Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers make up the “Chalk Stack” again tonight. They currently rank second in the NBA in pace, but their preseason goal was to lead the league in pace this season. Their opponents, the Denver Nuggets, have been playing at an average pace this season, but both teams feature above average offenses. This game is projected to be far and away the highest scoring game on the slate, although the Lakers are small underdogs. Still, the total is set at 236.5 points, and Los Angeles features an implied total of 116.8 points tonight.
LeBron James has seen his usage rating increase to over 30% with Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram suspended. In those two games, James is averaging 25.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 12.0 assists, and 2.0 steals in 35.5 minutes per game. He scored 67 DK points in his only full game before scoring 50.75 DK points in 28 minutes in a blowout against the Phoenix Suns. Kyle Kuzma has also seen increased usage, scoring 37 points with eight rebounds and three assists in 45 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs. He only scored 25.5 DK points in his last game, but he also only played 29 minutes in a blowout win. Kuzma will be back in a featured role with big minutes in what should be a much closer game tonight. Lonzo Ball will also likely command ownership for the Lakers tonight. In two games without Rondo and Ingram, he has scored 33.25 and 33.5 DK points in 28 and 33 minutes, respectively. He is a versatile player that can contribute in multiple categories on a nightly basis. Ball fills out this stack with a safe option for a reasonable price tag. Josh Hart and JaVale McGee, who is my favorite Laker tonight, can also be considered, but I anticipate the first three options getting more ownership in this matchup.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
This game has already been outlined above. It’s a small slate, and there are limited options, and this game features the highest projected total by a wide margin. There are a plethora of cheap options in good positions, meaning we could potentially see lower ownership on Denver’s players, even with a 119.8 implied total.
Jamal Murray has seen somewhat limited usage this season, as it sits only slightly above 20% through four games. He’s a player that relies heavily on scoring, making him significantly more appealing in this type of game. In two games with double digit points, Murray is averaging 36.5 DK points per game. Nikola Jokic leads the Nuggets starters in usage rating this season, and he makes an elite option. Through four games, he’s averaging 23.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.5 steals in only 29.6 minutes per game. He has also flashed 80+ DK point upside, yet Jokic likely will not be the highest owned center eligible player tonight. There are multiple options to fill out this stack, but I’ll take a small discount on Paul Millsap. Millsap’s price tag has dropped after scoring 25.75 and 21.5 DK points in only 22 and 26 minutes in his last two games. He looked significantly better in his first two games of the season, as he’s averaging 12.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.5 blocks, and 1.0 steal in 31.0 minutes per game. He’s expected to play around 30 minutes tonight, and Millsap should be significantly more expensive in this matchup.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Fournier has quietly caught fire recently. In his first two games, he averaged 12.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists (20.5 DK points) in 24.5 minutes per game. He has been playing at a high level over his last two games, averaging a 22.5/5.0/6.5 line (42.0 DK points) in 33.5 minutes per game. He leads the Orlando Magic with a 26.8% usage rating this season, as well.
Fournier should see a similar role tonight, as he’s expected to play 30+ minutes once again. He’ll likely lead the team in shot attempts, once again, while being one of the primary facilitators in the offense. Fournier comes with some triple double potential, although that’s highly unlikely. Still, he’s entirely too cheap on DraftKings, and he can be locked into all leagues tonight.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Larry Nance Jr.
Nance has looked good in limited playing time this season. Through two games, Nance is averaging 6.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.0 steal in only 18.5 minutes per game. Overall, he’s averaging 1.08 DK points per minute this season. While Nance has found success in limited minutes this season, he only owns a 19.5% usage rating.
He will see a significantly larger role with Kevin Love injured. Love has already been ruled out for tonight, which could potentially thrust Nance into the starting lineup. He should see minutes in the mid-20s, and he could see a small uptick in usage rating tonight, as well. Nance will likely be the highest owned player on this slate, and for good reason. He’s an “avoid at your own risk” type of player in all leagues.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)
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