Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Phoenix Suns have been playing at a slightly below average pace this season, ranking 16th in the NBA in pace thus far. They get a great matchup against the Sacramento Kings, who currently rank second in the league in pace. Phoenix only ranks 27th in the NBA in offensive rating this season, but Sacramento has struggled defensively, ranking only 23rd in the NBA in defensive rating. The Suns are +3.5 point underdogs in a game set at 229 points, and they feature an implied total of 112.8 points.
Devin Booker is expected to be ruled out tonight, leaving quite a bit of usage and minutes open for the rest of the rotation. De’Anthony Melton has found some success recently, averaging 6.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.0 steals (19.5 DK points) in only 24.3 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has also scored 20+ DK points in four of his last five contests. Melton needed only 23.2 minutes to score 34 DK points against Sacramento in their only matchup this season, and he’s expected to play around 30 minutes tonight with Booker injured. Josh Jackson played 32 minutes in the Suns last game, scoring 35.5 DK points. He’s expected to play a larger role in the rotation again tonight, and he could see minutes in the high-20s or low-30s. He has played 27+ minutes in five of his last 10 games, and he’s averaging 27.5 DK points per game in those contests. Jackson also scored 22.5 DK points in only 26.4 minutes against the Kings in their only matchup this season. He’s an athletic player that will benefit from the pace of this game, similarly to Melton. Deandre Ayton is comes with tremendous upside, but he also comes with quite a bit of risk. He’s averaging 19.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.7 steals (37.9 DK points) in 33.1 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Ayton scored only 14.75 DK points two games ago, but he’s averaging a healthy 45.1 DK points per game over his last nine games, excluding the matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. If you don’t feel comfortable rostering Ayton in cash, T.J. Warren is another option that can be considered for Phoenix.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Toronto Raptors have been slowing the pace down a bit this season, ranking only 19th in the NBA in pace in 2018. They get an elite matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, who lead the league in pace through 39 games. Toronto has looked outstanding offensively this season, ranking sixth in the NBA in pace, while Atlanta has struggled defensively, ranking only 24th in the league in defensive rating. The Raptors are currently -14 point favorites in a game set at 228 points, giving them one of the highest implied totals on the slate at 121 points.
Kawhi Leonard has been an inconsistent option with Kyle Lowry in the lineup, but his upside is undeniable. He’s averaging 28.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 steals (42.4 DK points) in 34.0 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has scored 50+ DK points in four of his last nine games, as well. He has been a better option at home this season, where he’s averaging 1.37 DK points per minute, as opposed to 1.29 DK points per minute on the road. Lowry recently returned from injury, posting a 12/3/8/1/3 line (34.75 DK points) in 32 minutes of action. He comes with a relatively low price tag for this matchup, as he scored 66.5 DK points in 31.5 minutes in his only game against Atlanta this season. Similarly to Leonard, Lowry is far from a consistent option, but he comes with more than enough upside to be considered against one of the worst defensive backcourts in the NBA. Serge Ibaka is the final high upside option in this stack. He is averaging 15.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 blocks (31.3 DK points) in 28.2 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He’s another player that has flashed 40+ DK point upside, and he needed only 21.3 minutes to score 30.25 DK points in his only matchup against the Hawks this season. Ibaka is expected to see around 30 minutes tonight, and he’s an athletic big that will benefit from the pace and style of this game.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
This game was outlined above, and it will feature an above average pace between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors. Surprisingly, Atlanta only ranks 29th in the NBA in pace through 39 games. Toronto also ranks 10th in the NBA in defensive rating, and the Hawks are currently +14 point underdogs in a game set at 228 points. They only own an implied total of 107 points, but that will keep the ownership of their players relatively low on this slate.
John Collins has looked outstanding throughout the 2018 season, including over the last 10 days. Over that span, he’s averaging 17.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists (36.6 DK points) in 30.3 minutes per game. He has certainly struggled at times, but he has scored 40+ DK points in five of his last 10 games, including a 50.5 DK point performance against the Indiana Pacers. This is also a plus matchup for Collins tonight. Trae Young could feature some ownership, as he’s underpriced on this slate. Over the last 10 days, he’s averaging 15.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.2 steals (33.0 DK points) in 30.3 minutes per game. As is the case with most rookies, Young comes with quite a bit of risk. With that being said, he has scored 35+ DK points in five of his last nine games, including two games nearing 40 DK points. He has been playing 30+ minutes on a nightly basis, and Young likely won’t be priced under $6K after tonight. There are few options that can be considered to fill out this stack, but Alex Len makes the most sense. He’s coming off of a disappointing 14.25 DK point performance against the Miami Heat, but he caught fire prior to that. He had scored 20+ DK points in each of his seven games before that, and he’s averaging 32.2 DK points per game over that span. Len is expected to play around 20 minutes again tonight, and he comes with tremendous upside for his current price tag.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
I have outlined Melton above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He’s expected to step into larger minutes with Devin Booker injured, and Melton has proven that he can exceed value at his current price tag when given the playing time. He also gets an elite matchup against the Sacramento Kings, who will be looking to push the pace in this game. Melton is a salary relief option, who can be considered in all leagues.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Hezonja has performed well in limited minutes this season, averaging 7.2 points and 3.2 rebounds (14.1 DK points) in only 17.3 minutes per game. He’s also coming off of a performance with 14 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and three steals (29.25 DK points) in 31 minutes. This was the first time Hezonja has played 30+ minutes recently, though.
It’s nearly impossible to predict minutes in the Knicks rotation, but there’s no reason to believe Hezonja won’t see minutes after playing 31 minutes in his last game. He gets a good matchup in a fast paced game against the Golden State Warriors. Hezonja likely shouldn’t be used in cash games, unless he’s confirmed a starter, but he makes a good tournament option at the moment.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)
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