Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers have been playing around average paces this season, ranking 11th and 15th in the NBA in pace, respectively. Houston has quietly struggled this season, ranking only 21st in the league in offensive rating. This is also a relatively tough matchup for Houston, as Los Angeles ranks eighth in the NBA in defensive rating. Still, the Rockets are -4 point favorites in a game set at 218.5 points, giving them an implied total of 111.3 points.
James Harden and James Ennis have been ruled out for the game tonight, opening value on the Houston team. Gerald Green will likely be one of the highest owned players on the slate, as he’ll be forced into minutes in the mid- to high-20s tonight. We’ve seen Green find success in big minutes before, and he’s averaging 17.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists on a per-36 minute basis in his career. Green’s price tag will make fitting Chris Paul, who is returning from suspension, an easy task. He’ll run the offense, and could see his usage rating increase to over 30%. In two games with Harden, Paul is averaging 23.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.5 steals in 31.0 minutes per game. We don’t particularly get him at a discount, but he’s an elite option tonight. The final part of the stack is Carmelo Anthony, who is a bit too cheap for his new role. He could draw the start tonight, and he should play minutes in the 30s with an increased usage rating. In his last game, Melo scored 22 points with seven rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal in 39 minutes. He’s another cheap part of an elite Houston stack.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans come with a plethora of potential, as they lead the NBA in offensive rating, while ranking second in the league in pace. They’ll see a downtick in pace against the Brooklyn Nets tonight, but Brooklyn is a young team that likely won’t be afraid to match New Orleans’ pace if this turns into a shootout. Brooklyn also features a slightly above average defense, but New Orleans features an offense that can score against the best defenses in the NBA. The Pelicans are -9.5 point favorites in a game set at 233 points, and they feature the highest implied total on the slate at 121.3 points.
Anthony Davis has been one of the best players in the NBA this season. He’s averaging 30.3 points, 13.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and 3.3 blocks in 35.3 minutes per game. Surprisingly, he has only posted a 27.6% usage rating, but he has scored 67.75 and 77 DK points in his only two full games this season. Nikola Mirotic is another focal point of the offense, as he leads the team with a 29.2% usage rating. He’s averaging a healthy 30.3 minutes per game, totaling 28.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. Mirotic is somewhat comes off of a bad game, but he still flashed tremendous upside in that outing. Jrue Holiday fills out the stack, and he adds a bit more risk and upside to the lineup. He’s only averaging 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 9.0 assists, and 2.3 steals in 34.3 minutes per game, but he’s also only shooting 31.6% from the field. He scored 43.5 DK points in only 27 minutes against the Sacramento Kings, and he’s a player that comes with a plethora of upside, specifically for his price tag. He also has 8+ assists in each of his three games this season, adding extra value to this stack.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks will be playing in a relatively fast paced game tonight, as they rank 14th in the NBA in pace, while their opponents, the Golden State Warriors, currently rank seventh in the league in pace. Golden State also ranks as an above average team in terms of defensive rating, but this game features a projected total of 226.5 points. The Knicks are sizeable underdogs, but they still possess an implied total of 107.3 points.
Damyean Dotson has taken over for the Knicks a bit recently, as he’s averaging 17.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, and 1.5 steals in 33.0 minutes per game over his last two games. He has taken double digit shot attempts in each of those games, and his role is expected to remain the same tonight. Tim Hardaway Jr. leads the Knicks with a 31.0% usage rating early this season. He has turned that into 24.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals in 31.8 minutes per game. He has also attempted 20+ shots in four of his five games this season. If New York wants to keep this game relatively close, Hardaway will need to be heavily leaned on for his scoring. Enes Kanter is the final piece of the puzzle. He was able to double double in each of his first four games before seeing limited playing time in a blowout loss to the Miami Heat. He’s averaging 41.1 DK points per game in his first four games, and Kanter makes a sneaky option on this slate.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
I have already outlined Dotson above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He’s a cheap option that’s locked into big minutes for the Knicks. He has also seen proven results over his last two games, and he should be in line for more opportunities in a fast paced game tonight. Dotson is an option that may go a bit overlooked tonight, especially on FanDuel, but he comes with more than enough upside to cover his price tag. He can also be considered in cash games, specifically on DraftKings.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
I have already outlined Green above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He will be one of the highest owned players on the slate, and it would be risky to avoid him. He needs very few fantasy points to hit value, and he could play upwards of 30 minutes tonight. This is a player where you simply need to eat the chalk and move on.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)
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