Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Utah Jazz have been playing at an average pace in 2018, ranking exactly 15th in the NBA in pace thus far. They will see a downtick in pace tonight, as they face off against the Chicago Bulls, who rank only 23rd in the league in pace this season. Utah has struggled a bit offensively through 43 games, ranking 20th in the NBA in offensive rating. With that being said, Chicago has struggled defensively, ranking 24th in the league in defensive rating. The Jazz are currently -11.5 point favorites in a game set at 208 points, and they feature an implied total of 109.8 points tonight.
Utah will make up the “Chalk Stack” once again, as they continue to deal with a plethora of injuries. Ricky Rubio, Raul Neto, Dante Exum, and Thabo Sefolosha have all been ruled out, while Grayson Allen is tentatively expected to miss this game. Donovan Mitchell has seen his usage rating increase around 5% since taking over the point guard duties. In his last two games, he’s averaging 33.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.0 block, and 1.0 steal (54.8 DK points) in 35.0 minutes per game. He was able to score 50+ DK points in each of those games, while taking more than 20 shots in each game. Mitchell likely won’t feature as much ownership as some of the other options in Utah’s rotation, but he makes the best option on this team. Derrick Favors will likely feature the most ownership in this rotation, and he’s averaging 13.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, and 1.8 blocks (28.5 DK points) in 25.5 minutes per game. Favors has scored 30+ DK points in five of his last seven games, and he’s averaging 29.5 DK points per game over that span. Chicago is known for struggling against bigs, and Favors makes an elite option for a surprisingly low price tag on this slate. Royce O’Neale is a cheaper way to fill out this stack. He was forced into big minutes into his last game, totaling 40 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers. He looked outstanding in that time, scoring 17 points with seven rebounds, one assist, and two steals (32.75 DK points). He’s averaging 0.79 DK points per minute at home this season, and he’s expected to play minutes in the high-30s or low-40s once again tonight. While he generally isn’t an elite fantasy option, O’Neale simply doesn’t need many fantasy points to hit value. Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert also make great options for cash tonight, while Jae Crowder can be considered if you’re in a tough spot.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Sacramento Kings have been pushing the pace throughout the season, ranking second in the NBA in pace through 42 games. They get a matchup against the Charlotte Hornets, who rank 14th in the NBA in pace in 2018. Sacramento also ranks 14th in the NBA in offensive rating, while Charlotte ranks only 22nd in the league in defensive rating. The Kings are -5.5 point favorites in a game set at 233.5 points, giving them the highest implied total on the slate at 119.5 points.
De’Aaron Fox has been struggling quite a bit recently, averaging 15.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.3 steals (30.6 DK points) in 29.2 minutes per game over the last 10 days. While he has struggled over that span, Fox scored 40.75 DK points against the Phoenix Suns only two games ago, flashing his upside. Furthermore, Fox has scored 40+ DK points in five of his last 10 games, suggesting he has more than enough upside to pay off his current price tag, even with his recent struggles. Willie Cauley-Stein is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He has been heating up recently, averaging 12.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.0 steal (34.3 DK points) in 28.0 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has also scored 40+ DK points in three of his last four games, struggling only against the Orlando Magic. He only played 18 minutes in that game, though, and WCS is averaging 1.47 DK points per minute over that span. He is averaging a healthy 36.1 DK points per game at home this season, as opposed to 28.0 DK points per game on the road, as well. Iman Shumpert is a cheap option, who tends to go overlooked on a near nightly basis. He certainly comes with risk, but he has scored 20+ DK points in four of his last five games. In those four games, he’s averaging 27.1 DK points per game. Shumpert has taken double-digit shot attempts in five of his last six games, and he is an extremely cheap source of upside on this slate.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Lamb has been performing well throughout the 2018 season, averaging 15.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 steals (28.0 DK points) in 29.1 minutes per game. He has only played in two games since returning from injury, averaging 23.9 DK points in only 27.6 minutes per game. Lamb was consistently playing 30+ minutes per game before his injury, and it seems as if he’s simply getting back into game shape at this point, although he has scored 23+ DK points in each of his first two games back.
Lamb is tentatively expected to play minutes in the low- to mid-30s tonight. He gets a great matchup against the Sacramento Kings, who love pushing the pace in games. This game will be one of the highest scoring on the slate, and Lamb is known as a scorer in the NBA. He certainly comes with a bit of risk because of his recent injury, but he makes a great salary relief option tonight.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
I have outlined Favors above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He’s playing minutes in the mid- to high-20s on a near nightly basis, and he has scored 30+ DK points in five of his last seven games. He gets an elite matchup against the Chicago Bulls, who rank 26th in the NBA against power forwards this season. Favors is going to be owned at a high clip tonight, and he can be considered in all leagues.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)
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