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NBA Switch And Hedge: We Live In A World Where Sacramento-Atlanta Might Be The Most Important Game On Tonight’s Slate

Chris Spags

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What a wild world this NBA of ours has become between late scratches on guys owned by 30-40% of players (RIP Tyus Jones, blessings to all of us who watched the Live Before Lock show on the Awesemo YouTube and were talked off of Jones by Fast Eddie and myself), Derrick Rose finds himself a sentimental story with some ethical quandaries attached after his recent legal troubles:

And now it reaches peak weirdness tonight, a night with six NBA games, where the Kings in Atlanta might somehow be the key to it all. What a shocking plot twist.

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Oklahoma City Thunder (113.5 implied points) at Charlotte Hornets (114.5 implied points)

Russell Westbrook remains underpriced on DraftKings and he overcame a matchup versus the Clippers that has greatly limited other elite point guards so far this year. I’m very comfortable with him today though the projected 34% ownership on him does mean looking at other spots tonight is also a logical path

Paul George had a nice outing versus the Clippers too and his usage rate with Westbrook on the court has been higher this year. His price is too high for me but this does seem like a decent spot for him in a game that should stay competitive

-This seems like a Steven Adams spot with a matchup versus Cody Zeller or small ball Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at times. Adams will have no equal on the court

Nicolas Batum is still not seeing enough usage for me, though he has started to put together better performances at solid efficiency. Still though, if he’s going to pick up 25% of ownership as currently projected by Awesemo, I’m comfortable having a little exposure to him and not much more. Conversely I wouldn’t want much Jeremy Lamb despite whatever revenge narratives you may conjure up with his minutes so unstable lately

Kemba Walker would be the one to want on this side though. Westbrook defense is not much to be concerned about and I could see him wanting to rise to the occasion after a quieter game last time out versus Miami. His price is a bit onerous on DK but he still has enough upside if he resumes his usual high usage role

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Denver Nuggets (111.8 implied points) at Cleveland Cavaliers (106.8 implied points)

-The Nuggets barely eked out a win on the road versus Chicago last night and now they’ll get another bad team in Cleveland as their road trip soldiers on. The game projects to be one of the lower paced games on the slate but the Cavs are coming off a game in which they put up 136 points versus Atlanta so it’s possible things change a bit with new not-interim interim coach Larry Drew. I’m opting to play the Vegas total as it is, which seems to indicate a lower scoring effort than we last saw

Nikola Jokic is at a higher price coming off a big game versus Chicago and I don’t mind it if we’re thinking the Cavs can stay close. It’s not a super favorable rebounding matchup with the Cavs allowing a slate low 40.3 opponent rebounds per game but Jokic should be able to hit any shot he wants and create assist opportunities

Gary Harris and Jamal Murray are uncomfortably priced with similar usage rates since Will Barton went out. One of these guys may have a big day and with both coming off lesser performances versus the Bulls, I don’t have a strong preference. Maybe Harris because of the slightly cheaper price on DK

Paul Millsap is becoming a little more trustworthy with his role over his last few outings and getting Sam Dekker and Larry Nance on the other side should be helpful to keep it rolling. His price going upwards hurts his ceiling a little but he’s a decent play with some higher ceiling guys

-The aforementioned Sam Dekker was the guy to really get a boost in opportunity with Larry Drew taking over at coach with him getting the start and 29 minutes while the far more effective Larry Nance was limited to just 16. It’s possible this changes, and today would be a good day for that given a matchup versus Denver that seems even more logical for him than the one versus Atlanta, but if Nance isn’t a Drew favorite for some reason, that’s going to make it tough to trust him with where his price is

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George Hill looked good versus Atlanta but only played 20 minutes to Collin Sexton’s 28 and I’d be more inclined to ride with the Sex Man, though this isn’t a stellar matchup for him with his price up

Tristan Thompson was the lone veteran to see a full allotment of run and he seems like a decent play with someone needed to keep Jokic from doing too much damage

Rodney Hood has been shooting at an unsustainably good rate his last few games, though his minutes look good. Some exposure to stay with the field here makes sense with Hood expected to have under 5% ownership but if he gets chalky, it might be time to jump off the train versus a Nuggets team who’ll likely put Gary Harris on him

Cedi Osman is a relatively low ceiling play with how he’s been used recently and with the total here being so low I’m not dying to get on the train with him tonight. He’s at a reasonable price and should have a shot at cash-level value so maybe it could work in some situations

 

LA Clippers (112.5 implied points) at Philadelphia 76ers (117.5 implied points)

-The Clippers have started to pace up a little more after starting the year slowly so the big total here makes sense

Danilo Gallinari seems like the best value play on this side and his usage rate has actually been a bit higher than Tobias Harris’s, though the latter does offer far more upside in terms of peripherals. I’d be more inclined to take the cheaper guy in Gallo, particularly with Harris expected to have much more ownership currently

Avery Bradley has been a strong defender thus far this year but he’s also been getting 10 shots per game in his last few outings. Philly has defended teams well from a field goal percentage perspective, giving up just 43.5% from the floor, but the opportunity may be there for Bradley at a cheap price

Patrick Beverley should have a shot at some defensive stats with the Sixers turning the ball over at a decent clip

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Lou Williams is a bit too high priced for his current role and while Williams owns one 60 fantasy point game versus Philly last season, I don’t see it happening to that scale again with how he’s just a points dependent guy at this juncture

-Is it a Montrezl Harrell or a Boban Marjanovic game? Hard to say. My gut says Montrezl should be a nice matchup with his activity against Amir Johnson in the second unit but it’s possible Boban gets some spark plug minutes if Harrell can’t get going. We know Harrell’s upside and he’s projected for just 1% ownership currently so some exposure here makes sense

Joel Embiid strikes me as the guy to want here with it hard to imagine the Clippers having anyone to put in his way who could keep him from success

Ben Simmons can certainly find ways to beat Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley’s tough defense but it could be a bit of a slog for him at times. I don’t mind playing him but I do think there’s a slight bit of risk he ends up with a 45 fantasy point game that doesn’t quite get you where you need

JJ Redick has continued to shoot over 10 times per game for three so he is in play, though the Clippers’ stout defense allowing 42% from the floor and 32.3% from three isn’t the best for him

-I might be more inclined for Robert Covington or Dario Saric, though both guys are currently projected for very high ownership because of their reasonable prices. Saric is one of the most “due for positive regression” guys in the league with him shooting 34.9% from the floor and 23.4% from three but if he’s chalky, it might be wise to limit exposure. Covington’s rebounding, blocks, and steals have made him a little more trustworthy compared to Saric

 

Sacramento Kings (117 implied points) at Atlanta Hawks (115 implied points)

-The Kings have been an elite source of fantasy value for themselves and opponents recently and with this game having a shockingly high team total and an adjusted pace of 108.8, highest on the slate, it should be another nice one for both these sides. There’s always some risk with two “bad” teams but everything points to this one getting loose

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De’Aaron Fox is at a reasonable price given the matchup and how he’s performed this year and I’d be interested in him here for sure

Buddy Hield has shot the cover off the ball and while he REALLY seems due for some regression the other way, he’s shown some rebounding upside and just looked good with his takes and makes so I’m alright with continuing to ride him while his price is under $7,000 on DK

Willie Cauley-Stein is in a nice spot too versus some iffy interior play by the Hawks, allowing a slate-most 50.3 rebounds per game. He’s projected to be the lowest owned piece of the key Kings guys so it seems like a decent leverage spot to me if that holds

Nemanca Bjelica’s price is way up but he’s still looked good even relative to this higher expense. He’s still getting run if the games stay close but it does worry me that eventually the bottom is going to drop out here with how efficiently he’s shot the ball thus far

Marvin Bagley is typically the pivot if Bjelica gets into foul trouble or falters but he’s been getting some nice run on his own without affecting Bjelica. He’s probably not playable at his price but it’s noteworthy

Taurean Prince is on a real cold streak and his minutes have suffered as a result. This could be the spot he gets going though and I would have some exposure to him banking on him finally playing up to form in a cake matchup, especially if his ownership stays under 5% as currently projected

Trae Young got back on track versus the Cavs as he shot 9-for-13 and he was still nowhere close to hitting value. He might be a bit too high priced right now but he seems like a fine enough play in this matchup without a lot needed to get above the field on him

-It’s been a quiet few games for Kent Bazemore but he’s still capable of 40+ fantasy points in a matchup like this. If he’s at 25% ownership like currently projected I’m not as into him and more into Prince but this does seem like a nice spot for Bazemore to get closer to his ceiling

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Alex Len wrested the majority of center minutes for the Hawks versus Orlando while Dewayne Dedmon has been getting less run off the bench. This situation is super fluid so I’m a little reluctant to fully recommend Len but he looks really good to me in this matchup as long as he avoids foul trouble. I’d play more Len than Dedmon but would definitely want to hedge with Dedmon a little in case Len blows up

 

Milwaukee Bucks (109 implied points) at Boston Celtics (112 implied points)

-Milwaukee will get back Giannis Antetokuonmpo for this matchup but given the slogs that the Celtics have been a part of recently, I’m not in love with anyone on the Bucks’ side. It’d be a fine contrarian spot to get him and he’s obviously capable of monster games versus anyone but the Celtics have been so good at limiting people defensively that the risk seems unnecessary here

-I’d be more inclined to play some Celtics if I had to. Kyrie Irving has been priced up a bit and he’s very capable of receding into the background so I don’t mind him but I definitely don’t love him

Jaylen Brown has gotten some more reliable usage lately and he could have a bit of upside here. He seems to have taken some of Jayson Tatum’s usage in the last few outings, which is logical but leaves them in a spot where neither is super valuable

Marcus Morris has been steadily dropping 30 DK points per game and I don’t mind him here either. He’s been better than Gordon Hayward so far this year, sad to say, though Hayward is shooting enough to eventually be less worthless

 

New Orleans Pelicans (114.8 implied points) at Portland Trailblazers (118.8 implied points) 

-New Orleans found themselves outclassed once again by Golden State on a night where Anthony Davis did not look very Anthony Davislike. It could be a one night aberration as he works back from a sprained elbow and there could be some equity in trotting him out when others are afraid to but it’s really hard to trust him here

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-I might be more inclined for Nikola Mirotic or Jrue Holiday with the former a bit more appealing due to lower ownership. Elfrid Payton sitting out another game with his ankle issues wouldn’t be a surprise and would help Holiday’s prospects substantially

Julius Randle versus Zach Collins and the Blazers second unit seems like a wild mismatch to me but it still depends on Randle getting enough run to make the most of the opportunity. Still, at his price he could have some upside if he goes full “bull in a China shop” mode against them

-The Blazers likely have not forgotten their playoff sweep versus the Pelicans last season and I could see that resulting in Damian Lillard coming out with some extra oomph. He’s never been higher priced than he is right now, which is not ideal, but he still does have a 7x ceiling in this matchup after dropping 70 DK points on these Pelicans last year

CJ McCollum’s scoring will be needed more in this matchup and for some reason Al-Farouq Aminu has had some of his biggest games with a ton of usage versus these Pelicans. This is a high team total for Portland so extra scoring for the secondary and tertiary pieces is very in play

Jusuf Nurkic has been up and down versus the Pelicans in the past and him projected for 34% ownership is a bit scary because of both his upside if you fade him and his downside if you roster him

-As a low owned punt, Nik Stauskas also would have some interest for me given the scoring in the matchup and how he’s put up around 10 shots in a lot of games this season. He’s not a great play but as a very cheap guy, on a mid-sized slate, I’d consider him

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

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].

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