Welcome everyone to another addition of the internet’s favorite long-winded daily NBA breakdown, the NBA Switch and Hedge. We’ve got a ton of games and I’ve got a dog coming off kidney surgery who’s got to make it to the vet for some suture removals (she’s currently questionable to get to the dog park tomorrow), so I won’t waste much of your time up front.
But first! You should subscribe to Awesemo’s new YouTube channel since we’ve got big things in the works, some of which I’ll be involved with, rolling out for the rest of NBA season and the start of the MLB year. It’ll be very helpful with your process.
As always the Switch and Hedge pairs best with Awesemo’s NBA rankings, updated hourly closer to lock, and ownership projections so make sure to check those out as you consider your lineups. And now: Onto the slate.
Brooklyn Nets (109.5 implied points, -0.9 on their last 10 games) at Orlando Magic (107 implied points, +12 on their last 10 games)
The Nets have been a good source of fantasy value, often at low ownership and this matchup with the Magic is going to be a good spot to target. D’Angelo Russell had a down game versus Cleveland, who’s performed competently versus point guards lately. Russell should have less issues finding room to score versus Orlando, who’s played at a top 10 pace despite their recent scoring troubles, and he’s at a great price on DraftKings in particular. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and DeMarre Carroll look comparably interesting to me while I’m not super into Allen Crabbe given how the Magic have limited threes this year.
Nikola Vucevic steps into the infamous Centers Vs Brooklyn spot and, while he’s not the banging boards and putbacks kind of center who normally thrives with the opportunity, he should be popular tonight. His price is tougher to swallow on FanDuel but he’s got a good opportunity, one that Vegas agrees with. DJ Augustin doesn’t get enough usage to feel totally confident in him but he showed his upside in a game with a high team total last time versus Phoenix with a 40 DK point game. Brooklyn is similarly bad defensively versus point guard so he seems solid as well. Aaron Gordon took a price jump and he’s coming off a monster 64 DK point game versus Phoenix so there are ownership reasons to consider looking elsewhere. Gordon crushed the Nets once this year, also with a 65 DK point game, so fade at your own risk. Mario Hezonja had his first good game since filling in for the injured Jonathon Simmons and, while Brooklyn is a slightly less favorable matchup, we’ve got that high key thicc team total up there so he’s worth a look too.
New York Knicks (104.5 implied points, -4.5 on their last 10 games) at Philadelphia 76ers (117 implied points, +2.7 on their last 10 games)
The Knicks were guided by a shining star in Trey Burke, a player whom you either love from his star-making performance versus Charlotte or hate because you didn’t roster him that night. Emmanuel Mudiay is slated to return from an illness, making Burke a little bit less appealing. But he’s still at prices on DraftKings and FanDuel where he should safely get you to 5x, even in a crummier matchup. The Sixers have been generous to power forwards lately, making the recently resurgent Michael Beasley look interesting to me. Beasley put up 22 shots in the Knicks’ overtime loss to Charlotte and looked a lot like the Beasley from earlier this year who calls himself “WB” for “Walking Bucket.” Enes Kanter has mostly thrived in matchups versus Joel Embiid this year; with Kyle O’Quinn out, I’m in on him tonight for sure. Luke Kornet continued his run of solid yet unspectacular value in his last game with O’Quinn out and he’s a fine punt for tonight as well, especially if the game blows out as the Vegas line indicates it may. Kornet-Mudiay blowout lineup to fade Trey Burke maybe? It’s a thought.
The Sixers will be able to do what they want versus the Knicks but small forward has been a particularly awful spot for them defensively lately. The Knicks have given up a fantasy point per minute boost to every starting small forward they’ve encountered lately, with the exception of the Raptors’ Norman Powell, over their last 10 games. In fact, this same Dario Saric averaged 1.32 FPPM versus these Knicks just 13 days ago. Saric looks like a great on paper play, Robert Covington looks like a decent one. The blowout worries me for those guys as well as Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, though. The Sixers show a stark decrease in minutes whenever a game starts to get out of hand and, although the Knicks have played division rivals competitively this year, you could get the short end of the stick if the game gets out of hand fast.
Cleveland Cavaliers (112.75 implied points, -1.2 on their last 10 games) at Charlotte Hornets (113.75 implied points, -2.5 on their last 10 games)
LeBron had one of his worst games of the last few weeks versus Miami and, shortly afterwards, this quote hit the media:
LeBron to @AP on MVP race: "I would vote for me. The body of work, how I’m doing it, what’s been happening with our team all year long, how we’ve got so many injuries & things of that nature, guys in & out, to be able to still keep this thing afloat, I definitely would vote me."
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) March 28, 2018
Now I fancy myself to be a bit of a LeBron decoder and, knowing the King as I try to, I see NO WAY he doesn’t go big versus the Hornets tonight. That quote is a flag in the ground and one that he knows people will bust his balls for. This matchup, with a team top 10 in pace with Kevin Love currently questionable with a face injury, seems like a real shot at LeBron trying to cement his MVP candidacy to himself and others. The Hornets have given up big performances at point guard lately and, up until the tough matchup with Miami, George Hill has mostly looked like a competent basketball player lately. I don’t trust him but he’s worth a gander. If Love is ruled out, Larry Nance seems like a contender to get some minutes and he traditionally does his best work versus big bodied centers who camp out for rebounds like Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan. That defensively fits Dwight Howard’s profile and, on a slate this size, Nance will go largely overlooked.
Nic Batum returned for the Hornets last game from an Achilles injury and only played 22 minutes. I wouldn’t trust him unless they announce his minutes limit has been removed though, if it were, he is in a good spot versus Cleveland. The Cavs have greatly limited point guards in their last 10 games, a 20% drop in production on a DVP basis. Kemba Walker is still going to shoot, slightly less so if Batum gets more minutes, but I wouldn’t trust him tonight with where his price is. Dwight Howard seems somewhat interesting but he hasn’t necessarily shown massive upside at his current price. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has had good games versus Cleveland this year but is currently questionable so there really isn’t anyone on this side I’m going to talk myself into on this slate. Marvin Williams has been a decent source of value lately so he may be a cheap place to look. Otherwise the prices all strike me as a bit too high.
Atlanta Hawks (103.25 implied points, +1.1 on their last 10 games) at Minnesota Timberwolves (115.75 implied points, +6.3 on their last 10 games)
The Hawks are facing down a serious blowout risk in the game versus Minnesota and Dennis Schroder has already been ruled out, likely moving Isaiah Taylor to the starting lineup. Taylor has performed well lately with the opportunity so even though Minnesota has played well versus point guards lately, he’s definitely in play tonight. Dewayne Dedmon had a bad game versus Houston but still got just a hair under 30 minutes. He’s tougher than Karl-Anthony Towns and may find some success against him tonight. Taurean Prince has returned to his recent post-Kent Bazemore form and has had two solid games in a row. He played through the blowout versus Houston last game so he may be safer than he seems, besides his penchant for missing 80 percent of his shots in a game occasionally.
The Hawks are bad defensively versus every position so all of the Timberwolves are under consideration tonight. Jeff Teague has been a consistent source of value other than two bad games on the road on the East coast. I don’t know if Teague has any more revenge in his heart for Atlanta so the data is more than enough for me to trust my archnemesis once more tonight. Karl-Anthony Towns and Taj Gibson also both look solid to me in the matchup with prices that allow a bit of upside for both, especially with the latter seeing a shocking 41 minutes last time out. Nemanca Bjelica seems to be on the receiving end of Gibson and Jamal Crawford’s minutes rise and both players look like better plays than Bjelica currently. Andrew Wiggins has been a consistent but low upside performer lately and, with the blowout risk, I wouldn’t expect much different today.
Portland Trailblazers (103.75 implied points, -7.5 on their last 10 games) at Memphis Grizzlies (97.75 implied points, +1.3 on their last 10 games)
Damian Lillard finally had the “new daddy” game we’ve been waiting for versus the Pelicans last night and now he’s out tonight to deal with the birth itself. That means it’s Shabazz Napier night with a decent chance for him to end up as the highest owned player on the slate. He’s super cheap on both sites and also happens to be in a fantastic matchup so I’d play him with confidence. Evan Turner started for the injured Mo Harkless yesterday and did a serviceable job. He’ll get some extra usage with Lillard out. CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic should theoretically be the biggest beneficiaries besides Napier, though and McCollum has flashed near 50 DK point upside versus these Grizzlies earlier this year in a game in which Dame was active. Nurkic’s matchup versus Marc Gasol will be a little tougher so even though he has some interest to me, it’s not terribly high. Al-Farouq Aminu has been a great mid-priced play lately and, although the matchup with JaMychal Green worries me a little stylistically, he’s priced well enough to take a look at today. Aminu chucked 10 threes versus New Orleans last game and Memphis is an awful team versus three pointers defensively.
Memphis is going to be without Tyreke Evans again and there’s really not a lot to love on their side. Marc Gasol played well last game and drove the entire offense. This is a crummy matchup overall but it’s possible he does it again. Wayne Selden’s been gunning lately and got up to 26 minutes last game. If Andrew Harrison, currently questionable, is ruled out, he could be a great play with upside. If Harrison played, I’d be mildly interested in him — he’s best with Evans out — but mindful of the fact he bombed out just the other day in the same situation at really high ownership.
Boston Celtics (93 implied points, -10.5 on their last 10 games) at Utah Jazz (100.5 implied points, -8.2 on their last 10 games)
The Celtics are playing without Marcus Morris and Al Horford, the biggest Morris injury beneficiary from a fantasy point perspective, is currently questionable. If both of those guys are out, Greg Monroe and Aron Baynes should both be plays to consider. Rudy Gobert is going to make it tough for them to get the peripherals they need but as the lone bigs standing, there would be value there. Terry Rozier would also see a big usage bump of Horford and Morris sit and the matchup with Ricky Rubio is one of the most winnable ones on the board versus the Jazz. If Horford plays, he should be in consideration but with the caveat that, yes this is Utah and those team totals are hideous. Jayson Tatum picked up a lot of usage with Morris out last game…this isn’t a great matchup but he might be able to do enough to hit value, likely at low ownership due to the combination of price and fear of the Jazz.
The Celtics are no great matchup for the Jazz either, as that total indicates. Ricky Rubio had a good game versus Boston earlier this year and he may be able to overcome a really tough matchup by DVP today. Jaylen Brown will likely have his hands full with Donovan Mitchell, meaning that Ricky Rubio would get Rozier defense that may be heavily compromised by the effort required on offense, especially if Horford is out. Mitchell might be able to shoot his way to value by sheer force of will since that’s all he does, but it’s not a great place to be for him. Power forward has been the spot to look at recently versus Boston, conveniently one where Derrick Favors was on a roll of steady games before a blowout versus the Warriors. I’m interested in him tonight and he could be a great option if the Celtics dedicate resources to stopping Rudy Gobert, something they’ll have to do to keep him from wreaking havoc. Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder, who has played well versus Boston since his not-so-amicable departure, are interesting low owned flyers to me as well. Someone here is going to outperform value but it’s hard to pinpoint whom.
Los Angeles Clippers (116.5 implied points, +6 on their last 10 games) at Phoenix Suns (106.5 implied points, +8 on their last 10 games)
The Clippers are likely without Milos Teodosic after he re-aggravated his foot issue from earlier this year, making both Lou Williams and Austin Rivers even better plays in a matchup where they can get whatever they want versus Phoenix. This is a great team total, one that can mean increased production for Lou Will, Rivers, DeAndre Jordan, and Tobias Harris and that’s also where I’d rank them in order in terms of my personal preference, though it’s closer between DeAndre and the guards than it is for me with Tobias. Wesley Johnson has also been a competent punt play and a matchup with Phoenix will give him a lot of ways to get to value.
TJ Warren and Devin Booker are both currently doubtful to suit up tonight, meaning Josh Jackson is going to have a shot at being worth his price again tonight. He performed competently versus the Celtics and this matchup with the Clippers looks way better for him. Tyler Ulis and Troy Daniels have been the other primary beneficiaries of Booker’s absence and both players seem fine to trot out there tonight, as long as you know the risk of them completely tanking and ruining your night. Alex Len is also currently questionable and, if he sits, Marquese Chriss should get even closer to must-play status. He’s been steadily around 5x lately and the extra minutes from Len would help a lot with exceeding that. If Len plays, he’d be very helpful versus DeAndre Jordan and the matchup would give him a great opportunity
Dallas Mavericks (104.5 implied points, -1.8 on their last 10 games) at Los Angeles Lakers (112 implied points, +2.9 on their last 10 games)
Dennis Smith didn’t have the big game it seemed like he was capable of since, with the game safely in hand for the Mavericks (i.e. them likely trying to discretely blow it to the equally bad Kings), he sat the entire fourth quarter. Smith should have a better shot today in this game versus the top in pace Lakers to have the breakout game we’ve been waiting for since his return from an ankle injury. His price is much better on DraftKings but he can have upside on both sites. Harrison Barnes has also been a solid play lately and I’d expect more of the same versus the Lakers tonight, especially if Dwight Powell sits again. Nerlens Noel is going to play today after sitting for injury management reasons yesterday and despite his price rising, he should be a good play versus Los Angeles. Kyle Collinsworth is a sort of sneaky play who picks up minutes with JJ Barea out. Given the Lakers’ increased fantasy production and pace, he can exceed value if he gets 25 minutes like he got in their last game.
Brandon Ingram is questionable to return, news that could have a trickle down effect on a lot of this team. Since KCP and Kyle Kuzma have both gained from him being out — with their prices having risen to show for it — I’d be inclined to avoid them tonight if he plays since even a loss of 20 minutes from those two could greatly impede their chance at hitting value. Julius Randle and Lonzo Ball should be more unaffected, and Randle in partcilar has played exceedingly well versus the Mavericks each time they’ve played this year. He’s from 20 minutes outside Dallas in Plano, Texas, and for whatever reason that’s translated to him playing his ass off to remind people of that whenever possible. With a much more defined role now, there’s no reason to see that changing today. Brook Lopez has also been a fine play lately. Dallas has weirdly limited center production despite not having anyone note playing defense there, though, so there’s some risk.
And there we have it folks, eight more games in the books. Follow me on Twitter and let me know how you’re doing, come back later to check Awesemo’s updated rankings and ownership projections, and good luck tonight!