I am not cool. I am a Fantasy Basketball analyst.
Have you seen what we look like? Not a good-looking group of guys. (Though I suppose Joe Kaiser has a certain rakish charm).
I know my place. I avert my eyes and lower my head on my little plot of earth here in the Valley of Deep Dorkdom. Therefore, I prefer to avoid awkward attempts at garnering roto street cred using terms like "run."
But today...we are all about "run."
Because it's early. There are no "busts" yet, just early off-projection anomalies.
Exhale. Don't jump to any rash conclusions.
Looking across our normal categorical sphere of influence, there just isn't enough of a sample size as of yet to begin making rash pronunciations.
At this nascent juncture of the campaign, the stat column I'm watching with the most interest isn't points, rebounds or any of the percentages.
Less than five games in, minutes per game is the clearest indicator we have in terms of players exceeding or failing their projected production.
Let's take a look at some early pleasant surprises.
Oladipo's early MPG average is overinflated by Friday's epic overtime numerical cornucopia against the Thunder (50 minutes, 21 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, three 3-pointers, one block).
Still, he hasn't played less than 36 minutes in a single contest. This is the leap year we've been waiting for.
The Pistons also had a game go to overtime Friday night. But overall? What a difference a Stan Van Gundy makes. The unabashedly old-school SVG hasn't wasted any time establishing an old-school, top-heavy rotation.
One more bonus: Morris, Caldwell-Pope and Jackson also have multipositional eligibility. Looking forward, the Pistons could prove to be a nice team to stack in DFS situations.
Perennially underrated, Hill is one of the great low-risk, medium-reward players of fantasy. When the Pacers acquired Monta Ellis, I was worried about the effect on Hill's numbers.
So far, Hill has flashed top-50 potential, even if his stats lean a little more shooting guard (18.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 3-pointers, 1.7 steals.)
The Rockets underwhelmed out of the gate until last night's win over the Thunder. The good news is that Houston has seemingly committed to Lawson getting all the minutes he can handle. The bad news? His volume-based offensive stats have been (predictably) subsumed by The Beard (Harden.)
Lawson's averaging only 7.8 field goal attempts per game, which would extrapolate into his lowest average since his rookie season. But the minutes are there, which should sustain midround value.
A la Oladipo, "The Greek Freak" is also trending toward a leap year. It's always only been a matter of time before the stats (22.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 3-pointers, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks) caught up to the hype.
He could produce top-25 value off a 58.8 average draft position, which would make him one of the steals of the year.
I've written about how Williams' expanded 3-point range pegged him as an underrated fantasy asset. It's hard to see him keeping this up (12.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks). But Williams' growing ability to spread the floor (2.7 3-pointers per game) has provided Charlotte with the stretch-4 option they've been looking for.
Williams historically undergoes cooling periods, but he's a nice endgame plug-in ($4,500 on DraftKings) going up against the more expensive Nikola Mirotic ($6,700).
Trevor Ariza, SG/SF, Houston Rockets (35 MPG)
Like the rest of the Rockets, Ariza's been off to a slow statistical start (8.8 points, 4.5 rebounds). He's still in line for a big role and will eventually produce 2.0-plus 3s and steals.
Canaan's received first crack at locking down the starting point guard job in Philadelphia. The results have been decidedly mixed.
With T.J. McConnell flashing more traditional floor generalship (12 assists in 23 minutes last night) and the very solid Kendall Marshall inching toward return, this could be a volatile spot in Philly's lineup.
But volatility breeds opportunity in fantasy and could create some nice low-risk, medium-reward value plays in DFS.
The historically brittle Anderson has a low-radar opportunity to scarf up big minutes in the Pelicans' depleted frontcourt rotation. I'm actually surprised he's only averaging 2.0 3-pointers to date. I like Anderson as a value play ($5,200) at New Orleans tonight.
I once rode next to Aminu on a plane when he was a freshman at Wake Forest. His calm in-flight presence oozed multicategorical fantasy potential.
Like Detroit, the Trail Blazers promise to be another medium-expectation fantasy hotbed for 2015-16. While I'm surprised it's taken Aminu this long to put it all together -- the physical tools were always there -- Portland has proved to be perfect landing spot for his rangy athleticism.
Some regression could be in store. But all in all, Aminu (14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 3-pointers, 1.3 blocks) could prove to be the endgame grab of the season.
Towns (.579 FG%, .889 FT%) has stampeded out of the gate. Mudiay (.333 FG%, .500 FT%) has assaulted backboards and rims with vintage Rajon Rondo-esque ferocity.
The best news overall is that both rookies appear to be locked into 28- to 33-MPG roles for the foreseeable future.
By the way, Mudiay ($5,900) has an early opportunity at a statement game tonight at the Lakers. Byron Scott, in his lovably cantankerous way, has been going out of his way to denigrate ("disrespect" for you "run" types) Mudiay's point guard skills. Look for Mudiay to take out his frustrations (and hopefully launch fewer midrange jumpers) in the vicinity of D'Angelo Russell.
Brad Stevens is the fantasy existential opposite of Stan Van Gundy. He's tinkering with Boston's rotation in the same way the Current Mrs. Cregan tinkers with Etsy; it's controlled anarchy that straddles the line between genius and insanity.
That being said, Stevens has squeezed some nice early per-minute production out of Crowder (5.43 Player Rater points) and Thomas (7.41).
Like Philadelphia, Boston should present a lot of volatility this campaign. Unlike the Sixers, the distribution of talent and upside is less top-heavy. The Celtics are understatedly deep; fantasy mavens should monitor this rotation closely.
The Knicks are a Player Rater study in the power of low expectations. But unlike last season, the Knicks have a few young assets worthy of extended development.
Porzingis had himself quite the statement game last night. He held his own against Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge and the rest of the Spurs with 13 points, 14 rebounds, three steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer -- in 24 minutes. Then, in an epic display of Knicksness, Carmelo Anthony promptly fell on Porzingis' head.
No matter what, Porzingis' future appears blazingly multicategorical. His per-36 numbers to date? 17.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.7 steals, 1.5 blocks and 0.8 3-pointers. And he's still shooting only 36 percent from the field!
In my last column, I touted Bazemore last week as having the upside at small forward in Atlanta. On cue he reached back to his Summer League roots by putting up 19 and 20 points in his next two games.
The best part is that Bazemore's the kind of player who doesn't need to score to produce in fantasy. Oh, and he's only $4,200 on DraftKings at the Heat tonight ...
... where he'll be matched up (on occasion) against this guy. Winslow's plus defense is earning him beaucoup early minutes. He doesn't have to score much in Miami, but as you heard on draft night, Winslow's got all kinds of upside. The offensive numbers should start to fill in as the season progresses.
Dennis Schroder, PG, Atlanta Hawks (24 MPG)
Schroder put up some nice numbers while Kyle Korver was on the shelf. He came back to earth with only 21 minutes, six points and three assists on Sunday. But Schroder is playing his way into a larger role and could see his minutes lock in the 24- to 26-MPG range.
Jrue Holiday, PG, New Orleans Pelicans (24 MPG)
That 20-MPG limit we heard so much about has already been revised to 25 MPG. By Thanksgiving, it'll be up to 30 MPG.
This is why you should never trust preseason swipes at predictions of minutes limits. Coaches need to be wary of certain oft-injured players (like Holiday), but they also need to win basketball games. And I'm sorry, but Holiday is better than Ish Smith. (Though in his favor, Smith has the most type-able name in all of fantasy sports).