Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder will be playing in one of the fastest paced games on the slate. These two teams rank fifth and sixth in the NBA in pace, respectively. Oklahoma City has found plenty of defensive success, ranking sixth in the NBA in defensive rating, but New Orleans currently ranks sixth in the league in offensive rating. The Pelicans are underdogs in a game set at 237 points, but they still feature an implied total of 116.5 points tonight.
Anthony Davis only enters this game with a 24.7% usage rating, but he is the focal point of the team. He has struggled a bit since dealing with an elbow injury, but he has played 40+ minutes in each of his last two games. On the season, he’s averaging 23.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 3.5 blocks, and 2.0 steals in 37.3 minutes per game. He has also flashed fantasy upside that very few players can match. Jrue Holiday has taken on a new role with Elfrid Payton injured. In four games without Payton, Holiday is averaging 22.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 9.0 assists, and 1.5 steals (43.9 DK points) in 37.8 minutes per game. He was also able to score 40+ DK points in each of those four games. Nikola Mirotic is another player that has caught fire over that same span, and he will command ownership tonight. He has been a walking double double, averaging 20.8 points, 12.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 steals (45.8 DK points) in 35.5 minutes per game. Similarly to Holiday, Mirotic has also scored 40+ DK points in each of those games. This stack isn’t going to come cheap, but there are enough value options on this slate to be able to spend up here.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
Oklahoma City Thunder
As mentioned above, this game will be fast paced and high scoring. Oklahoma City has struggled offensively this season, ranking only 21st in the NBA in offensive rating. They get an elite matchup, though, as New Orleans only ranks 27th in the league in defensive rating. The Thunder are -4 point favorites in a game set at 237 points, and they feature the highest implied total on the slate at 120.5 points.
Russell Westbrook is the leader of the OKC offense, and that shows with his 33.4% usage rating. He’s averaging 25.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 2.3 steals in only 32.3 minutes per game, but he has seen minutes in the mid- to high-30s in competitive games, which could be the case tonight. Paul George is the other focal point of the offense, sporting a 29% usage rating through eight games. He certainly comes with some risk, but PG13 has scored 40+ DK points in six of his eight games this season. He has also flashed 60 DK point upside. George and Westbrook are combining to average 39.6 shot attempts and 13.1 free throw attempts per game this season. Jerami Grant is a salary relief option to round out this stack. He has caught fire over his last five games, as he’s averaging 13.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.4 steals (26.4 DK points) in 30.2 minutes per game. He’s expected to play big minutes once again tonight, and Grant is coming off of a 39.5 DK point performance against the Washington Wizards. This is the fast paced type of game that he thrives in, and he makes the other two options in this stack a bit more affordable.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers have been slowing the pace down this season, ranking only 22nd and 26th in the NBA in pace through nine games. Orlando last ranks last in the league in offensive rating, but gets an elite matchup, as Cleveland ranks last in the NBA in defensive rating. In these situations, I tend to side with the offenses, and Orlando is a -4.5 point favorite in a game set at 213 points. They feature an implied total of 108.8 points tonight.
Nikola Vucevic has quietly been enjoying an elite season. Through nine games, Vucevic is averaging 18.3 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.2 steals in 29.3 minutes per game. He’s averaging 1.47 DK points per minute this season. Vucevic has also played 30+ minutes in each of his last two games, and that could be the case again tonight. Aaron Gordon is another elite option in the Orlando frontcourt. He has struggled at times this season, but he has also flashed elite upside. Over his last four games, Gordon has scored less than 20 DK points in two games, but he has also scored 39.5 and 44.5 DK points in his other two games. Cleveland has struggled against bigs this season, though, and pairing Vucevic and Gordon is an elite option on this slate. D.J. Augustin has caught fire recently, as he’s averaging 13.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists (26.3 DK points) in 29.0 minutes per game. He is an extremely safe option for his low price tag, but he also comes with tremendous upside. He also makes this stack a bit more reasonable because of his low price tag.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Allen hasn’t seen the court much this season, and he has struggled a bit in his limited action. Through seven games, he’s averaging 4.4 points with virtually no peripheral stats in 10.3 minutes per game. He was a first round pick for the Utah Jazz, though, and averaged 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.7 steals in 35.6 minutes per game his senior season at Duke.
Allen recently played 27 minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies because of an injury to Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell has been ruled out once again tonight, and Allen is expected to see a similar role. He only scored nine points with one assist in that game, but that doesn’t show his upside. He comes with significantly more potential than he has flashed early this season, and if given big minutes once again, he has the potential to easily exceed value at his current salary.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Marjanovic is only averaging 12.3 minutes per game this season, but he has turned that into 9.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He’s averaging 1.54 DK points per minute this season, displaying tremendous upside. Marjanovic has also played 23 minutes in each of his last two games, totaling 25 points, 22 rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and one steal (65.5 DK points).
Marjanovic is expected to draw another start and play minutes in the mid-20s again tonight. He has also been an elite per minute player, as he’s averaging 23.2 points, 14.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.6 blocks on a per-36 minute basis throughout his career. Those numbers have all increased this season, as well. He’s going to command a ton of ownership tonight, and he’s an avoid at your own cost type of player.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)
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