Hello basketball lovers and welcome to the internet’s preeminent daily fantasy sports NBA breakdown, the Switch and Hedge exclusively here on Awesemo.com. We’ve got ourselves a pretty juicy slate tonight with a ton of value, not a lot of obvious stud plays, and a couple of interesting matchups.
One item to note: Josh Engleman, the creator of our daily strategy videos here at Awesemo.com, and I will be going live before lock tonight at 6PM Eastern on the Awesemo YouTube. We’re going to talk NBA and MLB along with whatever else strikes our fancies and taking your questions in the chat. It was a lot of fun in our first show last night so come by and check it out.
As always, the NBA Switch and Hedge pairs best with Awesemo’s proprietary rankings, ownership projections, and his Slam Dunk picks to help craft your lineups. Check out everything then you’ll be ready to hit the hardwood and earn money off of these men who have no idea we exist. And with that, let’s get to the games:
Philadelphia 76ers (109 implied points, -7.7 on their last 10 games) at Detroit Pistons (106 implied points, -1.2 on their last 10 games)
Philadelphia steamrolled a typically pretty game Nets team last night and, despite injuries to Dario Saric and Joel Embiid, they’ve looked stellar against some weak opponents. Assuming Andre Drummond suits up as expected, the Sixers hopefully should be in a competitive game and that means you’ve got to look Ben Simmons’ way. He’s had 50 and 60+ DK point games recently with Embiid out and was on pace to crush again yesterday before the Sixers ran away with it by halftime. The price is getting uncomfortably high, which limits his ceiling, but he’s a steady play on a tight slate. Robert Covington has also been a stellar play and should get the chance to bomb some threes versus Detroit, love him tonight. Ersan Ilyasova has been a steady fill-in for Saric in the starting lineup though, with his usage where it is, you need him to get hot or grab boards to exceed value in any meaningful way. JJ Redick’s been shooting a ton lately and, if the game stays close, he could exceed value with ease. Marco Belinelli and Amir Johnson are some of the cheaper options on the team and, while they both carry some risk, they could be useful pieces in the matchup with Johnson in particular likely needed to keep Andre Drummond at bay. There’s some risk trying to roster too many of these guys given the big difference in pace between the teams with Philadelphia running at a top 5 pace and Detroit closer to the bottom of the league. But this offense is clicking at a high level right now, largely thanks to Ben Simmons, so you’ve got to really consider a lot of these guys.
Andre Drummond, currently expected to play but questionable with a stomach bug, is the main guy you’d want here. To be totally candid, I don’t know that I love a guy possibly dealing with some butt related issues potentially having to run at a top 5 pace or have to keep Ben Simmons out of the paint and deal with whatever feisty veteran things that Amir Johnson will do to make him uncomfortable. Maybe talking about taking his kids to Hershey Park after they moved to Pennsylvania, who knows. There’s some risk and with he and Ben Simmons similarly priced, I’d be more inclined to spend that money on Ben. Reggie Jackson is at a playable price and he posted an outrageous 47% usage rate with Andre Drummond ejected in the Pistons’ last game. It’s not a great matchup on paper but someone has to score for Detroit. Anthony Tolliver’s been playing well lately but his price is getting pretty high for what he does. Ditto Stanley Johnson, who was a great play versus Brooklyn that I mentioned here, but looks less good with an elevated price and James Ennis likely back siphoning a few minutes way from him.
Dallas Mavericks (97.25 implied points, -5.3 on their last 10 games) at Orlando Magic (101.25 implied points, +7.2 on their last 10 games)
Just about all of the key pieces for Dallas have been ruled out for rest –Dennis Smith, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwight Powell — and along with Nerlens Noel’s suspension, it leaves a real motley crew behind. The remaining pieces face an Orlando team who’s been dragging everyone down into the gutter scoringwise lately culminating in a brutal 73 point game for the Knicks last night (that murdered a very popular Trey Burke pick for me and others). JJ Barea was crazy efficient in his return to the lineup last night and, with Dennis Smith out, Barea’s going to be the only player they have to really drive the offense, at an awesome price to boot. Barea’s going to be popular tonight and he’s an A value in Awesemo’s rankings. One would think Salah Mejri and Maxi Kleber, also A values according to Awesemo, get minutes solely by being the lone bigs standing in a matchup with some tough guys inside in Nikola Vucevic and Khem Birch. Yogi Ferrell looks okay too but comes with the standard risk of being Yogi Ferrell and the fact that Aaron Harrison has taken his role running the second unit offense. Yogi will get shots but probably not initiate the offense much, so you’re relying solely on his scoring. Harrison has looked good in limited minutes running the offense and was a solid value despite shooting 1 for 8 last game:
He could be a somewhat sneaky play on a slate with a ton of other interesting value options. Also on this side are guys like Johnathan Motley, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Jalen Jones who’ve seen action in games where Harrison Barnes has sat. Jones has started previously with Barnes out, but in a game without Finney-Smith. Both Motley and Jones have shown to be great per-minute players when given opportunities, and the Mavericks are said to have a lot of hope for Motley in particular, so watch those starting lineups. This might be the most anyone has written about the Mavs all year, a big moment for us.
The Magic ended up in a weird spot last night, completely blowing out the Knicks with their young guys off the bench primarily driving the action. No Magic starter played in the fourth quarter but that seemed more a side effect of momentum than a “Play the young guys to get them fourth quarter experience” decision. That said, there is some risk because there may still be a slight minutes haircut that greatly limits a guy like Nikola Vucevic’s shot at hitting value. Aaron Gordon gunned in the more substantial minutes run he got but simply couldn’t get it going. That usage could pay off against an inexperienced Mavs team tonight at super low ownership, but it’s tough to trust. Mario Hezonja and Shelvin Mack’s minutes seemed secure last game and one should expect the same. Mack in particular should have a great opportunity tonight. Jamel Artis and Khem Birch priced close to the minimum should be tempting given the run they got versus New York, though weirdly Artis’s minutes looked more secure last game. You can trust Hezonja or Mack but limit exposure to Artis and Birch if you play them since there’s too much volatility with their roles and performance despite both looking good in limited action.
Miami Heat (106.75 implied points, -2.8 on their last 10 games) at Atlanta Hawks (98.75 implied points, -2.6 on their last 10 games)
The Heat and Hawks had a really exciting and fun game last night where the youngest Hawks completely brought it in a tough matchup that the Heat pulled off in the end. Goran Dragic was the star last night, but this Rotoworld writeup sums up how I feel about him replicating that tonight:
Goran Tragic has flashes of brilliance like last night’s game but it seems more likely that his usage recedes to normal and guys like Josh Richardson get more of a look. Richardson didn’t look for his shot at all last night but was on a roll before that of putting up 15+ shots a game. Playing him seems like a good way to fade points chasing folks going to Dragic and Tyler Johnson, whose price is tempting but tough to trust given his recent run of mediocre performances. Hassan Whiteside’s price is getting more playable and he got some extra minutes after getting fined for complaining about his role. It’s a back-to-back game on the road and Whiteside’s conditioning has been an issue all year so the spot may not be as great as it seems, though Awesemo does have him as a B in both fantasy points and value for tonight.
Damion Lee rebounded from a down game where it looked like he lost some minutes to have a solid game where he shot 6-19 meaning, yes, he’s still got upside. John Collins thrived with Dewayne Dedmon out and I imagine he’ll be a popular play tonight. He’s looked better lately but I feel like there’s a dud that’s going to affect a lot of people coming soon. Isaiah Taylor’s usage has leveled out from his hot run and Josh Magette will take a few minutes away with his return from the G-League playoffs so, unless his price drops a bit, he’s not terribly appealing right now. Magette’s return will shift Tyler Dorsey off the backup ball-handler role, hurting his upside a little (but at a price that’s still playable). I’d consider Collins and Muscala if Dedmon is out but a lot of these guys outside of Lee seem like it might be chasing points in a matchup that could easily regress to a down-tempo game.
Boston Celtics (99 implied points, -3.5 on their last 10 games) at Toronto Raptors (106 implied points, -5.6 on their last 10 games)
Jaylen Brown played well with Terry Rozier and Shane Larkin sidelined last game and Rozier’s availability completely affects all the options here. If Rozier plays, he looks like an awesome pick versus a Raptors D who’s slacking hard at point guard and made Jose Calderon look like a world beater yesterday. Al Horford did precious little with the extra load to bear yesterday and given a tougher matchup vs Toronto where he’s struggled all year, that’s gonna be a pass from me again. Jayson Tatum had a great game versus the Raptors just a week ago and his price on DraftKings in particular looks rock solid. Marcus Morris also played really well versus Toronto last time out and, more importantly, had a sky high usage rate with Rozier out. Both he and Brown would be really good plays if Rozier misses again.
DeMar DeRozan had a big game versus Boston last time out but his price is back up to an uncomfortable level. Boston’s had issues with him and Khris Middleton last night so there may be something defensively to exploit there. Everyone else on this side is iffy to me. Serge Ibaka’s been on a great run lately but we’ve seen this movie before when he puts up 15 fantasy points after a few big games and looks completely hapless. Kyle Lowry’s reeling a bit and his price hasn’t dropped enough to cover how poorly he’s played with his usage dropping lately (and frankly the Raptors have looked better with Fred Van Vleet running point at times). Jonas Valanciunas is priced too high for a guy who never plays over 25 minutes. Unless you think this is the game Lowry snaps out of his funk and can grab him at low ownership, there’s nothing to love here.
Memphis Grizzlies (101 implied points, +0.3 on their last 10 games) at New Orleans Pelicans (113.5 implied points, +7.1 on their last 10 games)
Weirdly a game involving the Grizzlies is one of the highest totals on the slate and the Pelicans are expected to run away with it. As of the latest news, MarShon Brooks is questionable with an ankle injury but was a participant at shootaround. If he goes, he looks like a guy who might be able to fill it up versus the defensively deficient Pelicans. Ditto Dillon Brooks whose price is up after a big game versus the Trailblazers in the return to his native Pacific Northwest area. There’s a case to be made to fade him because of how popular he should be after that explosion and the fact that he’s so points dependent, but he’s still an okay play given his recent usage rates. Ben McLemore has gotten both usage and minutes lately and looks fine here with all the Grizzlies guards out. People keep getting tempted by Jarell Martin with JaMychal Green out but he’s mostly not a good player without enough usage to do anything with. I’d be more inclined to look at Ivan Rabb or Deyonta Davis. Marc Gasol plays like 20 minutes a game now so there’s some opportunity for those guys to do something versus a Pelicans team who’s weak inside.
This really has the feel of a big Jrue Holiday game, though there’s also nobody to put up a matchup versus Anthony Davis either. With the increased total despite playing a bottom pace of the league team, maybe both guys can go off tonight to initiate the blowout. With no other true studs on the slate, Anthony Davis should find some heavy ownership. Rajon Rondo’s been suffering a bit with his wrist injury but this could be a spot to break out of his slump, even if his price is a bit high given recent performances. He’s getting his full allotment of minutes and his experience should pay dividends versus the likes of Kobi Simmons and Marquis Teague. E’twaun Moore looks okay and I’m curious about Nikola Mirotic since there’s no defensive reason you’d need to keep him off the floor here. Zero trust for him at this point but you saw what he can do at low ownership versus Cleveland just a few days ago.
San Antonio Spurs (106.75 implied points, +2 on their last 10 games) at Los Angeles Lakers (100.25 implied points, -4.3 on their last 10 games)
The Lakers have been godawful versus point guards, something that greatly benefitted my boy Ricky Rubio last night and Eric Bledsoe before that. Dejounte Murray is the nominal point guard and I’m curious to see if maybe he does some things with the chance, but Patty Mills has been the one really making the offense go lately. I’ll have a little of both guys and I REALLY want to trust Murray in the spot but it’s difficult with how up and down his usage and role are. LaMarcus Aldridge has been one of the steadiest values around lately, is one of few A fantasy point projections in Awesemo’s rankings on tonight’s slate, and there’s nothing the Lakers do that would keep him from continuing that role tonight at a solid price on both sites. Rudy Gay’s been hyper efficient in limited minutes lately and, even though the margins are narrow, he can be a fine play tonight.
Brandon Ingram is still questionable after a concussion and no one’s fully capitalized on his absence. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had the biggest game versus Utah after a dud at Sacramento and he’s played surprisingly well versus San Antonio this year. He could be the best option here. Julius Randle owns a 40 DK point game versus the Spurs this year and he flashed a lot of playmaking upside with nine assists versus Utah. If Ingram misses, that playmaking ability could be enough to get him in the 5-6x neighborhood but it’s hard to imagine much more. Kyle Kuzma’s usage had been there lately but it’s hard to imagine him matching up well with Kyle Anderson or Danny Green and his performances versus the Spurs this year show that. Tyler Ennis may be needed to initiate more offense after siphoning minutes from mediocre Alex Caruso last game and he’s cheap on both sites. I like other value guys more but he should be considered.
There we go, a very reasonably sized slate in the books. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisSpags and let me know any questions or how your lineups are doing, make sure to tune into Josh Engleman and my live-before-lock show on the Awesemo Youtube at 6PM Eastern where we’ll be talking NBA, MLB, and taking your questions in chat, and I’ll see you guys tomorrow with more saucy NBA action!