Joel Embiid has established himself as a premier fantasy center, especially now that the injury troubles are somewhat behind him. He is coming off of career highs in just about everything. He played 33.7 minutes per game last season, and played 64 games total. I think at this point we shouldn’t expect 70+ game seasons out of Embiid, which would just be the smart thing to do for the Philadelphia 76ers. He shot 48% from the field, and averaged 1.2 threes per game. His three point attempts have gradually gone up each season, but I wouldn’t expect it to keep growing. Embiid has always been a solid center at getting to the line, and averaged 10.1 free throw attempts last season. He made 80% of them.
He is easily a top ten pick even with the injury concerns and limited games played. He is going around the 7-9 range in drafts, and costs over $50 in auctions. This is all well deserved, given he averaged 27-13-3 last season with 1.9 blocks per game. Our projections have a similar line this year, although things just take a small tick up even further in most departments. His daily upside is insane, and you can see that in the tweet below for just a random night. This was also just one of the many games Embiid went off for big production. Embiid is a stud, and will be drafted as one.
Joel Embiid Projected Fantasy Stats
Joel Embiid was your #FantasyPlayeroftheNight!
Last night, he became the first player to reach the 1,000 fantasy point plateau in the 2018-19 season and did so behind a line of 33 PTS, 17 REB, 1 AST, 3 STL & 1 BLK – 60.9 #NBAFantasy points! pic.twitter.com/cZbD5kABYu
— NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) November 20, 2018
We have really seen the upside out of Joel Embiid, as he finally is playing serious minutes per game in his third year. I wouldn’t expect the games played and minutes to continue growing. The 76ers know what they have, and hopefully they keep him healthy. Because of the injury history we do have to acknowledge that risk, but that isn’t something to break down for upside. As you can see in his projected stats, Embiid has a slight tick up in most categories. He is a monster on the boards, and projects for 14 per game. He also should be around that 28 points per game mark, as Embiid had one of the highest usage rates in the NBA. Where a Nikola Jokic lacks, Embiid makes up with 1.9 blocks per game.
Embiid is around Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns as first round centers to go off the board. The only real advantage they have on him is the ability to play 75+ games a season, barring an injury. I do believe that is something to consider if you are faced with the task of deciding when it is your turn to draft. Towns ultimately would be the guy I choose between the three, but you can’t do any wrong with the upside of Embiid.
It is hard to see Embiid having a real drop off in production, especially since we know he is the number one option in this offense. He will take his threes, get to the line, and be efficient around the basket. He also should continue the blocks, as they have always been there in his career. People will look at the team of shooters around him, and think his assists will drop off, but Embiid’s ability to get the open man when being double-teamed is still there. I don’t expect much of a drop off, but a reasonable deduction would just be 1-2 points off his per game numbers, and that is about it. Most of these top ten picks in the drafts are going to already have a solid floor. 26-12-3 is a fine floor line for him.
What to Expect
As long as you are aware of the injury risk still, and the occasional rest days for Embiid, you should have no issue drafting him within the top ten of your drafts. In auction leagues he is also going to cost quite a bit of cash. Do note in auction leagues if he is priced around KAT, you have that games played advantage heading your way. The 76ers might also be comfortable down the stretch and limit Embiid when it comes to playoff time. Of course this is all just mild speculation, but it is something to be aware of and plan for if it does happen. Still, Embiid is a strong option at center, which is actually quite deep this season.
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