The Philadelphia 76ers appear to be souring on PF-C Nerlens Noel. Head coach Brett Brown told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he doesn’t feel he can effectively play three big men. Noel will be nailed to the bench unless C Joel Embiid or PF Jahlil Okafor get into foul trouble in the foreseeable future, or perhaps suffer some sort of an injury.
Recently, Noel publicly voiced his displeasure with just eight minutes of playing time Friday against the Lakers. “I’m not an eight-minute player. So I don’t know what that’s about,” Noel said. “I don’t really care (who he’s paired with). I need to be on the court playing basketball. I’m too good to be playing eight minutes right now, that’s crazy, that’s crazy, that’s crazy. Need to figure this (expletive) out.”
Well, it appears Brown is not having trouble finding a way to effectively play three big men, he is sending a message to his brash, yet oft-injured big man that he will not be questioned about minutes or his coaching. So if you’re a Fantasy owner of Noel, avoid him in the immediate future. This appears to be more of a doghouse situation.
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES
Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Golden State, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, San Antonio
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES
Atlanta, Brooklyn, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indiana, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Utah, Washington
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES
Charlotte, Philadelphia, Toronto
WEEK 9 SCHEDULE ANALYSIS
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: The Cavaliers have a home-and-home against the Milwaukee Bucks, and that’s usually good for the defending champs. Cleveland has scored at least 101 points in seven straight outings against Milwaukee, so you can expect good Fantasy production from the usual Cleveland suspects. The Cavs also face the league’s worst scoring defense, as the Nets give up 114.6 PPGA. The Christmas Day matchup against the Warriors (105.0 PPGA) should be a shootout as well.
MIAMI HEAT: The Heat have the most favorable schedule among the teams with three games in the upcoming week. A home game with the Los Angeles Lakers (110.5 PPGA) will net plenty of Fantasy results, and a road outing with the New Orleans Pelicans (107.1 PPGA) will also be very fruitful. C Hassan Whiteside, who is averaging 18.5 PPG, 15.8 RPG and 2.0 BPG over the past four outings, will be especially busy.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES: The T’Wolves have a four-game schedule this week after just two a week ago. It’s time to activate all of your Minnesota players, as all four of their opponents allow at least 104.2 points per game (PPGA). Fantasy owners of C Karl-Anthony Towns are going to be especially thankful for the soft schedule, but SF Andrew Wiggins, PG Zach LaVine and PF Gorgui Dieng are also in line for huge weeks, too.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: The 76ers have an unfavorable outlook from a Fantasy perspective, if you’re in a cumulative format. A majority of Fantasy leagues are head-to-head standard formats. However, those in leagues averaging points per game in a scoring period will want to start their Sixers, as they face a New Orleans defense allowing 107.1 PPGA and Phoenix defense giving up 113.0 PPGA, tied for worst in the Western Conference.
TORONTO RAPTORS: Like the 76ers above, Toronto has just two games on the schedule this week. Unfortunately one of those outings come against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. The Jazz own the league’s best scoring defense, giving up just 95.4 PPGA. SG DeMar DeRozan, PG Kyle Lowry and C Jonas Valanciunas remain must-start Fantasy options, but all other Raps should be benched for the upcoming scoring period.
— Sacramento Kings SF Rudy Gay (hip) has missed three straight games due to a hip ailment after sitting out Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. He is a very risky play heading into the new week despite the team still referring to his injury as “day-to-day”. Gay’s absence is tough for Fantasy owners, as he averaging 18.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.0 APG and 1.6 SPG in 23 outings. Swingman Garrett Temple is a decent short-term Fantasy play, especially if SF Omri Casspi (illness) continues to be dogged by an illness.
— Oklahoma City Thunder SG Victor Oladipo (wrist) continues to nurse a wrist injury, and he was missing from Sunday’s practice. V.O. is averaging 16.1 PPG with 4.5 RPG and 2.8 APG through 24 games, and he is just shy of a steal per game. He is a very productive Fantasy option when healthy. He is unlikely to miss the entire week, so Fantasy owners in leagues averaging points per game in a scoring period will be fine using him. He is a bit more of a risky play in standard Fantasy formats, because if he misses two or more games he will hurt your team.
— Dallas Mavericks PG J.J. Barea (calf) told the team’s official website that he is hopeful of returning sometime this week. That’s great news for Fantasy owners, as Barea is second on the team with 16.3 PPG in nine outings (five starts). He also contributes with a handful of assists and rebounds. Fantasy owners will want to see him knock off the rust in a game or two before trusting him again in the starting lineup. SG Seth Curry‘s Fantasy value will take the biggest hit, as his minutes will be severely curtailed upon Barea’s return.
— Memphis Grizzlies SF Chandler Parsons (knee) is nearing a return, and he is worth stashing away now if he is available off the waiver wire. He has managed just 7.7 PPG with 3.0 RPG in six games while playing an average of 21 minutes per game this season. He did not look comfortable in his first few games with his new team, but this is a guy averaging 14.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 3.0 APG over his career, so there is plenty of upside if he can finally get acclimated and healthy.
— Atlanta Hawks SG Tim Hardaway Jr. has picked up the pace on the offensive end, posting 13.5 PPG over his past 11 outings while dumping in 18 3-pointers at a 27.7 percent clip from behind the arc. He is averaging 25.5 minutes per game, and he is coming off a 21-point effort Saturday against Charlotte. He has double-digit point totals in four straight, and nine of the past 10, so he can help plenty of Fantasy owners.
— Speaking of 3-pointers, Grizzlies SG Troy Daniels has dropped in 32 triples over the past 11 games, hitting at a rate of 41.0 percent during the span. He has posted 14.2 PPG while playing over 26 minutes per game. Daniels is seeing plenty of run due to plenty of injuries in the Memphis backcourt, but if he continues to produce it is going to be hard to bump him out of a meaningful role as the Grizzlies get healthier. He is a solid short-term Fantasy option across the board.
— New York Knicks C Willy Hernangomez is a wait-and-see Fantasy option right now. He has come alive when his number is called recently, going for 17 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s game in Denver, also swatting a pair of shots. That comes on the heels of an eight-point, 10-rebound performance at Golden State Dec. 15. He has triple-digit rebound totals in three in a row, and his role could continue to grow. He is a great addition right now in deeper Fantasy leagues.