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NBA Switch And Hedge: Anthony Davis Is In Perfect Position To Feast On The New Look Timberwolves

Chris Spags

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After just a few hideous games last night, we have a ton of high octane, incredibly interesting games from a basketball purist standpoint and a storytelling one. The new Timberwolves step into a game with the Pelicans that might hit 250 combined points, LeBron James is at his lowest price of the year vs Portland after a mostly lethargic start, while Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons get to adjust to life with Jimmy Buckets. There’s a lot to talk about so let’s get to all of the day’s NBA analysis and daily fantasy ramifications.

 

This is a lot of to parse through on a slate of this size so really it would be a good time to sign up for a premium account here at Awesemo.com. Between the top player in DFS’s rankings and ownership projections, plus projections from our Josh Engleman, Fast Eddie Fear and the former FanVice guys, you’ll find a lot of ways to move above the field with the information provided. Promo code SWITCHANDHEDGE will get you one-week free on any membership (including ones that have Fantasy Cruncher) so go sign up now.

 

Philadelphia 76ers (112.5 implied points) at Orlando Magic (106.5 implied points)

-The Vegas totals indicate an insignificant 0.2 point decrease for the Sixers and a 2.6 point boost for the Magic in this game with a 103.9 adjusted pace

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-The addition of Jimmy Butler here is likely to change everything and nothing at the same time. Butler’s ball dominance should recede a bit given how Ben Simmons also needs the ball to be successful but any time without the ball should impact both these guys. I would be inclined to avoid both players tonight until we see how that offense runs

Joel Embiid seems like a more reasonable play here given the weakness of the Magic on the boards and the fact that Embiid will likely want to assert some dominance with Butler in tow. If Butler slides into the departed Robert Covington and Dario Saric’s cadre of shots, there should be more than enough to go around with Embiid’s offensive role far more solid than Simmons’s

Wilson Chandler will move into the starting lineup but with a 20 minute cap, I don’t see the logic in going to him unless he makes a lineup you love work with his price

-I’ve got a weird feeling they try to get Markelle Fultz going today as a cutter and handoff guy to show “Hey, he’s not broken and he will work in this offense.” I don’t fault you for not wanting to play guys based on my weird feelings but just wanted to put that out there

Jonathan Isaac will return to the lineup on a minutes limit and that should cut into Wes Iwundu’s minutes as well as possibly a bit of Terrence Ross’s. Ross has had two nice games in a row in which he’s crushed value and while his usage makes sense, as does the pace of this matchup, it’s a tight window for him to hit value at $5,000 on DraftKings

-I find it tough to pick between Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier without seeing how this Sixers team jells defensively. Gordon seems like a better overall matchup to me but given how the Sixers have allowed some big scoring games this year, Fournier could find his shot with his price on the decline while Gordon’s is going up. I think I’d favor Fournier but final ownership projections would be the tiebreaker

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Nikola Vucevic had his 70 fantasy point triple-double vs Philly earlier this year and while that seems like an unlikely situation to occur again, Vuc’s price is pretty tempting with how Embiid has neglected defense even more than usual this season thus far

 

Cleveland Cavaliers (103.5 implied points) at Washington Wizards (114.5 implied points)

-The totals represent a 0.5 point decrease for the Cavs on their season average and a 3.5 point boost for the Wizards in this game with a 102.6 adjusted pace

Larry Nance was the chalk play of last night and was decent but not spectacular with Tristan Thompson crushing the Hornets inside with one of the best games of his career. Thompson has been rolling and I imagine he’ll draw much more ownership tonight than he has. Nance would be a logical pivot given the game log chasing that Tristan should draw tonight but if Tristan can avoid foul trouble, he should have a nice night versus a Wizards team who continues to be porous on the boards

Jordan Clarkson remains the better play over Collin Sexton but the usage rate of Sexton is getting higher with Sexton actually getting up three more shots than Clarkson last night. I like both guys in this matchup and they should have a decent ceiling vs the paceful Wizards

David Nwaba got big minutes yesterday and capitalized on them just as he did whenever he got run vs the Bulls last year. His role could be more fungible but a matchup vs an up and down Wizards team who stinks at rebounding is a perfect spot for a followup from Nwaba

-I remain a Never Rodney Hood guy but vs a team allowing 48% shooting from the floor and almost 40% from three, this is the spot to roll with him. JR Smith would benefit from the lax defense as well

John Wall was as much of a lock as he can be last time out vs Orlando with his price $500 cheaper on DraftKings and while I have no issue with him tonight, I might be more inclined for Bradley Beal at his discount. Wall is always in play and while the Cavs’ erformance vs Kemba Walker last night might give me some pause, Kemba still did get up shots…they just didn’t fall. But with the team total where it is, I would expect more scoring from Beal and one of these two to have a big day

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-The Cavs have been good on the boards, holding teams to a near-bottom-of-the-slate 41.2 boards per game, a bit of a ding to Dwight Howard’s prospects. His price has inched down a bit so I don’t mind playing him but his lack of a role in the offense is hurting his upside compared to his season in Charlotte

Otto Porter keeps losing minutes to Jeff Green or Austin Rivers and if you’re playing him, you’ve got to know there’s real down side but also upside if he gets rolling and earns his minutes since that usually means he’s crushing (by Otto Porter standards)

 

Chicago Bulls (98.8 implied points) at Boston Celtics (110.8 implied points)

-The totals here mean a 7.2 point decrease for the Bulls and a 5.6 point boost for the Celtics in a game with a low 101.6 adjusted pace that both teams play at

Zach LaVine is the exact type of high usage scorer who’s given the Celtics problems in recent weeks so I have no issue with him if the ownership is low. If he gets chalky with people chasing that role, similar to how Donovan Mitchell was a popular play vs the Celtics only for Joe Ingles to put up all the shots, I think that actually may be a time to roll with Jabari Parker. He remains super cheap and offers a bit more rebounding upside vs a Celtics team giving up 48 boards a game to opponents, crazy high given their lack of pace

Ryan Arcidiacono is a guy I thought deserved to start a while ago over Cam Payne and he’s proving it so far with really competent performances. I don’t love this matchup for him but if the Bulls have any shot at generating offense, he could be the one to do it

Wendell Carter intrigues me a little for the reasons outlined above about LaVine but I worry a bit about Al Horford taking him to school as he has many rookies, including a much more athletic comp to Carter in DeAndre Ayton. I don’t mind a contrarian Carter play but it’s not one to bank on by any stretch

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-I’ve thought this a few times only to be disappointed but this really seems like a spot where Jayson Tatum should carve up the opposition. The Bulls play at a slow pace and opponents take a slate high 14.8 seconds to put up shots against them, but they also give up a ton of rebounds at 49.3 per game and Tatum should see Justin Holiday or Parker defense, two easy wins for Tatum if he remains as aggressive as he has in his last few outings. It feels like a point chase after Tatum has had 40+ fantasy points in two straight games but the matchup just makes sense for him

Jaylen Brown would be the pivot to Tatum as coincidentally with Tatum’s big games, Brown has had two of his worst. These two directly take away from each other but one should have a field day

Marcus Morris remains a fine enough play whose floor is solid and whose ceiling is lowering while Gordon Hayward has a low floor but seems to have his ceiling steadily rising. Neither is a top play but I have no issue with either

Al Horford and Kyrie Irving are the least interesting pieces to me here given their price and how I think the Celtics can win at other positions. Ownership will tell the story though because if Tatum ends up chalky, I may be willing to forego my belief in him to play the odds the offense breaks one of these guys’ way

 

Miami Heat (109.3 implied points) at Brooklyn Nets (108.3 implied points)

-The Team totals represent a 1.6 point decrease on the Heat’s season average and a 0.8 decrease on the Nets’ in this game with a 102.6 adjusted pace

-This spot vs the Nets looks like a strong one for Hassan Whiteside, particularly if Jarrett Allen misses another game with illness. The Center vs the Nets story isn’t as strong this year as it was last but the lack of pace here should play into Whiteside’s hands. Allen being available would dampen my interest slightly but Whiteside looks like a solid play

-Goran Dragic remains undervalued by the DFS community but whenever he plays recently he’s been as solid as can be. The defense here isn’t worrisome and I think Dragic has some solid tournament upside

-There are getting to be a few too many mouths to feed on the wing right now for Miami so I’m out right now on Justise Winslow, Rodney McGruder, and Josh Richardson as well as Wayne Ellington. They seem to want to keep feeding Ellington shots so he’s playable but that ceiling isn’t going to come often. I think they’ll want to get Richardson going the most after his lowest usage game of the season and Winslow can provide peripheral value but it’s hard to trust any of these situations with Dragic back in the lineup

D’Angelo Russell hasn’t played a ton of minutes without Caris LeVert this year (who’ll thankfully return from his gruesome dislocated foot at some point this year, love that dude even though I had way too much of him on his injury night) and the ownership here will dictate how I’d handle it. If he’s chalky, a pivot to Spencer Dinwiddie, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, or Allen Crabbe could make sense. But Russell will get the first shot at more usage and this isn’t a terribly daunting matchup despite the Heat having a rep for being defensively sound. Dinwiddie started the second half for LeVert post-injury, for what that’s worth

Joe Harris should pick up a few more shots with LeVert out as well but the starting lineup here should tell a lot of the story. I’d think they want Dinwiddie off the bench still but Crabbe or DeMarre Carroll back in the lineup getting starter run would hurt that a bit

-If Jarrett Allen were ruled in today, I would be into him since he tends to thrive in spots that make no sense for him to thrive. If he sits, Ed Davis is going to do his thing for 20+ minutes and that’s in range to hit value even though it’d likely be close

 

Detroit Pistons (107.3 implied points) at Toronto Raptors (116.3 implied points)

-The Pistons’ total indicates a 2.8 point decrease on their season average while the Raptors’ indicates a 1.2 point decrease in a game with a relatively high for this slate 104.2 adjusted pace

If I had to make a pick here, I’d go with it being a Blake Griffin game. The Raptors are tough defensively but they’ve shown to be weak vs athletic bigs, as was just evident in the Pelicans comfortably beating them on the back of Julius Randle and Anthony Davis. Griffin fits that profile more than Andre Drummond does and with his price back down to a reasonable range, he could be a really nice play at not insane ownership

-It’s not a great matchup but Reggie Bullock’s minutes are coming up and I’d prefer to get him for cheap than keep paying a price for Reggie Jackson that doesn’t offer him much of a ceiling. Bullock can get played off the floor or just not score enough but I think he’ll benefit from a lot of attention to Blake cutting or Drummond getting in position on the block

Kawhi Leonard’s price is inching downwards after some middling games of low usage and bad shooting but he’s going to bounce back eventually. At his price, it just makes sense. And I feel the exact opposite about Kyle Lowry

Pascal Siakam has been playing well despite his price as high as it’s ever been and with a matchup with Blake, I think he’s going to see a lot of court time chasing him around. The ceiling is getting tighter but he’s not a bad play at all

-I’d prefer Serge Ibaka given his role and how he’s been so effective as a rebounder as well. Ibaka may crash down to Earth at some point but looking away from his hot start seems dumb at this point

 

New Orleans Pelicans (117 implied points) at Minnesota Timberwolves (118 implied points)

-The totals here equal a 1.3 point drop for the Pelicans’ season average and a 6.8 boost to Minnesota’s in this game with a slate high 105.8 adjusted pace

Nikola Mirotic will play today while Elfrid Payton is questionable but seems likely to go after going through shootaround. Payton is way too cheap now after his weeks of injury and should be a popular play tonight. Payton’s return hurts my interest in Jrue Holiday a bit but keep an eye on our ownership projections because people pivoting to Payton could make Jrue too cheap

Julius Randle returning to the bench would be a very contrarian play now with some upside but not one to trust from a minutes perspective

Anthony Davis is the one guy here who could keep me from my love of $7k-8k guys. The new acquisitions for Minnesota will improve their defense over time but that will not be today vs this beast in Davis. I love AD tonight and would consider him a high priority play

Karl-Anthony Towns should have a nice opportunity across from AD and while I’m less bullish on his prospects than Davis’s, this could easily become a game where Davis and Towns trade scores and boards down the stretch. Towns at pace is always a scary thought to not have in your lineup

Jeff Teague looked good in his return to the lineup and this matchup should continue things for him, especially if the currently questionable Andrew Wiggins were to miss. Teague will lose some usage to the new guys, as will Derrick Rose, but he will also pick up some more assist upside

-I don’t love Robert Covington or Dario Saric on their new team until we get a read on their roles and it’s tough to even determine who’s the more “Thibs” guy. Keep an eye on the starting lineups. If one starts, I think they’re okay to trot out there but the bench guy will have more of an upside/downside situation of more usage against the second unit and a shot to pick up run if things go well but less minutes guaranteed

-If Wiggins is active, Taj Gibson will feel the Covington/Saric minutes squeeze the most. If Gibson starts though, he could be a nice contrarian play with his price right in the range of those guys

 

New York Knicks (102.3 implied points) at Oklahoma City (111.3 implied points)

-The totals here mean a 4.2 point drop for the Knicks and a 1.6 point boost for Oklahoma City in a game with a 103.2 adjusted pace

-The Knicks are changing the starting lineup, inserting Kevin Knox and Emmanuel Mudiay into the lineup for Damyean Dotson and Frank Ntilikina with the goal of trying to get the team’s pace up a bit. And ultimately I don’t think that affects much because they’re all just there to watch Tim Hardaway throw up jumpers anyway. Mudiay could get going and coach David Fizdale seems weirdly obsessed with turning him into a player but you can’t trust him. Knox is just not going to see enough action with Hardaway chucking but his price does seem worth a shot if Hardaway falters as he does

Dennis Schroder had his breakout performance since Russell Westbrook went out and that was despite still shooting a hideous 6 for 19 from the floor. I like Schroder again tonight and there are really a lot of dudes in that 7500-8500 price range on DraftKings that I’m going to want

Paul George remains a solid play with a ceiling that’s just a little short of where you want it ot be unless he really goes off. I’ve got no problem with him or Steven Adams but the prices are a bit onerous. Ditto Jerami Grant who’s a steady guy who’s not getting you much more than 5x, if that, at his current price

 

Memphis Grizzlies (102.5 implied points) at Milwaukee Bucks (112.5 implied points)

-The totals here indicate a 0.7 point boost on the Grizzlies’ season average and a 9.1 point drop on the Bucks’ in a game with a 102 adjusted pace

-You know the expression “styles make fights”? This one just looks like an ugly one where I don’t really like how either team will match up with the other. Like how can Marc Gasol compete athletically with the range and athleticism all over the court? I don’t see it. He’s coming off of an unexpectedly down game vs a guy he usually kills in Rudy Gobert so there’s some contrarian value but I find it hard to embrace on paper

Mike Conley seems a little more equipped to make things happen but you certainly can’t bank on him in any matchup. The Bucks allow a preponderance of threes, most on the slate with 37.2 attempts, so that adds a little bit of a boost to his prospects

-Jaren Jackson being needed more with Milwaukee’s athleticism makes sense to me and he’s at an appealing price. But you know him and foul trouble so there’s some risk there

Kyle Anderson’s price is coming up but he’s been really good in just about every kind of game recently. I don’t want to trust Kyle Anderson a lot but his performances seem worth consideration

Giannis Antetokuonmpo may find himself a bit limited by Anderson’s defense but the bigger issue for me would be the lack of pace here. Giannis’s best games this year have been against teams who’ll run and create space and that will not be the case here

Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton are cheap enough to consider and any sluggish openings for Giannis will result in more usage their way. I think they both can make sense tonight

 

Utah Jazz (108.3 implied points) at Dallas Mavericks (104.3 implied points)

­-The totals here show a 2.2 point drop on Utah’s season average and a 6.0 point drop on Dallas’s in a game with a 102.5 adjusted pace

-It’s getting to a point where I think Joe Ingles is a more bankable player than Donovan Mitchell and while Mitchell has a higher ceiling, night to night you are going to be better off playing Ingles. Mitchell had a nice game last time vs Dallas while Ingles didn’t, something I’m sure box score watchers will note. But I think I’d be willing to count on Ingles continuing to be the better player tonight and play him over Mitchell, particularly if Mitchell’s ownership is higher

Rudy Gobert has games of 44 and 56 fantasy points vs Dallas so far this year and expecting something in that range again seems likely vs DeAndre Jordan. I have no issue with him and he may be lower owned than some of the other plays in that price range like Vucevic or Whiteside

Ricky Rubio isn’t a preferred play of mine when Mitchell is active but his price is nice in this matchup and his usage rate has been above 20% for six straight games

DeAndre Jordan has had one great game vs Utah and one middling one this year and I’d be inclined to think it’s closer to the latter. His price is down to $6,500 on DraftKings though and there actually is some nice upside there. I don’t hate it but I’d prefer that price in an easier matchup than this one

Harrison Barnes remains too cheap for his role, though he did stink vs the Jazz just a week ago. Wesley Matthews back in the lineup will take a little off the table for him too so I’m not dying to play Barnes today and hope his price stays down for an easier game to come

JJ Barea won’t be as chalky tonight as he was with Matthews out but some exposure still makes sense with his high usage bench role, between a 28% and 34% usage rate in his last three games. I think I may actually prefer him to Dennis Smith and Luka Doncic given the discount and decent probability of them struggling to start while JJ feasts on the second unit

 

San Antonio Spurs (108.5 implied points) at Phoenix Suns (103.5 implied points)

-Vegas expects a meaningless 0.2 point drop on the Spurs’ season average along with a 2.3 point drop on the Suns’ in this game with a 100.7 adjusted pace

DeMar DeRozan has had a few meh games now and his price is probably a bit too high for his role. But if the Suns keep this close, he was wildly efficient vs them last time out with 10-for-12 shooting and the only thing limiting him was the complete beat down they laid on the Suns. Ditto LaMarcus Aldridge going 10-for-13. The Suns did not get better defensively by moving TJ Warren into the lineup but they did get more likely to keep a game close enough to get those guys enough minutes to hit value

Derrick White was solid vs Sacramento but got Pop’d when he suddenly sat and wasn’t able to hit value as a chalk play. His price is up a little but I have no issue going back his way with limited exposure because he definitely has upside in this matchup with a not great defense and sloppy team on the other side

TJ Warren keeps rolling and he got up to 40 minutes last game as the Suns played from behind with the Thunder. Warren is playing out of his mind and between that and the court time I don’t mind him vs a San Antonio team who is not the defensive concern it was before

Devin Booker has seen the same usage as Warren but been far less productive with it. He still has upside at his price and he and Warren will likely still be contrarian plays due to people’s respect for the Spurs

DeAndre Ayton had a rough first game vs the Spurs but on paper this still should be a decent rebounding matchup for him. I don’t mind going back his way with his price inching downwards

 

Portland Trailblazers (111.5 implied points) at LA Lakers (113.5 implied points)

­-Portland gets a 4.3 point decrease on their season average while the Lakers get a 2.7 drop on theirs in this game with a highly paced for this slate 105 adjusted pace

Damian Lillard’s price has returned to normalcy and after a run of poor games, he’s an intriguing play. He hasn’t killed vs the Lakers in two games this year with games of 48 and 45 fantasy points but his price being down makes that still a solid value

Jusuf Nurkic has looked better vs LA this year and he seems like another play who’ll go underowned despite a nice spot. If he were to get into foul trouble, Zach Collins is a decent play who can probably get you 5x in this matchup with his normal 20 minutes of run and way more if Nurkic sat

CJ McCollum continues to shoot enough to be useful but he usually isn’t. I’m typically not playing him for that reason but this matchup is one where he could get going

Al-Farouq Aminu should pick up some extra rebounds with the pace in this matchup and he could benefit from some open corner three looks as well. He’s a good guy to mix into a player pool of similar guys at that price

LeBron James has been a low effort player so far this year with whiffs of his disengagement when he was unhappy with the Cavaliers early last season. His price is the lowest it’s been this season so he makes sense from that perspective but you still might get burned on hitting 5x value with a tough matchup against Aminu awaiting him

Javale McGee’s minutes have returned to normalcy with the addition of Tyson Chandler but neither guy seems super interesting to me. Chandler is a nice value play given the 20 minutes per game he’s received so far

Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram all profile similarly to me, guys without a huge upside who seem appropriately priced. Lonzo would have the most appeal to me, though Rajon Rondo can always steal his minutes if he ends up the hot hand, and Kuzma and Ingram just don’t see enough usage to go nuts with everyone active

 

Whew a lot of freaking basketball broken down above. Toss me a follow on Twitter @ChrisSpags and tune into the Live Before Lock show with me and Fast Eddie Fear at 6PM Eastern on the Awesemo YouTube (the solo show was fun last night but I think my brain would explode doing 11 games alone so this will be good). And I’ll see you guys again soon with more NBA analysis.

Chris Spags is the senior director of editorial strategy at Awesemo.com and contributes to the site's NBA, NFL, and MLB coverage as a writer and host of video content. Chris's content background from sites like Guyism, Uproxx, and Barstool Sports allows him to bring a unique spin to the world of daily fantasy sports analysis. Chris writes regular columns with NBA and NFL analysis as well as his inimitable style and his 'Four Corners' videos for basketball, baseball, and football DFS are the primary short form content offering on Awesemo's YouTube channel. You can find him on almost any given night providing analysis right up to slate lock on Awesemo's flagship Live Before Lock livestreams or on Twitter @ChrisSpags. You can contact Chris by emailing [email protected].

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