In a season beginning with high hopes for Nerlens Noel, things have been a bit of a disappointment for the third-year player, surrounded by a dearth of playmaking and shooting while struggling to play alongside Jahil Okafor. Frankly, Noel’s season could only be made worse by injury, or the brash decision to shave off his iconic high-top fade (please, whatever you do, keep the hair.)
But for one night last night, coming off 3 single-digit scoring outings in his last 4 games, Noel looked like the best player on the 76ers once again, finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds to accompany 1 assist, 2 steals, and 3 blocks.
Playing a season-high 47 minutes, Noel’s extended look can hopefully provide stability to an otherwise shaky season. His effectiveness and usage have both been limited, but performance like yesterday’s show his immense potential and ability to impact games.
While Philly’s long-term success depends on Noel’s continued development, our immediate fantasy success depends on his ability to turn yesterday’s flashes into consistent showings.
Robert Covington – Returning to the fantasy radar after hitting 10 3-pointers in his previous two games, RoCo returned to the starting lineup against the Knicks yesterday finishing with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 1 block. Most importantly for Philly faithful, he hit this ridiculous shot to tie the game. For a double-overtime game in which Covington played 46 minutes, the statline certainly leaves a little more to be desired, but for fantasy owners in need of production of the wing, better days are ahead for Covington.
Ish Smith – In all honesty, Smith should be handed a Key to Philadelphia for turning the 76ers into a mildly competitive NBA team. For fantasy owners willing to ignore his 8-28 shooting effort, Smith’s 16 points, 16 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals are enough to propel any fantasy team to an early lead after Monday’s games.
Jahil Okafor – With 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals on 10-17 shooting, Okafor had himself an effective and efficient outing yesterday. However, his 26 of minutes of action yesterday illustrate his glass ceiling limiting his value for fantasy owners. With Noel having an excellent game, Okafor didn’t play in the fourth quarter and in overtime. Philly’s coaching staff is trying to stagger minutes as much as possible to split up Okafor and Noel, but when it comes down to it, Brett Brown appears to shift away from Okafor for Noel, putting Philly in the best position to win.
Carmelo Anthony – For all the discussion surrounding Anthony’s evolution from a ball-dominant scorer to more of a team player, Melo spent all of yesterday reconnecting with his roots finishing with 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists on 9-28 shooting from the field.
Kristaps Porzingis – In 34 minutes, Porzin-gawd infuriated 76ers fans with a “what could have been” performance 16 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks. In other Porzingis-related news, I had no idea how much I liked Latvian rap.
Aaron Afflalo – Leading all scorers with 25 points, Afflalo chipped in 7 rebounds and a steal yesterday for fantasy owners.
Gordon Hayward – In the second double-overtime game of the day, Hayward finished with 36 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block while shooting 6-12 from behind the arc.
Rudy Gobert – A well-rounded outing for the Stifle Tower yesterday finishing with 14 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks.
Kemba Walker – Setting a Charlotte Hornet franchise record with 52 points, Walker had himself a game and then some. Not only did he blow by Gobert in overtime, his 50+ point, 9 rebound, 8 assist, and 2 steal effort puts him in some exclusive company.
Nic Batum – Whether or not his elbow injury is still affecting his on-court abilities, one thing is clear with Batum, he’s struggled to find his early-season form in 2016. With 10 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal on 4-12 shooting with 5 turnovers yesterday, I would not be surprised if his struggles continue until All-Star weekend.
Marvin Williams – I’m not sure if anyone else has this problem, but I always forget I still own Williams. I am constantly so close to dropping him after ever bad performance that I’m always pleasantly surprised to see him on my roster after every good one. Last night was good Marvin, finishing with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal on 3-4 shooting from deep.
C.J. McCollum – After all the double-overtime games, I had to remind myself that 34 minutes and 25 points is not only acceptable, but actually pretty impressive.
Meyers Leonard – Although he is still sharing minutes with Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh, and Mason Plumlee, Leonard has seen a nice uptick in production over the past week. That trend continued yesterday with 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists while hitting 4-7 from deep. As long as Portland is committed to this 4-way frontcourt rotation, Leonard’s upside is not enough to warrant a roster spot in standard leagues, but he is someone to monitor moving forward given his ability to consistently hit multiple 3-pointers per game.
John Wall – 9 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals on 4-17 shooting from the field. While Wall struggled to get into a rhythm and get to the foul line (0 attempts), his assist totals show he’s committed to facilitating for his teammates when his own shot isn’t falling.
Bradley Beal – Returning from a one-game rest, Beal responded with 16 points, 5 assists, 1 rebound, and 1 steal in 24 minutes of action. The Wizards will try to keep his minutes in the low-20s for the future with sporadic days of rest to preserve his body as well. Right now is not the best time to be a Beal owner, but last night’s output is a good indication of what is to come.
Jrue Holiday – Coming off the bench, Holiday played 29 minutes and to finish with 23 points, 9 assists, and 2 rebounds. Holiday is still rounding into form and yesterday’s performance marks his second 20-point scoring output in the last five games. While Holiday is bouncing between good games and bad games on a nightly basis, it was good to see him flash his 20/10 ceiling once again.
Anthony Davis – The Brow did a little bit of everything last night, except for the whole winning the game… 21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks, and 1 game close to unintentionally landing a top 5 pick.
Mike Conley – 15 points, 10 assists, and 1 rebound in only 27 minutes yesterday.
Matt Barnes – Despite all the off court concerns surrounding Barnes, he has been playing well in January, averaging a season high 30 minutes per game in 2016. Coming off the bench yesterday, Barnes contributed 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist, bouncing back from a two-point effort in his last outing against hte Knicks.
Pau Gasol – In typical big brother fashion, Pau could not let his younger sibling outperform him yesterday finishing with 31 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assist, 1 steal, and 3 blocks on 13-18 shooting. With Joakim Noah out for the next 4-to-6 weeks, Gasol ceiling slightly elevates as he will play a few more minutes per game in stretchier lineups.
Jimmy Butler – After accidentally scoring 53 points last Thursday, Butler has scored a combined 20 points in his last two outings, with 16 last night to accompany 9 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. Butler’s scoring outbursts are impossible to predict, but his versatility ensures he will contribute in other areas on the off nights.
Derrick Rose – 20 points, 4 assists, and 1 rebound as Rose finishes with his a FG% above 50% for 3rd time in his last 7 games.
Ersan Ilyasova – 19 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, and 1 steal while shooting 3-8 from behind the arc. Ilyasova has been playing well in 2016, and warrants attention in most leagues for his 3-point shooting, scoring, and surprisingly high rebound totals.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Developing a reputation as a pesky on-ball defender, Caldwell-Pope’s one of the top breakout candidates for the second half of the season. Although 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals might not seem like the flashiest statline, he has scored over 20 points in 3 of his last 6 outings. Caldwell-Pope is an excellent buy-low candidate before the reputation catches up with his production.
Elfrid Payton – In his first game back in the starting lineup, Payton finished with 16 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal. Honestly, I am not sure what this performance means for Payton’s fantasy value since the Magic are a weird team with an incredible frustrating head coach. I’d imagine Payton will go through growing pains in the next few weeks, but it was nice to see him lead all starters in scoring.
Aaron Gordon – Speaking of frustrating players with even more infuriating coaches… Gordon has scored in double-digits in 3 of his last 4 games, but last night’s 18 point outing can also be attributed to the blowout loss to the Hawks. I still think Gordon is too volatile to be owned in standard leagues, but his 7 rebounds, 3 assist, and 1 block shows flashes of his multi-cat impact.
Evan Fournier – After a 21 point outing against the Raptors on Thursday, Fournier followed up with a whopping 6 points…
Paul Millsap – After thinking about the frustrations of Magic fans, it’s reassuring to see Millsap’s well-rounded statline of 13 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks while shooting 6-9 from the field.
Al Horford – 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks while shooting an even better 7-10 from the field. For Horford’s consistency and reputation as a workman, his involvement in arguable the greatest and most intense game known to man makes for the most entertaining off-the-court storyline in the NBA.
Brook Lopez – Fantasy owners were treated to another great offensive performance by Lopez yesterday finishing with 29 points. In addition to 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal, his 12 rebounds marked his first double-double in the last 7 games.
Donald Sloan – Am I happy about this? Not particularly, but just to get this out of the way, Sloan is worth a pickup in any league looking for help at point guard. Although he finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, his opportunity of playing 30 minutes a night on a team starved for offense is too good to pass up. While many fantasy owners are waiting for Shane Larkin (8 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals in 21 minutes) to emerge as the go-to fantasy option in the backcourt, Sloan gives an immediate return for his resoter spot.
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan – After their public endorsement by Drake, Raptors Global Ambassador, the Toronto starting backcourt combined for 61 points (31 and 30 respectively) in front of the 6ix God.
Steph Curry – Things got awkward real fast in Cleveland… In a 34-point victory on the Cavs home court, Curry lead the charge with a dominant performance finishing with 35 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals while shooting 7-12 from behind the arc. I’d also like to think this is the physical metaphor for Curry usurping King James spot as the best player in the NBA.
Draymond Green – No triple-double, no problem! 16 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks while leading all players in plus/minus with a +35.
LeBron James – Let’s not forgot how LeBron’s otherworldly talents because he’s one of the only players in the world that can have a bad fantasy game with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. On a night where the supporting cast didn’t show up, James was also stifled by the Golden State defense. I’m sure he’s saving his 40/10/10 performances for the Finals.
Isaiah Thomas – The hot streak continues with 20 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds, marking his 5th 20-point scoring outing in his last 6 games. With Marcus Smart easing closer and closer to a full return, I think Thomas may be a good sell-high candidate. There’s no guarantee that his production will dip with Smart’s increased role given Boston’s inability to generate consistent offense, but Smart will be given more opportunities to initiate the offense as Boston evaluates his long-term fit in their plans.
Marcus Smart – Speak of the devil… Playing 39 minutes off the bench, Smart finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals, marking his highest-scoring outing since returning from injury. Smart has been given ample playing time to impact the C’s while rounding into form, but with three consecutive double-digit scoring performances, Smart may finally be compiling the stats to justify his role.
Dirk Nowitzki – Dirk has spent his whole career making Dallas great, and last night was no different for the 37-year old finishing with 31 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 3-5 from 3 and 11-12 from the charity stripe.
Deron Williams – 20 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assist, and 1 block for the veteran continuing his resurgent season in Dallas.
Dwight Howard – Straight video game numbers from Howard last night in a throwback performance that’s sure to catch your attention with 36 points, 26 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in 45 minutes of action.
James Harden – While Harden was unable to secure a victory against the Clippers last night, 20 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds are helping fantasy owners get out to a good start this week. Although his free throw shooting was uncharacteristically poor last night (8-13), that was more of a lesson in Harden being human than anything else.
J.J. Redick – Going 9-12 from deep, Redick looked more like the Human Torch last night finishing with 40 points, 1 assist, and 2 rebounds. The lack of multi-cat impact is totally forgiven since Redick was too busy splashing 3’s from every corner of the court last night.
Chris Paul – Typical CP3 performance orchestrating the offense and putting everyone in position to suceed last night. With 28 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, 6 steals, and 1 block, Paul is putting fantasy owners in a ood position for success this week as well.