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Team by Team Triple Play – Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) pulls in a rebound in front of Miami Heat forward Jordan Mickey (25) during the first quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
(AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

We all agree. Philly is going to be a fun team to watch this season, both from a fantasy perspective as well as a reality one. Their depth at each position is crazy and this is going to make it tough to draft some guys. It will most certainly ensure though, that a lot of their back up players become hot waiver wire targets given one of any number of injuries.

The hope amongst most fantasy players will be unanimous, or at least in the majority. I would imagine that we want them to remain healthy for the bulk of the season so that they are playing for a playoff seed rather than lottery balls. Given the injury history of the team over the past five years, surely the chances are we see the luck turn around and Philly roll right into the playoffs. You think?

Looking at most of the team’s around the league, it is normally pretty easy to see who will be in the rotation and getting some good minutes. This is barring injuries of course. When we glance over the 76ers roster, we could make a case for up to 14 players being in the rotation to some degree. This is where it can be hard to draft some of these guys.

PG 1 Markelle Fultz
2 T.J. McConnell
3 Jerryd Bayless
SG 1 J.J. Redick
2 Timothe Luwawu
3 Nik Stauskas
SF 1 Robert Covington
2 Justin Anderson
3 Furkan Korkmaz
PF 1 Ben Simmons
2 Dario Saric
3 Amir Johnson
4 James Michael McAdoo
C 1 Joel Embiid
2 Richaun Holmes
3 Jahlil Okafor


There is a clear path to regular starter’s minutes for a few players while a number of the others are going to be battling to be relevant for fantasy owners in standard leagues. In deeper leagues, Philly are a treasure trove of late picks with injury based upside. I’ll be looking at three players who will be seeing regular minutes but with completely different outlooks.

Joel Embiid

I talked about Embiid in my article about the top 20 breakout candidates, so I’ll basically rehash what I had to say there. When he was on the floor last season, Embiid was a fantasy beast. He definitely has the upside to smash his way into the top 10 if he can stay on the floor. He has done nothing during his first three years in the league to instil any confidence in owners that he will play more than about 50 games.  His numbers from the games he played last season are really nice and these came in only 25 minutes per game.

Joel Embiid 25.4 20.2 1.2 7.8 2.1 0.9 2.4 13.8 46.6 7.9 78.3 3.8 37


If he is able to stay healthy this season and play at least 70 games, then he will be a top 20 player in 9 cat leagues and maybe even a top 10 in 8 cat leagues. The one major concern is his turnover ratio. His per 36 turnover number is 5.4, which is up there with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. This number should fall though. He is going to have a lot more offensive options around him this season, meaning that he is not going to be asked to do as much. While his usage rate is going to take a bit of a hit, he should still have no problem clearing the 20 points per game barrier whilst increasing his field goal percentage.

When he was on the court last season, he was basically asked to do everything. Which he did exceptionally well but it clearly took a toll on his body. He is surrounded by talent as well as depth this season so the hope is that he will be on the floor more but asked to do less. People will think that doing less equates to a drop in his fantasy value but if we look purely at games played, this is not the case at all.

So how many games will he play this season? A question that nobody can really predict the answer to. The team could very well be in the hunt for a playoff position come March and April, so that works in his favour. A lot of projections have him at around 60 games and I think this is a nice number to work with. Given that I have him on a couple of my teams, I like to think positively and suggest that he plays in 70 games. He is the ultimate risk vs. reward player and could be a fantasy dream or a nightmare.

Robert Covington

Covington is a very interesting fantasy player. I remember clearly last season, he was killing team’s field goal percentages. And I mean destroying. There is probably a good chance he hit the waivers in a number of leagues. And to those that snapped him up, kudos to you all. After his very slow start, he exploded over the back half of the season and finished as the 36th ranked player. This was on the back of his elite defensive numbers and three point shots. He also rebounded well from the small forward position to go along with a nice free throw percentage.

Robert Convington 31.6 12.9 2.0 6.5 1.5 1.9 1.0 10.9 39.8 2.6 82.2 1.9 36


People’s concern this year is that with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and JJ Redick all healthy and fighting over the ball, what is going to happen to Covington? Is he going to vanish from the fantasy landscape altogether? It is for this reason he is going to be overlooked in a lot of drafts. And this is your opportunity to take full advantage of that.

If you need to find reasons to draft him this season, there are plenty. Clearly he is not a high usage guy anyway. The fact that all these other players are fighting over touches does not affect Covington’s fantasy value. If you are drafting him, you shouldn’t be drafting him for his points output. In fact, given that the team now has so many offensive options, he should actually see an uptick in his efficiency. While his scoring probably does come down, he should have better looks leading to better shots. However, he should still be able to maintain at least two three pointers per game.

I’m hearing that people are concerned about his minutes. Last season he was able to increase his minutes by about three per game up to nearly 32. With all these other guys, surely he is going to lose some of that court time? I disagree. He is the best wing defender this team has by a long way. In fact, I think he is one of the top perimeter defenders in the NBA. So Philly are going to need to keep him on the floor, if not only for his defence. He should be able to also maintain almost two steals per game and his blocks could come up slightly. Given most of his swats comes from playing weak side help, with Embiid and Holmes being healthy, there could be more opportunities to sneak in behind them.

So where do you take him in a draft. Well this really depends on who you are drafting against. If you are in a league with people that are as educated as yourself, then you can probably let him fall a bit. If he slides into the sixties then you have yourself a nice upside pick. Chances are though, that if you are against people that have a bit more savvy, you will have to reach a bit higher for him. You could still get him in the fifties though, which does leave some value to be had as there is a good chance he finishes the season inside the top 40.

Dario Saric

For some reason, people thought Dario Saric should have won rookie of the year last season. Insert confused emoji here. Saric was good for about 5 weeks and this was when there was no one else on the team scoring or pretty much doing anything on the offensive end. Even during this mini run he had, there wasn’t a lot of production on the defensive end. Yes he grabbed some boards but this was really by default. The run he had was inflated by how bad those guys around him were and people are jumping all over that heading into this season.

Dario Saric 26.3 12.8 1.3 6.3 2.2 0.7 0.4 11.5 41.1 2.7 78.0 2.3 191


He finished the season as the 191st ranked player. Pretty obvious that he was not the fantasy stud people were raving about. He did finish the season better, I will grant him that. But he was still only the 96th ranked player over the last two months. Still not a fantasy stud.

Looking at this season and as we are fully aware, there is a lot more talent to go around in Philadelphia. He will be coming off the bench and I think barring injuries, his minutes are going to be less than what he was getting last season. And this will mean lower output. He is still going find ways to score when he is on the floor but I don’t really see him doing a lot else to help you out.

He has a year of experience under his belt now so maybe his defensive numbers come up a little bit, but this is just a hope at this stage. I think most of his numbers will probably take a hit from last season as they were inflated due to the injuries and general lack of talent. If you are going to draft him, then you’re welcome to him. ESPN has him at 68 but I really think he is going to struggle to even make the top 150, unless once again, Philly are hit with the injury bug.


Adam is a remote fantasy writer for Rotowire and has been playing Fantasy Basketball since 2013. He lives in Bungendore, Australia.


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