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NBA Switch And Hedge: Are The Rockets Back On Track In A Sort Of Post-Carmelo World?

Chris Spags



Damien gives out his top NBA DFS Picks for Tuesday, March 10 (3/10/20) for DraftKings and FanDuel, including James Harden and Nikola Vucevic.

There are just three NBA games on tonight’s slate and it’s not the most appealing group of matchups either so this is a tough sales pitch. But to be honest, nights where everyone goes “Ugh this slate of games is awful” are the times that can be the most profitable in daily fantasy sports. There’s beauty in ugliness and tonight there are a couple of guys whom you are going to hate me for suggesting to play who could be the ones you need to have in your lineups at relatively low ownership in a short slate. But I’ll do my best to walk you through it powered by my data and a heaping scoop of our projections and rankings.

For slates with as ugly as this one, it’s a good time to sign up for a premium account here at 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.

Charlotte Hornets (112 implied points) at Cleveland Cavaliers (104 implied points)

-The Vegas totals indicate a 4.5 point drop on the Hornets’ season average and a 0.7 point drop on the Cavs’ in this game with a middle of the pack 102 adjusted pace

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Kemba Walker has been on a tear this year and the Cavs are a defensively deficient team but I don’t love him at the highest price he’s ever had in a game versus a team playing at a slower pace. There may be some contrarian value to pay up for him but even on a short slate I find it hard to get there

Nicolas Batum’s usage rate has been continually worthless, hardly ever crossing the 15% threshold, and on a night like tonight in which he’s projected for 27% ownership, I think you’d  want to limit exposure to him so he can’t kill you if he did go off but it’s hard to see the upside even with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out

-When Kidd-Gilchrist went out last game, Jeremy Lamb was the one to see the floor in the first half. He should get extended run today and I would prefer him to Batum

Malik Monk and Miles Bridges should pick up a bit more usage without Kidd-Gilchrist around, as should Tony Parker. Monk and Parker average 1.07 FPPM without MKG while Bridges has averaged 0.94 FPPM without him so there may be some value in avoiding the chalkier Bridges for Parker or Monk

Larry Nance is expected to be one of the chalkiest players on the slate after moving into the starting lineup with our ownership currently projecting over half the field to roster him in tonight’s short slate. There’s some value in fading any highly owned player given the variety of outcomes that can sink him but this matchup for Nance if he gets the same 30 minutes of run he got last time should easily pay dividends at his price given the Hornets’ rebounding deficiencies and how easily they give up shots inside, allowing layups on 31.1% of opponent attempts (most on this slate)

Collin Sexton posted a solid 23% usage rate without George Hill last time out and with him cheaper than Jordan Clarkson, I’d be more inclined for Sexton even though Clarkson definitely has some upside too after putting up 17 and 16 shots his last two outings and missing more than he made. I think you could play both together as well

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Tristan Thompson has been on the warpath since all of these injuries started occurring for the Cavs and he still projects to be underowned for a guy with two 40+ fantasy point games out of his last three. Thompson can be played with Nance but he also might be a viable pivot to Nance if you want to fade that ownership and he also gets a B in points and A in value in Awesemo’s rankings


Houston Rockets (105.3 implied points) at Denver Rockets (109.3 implied points)

-The Vegas totals represent a 2.6 point boost for the Rockets’ season total and a 0.7 point decrease for the Nuggets in this game with a bottom of the slate 100.2 adjusted pace

James Harden and Chris Paul seemed highly motivated to get back on track vs Indiana with both guys having nice games despite the tough on-paper matchup. Both players remain somewhat underpriced on DraftKings and if I had to choose which to play, I would probably take the chalk and play Harden with a 43% usage rate last time out. Chris Paul was hyper efficient vs Indiana and I think his ceiling is a bit lower. He should have the better defensive matchup and is projected for less ownership though so there are really credible arguments for both

-I don’t love the matchup for Clint Capela vs the Nuggets and with him currently projected for 40% ownership in a low paced matchup, I’m not dying to match that. A slate this short means some exposure makes sense even if you’re not a believer as I am here but I don’t see this being a great Capela spot vs a slow paced team who limits rebounds

Gary Clark has gotten a lot of chatter this week as the primary reason the Rockets are exorcising Carmelo Anthony from the squad. He’s a somewhat tempting play given the price but at as someone averaging 0.73 FPPM, the ceiling isn’t high enough even if it could buy you some breathing room on a short slate like this

Eric Gordon seems like the piece here I think could be the best match of ownership, price and upside. He has shot HORRENDOUSLY this year, 32.2% from the floor so far, but with 14 to 26 shots per game available for him, he is a scoring dependent player who has to score at some point. It hurts but tonight could be the night to play Eric Gordon

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PJ Tucker continues to get outrageous minutes, 39+ in his last two games, and that amount of court time could result in fantasy value even if he maintains his 9% usage rate

-This does seem like a nice Nikola Jokic spot and I’m generally a big fan of when he has matchups with less pace since it allows him to get into position more easily to run the offense, get boards and pick up defensive peripherals. The matchup versus Capela may test him but I’m comfortable having a good amount of Jokic despite him having over 30% projected ownership currently

Paul Millsap had his best game of the year versus Milwaukee, largely buoyed by shooting 5-from-8 from three. I would find it hard to believe that Millsap gets there via that situation again so while I don’t mind his price and do think he’s capable of big days, it feels like a point chase with his current role

Jamal Murray and Gary Harris have come down in price and I’d favor the discount in going to Harris but it’s really close. Given that both guys are currently projected for comparable ownership, I’m more inclined to split my exposure to them, though it’s also possible I just roll with Jokic from this side and try to find quality guard play elsewhere given the lack of pace


Atlanta Hawks (108.5 implied points) at Golden State Warriors (120.5 implied points)

The Hawks’ implied total represents a 0.8 point drop on their season average while the Warriors will see a 1 point drop on theirs in this game with a slate-high 106.4 adjusted pace

-This is a real boom or bust spot for Trae Young, one in which he’ll either shoot and assist his team into the game or get crushed and blown off the floor. It’s hard to imagine the Hawks keeping this one competitive but playing that angle is a contrarian view that should give your lineup a different look

Kent Bazemore is coming off of a big game that also saw Taurean Prince get back on track. I’d be more inclined to bank on Prince to keep it rolling than Baze given that Prince seems still due for positive regression with his 41.6% shooting this season. But the price and ownership are close enough that you can pick your poison and realistically both are going to have to pull their weight to keep the Hawks in the game if you buy into that outcome

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Alex Len should have access to more minutes with Dewayne Dedmon out and while I normally worry about him in higher paced games, that was a matchup vs the mostly high octane Lakers. There’s some risk to Len but I will have some exposure in the hopes he doesn’t get played off the floor

-If Len does get played off the floor I would think they might go with Omari Spellman as the big given how he does have some offensive capabilities and a competent 37.1% rate from three. The key guys to want here are still Young, Bazemore, Prince or even Jeremy Lin likely to get the green light on the second unit with a shot of stealing minutes from Young if Lin is effective and Trae isn’t…but one of the bigs should have a shot at an underowned decent day

Kevin Durant went beast mode in the Warriors’ OT loss to the Clippers but that was largely because they desperately needed his scoring to stay alive. This game should not break that way so you need Durant to assert himself early before this one gets away. If the Clippers weren’t coming off a loss, I think they would phone this one in a bit more but I don’t see any way they don’t come out swinging and that hurts Durant’s opportunity

-For a blowout game, Klay Thompson would be the one I’d want and it’s easy to imagine him putting up another monster game with the Hawks allowing 38.% from deep as opponents attempt 35 threes per game. Klay and Steph Curry tend to be the initiator of blowouts and one of those guys isn’t active

Draymond Green seems like a decent play despite the blowout risk but I would think this could be a spot where Quinn Cook gets a larger role in the offense. He receded into the background vs the Clippers in a hotly competitive game and burned a lot of people who played him but with a game where the offense should come free and easily, I like Cook to get it going once more with less ownership than all the other Warriors starters

Andre Iguodala is slightly appealing given the easy peripherals to pick up here but he likely won’t have to force much action so those would really need to fall into his lap. Not an impossibility but not a high likelihood

-The Warriors bench doesn’t tend to put up a lot of points even with blowout run but Alfonzo McKinnie could be a bit interesting on a short slate. Not a high ceiling guy but you may have to get creative on a somewhat ugly three-gamer


Follow me on Twitter @ChrisSpags and I’ll be going live SOLO today before lock on the Awesemo YouTube so go check that out at 6:15 Eastern, lots of time for user interaction to keep myself from hating my own voice.

Chris Spags is the senior director of editorial strategy at 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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