Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans are a team that loves pushing the pace in games, ranking fifth in the NBA in pace through 51 games this season. They get a matchup against the Denver Nuggets, who only rank 27th in the league in pace thus far, though. Denver also ranks 10th in the NBA in defensive rating, while New Orleans ranks fifth in the league in offensive rating. The Pelicans are currently +9 point underdogs in a game set at 226 points, but they still feature an implied total of 108.5 points.
New Orleans is dealing with a plethora of injuries, and they will be without Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, Nikola Mirotic, Elfrid Payton, and E’Twaun Moore tonight. Darius Miller is an extremely cheap option, who will be locked into big minutes tonight. He has caught fire a bit over his last three games, as he’s averaging 28.8 DK points in 32.0 minutes per game over that span. In his last game, he scored 28.75 DK points in 40 minutes against the Houston Rockets, and he’s a cheap source of minutes once again tonight. Furthermore, Miller will be forced into a bigger offensive role, as he has taken double-digit shot attempts in each of his last four games, while he’s averaging only 6.2 shot attempts per game this season. Frank Jackson was forced to start the last game for the Pelicans, and that will likely be the case tonight. He has seen 20+ minutes in each of his last three games, averaging 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.0 steal (21.9 DK points) in 25.3 minutes per game. He hasn’t necessarily been a dominant fantasy option throughout his career, but he’s absurdly cheap, and should have no issues exceeding value with his new role in the offense. Jahlil Okafor is a bit more expensive, but he’s still entirely too cheap for his current production. Over the last 10 days, he’s averaging 21.2 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks (41.8 DK points) in 32.6 minutes per game. He has scored 52.25 and 48.5 DK points in his last two games, finding 36 and 37 minutes in those contests. He’ll likely see similar minuet tonight, and he’ll continue to feature a massive role in the offense without many healthy bigs. This could actually turn into a four man “Chalk Stack” with Jrue Holiday rounding out the team, but I don’t expect him to find quite as much ownership as the other three options.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks will be playing in the fastest paced game of the slate. These two teams currently rank second and first in the NBA in pace, respectively. Sacramento has struggled a bit offensively, ranking only 19th in the league in offensive rating through 50 games. This is a plus matchup, though, as Atlanta only ranks 25th in the NBA in defensive rating thus far. The Kings are -5 point favorites in a game set at 235.5 points, and they feature the highest implied total on the slate at 120.3 points.
Sacramento features a ton of great plays tonight, but we’ll keep this stack to only three. De’Aaron Fox gets an elite matchup, as Atlanta features one of the worst defensive backcourts in the NBA. He has been struggling a bit recently, averaging 16.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.0 steal (32.6 DK points) in 33.0 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has flashed 40+ DK point upside recently, though, and he scored 72.5 DK points in his only matchup against Atlanta this season. While that may not happen again tonight, he does come with tremendous upside on this slate. Buddy Hield is another player that will benefit from this matchup. He has been heating up recently, averaging 20.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists (36.2 DK points) in 34.5 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He also owns games with 40.75 and 55.75 DK points over his last five games, displaying elite upside for his price tag. In his only matchup against Atlanta in 2018, Hield needed 33.1 minutes to score 49.25 DK points, and he could find similar success tonight. Willie Cauley-Stein has seen 30+ minutes in each of his last two games, and he has produced 30+ DK points in each of those games, as well. He has been a significantly better player at home this season, where he’s averaging 1.18 DK points per minute, as opposed to 1.07 DK points per minute on the road. Cauley-Stein only played 25.1 minutes in his first matchup against Atlanta, but he was still able to score 24.5 DK points in that game. He comes with tremendous block and steal upside in this game, and WCS is expected to see 30+ minutes. This may not be the lowest owned stack on the slate, but they come with undeniable upside.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
This game has been outlined a bit above, and these are the two fastest paced teams in the NBA. Through 49 games, the Atlanta Hawks only rank 27th in the NBA in offensive rating. With that being said, the Sacramento Kings only rank 21st in the league in defensive rating this season. The Hawks are currently +5 point underdogs in a game set at 235.5 points, and they still own a more than respectable implied total of 115.3 points tonight.
It’s odd how often Atlanta goes overlooked, but it may be because they always seem to be the underdog in game. Regardless, they have a few great options on this slate. Trae Young has been playing at a high level recently, averaging 19.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 8.2 assists (36.8 DK points) in 31.5 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has also scored 43.5 and 48 DK points in his last two games, and he’s in another matchup that will allow him plenty of opportunities to find his shot. He only played 27 minutes in his first matchup against Sacramento this season, but he was able to score 30.3 DK points in that game. He’s a high upside option that will likely go overlooked because of his price tag tonight. John Collins has featured a few ups and downs this season, but he has continuously flashed upside. Over the last 10 days, he’s averaging 21.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists (36.7 DK points) in 29.4 minutes per game. He has a 30 DK point floor, while flashing a 50+ DK point ceiling. Sacramento also features one of the worst defenses in the NBA against power forwards, and Collins makes a second high upside option in this stack. Dewayne Dedmon and Alex Len can both be considered to fill out this stack. Dedmon is significantly more consistent, while Len has flashed more upside for his price tag. For the sake of this being a stack that has the potential to take down tournaments, I’ll side with the upside of Len. His minutes are absurd inconsistent, but he has recently scored 37.25, 33, and 50.25 DK points in three of his last six games. He’s also averaging a healthy 1.16 DK points per minute on the road this season. Len has the upside to be a slate breaking type of play in this matchup.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Frank Jackson is my favorite salary relief guard, but I’m going to be outlining Sumner here. Sumner is far from a dominant fantasy option, scoring only 13.75 DK points in 28 minutes in his last game, but he drew the start for an injured Pacers team, and saw big minutes in that game. He averaged 14.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.2 steals in 31.7 minutes per game in his final year at Xavier, and he quietly comes with upside that he simply hasn’t flashed in his limited minutes yet.
Sumner is expected to draw another start tonight, and he should be locked into minutes in the high-20s. He gets an elite matchup against the Washington Wizards, who are dealing with their own injuries, and have struggled to defend point guards throughout the season. Sumner is an extremely cheap option, and he’s a player that can be considered in all leagues.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Williams was forced into big minutes in his last game with the New Orleans Pelicans dealing with a plethora of injuries. In that game, he scored eight points with 16 rebounds, one assist, and one block. He scored 31 DK points in 30 minutes, while shooting 57.1% from the field. In his final season at TCU, Williams averaged 13.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.8 steals in 36.0 minutes per game.
As mentioned above, the Pelicans are still dealing with a ton of injuries, which means Williams could see minutes in the 20s tonight. He gets a decent matchup against the Denver Nuggets, and Williams is SG/SF eligible on DraftKings tonight (PF on FanDuel). He makes a high upside option, and he can be used in cash games if you’re in a pinch.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)