The 2016/17 campaign is entering its ninth week and Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more fantasy basketball analysis.
Opportunity Awaits In Houston
The Rockets will be without Clint Capela for at least the next four weeks as he recovers from a fracture in his left fibula. The third-year center was having a nice fantasy season prior to being ruled out. He was grabbing 8.0 rebounds (the 13th most among centers) and blocking 1.57 shots (10th most) per game while knocking down 64.0% of his shots (third best).
His excellent production is partly due to his elevated role and his progression as a player, but he’s also a product of Mike D’Antoni‘s pick-and-roll system. The Rockets play fast, ranking in the top 10 in pace this season, and they shoot 38.9 3-pointers per game, by far the most in the league. With so many long-range shooters surrounding Capela, opposing defenses couldn’t crowd the paint, making it easier for the big man to roll to the basket. Whoever takes over the big man’s role during his absence will be in good position to become a fantasy producer.
Houston is reportedly sniffing the market for a big man and should the team acquire another center, it would be an intriguing addition from a fantasy perspective. Nerlens Noel, whom Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors profiled as a trade candidate, would be a fascinating fit in this system. His defensive ability, coupled with his potential role in the Rockets’ high-paced offense, would produce a monster fantasy asset.
If the team doesn’t make a deal, look for Montrezl Harrell, Nene, and Ryan Anderson all to see increased roles. Nene, who’s the best pick-and-roll big man among the team’s healthy options, started at center for the Rockets in tonight’s loss against the Spurs, but Harrell relieved him after just five minutes of action. Harrell, who has a much higher fantasy ceiling than Nene, saw four more minutes than the Brazilian center did over the course of the game. Anderson spent time at the center position as well, squaring up against LaMarcus Aldridge when the Spurs put the 31-year-old on the floor as their five. Anderson was on the court for 37 minutes tonight, which is about 6.5 more minutes than his season average. The forward had a ho-hum game, scoring only seven points on eight shot attempts and he brought in just six boards. The lack of production was likely due to the bad match-up, as San Antonio has allowed the fifth fewest points, third fewest rebounds and sixth worst field percentage to opposing forwards this season, so expect better numbers going forward.
If the Rockets continue to utilize Anderson this way, he becomes more valuable over the next several weeks, while Harrell and Nene become useful in the right match-ups.
Here’s more fantasy analysis and notes from around the league:
- Gary Harris is a player worth adding. He’s back in the starting lineup, averaging 19.3 points and 1.7 steals per contest over his last three games. The Nuggets rank sixth in the league in pace and Harris is taking advantage of the extra possessions.
- The Blazers, a team rumored to have interest in trading for Noel, have really struggled defensively this season, particularly against the center position lately. Portland has allowed the third most points and the fourth best field goal percentage to opposing centers over the last 10 games.
- Dewayne Dedmon could be a nice streaming option over the next two weeks. On Thursday, the Spurs will take on the Clippers, which is not a plus match-up, but after that tilt, their schedule gets softer. Over their ensuing five games, San Antonio will take on the Blazers twice, in addition to the Suns (allowing the second most points and third best field goal percentage to opposing centers over their last 10 games), Hawks (allowing the fifth best field goal percentage), and Bulls (allowing seventh most rebounds).