Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Boston Celtics have been slowing down the pace a bit this season, ranking only 18th in the NBA in pace thus far. They’ll see a downtick in pace against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who rank only 29th in the league in pace this season. With that being said, they also rank last in the NBA in defensive rating through 48 games this season. Boston, on the other hand, rank 10th in the league in offensive rating this season. They are currently -15 point favorites in a game set at 215 points, giving them an implied total of 115 points tonight.
Boston is dealing with injuries tonight, as they will be without Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, who have been ruled out for this game. Terry Rozier will step into big minutes, and he’ll likely be the highest owned player on the slate tonight. He has performed well in limited minutes on the season, averaging 8.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists (20.1 DK points) in 22.3 minutes per game through 47 games. He has also played 20+ minutes in five of his last 10 games, and he’s averaging 27.2 DK points in 24.4 minutes per game in those contests. He’s expected to play 30+ minutes tonight, and Rozier can be locked into all leagues tonight. Marcus Smart is another guard that will likely feature some ownership tonight. He has been performing well recently, averaging 9.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.6 steals (22.3 DK points) in 29.0 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has been an extremely inconsistent option, but those have generally been because of inconsistent minutes. He’ll be locked into 30+ minutes tonight without Irving in the lineup, and he comes with 40+ DK point upside. Smart also needed only 29.2 minutes to post a 12/3/7/1/3 line (35.3 DK points) in his only matchup against Cleveland this season. I don’t necessarily know if any other Boston players are going to feature a lot of ownership tonight, but Daniel Theis will round out this stack. With Horford out, Theis and Aron Baynes will likely see increased minutes, and Theis’ power forward eligibility makes him significantly more valuable. There are a plethora of elite center options tonight, and wasting that position on Baynes is far from a good idea. Theis has been a great option on a per minute basis, as he’s averaging 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists (15.0 DK points) in 15.1 minutes per game. He also scored 15.25 DK points in only 17.2 minutes against Cleveland earlier this season. I don’t expect Theis to play a ton of minutes, but he should be able to hit value at his current price tag in only 20 minutes.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Houston Rockets surprisingly feature one of the slowest paces in the NBA this season. Through 46 games, they rank 28th in the NBA in pace. They’ll see an uptick in pace against the New York Knicks, who rank 12th in the league in pace this season. Houston also ranks second in the NBA in offensive rating, while New York ranks second last in the league in defensive rating. The Rockets are only -7.5 point favorites in a game set at 225 points, and they feature the highest implied total on the slate at 116.3 points.
The Rockets are running a short rotation, and it starts with James Harden. He owns an elite 40.3% usage rating through 43 games, and he’s the clear-cut focal point of the offense. Over the last 10 days, he’s averaging 47.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.0 block, and 2.4 steals (74.3 DK points) in 39.0 minutes per game. He’s coming off of a bad game, but still scored 55 DK points without playing in the fourth quarter. Prior to that, Harden had scored 70+ DK points in six consecutive games, including a pair of games with 85+ DK points. Harden is going to come with plenty of ownership tonight, but he’s a player that shouldn’t be avoided. P.J. Tucker has been locked into big minutes recently, as well, averaging 36.4 minutes per game over the last 10 days. In that time, he’s averaging 8.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 3.2 steals (28.8 DK points) per game. He has scored 20+ DK points in each of his last four games, including two games with 34.75 and 42.5 DK points. New York has struggled against forwards this season, and Tucker is a consistent source of minutes. James Ennis has looked great in two games since returning from injury. In those games, he’s averaging 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.0 steals (24.6 DK points) in 29.0 minutes per game. He isn’t a player that comes with elite upside, but he’ll be locked into solid minutes and has played consistent basketball. His price tag makes this stack a bit more affordable, and he’ll likely be priced over $4K on the next slate.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Chicago Bulls are another team that has been slowing the pace down throughout the season, ranking 24th in the NBA in pace this season. They’ll see a massive uptick in pace against the Atlanta Hawks, who lead the league in pace in 2018. Chicago has struggled offensively, ranking last in the NBA in offensive rating, but Atlanta has also struggled defensively, ranking 25th in the league in defensive rating. The Bulls are -2 point favorites in a game set at 223 points, giving them an implied total of 112.5 points tonight.
There are a few solid options for Chicago tonight, but Kris Dunn leads the way. He has struggled a bit recently, averaging 8.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.6 steals (25.3 DK points) in 31.1 minutes per game over the last 10 days. With that being said, he has scored 35+ DK points in two of his last five games. He’ll benefit from the pace in this game, and Atlanta’s guards have been careless with the ball this season. Dunn comes with tremendous steal potential, and he’s a high upside option for a reasonable price tag. Lauri Markkanen has featured plenty of ups and downs throughout the season, but he’s averaging 18.6 points and 7.0 rebounds (32.0 DK points) in 31.0 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has scored 38.25 and 44 DK points in two of his last three games, and Atlanta has struggled against bigs this season. He’s far from a consistent option, but he comes with elite upside for his current price tag. Bobby Portis, Chandler Hutchison, and Robin Lopez all make decent options to fill out this stack, but I’m siding with Zach LaVine, who simply comes with unmatched upside. He has struggled a bit recently, averaging 17.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.2 steals (30.5 DK points) in 30.0 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has scored 33 and 36.25 DK points in his last two games, though, and LaVine is a player that relies heavily on scoring. This game should feature a plethora of points, and he was able to score 44.75 DK points in 34.5 minutes against Atlanta earlier this season. The Bulls are one of the least consistent teams in the NBA, but they come with tremendous upside with low ownership.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
I have outlined Rozier above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He has performed well throughout the season, averaging 0.9 DK points per minute thus far, and he’s expected to play 30+ minutes with Kyrie Irving out tonight. He also gets an elite matchup against a weak Cleveland Cavaliers defense, and Rozier could be the highest owned player on the slate. At this point, he’s an “avoid at your own risk” type of play.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Kanter has been enjoying a dominant season when given the minutes. Through 42 games, he’s averaging 14.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists (32.5 DK points) in only 26.2 minutes per game. Prior to his benching, he had scored 35+ DK points in four consecutive games, while playing fewer than 30 minutes in each of those games.
Kanter will be locked into the starting lineup with Luke Kornet injured. He’s expected to play minutes in the mid- to high-20s again tonight, and he has consistently exceeded value when given that time in the past. He also gets a great matchup against the Houston Rockets, who are playing without Clint Capela at the moment. Kanter is an option that can safely be used in all leagues on this slate.
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