Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder will be playing in the fastest pace game of the slate. These two teams currently rank sixth and fourth in the NBA in pace thus far. New Orleans also ranks fourth in the NBA in offensive rating, although Oklahoma City ranks third in the league in defensive rating through 47 games. The Pelicans are currently +12 point underdogs in a game set at 232.5 points, but they still feature an implied total of 110.3 points.
Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic, and E’Twaun Moore have all been ruled out for the game tonight. Julius Randle has played 34 and 27 minutes in his two games without Davis, and he’ll be locked into minutes in the mid- to high-30s tonight. He somewhat struggled in those games, totaling 36.25 and 44.5 DK points. He has yet to truly flash his upside, although this may be Randle’s floor, specifically with Mirotic out, as well. In two matchups against Oklahoma City this season, Randle is averaging 24.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.5 blocks (43.8 DK points) in only 29.6 minutes per game. Jahlil Okafor is another option, who has benefit quite a bit from the injury to Davis. He has played 31 and 35 minutes in his two games without Davis, averaging 18.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks (40.3 DK points) per game. Okafor has struggled defensively throughout his career, but he has always been a solid fantasy option because of his tremendous offensive prowess. He’s going to see similar minutes in this game, and there’s no reason to believe Okafor won’t hit value for his current price tag. Jrue Holiday is another player that will benefit from the plethora of injuries that New Orleans is dealing with tonight. He has been playing well over the last 10 days, averaging 22.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.4 steals (44.6 DK points) in 38.5 minutes per game over that span. He has also scored 45.75 and 47.75 DK points in his two games since the injury to Davis. Furthermore, Holiday is averaging a 21.0/4.5/12.0/0.5/1.0 line (47.1 DK points) in 36.6 minutes per game against Oklahoma City this season. Randle, Okafor, and Holiday are three players that will feature a ton of ownership tonight, and it will be a risky proposition to avoid this trio.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Portland Blazers have been slowing the pace down throughout the 2018 season, ranking only 20th in the NBA in pace through 49 games. They’ll see an uptick in pace against the Phoenix Suns, who currently rank 13th in the league in pace this season. Portland has also found plenty of offensive success, ranking eighth in the NBA in offensive rating in 2018. The same can’t be said for Phoenix defensively, as they rank only 28th in the league in defensive rating this season. The Blazers are -6.5 point favorites in a game set at 220.5 points, giving them an implied total of 113.5 points.
Jusuf Nurkic is an option that is going to feature plenty of ownership tonight, but there’s no reason to avoid him in a Portland stack. He has been playing well recently, averaging 14.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.8 blocks (43.1 DK points) in 29.3 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Nurkic has scored 40+ DK points in each of his last four games, including two games with 50+ DK points. He gets an elite matchup against Phoenix, who features one of the worst defenses in the NBA against centers. In their only matchup this season, Nurkic needed only 23.2 minutes to score 32.5 DK points. Jake Layman is an extremely cheap option, who has found quite a bit of success recently. He’s averaging 13.3 points and 2.5 rebounds (19.1 DK points) in 21.3 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Layman only scored 9.25 DK points in his last game, but he had scored between 20 and 30 DK points in his three games prior to that. He’s expected to play minutes in the low- to mid-20s tonight, adding to his upside. In his only matchup against Phoenix this season, Layman scored 37.25 DK points in only 26.1 minutes. He’s near the minimum price on this slate, and he’ll help open up salary for lineup construction. Al-Farouq Aminu is another option, who will likely feature lower ownership tonight. He has performed well over the last 10 days, averaging 10.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists (28.5 DK points) in 29.3 minutes per game over that span. Aminu is still relatively cheap, and he has scored 25+ DK points in five of his last six games. Furthermore, he has flashed near 40 DK point upside over that span. He struggled in his first matchup against Phoenix this season, but he only saw limited minutes in that game. Aminu is another player that adds upside for a reasonable price tag on this slate.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Oubre Jr. has seemingly taken his game to the next level since being traded to the Phoenix Suns. He has also been on fire recently, averaging 17.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.0 steals (30.7 DK points) in 27.5 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He’s coming off of a bad game against the Minnesota Wolves, but he had scored 30+ DK points in six of his last seven games prior to that. Over that span, Oubre also flashed elite upside, scoring 52.25 and 46.75 DK points in two games.
He’ll be locked into 30+ minutes tonight, as Phoenix will be without T.J. Warren, Richaun Holmes, and Deandre Ayton in this game. Oubre gets a great matchup against the Portland Blazers, who have struggled against small forwards at times this season. In two matchups, Oubre is averaging 20.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.0 steal (36.0 DK points) in 34.3 minutes per game. Oubre is an option that can be considered in all leagues for his current price tag.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
I have outlined Okafor above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He has started each of his last two games with Anthony Davis injured, and that will be the case again tonight. The New Orleans Pelicans are also dealing with injuries to Nikola Mirotic and E’Twaun Moore, meaning Okafor will be locked into 30+ minutes tonight. He has scored 40.5 and 40 DK points in his last two games, and Okafor should be locked into all cash games tonight. Keep in mind, he can also be used in tournaments on this slate.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)