Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been pushing the pace throughout the 2018 season, ranking fourth in the NBA in pace thus far. They get a matchup against the Portland Blazers, who currently rank 20th in the league in pace. Oklahoma City has surprisingly struggled offensively this season, ranking only 16th in the NBA in offensive rating through 46 games. This is a plus matchup against Portland, who ranks in the same position in defensive rating this season. The Thunder are -5.5 point favorites in a game set at 226.5 points, and they feature an implied total of 116 points tonight.
Russell Westbrook has been a focal point of the Thunder offense this season, recording a 31.2% usage rating through 38 games. He has been playing well recently, averaging 23.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 1.8 steals (53.6 DK points) in 35.3 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has “struggled” in his last two games, but he had scored between 50 and 84 DK points in each of his last eight games prior of that. Over that eight game span, he’s averaging a healthy 62.5 DK points per game. He nearly triple doubled in his only matchup against Portland this season, and Westbrook is surprisingly cheap for his recent success. Paul George is one of the best scoring small forwards in the NBA, and this is an elite matchup. Portland is allowing small forwards to average fourth most points per game in the league. In their only matchup this season, George scored 37 points with eight rebounds, two assists, and one steal (53 DK points). He could be in line for similar success tonight, and he’s averaging 26.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.8 steals (49.4 DK points) in 37.1 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Westbrook and George are two expensive options, but their price tags don’t match their potential production in this matchup. Jerami Grant is a player that has quietly found success recently, and he’s playing a major role in the Oklahoma City rotation. Over the last 10 days, he’s averaging 14.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.2 blocks, and 1.0 steal (30.4 DK points) in 35.3 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has scored 25+ DK points in each of his last six games, while flashing nearly 50 DK point upside. Grant still comes with a reasonable price tag, and he makes this stack a bit more affordable.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Sacramento Kings have been playing at one of the fastest paces in the NBA this season, ranking second in the league in that category. They’ll see a downtick in pace tonight, facing off against the Toronto Raptors, who rank only 17th in the league in pace thus far. Toronto also ranks ninth in the NBA in defensive rating, while Sacramento ranks 17th in the league in offensive rating this season. The Kings are +10.5 point underdogs in a game set at 229 points, giving them an implied total of 109.3 points on this slate.
Buddy Hield has been a risky option recently, but he comes with quite a bit of upside, as well. Over the last 10 days, he’s averaging 22.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists (34.4 DK points) in 31.1 minutes per game. He has scored 30+ DK points in three of his last five games, including a 55.75 DK point performance against the Detroit Pistons. In his only matchup against Toronto this season, Hield posted a 24/4/3/1/1 line (38.5 DK points) in 35.3 minutes. Bogdan Bogdanovic is another player that has flashed tremendous upside recently. Similarly to Hield, he has found success over the last 10 days, averaging 17.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.0 steal (31.6 DK points) in 28.4 minutes per game. He’s also coming of of an elite 50.5 DK point performance against the Brooklyn Nets, and Bogdanovic owns 18 assists in his last two games, adding to his potential upside. Marvin Bagley is a cheap option, who comes with solid upside, although he has seen inconsistent minutes. He’s averaging 12.4 points and 7.0 rebounds (23.7 DK points) in 23.4 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He’s tentatively expected to see minutes in the mid-20s tonight, and Bagley is averaging 1.06 DK points per minute on the season. He has seen a few more minutes on the road this season, and Bagley adds cheap upside to this stack.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Bridges has featured plenty of ups and downs this season, averaging 7.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.5 steals (18.1 DK points) in 26.5 minutes per game through 47 games. He hasn’t been the best fantasy option while on the court, but he’s cheap and has scored 20+ DK points in three of his last four games.
Bridges gets a matchup against the Minnesota Wolves, who he has found success against this season. In two matchups, he’s averaging 7.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 2.0 blocks, and 2.5 steals (21.6 DK points) in 34.3 minutes per game. He’s expected to play around 30 minutes tonight, and he could see a small uptick in usage with Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes out. Bridges makes an outstanding salary relief option, but he somewhat lacks the upside for tournaments.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Bender hasn’t seen a ton of minutes this season, as he’s averaging only 9.1 minutes per game through 15 games. He was forced into big minutes in his last game, though, scoring 12 points with 10 rebounds, two assists, and one block (30.5 DK points) in 29 minutes. He doesn’t always produce while on the court, though, as he recently scored only 11.75 DK points in 25 minutes against the Portland Blazers.
Bender will be forced into big minutes again tonight, as Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes have already been ruled out. He’ll see minutes in the high-20s or low-30s tonight. Bender also gets a decent matchup against Minnesota, who has struggled at times against bigs this season. He will likely feature plenty of ownership tonight, and he’s one of the best salary relief options on the slate.
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