother versus brother, again. This time, defending champs Trieu are vulnerable while Thien and his Red Dagger team fueled up in the off-season a championship run!

Sager’s Suits and Ties (6-4) vs Team Cameltoe (3-7)
Having just joined us in 2017, Felipe and Matt are newish owners still looking for some sustained success. With Felipe’s team undergoing a thorough rebuild, but Matt’s team emerging from a 4-15 rookie season to six wins already this year, this will be a battle to watch.

Team Spade (1-9) vs Snack Bears (1-9)
I mean, the two one-win teams have to match up right? How has Randall been so bad with such a good keeper core? And how can Brandon right the ship after a disastrous early season?

IL Conceived (4-5-1) vs Fob Stars (3-6-1)
Another Chinese school pairing, new owner Frank and Jimmy have been at it for years! Now they fight to get out of the SlamNation cellar and maybe one of them can secure an edge for the Toilet Bowl!

Schedule 2018: Updated Master Schedule


After yet another schedule snafu, our commissioners went back in and fixed the old schedule, giving it a color refresh and making sure the matrix looks correct. So while 2018's WK4-8 matchups are messed up, everything moving forward should be juuuuust right! We added an exciting WK11 "Rivalry Week" this year, so we're waiting for those matchups to come up. Use it as an opportunity to call out your favorite frenemy or maybe to avenge a close loss!

Here is our schedule explained in as plain English as possible. Note: In past years we ran 19 regular season weeks, but this year it was expanded to 21 by the NBA schedule makers.

Our league’s 16 teams are split into two conferences — Russell and Chamberlain. The 8 teams in each conference are split into two divisions (C: Transformers / Silverhawks and R: Thundercats / Voltron); every division has four teams.

Division Games (6): Every team plays six games against the other three teams in its division, facing off twice per season
Intra-Conference Games (4): Every team plays one game against each of the four teams from the other division within its conference
Out-Of-Conference Games (8): Every team plays one game against each of the eight teams from the other conference
Strength of Schedule Games (2): Every team plays its remaining two games, aka “extra,” against two intra-conference teams as determined by the previous season’s standings. The #1 finisher from a division will play #1 and #3 from the intra-conference division, while the #4 finisher from the previous season faces the #2 and #4 finishers from the opposing intra-conference division
Rivalry Games (1): Every team plays one rivalry game, usually WK11, if the schedule allows

Is there strength of schedule involved?
Yes. But very slight. And it’s mostly in the intra-conference games, where the #1 finishers from each division face the opposing inter-conference division #1 and #3 seeds twice — the two extra conference games referenced above — making their overall schedule slightly tougher.

On the flip side, if you’re a lowly #4 seed in your division, you would play the #2 and #4 seeds from the other conference for your extra games, resulting in a slightly different schedule. Make sense?

Every season should unfold like this:
• The regular season opens with two intra-conference games versus the two teams you’ll face again -- in WK17/18 -- these are the two Strength of Schedule games
• There are four out-of-conference games in each of the season’s two halves -- divided between WK 1-10 and WK11-20. There are slightly more intra-conference games in the season’s first half and more division games in the season’s second half.
• Division Games are usually, assuming twenty-one week season: WK3, 8, 14, 19, 20, 21
• Most importantly, the season closes with three straight matchups against your division mates, giving us an exciting end of season race for division champs

Note: We're not using "intra" vs "inter" because it's too confusing. Technically out-of-conference games are "inter-conference games" but we're just gonna say "out-of-conference."

Forever Young

Looking to make a splash after his wildly successful start to the season —  IL Conceived started off 0-3 but then ripped off three straight wins, tripling the number of wins previous franchise Jedi Knights had acquired in 2016-7 combined (a paltry 1-37 record) — new owner Frank moved quickly to trade away the only two veterans from his dispersal draft: Jrue Holiday and Jeff Teague.

After many discussions and strategy sessions, it was decided that the time to move Holiday and Teague was now, in a classic old for young swap, as IL Conceived’s small ball team was um, winning too much. The two vets were clogging up playing time for IL Conceived's prize rookie point guards: Donovan Mitchell and Dennis Smith Jr. For example, Teague was averaging 13.8 PTS, 7.5 AST, 1.6 STL, and 1.5 3PT for a nice fourth banana role in his new Minnesota home while Jrue Holiday was putting up 16.7 PTS, 5.6 AST, 4.3 REB, 1.3 3PT down in New Orleans.

With the kids ready for more minutes, IL Conceived looked to balance out their roster and cash in their month-old franchise leaders for some more upside guys. Enter Harrison Barnes and Jaylen Brown. At just twenty-five years old, Barnes has established himself as a consistent high volume scorer at 18.5 PTS, along with 7.6 REB. Rumors swirled pre-draft that Barnes was on the way out in Jubas-land and now he’s finally gone.

The real upside play for IL Conceived was nabbing Jaylen Brown, who was gotten on the cheap in RD5 by Swamp Dragons just a few weeks ago. The versatile sophomore has taken advantage of Gordon Hayward’s injury to get lots of floor time and has looked on the verge of a breakout. (Of course, he has been awful post-trade for IL Conceived…) Brown is playing over thirty minutes a game and putting up 14.8 PTS, 1.8 3PT, and 5.9 REB.

With the old vets Jrue (27 yrs old) and Jeff (29) gone, IL Conceived is now even younger than before,, and has pivoted entirely behind the Aaron Gordon, Dennis Smith, and Donovan Mitchell trio. Or will more trades be forthcoming now that new owner Frank has an itchy trigger finger?!

Trade ID#80:
  • IL Conceived trades Jeff Teague to Swamp Dragons in exchange for Jeff Teague
Trade ID#81:
  • IL Conceived receive Harrison Barnes, Ersan Ilyasova, Jubas 2019 RD2 in exchange for Jrue Holiday, Tyler Johnson, IL Conceived 2019 RD5
For Jubas, adding Jrue Holiday gives the team a sudden boost in veteran guard savvy with the additional return of Chris Paul to the lineup. After the recent return of Rajon Rondo in New Orleans, Holiday has actually upped his scoring average to 21.4 PTS in his last two weeks as more of a scoring option. Eric also adds flamethrower Tyler Johnson to the perimeter and could use him for some additional outside shooting. Giving up a 2019 RD2 was the cost of improving now as Jubas fights for a playoff spot -- against the very same IL Conceived franchise!

As for Swamp Dragons, the slow starting NBA career of 2018 #1 overall Markelle Fultz (and the team's own slow start) prompted GM Eddie to make the high value move of Jaylen Brown, a RD5 pick, for a productive veteran right now. Teague will immediately lead Dragons in AST and team with Dennis Schroder to make a nice one-two punch as the playmakers in the backcourt.