Oh, you thought it would be easier with Ben Simmons out of the fold until the All-Star Break at best? C’mon, kids…this roster is still more convoluted than a Donald Trump attempt at either apologies or giving compliments. It needs some ‘splainin’.

This series is intended to cut through the weeds, bypass the ADPs, and decide which players in current position battles hold the best value for fantasy basketball in 2016. Think of it as an ‘either or’ for two players, or a ranking of sorts when multiple players are jockeying for position. 

The Process. Hopefully this is the year we can all see the future Sam Hinkie envisioned the past five seasons. The famed ‘process’ brought the 76ers bushels of lottery picks, but minimal production, and even less wins. The highlight of the 2016 was supposed to be the arrival of the best #1 pick in a decade: Ben Simmons. However, a broken foot sidelined him for months, once again relegating the top pick and new hope of Philadelphia to the injured reserve. Nerlens Noel. Joel Embiid. And now Simmons. Don’t fret, though, because there are enough weapons in tow now to actually bring some relevance to both the fantasy game and actual, real life basketball. Normally in these articles we’ll focus on just one section of a team’s lineup, but for the first installment we’ll be examining the entire roster for Philly, because, well…it’s freaking needed. Almost everyone worth noting is new, so let’s break down the whole thing and figure out who should be targeted in your drafts.

Note: Players listed in depth chart order. (#) is JB’s 2016-2017 ranking.

PG: Jerryd Bayless (106)/Sergio Rodriguez/T.J. McConnell

Playing time was available in droves for McConnell last year, because, well…I could have potentially run the point for the Sixers last season. Sure, he was serviceable, but if you ever tortured yourself to actually watch a Sixers game you saw that he barely deserves to in the league. Enter journeyman Bayless and role-player-turned-Euro-star Rodriguez to run the proverbial point. I say proverbial because Ben Simmons and Dario Saric will have the ball in their hands as much as they want when they’re on the floor. As a result, the numbers for Bayless as the projected starter are quite mitigated. So will be his minutes. He can hit some 3’s, and gives Philly some breathing room to not rush Simmons back, but he’s worth nothing higher than a 10th or 11th round pick. At best. I’d avoid Rodriguez. See ya later McConnell. And for Bayless, those 25 minutes per game just won’t do it for me.

SG: Gerald Henderson (179)/Nick Stauskas

Neither of these names will end up on ay fantasy team I’m running for the 2016-2017 season. Henderson’s shown in season’s past that he can be roster-worthy, and Stauskas has the pedigree of becoming a JJ. Redick-style player (excuse the easy racial comparison), but neither will get enough touches or shots to bring value to a fantasy roster. If either becomes a knockdown shooter, I’ll consider them as a last round 3PM flier, but otherwise find SG help elsewhere.

SF: Robert Covington (77)/Jerami Grant (164)/Hollis Thompson

I’ll mention how the Simmons injury affects some names in the next two tiers, but the real winner here may be Covington. He’s a stretch 4 that has the ability to play and guard the 3. As JB points out in his rankings, post-ASG Covington drained 3.3 3PG. That’s bananas. And someone has to shoot the three and stretch the floor on this team. He needs to see time at the 4, but I don’t see a lot of small ball happening with the triple towers on the roster. Covington’s a player the team should hold on to and build with, and that may be their aim due to his continued presence on their team. I’d draft him with confidence, especially with Simmons injury. JB mentions Grant could be in line for some increased PT, too, but I’m not drafting him anywhere. He doesn’t have any offensive game to add to your squad. Covington’s the only target in this position battle.

PF: Jahlil Okafor (114)/Dario Saric (147)/Ben Simmons

Now the real fun starts. The next five names should all be starting in the NBA, but there’s only room for three. Yep, three. Not two. Because Saric and Simmons will essentially play the LeBron Point Forward, leaving Okafor and the next two clamoring for minutes in the post. I expect Okafor to get the lion’s share of playing time at the 4, where his offensive game can flourish. Next to Embiid the Sixers have two big men that can stretch the floor, albeit Okafor’s game is more well-rounded. As a 20-year-old rookie he averaged 17.5 PPG and 7.0 RPG, with 1.2 BPG as a throw in. That’s legit fantasy production. I can see Okafor benefiting from the playmaking ability of Simmons and Saric to creep his scoring up to the 20.0 PPG threshold, but if I’m building a team he’s the piece that would be on the move. Okafor needs the ball in his hands to be effective, while the two names at C can play off the ball with great efficiency. He’s being drafted relatively late for what he can bring, but I’m cautious in targeting him since by mid-November he could be donning a different jersey.

As for the other two, Simmons will be rated higher than he should for this season. He’s obviously the one with the brightest future, and could essentially become a 20/10/5, or even a 18/8/8, guy, but I’m hesitant to pay the name value to get him this season. If you can snag him in the 10th round, stash away, but he may not play until mid-February. The Sixers have shown a penchant for being hyper-conservative with the prized possessions and injuries; it wouldn’t surprise me if Simmons only plays the last quarter of the year. Rather than waiting on his upside, I’ll shift my focus in the earlier rounds to the Euro version of him…

Dario Saric played his hand perfectly with the Sixers organization. Essentially holding them hostage until the situation improved, Saric continued getting better over in Europe. He flashed his playmaking ability at the 2016 Olympics, and displayed his overall offensive game the past three years in the Euroleague. Saric won’t put up the gaudy numbers Simmons is defined for, but at 6’10” he can dominate larger defenders by stretching them outside, slower ones by slashing to the hole or posting up the smaller ones to find an advantage anywhere. His 171 ADP ranking means you can steal him in your drafts. Why target him? If he reaches 30 MPG on this roster he can bring a 14/8/4 line in his first season, while hitting 1-2 3PG.

C: Nerlens Noel (48)/Joel Embiid (163)

I may be the biggest Noel fan there is, but, unfortunately, I’m not sure Philly feels the same way. If one names gets sent elsewhere, it should be Okafor, but my gut tells me it’s Noel. As a result, his impact may be limited. However, if he stays on this squad, Noel can be a beast for your team without hurting you much in the %s. He improved quite well offensively, moving his numbers to 11.1/8.1 on 52% shooting, but obviously his value comes from the defensive end. He may not begin in the starting 5, but he should reach 30-35MPG, which would be an improvement upon last season when he posted 1.8SPG and 1.9BPG. I love the upside with playmakers around him, but he still doesn’t have the highest ceiling of the Sixers big men. I’ll take a risk on Noel a little later than JB, closer to the 6th round, but am definitely gunning for the other C in the Process.

The enigma that is Joel Embiid will garner a lot of my focus in drafts. I love what he can do on both ends, but obviously he’s a massive health risk. Are we looking at a more skilled Greg Oden 2.0? Or, could this really be the closest thing to a Patrick Ewing-Hakeem Olajuwon-Dirk Nowitzki hybrid we’ve ever seen? Haha, yep…lofty goals there, but when analyzing what he can do, and what he did in college, Embiid actually could dominate this era of basketball. He’s not worth a high pick in this year’s drafts given the unknown of his health and the vast myriad of outcomes his season could produce, but in the 11th-13th I’ll definitely add Embiid as a flier. If he pans out you have a Top 50 player. If he doesn’t? It’s late enough where you can easily drop him for someone else bringing value.

While this first post may seem more like a Team Preview than a Position Battle, the Sixers lineup was worth it. So many questions. So much potential. (And I promise the rest in this series will be shorter and simpler). Target the Sixers with caution, but there are some potential treasures on this roster. In keeper and dynasty formats you can find a ton of value here. For redrafts, it’s much riskier. However, play it right in the draft and you’ll land some incredible assets for next to nothing, which has also been the win total in Philadelphia the past few years. 2016? The Process becomes the Progress.

DROP THOSE COMMENTS! What are your thoughts on this year’s Sixers?


  1. Threekola says:

    Hey [email protected], I agree with you on Embiid. I’m starting to seriously trust the process.

    But, I’m wondering how can he play 30-35 minutes a game. 48 min available at C, Embiid is playing 20 right off the bat, so that is 28 minutes left. Okafor should get at least a decent chunk of his minutes at center. He IS a center after all. Say 15 of his minutes there. That’s 13 minutes left which should go even lower once Embiid minutes go up, which will happen sooner than later from the looks of it. By December or so, I see only 10 minutes at center available for Noel, unless they favor him over Okafor.

    I’m not really sure how much time he gets at the 4, but with Dario Saric, Okafor, and all of their small forwards possibly playing some stretch 4, like Covington and Grant, I’m not sure if Noel can get past 20-25 minutes.

    I hope he does, cause he fell to me at the 70-80 range on both my teams, but I don’t know if he will. Please convince me otherwise lol.

    • @Threekola: Noel was right under 30 mpg last season, and I just don’t see them leaving him on the bench. I have no offing idea wha their crunch time 5 will be, or (hahahaha) if they’ll ever even get to ‘crunch time’, but I really believe in Noel’s ability on the floor. He can guard 4 positions, doesn’t require the ball, and has an improving offensive game, albeit from about 8 feet in.

      Noel’s ultimate ceiling probably won’t be reached unless he’s traded, but the reason I put my money on him getting 30-35 is because of A) his talent, but B) injuries and attrition. Yes, there are only 96 minutes at the 4 and 5 to go around, but that’s assuming everyone stays healthy. I think it balances out that way; and that’s a floor with him staying on the Sixers.

      Also don’t know if they play Saric more at the 3 than the 4. Regardless, I’m really excited to see what happens with this team this season! So much potential and talent.

  2. bahraspower says:

    I’m on the Covington hype-train after the Simmons injury!
    He’s the best shooter on the team,has no real competition for minutes and has proven that he’s a net positive at both sides of the court.If he can improve his FG% to at least 40% i believe he can be a real steal especially in ESPN drafts where he is ranked ridiculously low.
    On the other hand,i don’t believe in Saric fantasy-wise.He has a well-rounded game and he was a force to be reckoned here in Europe but i just can’t see it translating into fantasy production.Nemanja Bjelica was a better version of him when he left Europe and he still hasn’t made his mark in the NBA,albeit at a better team with less opportunities to play.

    • @bahraspower: I’m with you on Covington, obviously. And yes, he’s someone to take advantage of with the ESPN pre-draft rankings.

      As for Saric, I see what you’re saying, I just fall on the other side of the fence. He’ll have a learning curve, but he’s much more of a playmaker than someone like Bjelica. I don’t know how it translate fully, but there’s a great ceiling here. I don’t think he makes quite the impact as someone like Porzingis did, because I don’t think he gets the minutes, but he can definitely ascend there.

  3. HisXLNZ says:

    Razzuuuup! On a 14 teamerI drafted hendo, wanting to cut him ASAP but should I do a wait and see approach? And on another league, which is also a 14 teamer, here is what I have.

    13) Hassan Whiteside (Mia – C)
    2. (16) Kyle Lowry (Tor – PG)
    3. (41) D’Angelo Russell (LAL – PG)
    4. (44) Rudy Gay (Sac – SF,PF)
    5. (69) Jusuf Nurkic (Den – C)
    6. (72) George Hill (Uta – PG,SG)
    7. (97) Dwyane Wade (Chi – PG,SG)
    8. (100) Kent Bazemore (Atl – SG,SF)
    9. (125) Derrick Rose (NY – PG)
    10. (128) Marcus Morris (Det – SF,PF)
    11. (153) Taj Gibson (Chi – PF,C)
    12. (156) Amir Johnson (Bos – PF,C)
    13. (181) Tony Allen (Mem – SG,SF)

    Did I reached too soon for players from Russell onwards? And I am planning to trade d.rose and taj either to dirk or Ryno….is this a good and fair trade? Cos it looks like I need 3pt shooters….

    • NYFantaC says:

      @HisXLNZ: I think too soon on Gay..and George Hill.. and ditto on the 3pt need..

    • @HisXLNZ: Haha, Razzup. Well played.

      In a 14 team league, Henderson can be owned. I wouldn’t hesitate in cutting him, though, for the first hot shooter you find.

      Top 40 may be a little high for Russell, but not because he doesn’t have that kind of talent. I don’t know that he ascends there yet, but he’s special. May have reached a little on him. And like NYFantaC below said, maybe a little high on Gay, too. Yes, you need 3’s, and I’m not opposed to moving Taj or Rose for them. By any means.

      Good luck!

      • HisXLNZ says:

        @[email protected]: I appreciate your take guys… Russel wouldn’t probably land back to me if I didn’t snag him at 3rd, gay will be gone too once the snake draft comes back to me, Same goes for hill….hehehe! Kinda gambled but I hope it pays off…. #nurkftw lol

        • @HisXLNZ: Just had my first RCL today. Russell went in the 7th. Rose went in the 10th.

          But I really like Hill…

  4. HisXLNZ says:

    is a nerlens Noel trade to my d.rose and Amir fair?

    • @HisXLNZ: Probably. Rose should be a little under Noel, even though he may end up better if he plays the full season. Amir could be a sneaky play to emulate Noel’s defensive stats, but I’m wary of locking in a roster spot for someone with minimal upside. I’d probably do it if you need PTS and PG help, but I’d value Noel the highest of those three.

  5. NYFantaC says:

    Just drafted yesterday… I saw how high you guys were on Covington, but i was hesitant to snag him.. Im in a 14-team, H2H league that has 11 cats (DD’s and Team Wins).. My hesitation came from having to live through those long stretches of RO-CO’s game where he shoots 3 for 17.. When he’s dry, he’s dry… and that could really kill FG% quickly… BUT… ALBEIT, he was still on the draft board in round 9, pick 126, and I could hear the Razzup spirits yelling, “Take Him!” SO yeah… I got him late.. which is pretty awesome… Check the Team: Let me know what you think…

    In order of picks:

    Steph Curry (Keeper)
    John Wall
    Victor Oladipo
    Rudy Gobert (couldnt resist the improved FT%)
    Nikola Jokic
    Chandler Parsons (really dont like parsons frailty.. but hey.. had to gamble)
    Tobias Harris
    Jordan Clarkson (took him thinking he was a SG, but nope.. not in ESPN)
    Robert Covington
    MKG (I think everyone overlooked that he was injured most of last year)…
    Dion Waiters (needed a SG at this point)
    Ish Smith
    Willy Hernangomez (Tyson Chandler, Omer Asik were still on the board.. but I like this kids upside and my prediction is Noah will get hurt eventually..who else does he have to supplant? KOQ?)

    • NYFantaC says:

      • @NYFantaC: Sorry for the delay. Busy day today.

        Love your squad. Especially the Steph/Wall combo. That’s massive for PTS, AST, STL, 3PM, FG%. Haha, great 1-2. Dipo at 3 scares me, but could pay off. REB is your weakness, especially if Nurkic cuts into Jokic minutes. A lot of the guys from Parsons down are spotty options (yes, Covington included, but LOVE that value – maybe I was your mental ghost!), so you’ll want to find the hot players if/when some of them go cold.

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