Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Philadelphia 76ers have been a fantasy goldmine early this season, which will increase their ownership on a nightly basis. They’ve been an offensive-minded team, while pushing the pace again this season. Last season, Philadelphia ended the year fourth in the NBA in pace, and we should see something similar again this season. They get a matchup against the Orlando Magic, who have been playing at an average pace since the beginning of the 2017 season. They have struggled defensively, though, and Philadelphia is a -13 point favorite in a game set at 217 points. They feature an implied total of 115 points tonight.
Joel Embiid has been the leader of the Philadelphia offense, as he’s averaging a team-high 26.5 points with 11.0 points, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steal, and 3.0 blocks in 35.0 minutes per game. He also leads the team with a 29.7% usage rating through two games. Ben Simmons is another must start in a Philadelphia cash game stack. He’s leading the team with a ridiculous 95 touches per game, making up for his 18.5% usage rating this season. He’s nearly averaging a triple double this season, recording 16.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and 2.0 blocks in 38.0 minutes per game. Markelle Fultz is a cheaper option to help even out the salary in this stack. Fultz is starting at shooting guard for Philadelphia, and while he doesn’t play a major role in the offense, he’s a versatile player. Through the first two games this season, Fultz is averaging 8.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in 28.1 minutes. He has been a better option at home throughout his young career, and Fultz is an elite addition to this stack.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Houston Rockets aren’t the fastest paced team in the NBA, but they still feature one of the best offenses in the league. They’ll see an uptick in pace against the Los Angeles Lakers, who have stated that they want to play at the fastest pace in the NBA this season. They pushed the pace in their first game, and will force Houston to play at a faster pace tonight, as well. The Rockets are -3.5 point favorites in a game set at 234.5 points, giving them the highest implied total on the slate at 119 points.
James Harden surprisingly saw a 25.1% usage rating in the Rockets opener, which was significantly lower than his 31.5% usage rating in preseason. It should regress to the latter as he plays more games this season, and Harden should return to the elite player he has been for years in this game. Clint Capela is the other must start in this stack. He only played 26.1 minutes in his first game of the season, but that number is expected to increase closer to 30 tonight. Last season, Capela averaged 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 27.5 minutes per game. Los Angeles is a team that attacks the basket, and the Portland Blazers totaled 10 blocks against them in their opener. Capela comes with elite blocking upside in this game. The final part of this stack is a salary relief option in P.J. Tucker. He looked outstanding in the Rockets opener, totaling 19 points with two rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal in 34 minutes. He’s a veteran that is expected to play big minutes again tonight, and his versatility allows him to fill the stat sheet.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Boston Celtics have been slowing the pace down this season, similarly to last season. They will see a small uptick in pace against the New York Knicks, who rank only slightly ahead of Boston in pace since the start of the 2017 season. The Celtics are -9 point favorites in a game set at 210 points, and they featured an implied total of 109.5 points tonight.
Jayson Tatum has found tremendous success early this season, averaging 19.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.0 steal in 33.0 minutes per game. Overall, Tatum is leading Boston in minutes, usage, points, and rebounds per game this season. Kyrie Irving has been the other focal point of the offense in 2018. He ranks second in usage rating, while also leading the team in shot attempts per game. While he has struggled with efficiency early on, Irving is still averaging 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game. Similarly to Tatum, Irving comes with a reasonable price tag for his upside. Gordon Hayward has been ruled out for tonight, and Jaylen Brown will likely pick up some of his minutes and usage. Brown is averaging a healthy 17.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists on a per-36 minute basis this season, but he’s only averaging 26.5 minutes per game this season. This is important because he should see 30+ minutes without Hayward in the lineup, similar to his role last postseason. Brown’s a bit too cheap for his potential role tonight.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
I have already outlined Fultz above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He’s going to be owned at an extremely high rate, and for good reason. He played 32 minutes in his last game, scoring 28.5 DK points. Most importantly, Fultz has been a significantly better at home in limited games in his career, and he’s an easy salary relief option on this slate.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Dudley has had a long career in the NBA, and he may have one of the biggest roles of his career this season. Through two games, Dudley is averaging 31.5 minutes per game, turning those into 4.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. He’s seeing an extremely low usage rating, but he’s an extremely cheap option, allowing us to overlook that aspect of his game.
Tonight, Dudley gets a matchup against the Indiana Pacers in a game that should feature one of the higher point totals on the slate. Indiana has also struggled against power forwards this season, although the sample size is limited. Dudley doesn’t need many fantasy points to hit value, and he opens a lot of options for lineup construction.
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