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NBA Switch And Hedge: An Injury-Ravaged NBA Slate Offers A Ton Of Opportunity For Milwaukee And New Orleans

Chris Spags

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With early news on Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, and Giannis Antetokuonmpo ruled out, there’s going to be a ton of value opened up across tonight’s nine game slate. There are some obvious pivots to make for all of those guys and I’ll do my best to walk you through all of them with my bullet pointed breakdowns of every NBA game’s fantasy implications below.

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Atlanta Hawks (110 implied points) at Philadelphia 76ers (121 implied points)

 

Trae Young has had two bad games in a row and it’s hard to say that it’s a certainty he’ll get going versus a Philly team allowing opponents a 43.3% shooting percentage from the floor and 34.3% from three. I’d like to see his price drop but if he is as low owned as currently projected, this could be a nice spot for him given what should be one of the highest paced games on the slate

Dewayne Dedmon looked strong in the first game he’s gotten a starter’s run and his price is super cheap. Dedmon averaged over 1 FPPM versus Philly last year with 31.75 in 25 min, 37.25 in 29 min, and 21,75 in 21 min. He could go very under the radar

Kent Bazemore had a hideous game as chalk over the weekend after flashing 40 point upside in previous nights. It does seem like a decent night to look back his way but trusting Bazemore at volume is always a fool’s errand

Taureen Prince is getting enough shots to hit value but it’s been a bit of a narrow margin for him lately. It’s worth noting he did put up over 44 fantasy points in two matchups last year

Ben Simmons is coming off a complete and surprising dud versus Charlotte but he’s put up shot totals of 15 and 20 in the last two games, up from his season average of 12. If that usage maintains, this could be a smash spot for him at pace with a very winnable matchup defensively

Joel Embiid should get whatever he wants as well and looks like a perfectly fine play too. Both he and Simmons have a lot of rebounding upside given how mediocre the Hawks have been on the glass so far this year and their brutal shot selection

Robert Covington has looked like the better play with slightly more consistent usage than Dario Saric thus far this year but neither guy is getting enough usage to fully trust. I’d be more inclined for Covington given the lower price and lower projected ownership but either guy can get there in this spot and Saric’s 38.2% shooting is going to improve

-It’s probably not a big Markelle Fultz day for me but at his price he can have a decent bit of upside if the game gets out of hand as the Vegas total and logic indicates it might

 

Portland Trailblazers (107.3 implied points) at Indiana Pacers (111.3 implied points)

 

-It looks like it should be a down pace matchup for the Blazers versus a Pacers team who has played at one of the slower paces on the slate while also allowing the least points, least field goals made, and holding opponents to 42.4% shooting and 33.3% from the floor

Damian Lillard is viable in any spot but I’m a little less inclined there after a big game with a tough matchup at his price. That said, he is projected for low ownership and that could mean some value in having him if he does excel somehow

CJ McCollum could be a beneficiary of Lillard seeing Victor Oladipo on defense. McCollum’s price is really low and his 38.2% shooting has to improve soon even if it’s not in this matchup

-This seems like a decent Jusuf Nurkic spot even though the Indiana bigs are about as competent as it gets. The pace shouldn’t get away from him here and Nurkic is effective as long as he can stay on the court

Al-Farouq Aminu is as hard to predict as anyone around but he did have two big games versus Indiana last year. A flyer or two may be in order even if he’s impossible to trust

-Victor Oladipo seems like he’s in a nice spot despite taking a price jump after his first competent game this season versus the Cavs. I don’t mind playing Oladipo but Tyreke Evans being out was likely a bit of an asset for his opportunity

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-I’m not super interested in anything else on the Pacer side even though the Trailblazers have been leaky this year. Maybe it’s a Thad Young day? But I don’t feel confident enough to trust much out of fear of the pace and this one getting ugly relative to some easier games to read on a slate of this size

 

Sacramento Kings (108.8 implied points) at Miami Heat (116.8 implied points)

 

De’Aaron Fox has been the most reliable guy on this side this year and he looks fine to me in this matchup. I’m a little less bullish on Willie Cauley-Stein given some tough rebounding stats in favor of Miami but Willie has beaten tougher spots versus Memphis and Utah this year so my concerns may be a bit misguided

Nemanca Bjelica has been destroying value lately and he tends to at least be close to value when he’s not getting his usual run of minutes due to foul trouble or blowouts. He’s not projected for much ownership right now but I have to think there may be some degree of point chasing here that worries me a little after two huge games. When Bjelica does falter, Marvin Bagley has been the play so far this year

Hassan Whiteside should feast inside versus these Kings, though his price is kind of scary for how we know Whiteside’s results can turn out with foul trouble or matchup issues in faster paced games

Kelly Olynyk has been seeing more regular run and while he’s also scary as a chalk play, he does seem like a perfect fit for this matchup versus the Kings

Rodney McGruder would be my preferred play over Josh Richardson given his rebounding upside but Richardson does see enough shots to be useful and his 39% shooting should positively regress

Goran Dragic looks as good as he can and he’s shown more consistency recently even though he can have some brutal floor games. I wouldn’t point chase Dwyane Wade or Justice Winslow though

 

Brooklyn Nets (106.8 implied points) at New York Knicks (108.8 implied points)

 

-The Nets get a slight pace-up but not as big of one as they got versus New Orleans this weekend in a game that saw D’Angelo Russell put up his best performance of the year. I’ll have some exposure to Russell and Caris LeVert as both guys should be able to get their game going despite some pesky Knicks D that kept them surprisingly in the game versus Golden State. LeVert would be preferred my pick of the two

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Jarrett Allen played well in Brooklyn’s first game versus the Knicks this year and it’s no different this time out. It can be hard to pinpoint Allen’s ceiling but at low ownership versus a Knicks team who hasn’t rebounded well, it could be a nice spot for him. Ed Davis could also have some use for that reason

Enes Kanter looks to be in a smash spot after dropping 48 fantasy points vs the Nets earlier this season. Some exposure to him seems in order here, particularly after he got moved to the bench for the Warriors matchup last time out

Tim Hardaway Jr.’s usage remains asinine and watching him hoist awful 30 foot jumpers versus Golden State hurt me inside as a Damyean Dotson supporter. But with 20 field goal attempts a game including 8.5 from three, Hardaway remains worth your attention despite an uncomfortable price. Dotson should also be appealing after a solid but unspectacular game at high ownership in his first start despite a price hike

Frank Ntilikina projects to pick up a chunk of ownership; I don’t see a huge ceiling for him but if he starts again his $3,900 price on DK will be tempting for a lot of folks

 

LA Lakers (120.8 implied points) at Minnesota Timberwolves (118.8 implied points)

 

LeBron James is currently projected for an incredibly low amount of ownership on a night with two prominent studs out due to injury. This should be a game with pace and LeBron seems like a safe bet to get you the tournament upside you need if the Wolves don’t phone it in and get blown out like they did versus Milwaukee

Javale McGee had his first down game and, with his price also up, not a lot of ownership is projected for him. A matchup against the low effort Karl-Anthony Towns seems like a nice get well spot for a motor guy like McGee

Brandon Ingram is expected to return to the starting lineup and that should affect all the rotational wings like Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma. There’s probably some value in trying to unearth which of those guys to play, and a spiteful Ingram return is not out of question, but I’m cool sitting this one out and seeing how the minutes shake out

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Lonzo Ball had a really poor game with Rajon Rondo back in the rotation but his price does hold some appeal. I’m not sure I’ll play him much but there is a logic there in this matchup

Jimmy Butler played through an illness versus Milwaukee and looked as bad as he felt as the Bucks got steamrolled. This seems like a nice spot to get him on track even if paying $8,200 for Butler is never my favorite thing to do

Karl-Anthony Towns is expected to be one of the chalkier plays on the slate and this does seem like a solid matchup for him. It’s Towns though and his boo-boo lipped effort in games with Butler active has been atrocious at times so I’d prefer to have some exposure but mitigate my risk

Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague could have some upside given the paced up matchup versus LA and Wiggins is currently a game-time decision with his quad issues. Teague would pick up a little more upside if Wiggins sits while Josh Okogie could be a sneaky play if Wiggins sits

Derrick Rose has been arguably the best per-minute player on the team this season and his price is at an awkward spot if Wiggins plays. I don’t mind him given the pace but it’s likely to be a tough margin to give you tournament winning upside

 

Toronto Raptors (112 implied points) at Milwaukee Bucks (111 implied points)

 

Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokuonmpo are both slated to miss today’s game for rest and concussion issues respectively and that should impact the game in a variety of interesting ways

Kyle Lowry has seen a 29% usage rate (up from 20%) with Kawhi off the floor along with 1.6 FPPM. He looks like one of the stronger plays on the slate depending upon how ownership shakes out

Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka have averaged 1.5 FPPM and 1.2 FPPM with Leonard off the floor so far this season too and with a weakened Milwaukee side I don’t mind trotting either of them out there either

Danny Green is the one player adversely affected by Kawhi’s absence, dropping from 0.88 FPPM with Kawhi on the floor to 0.67 FPPM without him. Their two man game has been a big asset to Green’s emergence this year and even though there should be some more opportunity for him with how he’s played, it is a bit of a risk

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Khris Middleton has averaged 1.9 FPPM with Giannis off the floor this year and dating back to last season he was an elite play whenever Giannis misses. Even with some tough Danny Green defense, I’ll probably load up on Middleton today

Eric Bledsoe has also performed at a 1.4 FPPM rate with Giannis off the floor and him soaking up that usage today. Malcolm Brogdon has averaged 1.07 FPPM, up from 0.67 with Giannis on the floor. Brook Lopez has been a 1.24 FPPM performer without Giannis too. These are limited sample sizes so they could be a bit of an aberration but Giannis has soaked up so much of the usage, scoring, and rebounding that his absence opens up a TON of value for a team not priced for this situation

Ersan Ilyasova will likely end up a very chalky play too and I’ve got no problem playing him despite that given the upside he’s shown whenever he gets minutes. The team total isn’t perfect but there are a lot of guys who should get a noteworthy uptick in opportunity with a team who’ll be not as defensively sound without Kawhi or OG Anunoby

 

Golden State Warriors (120 implied points) at Chicago Bulls (109 implied points)

 

-The Warriors should be able to run away with this one but, as they showed versus the Knicks and Nets over the weekend, they can come out a little lethargic and allow bad teams to stay in the game

Steph Curry should feast today versus a Bulls team allowing opponents to put up 38.3 threes per game. Klay Thompson has shot exceedingly poorly to start the year too, still at 39.6% from the floor and 13.9% from three, and one of these days he’s going to exceed value. Zach LaVine defense seems like a fine occasion for such a thing to occur

Kevin Durant looks fine but as the highest priced guy on this side I’m a little iffy about it. I’d probably be more inclined to try out Draymond Green given how inexperienced and/or bad the Bulls are inside

-If you play the game as if Bulls stay competitive, Zach LaVine would almost definitely have to be a key contributor. He’s not going to have fun with Klay Thompson defense but he’s going to at least shoot and have a shot at making things work with his 34.6% usage rate

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Jabari Parker could be a nice play too but with him looking like a chalky play, it’s not usually the time you want to roster him. Someone has to score and Jabari has been surprisingly effective against the Warriors in the past when he was with the Bucks

Ryan Arcidiacono and Cam Payne seem to be competing for the minutes vacated by Kris Dunn and with Arcidiacono coming off the big game, it may be logical to look Payne’s way today particularly given the defensive attention that should go to LaVine. I do think Arcidiacono deserves more minutes since he just runs the offense better than Payne but playing the regression to the mean is probably mote logical

One would assume Wendell Carter Jr. gets played off the court here and I’m not going to go his way after he finally got out of the starting blocks versus Atlanta

 

Dallas Mavericks (104.5 implied points) at San Antonio Spurs (110.5 implied points)

 

-Despite their dismal pace, the Spurs have continued giving up a ton to opponents in their limited possessions, allowing teams a shocking 49.7% FG percentage and 41.9% from three. That might put Wesley Matthews in play after he surprisingly put up 17 shots despite Harrison Barnes’ return to the lineup versus Toronto. Matthews has been a strong play more often than not this season and coming off a disappointment game at low ownership is not a bad place to be. You could play Barnes too but eh

Dennis Smith has been rolling lately and he’s also not a bad candidate to extricate some value from the matchup at his price. Ditto Luka Doncic even though I would definitely prefer the Smith discount

DeAndre Jordan was shockingly competitive versus Rudy Gobert yesterday and put up a big 19 rebound game. There will be less boards to go around with the dire pace here but Jordan is looking like a viable play in any matchup

-The Mavs have been similarly bad to the Spurs defensively, giving up 49.7% from the floor and 47.1% from three to start the year. Both DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge should get every shot they want here and I’ve got no issue with either guy despite their prices getting more unappealing. DeRozan in particular has been doing so many things all over the floor that his $9,100 DK price actually seems fair, quite the turn for him after last season

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Rudy Gay also looks like an interesting play, though he currently projects to have the most ownership on this side. Nothing about the matchup worries me though and he’s getting enough shots to be useful

Bryn Forbes may also be getting enough shots to be useful with the Mavs’ defensive issues but he’s a guy not to trust at much volume. Marco Belinelli’s minutes have also come up and he can score in bunches versus this team’s second unit if he gets the shot

 

New Orleans Pelicans (113.3 implied points) at Denver Nuggets (119.3 implied points)

 

Anthony Davis has been ruled out with his elbow troubles and despite a down game last time out, that’s been a big benefit to Julius Randle so far this season. People may be spooked off of Randle but he crushed Denver as a Laker a few times last season and the down game should drop his ownership some

Nikola Mirotic is still likely the better play given his three point upside but I could see taking the discount with Randle and hoping for the best

Jrue Holiday should see a boost with Elfrid Payton also sidelined as he takes over more lead ballhandler duties, though his ownership might be really unappealing as the Davis news affects everything around the slate

Nikola Jokic may have had a tough time with Anthony Davis but there’s nothing impeding him here now. He’ll be highly owned but I’d have no issue playing a lot of him

Gary Harris is coming off a down game and his shot attempts have trickled downward a bit. I would assume Jamal Murray draws Jrue Holiday defense, which could give Gary a bit more appeal

Paul Millsap has continued to be quiet and with him projected ot be one of the chalkier plays on the slate I don’t necessarily want to bank on him suddenly excelling. He’s very due for some positive regression though with 37.2% shooting thus far this year

Monte Morris may steal some minutes again today given the pace-y matchup and how effective he’s been on a per-minute basis. Morris’ price is inching upwards and his minutes aren’t secure but coach Mike Malone seems to have an interest in Morris getting more run and he’s certainly deserved it too

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Follow me on Twitter @ChrisSpags and I’ll see you guys tomorrow for more discussion and 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]semo.com.

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