What’s up Awesemo.com readers? My name is Chris Spags, perhaps best known for previously doing content things at places like Barstool Sports and Uproxx (along with a twice-a-week email that bears my name, free plug). But over the years, a side passion I’ve chased is daily fantasy sports. Since moving to Los Angeles last fall to work on some projects, I’ve dove headfirst into DFS, particularly basketball, since Pacific time makes it a million times easier to manage. And now, after some modest successes in the fields of athletic performance-based battle, I’ll be working with Awesemo to bring you this Slam Dunks column everyday throughout the rest of the NBA season.
As you may have guessed, this column is going to get a little wordier than what Awesemo has given you the last month or so because I’ve got nothing but time and things to ramble about. But what we’ll be doing moving forward is trying to use this piece to get you fully ready for the night of DFS, hopefully with some humor and light cursing of Hassan Whiteside’s name when he inevitably defies all data and puts up a 10 in a lights out matchup.
I’ll still be consulting the beautiful mind of Awesemo, DFS’s #1 ranked player in an absurd amount of sports, for his Slam Dunks along with a bit of his rationale behind them. My game breakdowns ended up being longer than they probably should be but my hope is you’ll get a better view of the whole slate with this format to pair along with Awesemo.com’s rankings and ownership projections.
Milwaukee Bucks (108.5 implied points) at Orlando Magic (99.5 implied points)
Here we have a matchup between one team on the downswing seemingly playing out the stretch and another team fighting for playoff positioning. With the Magic rolling over and allowing any team to pet their bellies with five straight losses, including last night’s 36-point smashing by the Spurs, along with a 9 point spread there is a substantial risk of a blowout.
As in any aspect of life, where there is crisis there is opportunity. Because of last night’s blowout and the lower than usual minutes, the Magic should be less of a back to back risk than they might normally be, putting someone like Nikola Vucevic coming off of a few bad games is in an interesting spot. If the Magic are somehow able to keep it competitive, Vucevic, Jonathan Simmons, and even Jonathan Isaac (assuming Aaron Gordon remains sidelined by a concussion) should have a good shot at providing low-owned value.
On the other side, Milwaukee has some appeal but a less obvious path to value. Over the last 10 games, Orlando has been dreadful versus small forwards and Khris Middleton should be the main beneficiary. He’s hit value in recent games but at a higher price point may have limited upside. A lot of people will flock to Brandon Jennings after his massive return to the Bucks from China, putting up 46 DK points in 23 minutes, but beware the minutes relative to his price. Dat highlight reel tho:
Brandon Jennings is BACK:
— MyNBAUpdate (@MyNBAUpdate) March 13, 2018
Washington Wizards (103.5 implied points) at Boston Celtics (99.5 implied points) – ONE AWESEMO SLAM DUNK
A battle between two of the East’s top teams where neither team is playing even close to their full potential. The Celtics are banged up beyond belief with Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown out along with Daniel Theis recently ruled out for the season. Both Draftkings and FanDuel responded to this news by jacking up the price of Celtics folk hero Terry Rozier. Despite all that, he may still be a great play; in previous games without Kyrie Irving AND Marcus Smart, Rozier went for 50 fantasy points versus the Hawks and Knicks. There’s some risk with the Wizards playing better defensively against point guards with Tomas Satoransky manning the position but it’s hard to question the opportunity.
Terry Rozier vs Atlanta Hawks ?
— Celtics Direct (@CelticsDirect) February 3, 2018
And that’s also why Awesemo chooses Terry Rozier as his first Slam Dunk of the night. Awesemo says:
“Rozier shined when Kyrie Irving was out of the lineup several times already. With Al Horford and Marcus Smart sidelined, I expect him to be running the offense a lot more.”
Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Greg Monroe, and mediocre ass Aron Baynes will all see a boost with the litany of injuries as well and in a projected competitive game, they can all help add value.
It’s hard to project the challenge of the depleted Celtics defensively with the unproven lineups they’re going to have to roll out but Satoransky jumps out as a nicely priced play with upside. Bradley Beal will also face a theoretically less stout Celtics defense than he previously put up 40 fantasy points against twice. With his recent performances, the chance of a low-owned Bradley Beal explosion game is real. Similarly, Otto Porter has played well versus the Celtics twice this season and this could be a rebound spot for him. Much like the team themselves, these Wizards may not be sexy plays but they can get the job done for you.
Miami Heat (107.75 implied points) at Sacramento Kings (100.75 implied points)
This feels like a shockingly high Vegas total from two typically lower-paced teams but, when in doubt, Vegas knows better than you or I ever could. That’s the way of the world and the less we question it, the less likely you are to find yourself in a basement reenacting a scene from the film Casino.
Both Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade will be out again for the Heat and the main beneficiaries in their last game was Justise Winslow, who gobbled up all the rebounds Whiteside usually does along with a surprisingly efficient offensive performance. His price seems a little high on DK and FD but he just hit 7x that price versus a better team so he can get there. Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk should also pick up some scraps and both have the ceilings to win you a tournament.
It’s hard to love anything for Sacramento versus the defensively efficient Heat, so I won’t. Keep an eye on Skal Labissiere’s availability though; if he sits again, Zach Randolph may inexplicably see a lot of shots in a short period of time and at his decreased price, that can be a very sneaky play in your tournament of choice.
Los Angeles Lakers (109 implied points) at Golden State Warriors (116 implied points) – TWO AWESEMO SLAM DUNKS
March basketball, the crazy time of year where everyone in the world is injured and there’s a very realistic chance the streaking Lakers could beat the Warriors at Golden State. But with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and David West out and the Lakers looking competent in wins over Denver and Cleveland, the Lakers stand a great chance to keep this competitive and maybe even eke out a win.
With all of the Warriors out, there’s one play to make and that is one Mr. Kevin Durant. He averages an unwieldy 1.8 DK fantasy points per minute with all those gentlemen off the court and in a game in which the Warriors may need him to do a bit of everything, he’s as stone cold of a lock as you’ll ever see. Omri Casspi also gets a noteworthy boost with Draymond out and with him practically at the minimum price on both sites, you’d be a fool not to play him. A FOOL, I tell you (though you may want to note Awesemo’s ownership projections and that stout 47% of folks expected to roster him) Those 116 points have to come from somewhere. And that’s where Awesemo’s other two slam dunks come in, Kevin Durant and Jordan Bell. Awesemo says:
“Bell is always a great play with Draymond Green out, and the other stars out for the Warriors will give him even more opportunity to shine. Durant will have to take much more of the workload than normal so I expect him to get more usage and assists than his season averages.”
On the Lakers side, despite the Warriors’ defensive efficiency when at full strength and the fact that Los Angeles hasn’t won in three tries this year, the younger team has shockingly played well each time they’ve gone head to head. Maybe Luke Walton knows all the Golden State secrets, maybe they all hate Steve Kerr’s smug face, it’s hard to say. But Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, and (if healthy) Kyle Kuzma are all perfectly credible plays tonight for the Lakers. Even with the Warriors shorthanded, they’ll likely need a lot of scoring to keep up.
And there we have it. Thank for reading my first foray here (it’ll be shorter moving forward, I promise), tweet me with any questions or comments @ChrisSpags, and good luck out there tonight!