Injuries Create Opportunities for 76ers’ Ben Simmons and Others
Injuries have decimated some of the better teams in the NBA in recent weeks. Joel Embiid is the most recent superstar to be plagued by the injury bug as his face inadvertently made contact with guard rookie guard Markelle Fultz’s shoulder Wednesday against the Knicks. Fultz, in only his second game back from injury - an injury to the shoulder that knocked out Embiid - ironically is now part of the reason that the Philadelphia 76er’s All-Star center will miss part of the first round of the playoffs with a facial fracture. In only 13 minutes of play on Wednesday night, Fultz managed only three points but was able to rack up seven assists and five rebounds with a steal and a block while effectively taking out the 76er’s only chance at a deep playoff run.
Thankfully for basketball fans in Philly, Embiid’s two to four-week timetable sets him up for a potential mid-series return during the first-round if, in fact, he takes the entire four-weeks to recover. This timeframe is right around the time that superstars Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry are due to come back from their own ailments.
For Daily Fantasy players that are constantly searching for value, the amount of recent bad luck for NBA stars can be beneficial for the opportunistic. For season-long players that may miss their Fantasy playoff, DFS games are available until June. With the superstars on the sidelines for a few weeks, let’s check in on the latest DFS value from now through the first round of the playoffs.
Joel Embiid is third in the NBA in Usage Rate at 33.4. That is more than Lebron James and Steph Curry for reference. While he misses time, Ben Simmons is the most obvious beneficiary from a Fantasy perspective. Over the last month, Simmons has shined, scoring 12.7 points per game, 9.2 rebounds, and 10.6 assists to go along with 1.3 steals. He has been a beast and those statistics have translated into 44.4 Fantasy points per game during that time, good enough for 11th best in Yahoo Standard Fantasy leagues. To add fuel to the fire that is Ben Simmons’ debut campaign, he is now in a position to lead the 76er’s into the playoffs. Philadelphia is currently the four seed in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, but that could change before this article is published. The Pacers are breathing down the 76er’s necks- only one game behind. For Simmons, leading his team into the playoffs with momentum will surely solidify himself as the undisputed Rookie of the Year.
.@Hoophall Class of 2018: Greatest shot in NBA Playoff history? Ray Allen's Game 6 Classic in the 2013 NBA Finals is certainly in the conversation. Miami went on to win Game 6 in overtime and then take Game 7 for its second straight championship. pic.twitter.com/iTC4vrlZBy
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) March 31, 2018
Through almost two quarters against Atlanta on Friday night, Simmons achieved 32.2 Fantasy points and was well on his way to returning value for both FanDuel ($9,600) and DraftKings ($9,400) players. His price and ownership will go up, but his matchups for the next three games are the Charlotte Hornets, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Cleveland Cavaliers which are all favorable. Buy in on Simmons as he looks to show the world he is a superstar in real life AND in Fantasy.
Simmons is not the only 76er to consider in DFS play. Replacing Embiid in the starting lineup will be Amir Johnson and is a $3,500 flier on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Ersan Ilyasova will be able to provide value with an increased role as well. At 6’10”, Ilyasova can put in minutes in the forward or center position and has proven to be a good rebounder and reliable scorer in limited play for the 76er’s. His role will increase in Embiid’s absence and he is only $4,100 on FanDuel and $4,000 on DraftKings.
Terry Rozier is averaging 34.5 minutes per game since Kyrie Irving has been out with a knee injury. In those nine games Rozier is putting up solid numbers across the board: 17.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and only 1.4 turnovers per contest which checks out to 41.7 FPPG in Yahoo standard scoring.
Around the All-Star break, Rozier was somebody mentioned in this column to pick up as he was valuable even in a backup role to Irving, especially when Marcus Smart was dealing with a broken hand. If you did not pick up Rozier for season-long, never fear. Put him in your DFS lineups with confidence. He is only $6,900 on DraftKings and $7,300 on FanDuel.
It is likely that the Celtics will be playing the Heat in the playoffs, a team that has been good defensively all season. However, Rozier can still do damage from the outside, as he has attempted no less than five threes since being thrust into the starting lineup- including against the Kings against whom he went 8 of 12 from deep. Rozier will be one of the safer plays at playoff time because of the high rate of playing time (as long as Irving is not on the floor) and his ability to fill up the stat sheet and avoid turnovers at a low cost for DFS players.
The Golden State Warriors have been in trouble the past few weeks and that goes further than Kevin Durant’s outbursts in the middle of games. Durant, Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have all missed multiple games in the month of March. Even Nick Young was sidelined for a game or two, which left the Warriors scrambling for production from somebody...anybody. In comes Quinn Cook, an undrafted point guard out of Duke who has played professionally since 2015. He has spent the majority of his time in the D-League but made appearances last year with the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans. Talk about opportunistic. Cook has put his name on the map with Curry missing time. In his last eight games, Cook is averaging 19.63 points,4.4 rebounds, and 4.63 assists.
As the starting point guard with Curry out of the lineup, Cook has averaged 35.98 minutes per game in his last seven and scored a career-high 30 points against Bucks on Thursday. He was five of five from three-point range in that contest and will continue to see increased minutes up until and possibly through the first round of the playoffs. With Thompson, Durant, and Green coming back to the lineup, the Warriors will not need Cook to handle the bulk of the scoring. But, he will still see 30-plus minutes a game and should continue to provide value from a Fantasy perspective, as he is only $5,700 on FanDuel and $6,400 on DraftKings.
Ben Simmons Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Amis
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