NBA Matchup Analysis: Philadelphia at Boston

Tonight’s 76ers vs Celtics game is going to be the biggest fantasy gold mine of the night. Boston is a very poor team with tons of injuries, which means a lot of very underpriced players. The problem is it’s not very clear what players we should choose tonight among a plethora of players sharing minutes at their respective positions. That’s why we are going to look deep into this matchup and figure out who the real studs of the night are.

Injury Report:

Avery Bradley is still out and should be for the next few games.
Jerryd Bayless returned last night and played well, partly because he played all of garbage time. This is encouraging as he would not have played garbage time if he wasn’t healed.
Rajon Rondo is a GTD tonight but could very well not play the second night of a back to back.
Tony Wroten recently returned from injury and is back in the rotation, albeit in a minor role.

Team Report:


In their last game, each starter, including James Anderson, got over 30 minutes of playing time. No one besides Anderson has any competition at their positions, so the core 4 players are each very safe plays. In the past seven games Michael Carter-Williams has a FG% of only 33% and is getting a lot of blocked attempts. MCW has taken 57% of his shots within eight feet of the basket this season, so his ability to score will hinge on his opponents ability to protect the rim.


The Celtics have been awful as of late with a lot of blowouts, creating very poor fantasy performances all around. At home against a bad team like the Sixers we should expect the teams total fantasy output to increase. The ever changing starting lineup is currently Rondo, Wallace, Green, Bass, and Sullinger. First off the bench yesterday was Humphries and Bayless, who subbed in for Sullinger and Wallace respectively. Pressey was the first sub for Rondo. Coach Brad Stevens noted after the game that Chris Johnson, who has been playing well at SG, needs more playing time. “He’s playing like one of our best players right now.” Look out for the starting lineups for tonights game to see if Johnson is in there.

Previous Matchup:

These teams have not played yet this season.

Best Plays

Jeff Green:

At the time I am writing this, Rondo is doubtful for tonights game. I’m going out on a slight limb here, but I am 99% sure he is not going to play tonight. The Celtics really do not want to win, Rondo is coming off a major knee injury, and did not play the previous back to back. Why would he play? This is very big for Green, who is the best player on the team without Rondo. We all probably remember Jeff Green against the Wizards a week ago when he scored over 60 fantasy points. It’s useful to note that game was without Rondo. I think that’s not a coincidence. He’s basically the only guy on the team who is not competing for time with another player. He is an absolute must play, I would not even think of making a lineup without him.

Jared Sullinger:

We really do not know who is going to do well at the PF/C position for the Celtics any given night between Humphries, Bass, Sullinger, and Olynyk. That being said, Sullinger is by far the best play of that group. Sullinger is a  starter and has the highest ceiling on the Celtics next to Green, having eclipsed 50 fantasy points only two weeks ago and 40 fantasy points multiple times this season. He doesn’t come without risk; he has gotten under 20 minutes multiple times this season, although only once in the past 10 games. But he’s a very young player with tons of upside, and there’s no reason to think he won’t have success tonight. He’s been ice cold in the previous 3 games which has caused his price to drop a little bit, which makes him more attractive. He is a must play in GPPs. I would not bother playing the other Celtics Bigs unless you’re trying to hedge risk or playing 50/50’s or heads up matches.

Chris Johnson:

I’m going to trust Steven’s comments and assume Johnson is going to see at least 25 minutes this game. Johnson doesn’t offer much besides points and steals, but he’s min salary on most sites and should easily hit value this game. And who knows, this team is so decimated by injuries he could find himself in a very big role.

Michael Carter-Williams:

I’d like to preface this with saying MCW is not even close to as good of a play as the previous 3 guys on this list. That being said, there are some good reasons to start him. In GPPs, I like playing players in the same game to increase the upside of my lineup when a game goes into overtime. This makes MCW a lot more attractive, but I like him tonight for a lot of reasons. Boston’s backcourt is completely inexperienced which should bode very well for getting a lot of steals. In the one game Pressey started, who is likely to start tonight, John Wall went off for 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. As documented earlier, MCW struggles finishing at the rim despite shooting a ton close to the hoop. While Boston’s front court isn’t necessarily bad at protecting the rim, Pressey is only 5’11” at best and should not be able to contest MCW’s shot very well.

MCW does not correlate with any statistic particular well, but looking at this game more subjectively it seems like he should have a lot of success.

On The Radar:

Gerald Wallace:

Wallace has been starting and is a five category player, so he seems very appealing. He is close to min salary on most sites and has been doing very well as of late. That being said, he is a risk with Chris Johnson playing well and Coach Stevens talking about getting him more PT. That can only mean minutes away from Wallace, so keep an eye on the situation.

Spencer Hawes:

Hawes’ price is incredibly reasonable, only 6900 on Fanduel despite averaging over 31 fantasy points a game. He is very inconsistent, and doesn’t seem to correlate with any statistics that well, specifically DVP. Hawes’ best games however have come against defenders who are big, slow post players like Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett, Jonas Valanciunos, and Marcin Gortat. He faces another one tonight in Brandon Bass, so it seems reasonable that Hawes could be in for a big game.

Phil Pressey/Jerryd Bayless:

If one of these players were injured I would say full steam ahead. The problem is they both are not very good and could easily split time completely. With so many value plays on the board it’s tough to start either of these guys, especially when they both have so little upside. However, both should hit their value tonight and are going to be worth a start, especially in cash games.

The other 3 Celtics Bigs

In order of best plays to worst plays: Bass, Humphries, then Olynyk.

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View all posts by Daniel Steinberg
Daniel Steinberg

About the Author

Daniel Steinberg Daniel Steinberg is a former bond trader at a multi-billion dollar proprietary trading firm in Chicago. He uses his knowledge of statistics and his creativity from his career as a poker professional to create the most advanced Daily Fantasy statistical analysis that you will find anywhere. Follow him on twitter @DanielSingerS

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