NBA 2/24: The Biggest Matchup of the Day MIL @ PHI

Today’s game, because of how injuries and trades have impacted each team tremendously and how good of a matchup each team has, is going to be the key to winning tomorrow. I’m going to break down this matchup as thoroughly as I can so you can use the information to make your picks. I will also predict who I think will be the best picks from this matchup.


Milwaukee Team Report

Coach Larry Drew speaks at shootaround today

Past 5 games minutes average:

Brandon Knight: 39

Nate Wolters: 33.6

OJ Mayo: 20 (2 games since returning from injury)

Giannis Antetokounmpo: 25.8

Jeff Adrien: 18 (one game since trade)

Zaza Pachulia: 27.4 (22.5 in last 3)

Khris Middleton: 26.2

Caron Butler: 30 (2 games since returning from injury)

Ramon Sessions: 23 (one game since traded)

John Henson: 31.8

Ersan Illyasova: 27.2

Injuries/Trade Impact

  • Caron Butler will play Monday but has an ankle injury. -Middleton, -Wolters, -Illyasova, -Henson, -Antekounmpo.
  • Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders are out. +Henson, +Illyasova, +Pachulia.
  • OJ Mayo is back from injury, but looks out of shape.
  • Nate Wolters is expected to play through an ankle injury.

Previous Matchups

Matchup One

Matchup Two

Last Two Games

Last Game

A Few Nights Ago

Team Analysis

It’s very difficult to tell what the starting lineup will be tonight. It will certainly include Knight, and will probably include Pachulia, Illyasova. The last two spots will probably be between Wolters, Butler, and Middleton.

The most likely guy to get 35+ minutes this game is Brandon Knight. He’s been playing extremely well for the Bucks and averages the most minutes per game on the team. Illyasova and Butler seem to project highest for minutes after Knight. Butler has played every position but point guard for the Bucks this year, and that versatility should bode very well for his minutes and production. Antekounmpo, Wolters, Pachulia, Middleton, and Henson all should get 20 minutes or more. Henson and Pachulia appear to be safer plays for minutes because of frontcourt injuries, but with the acquistion of Adrien who played very well in limited time, and with a small 76ers lineup that could tempt Larry Drew to also go small, there is more risk than at first glance.

Mayo and Sessions are fairly unlikely to get anymore than 15-25 minutes, although anything is possible with Larry Drew.

Philadelphia Team Report

Injury/Trade Impact

  • Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes have been traded. Elliot Williams and Arnett Moultrie are starting in their place.
  • Danny Granger is unlikely to play for the 76ers and wants to be bought out.
  • Byron Mullens is expect to play tonight, but coach Brett Brown doesn’t sound like he will get many minutes. Mullens has had good fantasy production when given minutes, averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds for Charlotte in the 2012-2013 season. -Moultrie, -Young.
  • Previous Matchups

    Matchup One

    Matchup Two

    Game after trading Turner and Hawes

    Team Analysis

    In the one game sample of this team post Hawes and Turner, we saw an extreme increase in production from Thad Young, who had a USG% of 32.2 and chucked up 29 shots against Dallas. Michael Carter Williams was actually had below average USG% of 25 in that game, but did well fantasy wise with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. Wroten was the only other good fantasy performer,  scoring 21 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, while having a USG% of 33.2.

    This team is very thin, only dressing 8 players in it’s last game against Dallas, and only having three real big men on the team, Moultrie, Young, and Mullens. Moultrie started out last game well but apparently looked out of shape and failed to do much after the first few minutes of the game. James Anderson has a shot at increasing his role, but did not do so in the previous matchup. Everyone else on the team has a shot at doing well.

    Must Start

    Thaddeus Young

    He is by far the best start of the night, his role on the team has drastically increased, and he’s going to get 40 minutes plus without a doubt. And he has a fantastic matchup against Milwaukee, whom he crushed in the previous game he played. There is not much else to say, he should make tonight a quite easy win against soft opponents.

    Sure Things

    Michael Carter-Williams

    Like Young, we should expect MCW to have an increased role without Turner and Hawes. Like Young, MCW also did fantastically in the two previous matchups against Milwaukee. I don’t think he’s in must start territory though. Young is mostly a create his own shot type of player which does not bode well for assist totals for Carter-Williams. Also, he should play with Wroten at the SG position for some of the game, which should hurt his production since Wroten is such an aggressive player offensively. Coach Larry Drew also noted in shootaround today that they will focus on stopping the 76ers guards. Still, you rarely get a player with a good matchup at home with gigantic injury impacts every day, and he really is one of the best starts by a long shot today.

    Brandon Knight

    Knight is the only guy on Milwaukee who really isn’t a minutes question mark. He gets the best PG matchup in the league and has an extremely reasonable salary. It’s a pure matchup play, but when you have a matchup this good it’s worth a lot.

    Great Plays

    Caron Butler

    Keep an eye out on the injury report and starting lineup but Butler should play tonight and I would expect 30 minutes+. Butler has absolutely crushed Philadelphia in their previous matchups, and has good position versatility that should give him a minutes boost. The 76ers are an extremely small team, so it’s possible we see Butler play some PF or even Center tonight.

    Ersan Illyasova

    Because Ersan’s minutes have been spotty and he has been often injured this season, his salary is very reasonable on most sites, including $5200 on Fanduel. Illyasova is very likely to start, and even though his minutes have been spotty, his production is there anyways. He has 50 fantasy point upsides and at a salary of $5200, you can’t ask for much more than that. Illyasova also did very well in his one previous game against the 76ers this year. It’s a bit worrisome, with Young handling such a heavy load, that Illyasova will get into foul trouble. Nonetheless, very strong start.

    Solid Performers, Low Upside

    James Anderson

    He didn’t do anything last game, but we could see a more aggressive Anderson tonight. His minutes will be heavy for sure, and at a small salary he is unlikely to hurt your lineup too much.

    Tony Wroten

    With such a good matchup against Milwaukee and such an short handed team, Wroten should see 25 minutes+ again with good production. With that being said, it’s unlikely he will get over 30 minutes because he is really a PG and MCW is not get benched. But he should perform well tonight.

    Big Risk, Big Reward

    Byron Mullens

    With talk of Arnett Moultrie’s conditioning issues, and with so little depth in the front court, it’s not implausible that Mullens gets 30+ minutes for the 76ers. It’s also not implausible that he gets 10 minutes. The 76ers are the fastest paced team in the league, so anyone who gets plugged in should have good production. The rebounding on the team is also incredibly weak, as the 76ers are starting guards at the small forward position and Thad Young only averages 6.3 rebounds a game. I think he’s someone to consider riding in GPPs. But he’s extremely risky, and is likely to not play much.

    Nate Wolters

    He will likely get less than 1% play tonight because of all the great PG picks including his own teammate Brandon Knight. Wolters also seemingly was benched last game, but what really occurred was he sustained an ankle injury. Wolters is actually quite a good player who fills up the stat sheet, but with so many bodies in the backcourt, we could see very few minutes from him tonight. But there is definitely a chance of 35-40 minutes, and if he does get that he will be one of the best starts of the night.

    Everyone Else

    With a fickle Milwaukee head coach and so much turnover in Philadelphia, you could honestly start anyone in this game and they could hit or exceed value. So I certainly would not fault you for picking basically anyone from either of these teams.

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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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