Sometimes you need to stand back and take a good, hard look at your personal biases as a writer.

When I do that while wearing my NBA hat, I can clearly see that I don’t give the Philadelphia 76ers a lot of love. What can I say? I just can’t stand James Harden. A couple years back he came to my Nets amidst hope and big dreams – a “Superteam” with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – and left the way he always does: As a loser. Harden is one of the greatest regular season players of all time – a true fantasy basketball god over the course of his career – but he crumbles like no other in the playoffs. And can we really say much better for the veteran combination of Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris? Despite big names and strong stat sheet production, this Philly team hasn’t gotten anywhere with this core over time.

Maybe this season will be different? I doubt it. Yet and still, Harden and Embiid had their patented pick-and-roll rollin’ Wednesday night, on their way to a solid 105-94 victory over the pesky, young Orlando Magic. Let’s dive in and take a closer look from a fantasy perspective.

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Hello Razzball Nation! Back again here to break down some NBA DFS. Got a nice sized slate here with nine games. #1 piece of advice as always is to be up to date on injuries, as the info in this article will only be up to date as of Tuesday night. There is once again not a lot of great value on this slate with the current injury news, so we’ll need to wait for more info to get to multiple spend ups.

Let’s get down to it. Pricing is always (Fanduel/DraftKings). I mostly play tournaments and my picks will always bias towards volatility and upside.

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Can you tell that Joel Embiid is tired of coming in second? Because that was made extremely clear after last night’s performance in the battle between the top two MVP finalists the past two seasons. After being snubbed as an All-Star starter and barely being mentioned in the MVP conversation this season, Embiid had a near 50-20 game on the head of the reigning MVP and this year’s lead candidate, Nikola Jokic. Embiid took this matchup so personally that he finished in style, hitting a dagger jumper in the closing moments, followed by the infamous Michael Jordan shrug. Five other Sixers finished in double figures, including James Harden, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds, but last night was all about Embiid.

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I was high on Precious Achiuwa in the offseason, as he showed flashes at the end of last season, both offensively and defensively. He improved his shooting and was able to make it rain from downtown. In addition, he exhibited the ability to make life difficult for Joel Embiid while also being able to switch on the perimeter against guards. Most importantly, though, Nick Nurse spoke glowingly about him over the summer, commenting on his work ethic and finally “getting it.” Then the season started, and it didn’t go as planned. He had two monster games while playing over 33 minutes in each, but after that, was relegated to playing in the teens. To stick a rusty knife into my belly, Achiuwa then succumbed to injury and missed the next 24 games. My Precious once had bling that blinded the eyes, but now was as dull as my jokes. Upon returning to action, he was once again playing in the teens, but slowly but surely, the playing time increased. Christian Koloko was sent down to the G League and my Precious began to glisten once again. Over the last five games, he received 28, 21, 26, 21 and 37 minutes, starting in the most recent contest and putting up 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

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The Magic have been everyone’s favorite fantasy outlet this season, from Bol Bol Euro-stepping into monster jams to Paolo Banchero compiling historic rookie numbers. The play of Franz Wagner has by no means been lost in all the excitement, but his games of late have been next level good. Over his last six games, he’s averaging 24 points on 55% shooting, 68.3 TS%, pitching in about 4 boards, 3 assists, a steal and 3 threes per game. 

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My first and only allegiance will always be to the Brooklyn Nets, but Ja Morant’s Memphis Grizzlies are my second-favorite team in the game today. I personally felt they played the NBA champion Golden State Warriors better than anybody else in last year’s playoffs – and don’t forget that Morant went down and missed time. This team has everything you want from a modern NBA roster – a true, showstopping superstar (Morant), a dominant defender who also contributes offensively (Jaren Jackson Jr.), a confident, lights-out shooter (Desmond Bane) and multiple other quality pieces (Adams, Brooks, Jones, Aldama and Clarke, just to name some).

But this is exactly what we don’t want from a fantasy perspective. We don’t want Bane and Jackson returning from injuries and eating into Morant’s usage as a top-tier fantasy producer. We don’t want these young, deep, talented Grizzlies to be so good that they are blowing people out and limiting our fantasy minutes. Let’s take a look at how this situation played out on Wednesday night in The League.

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On this day a year ago, DeMar DeRozan knocked down a clutch buzzer-beater to steal the victory over the Indiana Pacers. Unfortunately, this time around, he was not so lucky. Despite finishing with 21 points, DeRozan fell just short of yet another heroic moment as he missed the go-ahead turnaround fadeaway jumper that would’ve stolen the victory.

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I feel like Scottie Pippen under the shadow of Michael Jordan’s greatness. I feel like John Stockton, always having to sacrifice for Karl Malone to finish the play and get the glory. I mean seriously… having the NBA Wednesday recap after Luka Doncic’s historic Tuesday night feels like ordering a bacon cheeseburger and getting lettuce on a piece of bread.

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So after last night’s win over a strong Cavaliers team, I’d confidently say now that the Nets are around the Bucks and Celtics tier and a real contender… which means Kevin Durant (36 MIN, 10-18 FG, 5-8 3PT, 7-8 FT, 9 REB, 5 AST, 4 TO, +10, 32 PTS.) is a legit MVP candidate as well. That being said though, Nets fans can be a tad bit ridiculous. Seeing a lot non-ironic content throwing Steve Nash under the bus and sneakily laying shade on “distractions” no longer affecting the team and all the hate the team has been receiving over these “distractions”. My homies in Brooklyn, y’all ridiculous. Isn’t Steve Nash the type of player-soft coach that KD and Kyrie wanted and forced on the team? Then you have KD’s fragility from being rightly called a bus rider… and of course the anti-semetic and anti-vaccine stuff from Kyrie, as if that wasn’t the most egregious out of all of this… so yeah, Nets are a great team and are playing well and have triumphed over some adversity. And yes, Kyrie Irving is playing well too! (40 MIN, 11-19 FG, 7-11 3PT, 3-4 FT, 4 REB, 5 AST, 3 TO, +16, 32 PTS. Finished 7-out-of-11 from beyond the arc. Happy Hanukkah to him! But it was their own adversity that they so eagerly created by being emotional and/or hateful idiots, so do they really deserve a cookie? No. I want the cookies. It’s the holiday season and I’m in the camp that says Jews don’t have space lasers, so yeah, that deserves cookies I think. Here’s what else I saw during last night’s short slate of games:

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It was a “double win” kind of night for sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu on Wednesday, as he sent the Atlanta Hawks home crying in dramatic fashion, while simultaneously earning more playing time in the immediate future. A teammate never likes to see a fellow soldier go down, but Alex Caruso is now in concussion protocol, opening the door to a possible resurgence for Dosunmu who had recently faded into fantasy basketball anonymity. Let’s dig a little deeper into this game, as well as the rest of Wednesday’s fast-paced action in the NBA.

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