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NBA Switch And Hedge: Ben Simmons And His Shorthanded Sixers Look Primed To Extinguish The Heat

Chris Spags



We’ve got nine games in front of us today with some shorthanded teams, some battles between face-paced squads and extremely slow paced ones, and a late night hammer of the feisty Clippers vs the undermanned Warriors. There are a lot of angles to explore and exploit on this slate so I’ll walk you through every game and the pieces I’m looking to exploit in this here daily fantasy NBA breakdown called the Switch and Hedge.

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Orlando Magic (107 implied points) at Washington Wizards I115 implied points)

-The Vegas totals here represent a 3 point boost on the Magic’s season average and a 4.5 point boost on the Wizards’ in this game with an adjusted pace of 103.9

Aaron Gordon is questionable with ankle issues and, surprisingly, his absence has actually made both Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier worse players on a per-minute basis both in a limited sample size this season and dating back to last year. Vucevic does seem like a fine play regardless of whether Gordon is active or not but with Fournier’s price on the rise, I’m looking for any reason to fade him. He’s projected for super low ownership and the usage should be there for Fournier even if the added defensive attention could hurt a bit

-If Gordon remains out, Terrence Ross and Jarell Martin should benefit the most. Martin picked up 28 minutes yesterday despite not seeing much fourth quarter run with the game vs the Knicks out of hand. Meanwhile, Ross is gunning lately and while I worry about how he’s been shooting at a somewhat unsustainable rate, this is a nice matchup for him given the pace-up and bad Wizards defense

John Wall has played 40+ minutes per game his last two outings in an effort to save the Wizards from their hideous start and at his price and that amount of run, I have no issue with him tonight. He’ll be a chalky play but $8,600 on DraftKings is way too low

Bradley Beal hasn’t seen quite as much desperation minutes but he’s in another fine spot after putting up 27 real life points versus the Magic last week. Again, his price is too low and even with a slight  pace-down vs the Magic I have no problem with him or Wall or him and Wall

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Dwight Howard hasn’t shown much upside at his price, though he was playing well versus Orlando before the 4th quarter deficit kept him off the floor. If the Wizards can take control early without running away with the game, Dwight’s minutes should be more secure and at least give him a shot at exceeding value

Otto Porter and Markieff Morris have both lost minutes recently to Jeff Green and even Austin Rivers with how ineffective or foul prone they’ve been. I would have no problem going back to either guy from a price standpoint but neither has been consistent enough to advocate for, even in good matchups

Philadelphia 76ers (109.5 implied points) at Miami Heat (111.5 implied points)

-The Sixers get a 2.4 point drop on their season average from Vegas while the Heat get a 0.9 point boost on theirs in this game with a higher end adjusted pace of 105.4

Joel Embiid’s price is back down to reality in a matchup versus Miami that he’s really struggled with in the past, only exceeding value in one playoff game last year. He’s been a different player this year but I worry a little about the Heat limiting some of the things he’s best at with their size and bodies to clog the lane

-Conversely, Ben Simmons has killed Miami in the past and put up 50+ fantasy points in four out of five playoff matchups last year as well as one in the regular season. With the Heat playing with more pace this year and Simmons needing to do more with the lack of bodies on Philly’s side, I like him bringing it tonight at a lower price than usual

-I’ve got no issue with JJ Redick in this matchup versus a Heat team allowing opponents to shoot 37% from three but there may be more value in going back to Landry Shamet after he picked up 42 minutes of run (including OT) and shot 1-for-11 from three in their shorthanded game versus Memphis

Wilson Chandler is expected to start versus the Heat and he might be a decent play, though his minute load worries me a bit. The Sixers want to ease him into the lineup after hamstring issues so it’s possible he may not top 20 minutes, even though he could get to value there given his $3,500 price on DraftKings. His minute load will also likely dictate how much Furkan Korkmaz picks up on the wing; neither may see enough run to comfortably hit value

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Markelle Fultz is a consideration but he didn’t pick up much usage even with the bodies missing. TJ McConnell picked up a lot more opportunity and while it’s no guarantee he gets as much run again, his price does make him tempting given the lack of bodies for Philly

Hassan Whiteside looks like a solid play as long as he can avoid foul trouble vs Joel Embiid. Whiteside’s been getting a steady 30+ minutes recently and had solid games versus Philly last year despite a much more contentious role in the lineup

-I don’t mind Goran Dragic here at a $5,800 DraftKings price, though he’s currently projected to be the highest owned player on the Heat side. Josh Richardson’s price feels too high at $7,200 but Justise Winslow may have some value in this game as a defender or small ball 4 if Whiteside gets in foul trouble

Kelly Olynyk saw at least 23 minutes in every game versus the Sixers last year and there may be something from a spacing perspective that coach Erik Spoelstra likes with Kelly O in the lineup. At his super cheap $4,100 price, he could end up having one of those infuriating GPP winning nights if that trend continues

Wayne Ellington also continues to see solid run with Dwyane Wade on paternity leave and he’s an acceptable play despite the Sixers limiting opponents to 32.7% from three on year, something that could change sans Robert Covington and Dario Saric

New Orleans Pelicans (111 implied points) at Toronto Raptors (120 implied points)

-The Vegas totals represent a 6.7 point decrease on the Pels’ season average along with a 2.1 point boost for the Raptors in this game with a slate-high adjusted pace of 105.8

Nikola Mirotic is a game-time call for the Pelicans and his status is a key to watch (along with Elfrid Payton, less likely to play). Mirotic’s absence would mean more opportunity for Julius Randle, a recipient of 38 minutes without Mirotic last game vs the Suns. Randle is a solid play if Mirotic is inactive and likely close to unplayable if Mirotic is active given his price (despite a decent matchup versus the second unit). If Mirotic plays, it’s not a cushy matchup for him by any stretch but that questionable tag driving down his ownership probably makes him worth some exposure given his upside

Jrue Holiday has been a strong play almost every night with Payton out and I see no reason that would change despite a tough Raptors defense on the other side. Ditto Anthony Davis, who has no perfect defensive matchup on Toronto’s side no matter how feisty Pascal Siakam or Kawhi Leonard may want to get

Kawhi Leonard’s price is coming back down to Earth after a few middling efforts but if any game is going to unlock Kawhi’s ceiling, this would be the one. It’s tough to trust Kawhi at volume but as a tournament play he definitely has some upside versus the pace-y and poorly defending Pelicans

-This seems like a nice spot for Kyle Lowry, though Jrue Holiday’s defense does worry me a little bit. It could be a situation where the defense on him creates more assist opportunities, something that would give me a little more interest in the fairly priced Danny Green

-I prefer Serge Ibaka to Pascal Siakam though both guys are close to their price ceilings. Ibaka at pace makes more sense to me though Siakam getting sic’d on AD could give him some more opportunity to get defensive peripherals. Ibaka’s usage has come back down to Earth his last two outings but my hope would be the pace-up gives him some more opportunity to exceed value even though it may be tight

-Not a guy to trust given the bench role, but it seems like it could be a decent Fred VanVleet spot, particularly if the Raptors get out to a big lead

Dallas Mavericks (106.5 implied points) at Chicago Bulls (105.5 implied points)

-The Mavericks’ Vegas total represents a 4.3 point decrease on their season average while the Bulls’ total represents a 1.0 decrease on theirs in this game with a bottom-tier 102.1 adjusted pace

Harrison Barnes is projected to be the highest owned player on the Mavs’ side with over 25% of the field expected to be on him. It’s a great price for Barnes and I do think some exposure makes sense. Wesley Matthews’ absence should open up more shots and some people may get spooked by Barnes’ recent bad box scores due to foul trouble or ineffectiveness

JJ Barea could see some more action without Matthews and any court time for Barea can pay immediate dividends. This is an inexperienced and defensively lax Chicago team and Barea can put up points, boards, and assists without much resistance

Luka Doncic’s usage seems to be on the rise and given the fact that he’s somehow the lowest owned expected starter on this side, I love that play. This isn’t a great pace game but Luka should be able to knife this defense for points and assists

DeAndre Jordan’s usage has been non-existent for a few weeks now and while Matthews’ absence could open a few more passes his way, the bad rebounding by the Bulls is the key here. The Bulls give up a top-of-the-slate 49.3 boards to opponents and DeAndre could pick up some easy putbacks versus the young Wendell Carter

-This seems like another nice Zach LaVine spot given the Mavs allowing opponents to shoot 48.2% from the floor and 40.8% from three. LaVine has some of the steadiest usage in the league

-I don’t mind Ryan Arcidiacono as a value play even though I do question his ceiling a bit. He does enough of the fundamentals where he can pick up bits of extra value rebounding and assisting his teammates and if he remains under 10% ownership as currently expected, that’s a nice bit of value even if he doesn’t have the ball in his hands as much as many starting point guards. Shaq Harrison is also decent bench value with Cam Payne now out of the lineup

-Given the lack of pace and meh defense for LaVine, I don’t think it’s a great Jabari Parker spot even though his $5,800 DK price is solid. Justin Holiday also seems okay though his price is pretty high by his standards at $5,000

-I think Wendell Carter is going to have a tough time with DeAndre Jordan so it’s not a night I’m dying for him; the Mavs do a good job keeping opponents off the boards

Utah Jazz (103 implied points) at Memphis Grizzlies (100 implied points)

The team totals represent an 8.6 point drop on the Jazz’s season average, most on this slate, and a 3.1 point drop on the Girzzlies’ in this game with a bottom of the slate adjusted pace of 99.9

Joe Ingles is not currently projected for much ownership but box score watchers will likely follow him a bit more after his big game versus Boston. I don’t think he’ll find as much room to breathe versus these Grizzlies and while his price is reasonable after a monster performance, I don’t want much here with the lack of pace

-One thing in Ingles’ favor is how bad Donovan Mitchell has been versus these Grizzlies in his short career with him not hitting value once in four games thus far. At his price, I don’t see a reason to go there. Rudy Gobert has also historically struggled versus Memphis and Gasol and I feel the same given his price

-I’m a little more interested in the Memphis side, though they do project to have a good chunk of ownership by Grizzlies standards. Marc Gasol has feasted versus Gobert over the last season+ and a home game seems like a decent spot to trust that, though at 20% ownership it’s not crazy to look elsewhere

Mike Conley put up 45 fantasy points vs Utah a few weeks ago and he’s flashed a gigantic ceiling lately. I don’t hate the play but I’d worry about a chalky Gasol and Conley blowing up my day somehow given the godawful team totals here. A pivot to Jaren Jackson might make sense but, again, the bad pace isn’t a plus for him

Kyle Anderson is on a run of competent games and he seems like a decent value, albeit one with more cash game appeal than tournament upside given his lowish ceiling

Brooklyn Nets (110.5 implied points) at Minnesota Timberwolves (112.5 implied points)

-The team totals here represent a 1.7 point boost for the Nets and a 2 point boost for the Wolves in a game with an adjusted pace of 102.5

Caris LeVert is coming off of a game where he banged up his knee and left early vs Golden State. His price is down and he’s going against a shorthanded Wolves team so this seems like a really nice spot for him

-Ditto D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen. The prices on the Nets side are pretty appealing given the lack of bodies on Minnesota’s side until Robert Covington and Dario Saric can join the lineup with the Jimmy Butler trade now confirmed

Spencer Dinwiddie is on a nice run and while some of that comes from stealing minutes from Russell, in this matchup I think both guys and LeVert can have some upside given their very reasonable prices

-We need injury news on the Wolves with Jeff Teague possibly returning and Derrick Rose possibly out with a facial injury. If Rose is out and Teague is active, Teague is a strong play. If Teague is out and Rose is active, Rose’s ceiling is getting a little tight due to his rising price but I don’t mind Rose. If both are active, I’d consider Teague but likely not Rose

Andrew Wiggins looks like he’ll return to the lineup after participating fully in shootaround and he will pick up some usage with Butler gone. It’s not a great matchup vs Brooklyn for him but he could be a good pivot for the expected chalkiest player on the slate in Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns will dominate the offense so I have no issue with the play but he’s been far more successful in pace-up games and the Nets have been better containing bigs this year (though they did just get gashed by a comparable player in Nikola Jokic)

Phoenix Suns (103 implied points) at Oklahoma City Thunder (111 implied points)

-The team totals here represent a 1.8 point boost on the Suns’ season average and a 2 point boost for the Thunder in this game with a moderate adjusted pace of 103.2

Devin Booker and TJ Warren have looked like a decent dynamic duo since Warren moved into the starting lineup and I think both guys make a lot of sense here. The defense on Warren is going to be tougher than he saw vs New Orleans but with 16 and 17 shots in his last two games in the starting lineup, it may not matter if Jerami Grant’s length blocks his path a bit

-I would avoid DeAndre Ayton here in this matchup versus Steven Adams. Adams is just too tough for where Ayton is in his development and there are a lot of good centers on this slate, including Adams at a slightly cheaper price on Draftkings

-We’re without Russell Westbrook again so that means Dennis Schroder is in play again and with him not really having a breakout game sans Westbrook thus far, he should be lower owned than he actually deserves

Paul George’s price is a little high for me but that driving down his ownership does make him a bit more appealing. It’s a good matchup for him but the margins for his success may be tight

San Antonio Spurs (110 implied points) at Sacramento Kings (108 implied points)

-The Spurs’ Vegas total indicates a minor 0.5 boost on their season averages while the Kings get a 7.3 point decrease in theirs in a game with a decently high 104.5 adjusted pace

-The Spurs have shown the willingness to run a bit if the matchup makes sense and I would think they won’t mind moving a little faster for this game versus the Kings. DeMar DeRozan has had his best games this year in matchups with teams who play with a bit more pace, including two 60+ fantasy point games vs the Lakers and a 54 fantasy point game versus Miami. At under 5% projected ownership, I like his upside a lot in this matchup

Derrick White could be the guy to want on this side though as he’s shown a willingness to keep the ball in his hands despite his lesser status than DeRozan or LaMarcus Aldridge. White is coming off a solid home starting debut vs Houston and with much more pace and an equally bad defensive team in Sacramento, he could crush value today

LaMarcus Aldridge is at a very fair price and he should have some nice rebounding upside vs a Kings team giving up a slate high 50 rebounds per game. He’s never a sexy play but he should get you where you need to go

Rudy Gay’s return to the lineups should squeeze minutes for the secondary pieces and while he could be an interesting play, at $6,500 on DraftKings coming off of an injury is not likely to be the time I want to trot him out there

Willie Cauley-Stein has been surprisingly effective vs the Spurs in the past with games of 43.5, 31.75, and 41.25 fantasy points vs San Antonio last year. They’re even weaker inside than they were then and the pace down spot may mean more ways for Willie to use his explosive athleticism in close quarters

-I don’t love the pace down for De’Aaron Fox’s prospects but while this might be a similarly tough spot for Buddy Hield, I do think there’s value in going back to him after he had a brutal showing in an easy spot vs the Lakers

Nemanca Bjelica coming off of a dud performance intrigues me a bit since he’s had good games vs slow paced and fast paced teams and any time you get him at low ownership, I think there’s some value given how he can put up massive games out of nowhere

Golden State Warriors (115.8 implied points) at LA Clippers (112.8 implied points)

-The Vegas totals represent a 6.2 decrease for the Warriors’ season average and a 3.6 decrease for the Clippers in a game with an adjusted pace of 104.6

Kevin Durant is priced up with Steph Curry still out and I don’t have any issue with playing him. The Clippers have been competitive versus good teams all year and Durant needing to score into the 4th should be enough for him to hit value

Draymond Green is slated to return to the lineup from a toe issue and his return should take some usage off the table of Quinn Cook. I don’t think I want to pay $8,000 for Draymond on DraftKings and with less playmaking to go around, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with Cook at $5,000. The ownership projections will be key there because if Cook is under 5% owned as currently projected, that would make me worry a little less about Draymond’s presence given the upside he showed and comfort with shooting even amidst the starters

Tobias Harris has been about as steady as can be while his price is trickling downwards to show for it. I have no issue with him today and think he has a decent floor and ceiling

Montrezl Harrell has been killing it lately but this doesn’t seem like a fantastic matchup for him with less rebounds to go around with the Warriors. Boban Marjanovic’s status is interesting to watch; if he starts I think there’d be some logic in playing him but with him since he can dictate the flow of the game. But with him hardly touching the court vs the Bucks, it’s possible he may be entirely off the floor if he’s coming off the bench

-There will likely be some point chasing of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s big game and I think some exposure to him with his price and ability to put up stats in all categories does make sense. I’d probably be more inclined to pay more for Lou Williams given how much the Clippers will need points and with Lou continuing to shoot and starting to assist more in his last few outings

Danilo Gallinari is on a bad run of games but he’s too cheap for a guy who can score as much as him in a matchup where points are going to be needed


Follow me on Twitter @ChrisSpags and I’ll see you guys again soon with more NBA breakdowns.


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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