Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have been playing at the fastest pace in the NBA this season. They announced that they wanted to lead the league in pace this season, suggesting they will continue that as the season progresses. They will see a downtick in pace tonight, as the San Antonio Spurs rank last in the NBA in pace this season. That hasn’t mattered, though, as they rank third last in the league in defensive rating, allowing 114.5 points per game. The Lakers are small underdogs in a game set at 221.5 points, and they feature an implied total of 110.3 points tonight.
LeBron James has looked outstanding for the Lakers this season, averaging 25.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in 38.0 minutes per game. While he has found statistical success this season, he has only posted a 27.5% usage rating. That rating is expected to increase well over 30% with Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo suspended, adding to James’ value tonight. Josh Hart has demanded big minutes this season, and he has performed well in that time. Overall, he’s averaging 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks in 29.0 minutes per game. He’s a versatile player, who is expected to see 30+ minutes tonight. He’s a player that flies a bit under the radar, but is a consistent option, who also comes with plenty of upside. Kyle Kuzma is the final part of this stack. He’s only averaging 27.0 minutes early this season, but he’s expected to see minutes in the mid-30s with Ingram out of the lineup. Kuzma’s averaging 17.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 blocks on a per-36 minute basis this season, and he could also see a boost in usage tonight. Kuzma and Hart’s cheap price tags will offset James’ salary tonight, as well.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets have both been playing at a below average pace this season. Charlotte has also posted one of the best defensive ratings in the NBA, while Toronto ranks seventh in the league in offensive rating. It’s early in the season, though, and Vegas seems to expect this game to be high scoring. The Raptors are -9.5 point favorites in a game set at 225.5 points, giving them one of the highest implied totals on the slate at 117.5 points.
When on the court, Kawhi Leonard has been the focal point of the offense. He leads the team with a ridiculous 34.2% usage rating. He has turned that into 27.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 36.5 minutes per game. He comes with even more upside, as he’s shooting 40.4% from the field on 23.5 attempts per game. Kyle Lowry has been a significantly more efficient player, averaging 23.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game. He has only posted a 21.1% usage rating early this season, but that hasn’t stopped him from averaging 44.5 DK points per game. Danny Green is a cheap option, who adds a bit of salary relief to this stack. He has played 30+ minutes in three consecutive games, averaging 22.8 DK points per game over that span. He has also attempted seven or more three point shots in every game this season, adding to his upside, specifically on DraftKings. He’s coming off of a bad game, but Green relies heavily on scoring, and this game is projected to feature plenty of points tonight.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Utah Jazz have been pushing the pace early this season, as they rank fifth in the NBA in pace thus far. They will see a downtick in pace against the Memphis Grizzlies, but Memphis ranks as a below average defense this season. Utah is a offense that generally goes overlooked because they are seen as a defensive team, but they rank fifth in the league in offensive rating through two games. The Jazz are -10.5 point favorites in a game set at 214.5 points. They feature an implied total of 112.5 points tonight.
Donovan Mitchell has been the leader of the Utah offense this season, recording a 30.2% usage rating. He’s averaging 21.5 points per game this season, although his rebounds and assists per game have dipped. He should continue to take 20+ shot attempts in a game that could score more points than expected. Joe Ingles has been an extremely efficient scorer this season, and he’s averaging 24.5 points with 2.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 3.0 steals per game. He’s averaging 8.5 three point attempts per game, adding to his value on DraftKings, as well. Rudy Gobert is another part of this stack, but he doesn’t need to score to contribute fantasy points. On the season, he’s averaging 17.5 points with 13.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.5 steals, and 2.0 blocks in 36.0 minutes per game. Gobert continues to take steps forward in his career, and he looks to be at his best, in terms of scoring (from the field and free throw line) this season.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
I have already outlined Hart above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He’s going to see his role change a bit tonight because of the suspensions to Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram. He likely won’t see an increase in usage, but he should still see double-digit shot attempts. He’s a cheap option that should be locked into 30+ minutes per game, and he will see a few open looks with LeBron James commanding more usage tonight. Hart makes a safe option, who also comes with upside tonight.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jackson was seen as one of the most NBA ready prospects in the draft. As a freshman at Michigan State, Jackson averaged 10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 3.0 blocks in only 21.8 minutes per game. Overall, he averaged a 20.0/10.6/2.0/1.5/5.5 line on a per-40 minute basis in college.
Jackson has looked good early this season, averaging 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 2.0 steals in 26.3 minutes per game. He’s expected to see extended minutes with JaMychal Green injured, meaning he could potentially match his 28 minutes (41.75 DK points) in his last game. This is a terrible matchup for Jackson, but Utah is playing at a faster pace this season, and he’s a high upside tournament option tonight.
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