Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans are dealing with multiple injuries tonight, making their healthy bodies chalk options. They currently rank fourth in the NBA in pace, and they get a matchup against the Denver Nuggets, who rank 13th in the league in pace. Denver has featured an elite defense this season, but New Orleans currently ranks second in the NBA in offensive rating thus far. The Pelicans are sizeable underdogs in a game set at 229.5 points, and they feature an implied total of 110.3 points tonight.
Anthony Davis, Elfrid Payton, and Darius Miller have all been ruled out for this game. Julius Randle is expected to draw the start at center for Davis tonight. He leads the team with a 27.4% usage rating this season, and that could increase a bit more tonight. He’s also averaging a ridiculous 1.36 DK points per minute in 2018. Randle should see minutes in the high-20s or low-30s tonight, as well. Nikola Mirotic, who has looked great in four of his five games this season, will also see a larger offensive role. On the season, he’s averaging 16.8 shot attempts per game. He has turned those into 23.8 points to go along with 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 28.4 minutes per game. Jrue Holiday is the final part of this stack. He’ll be forced to play more point guard with Payton injured, and he should also expect more usage tonight. He’s expected to see minutes in the high-30s, and he has scored 30+ DK points in each of his last four games. Each of these players come with reasonable price tags for their upside, and this should end as one of the top per dollar stacks on the slate.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Philadelphia 76ers have been playing at an above average pace this season, ranking 11th in the NBA in pace through six games. They will see a major uptick in pace tonight, as their opponents, the Atlanta Hawks, lead the NBA in pace by a somewhat large margin. Surprisingly, Atlanta ranks as an above average defense this season, while Philadelphia has featured a below average offense. Still, the Sixers are -11 point favorites in a game set at 231.5 points, giving them the highest implied total on the slate at 121.3 points.
Joel Embiid has featured a 32.1% usage rating this season, and he has been one of the best fantasy options in the NBA. Through six games, he’s averaging 29.2 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 2.3 blocks in 35.5 minutes per game. He has scored 50+ fantasy points in each of his last five games, as well. Ben Simmons has been another focal point of the offense, but due to his versatility rather than his 22.9% usage rating. Excluding the game Simmons was injured during, he’s averaging 15.0 points, 13.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 1.8 steals in 36.8 minutes per game. He has also triple doubled in two of those games, and he comes with tremendous triple double potential in this matchup. It’s difficult choosing between JJ Redick and Dario Saric for the final part of this stack, but I’m siding slightly with Redick. He has played 32+ minutes in each of his last four games, and he’s averaging 37.2 DK points per game over that span. He’s a player that focuses heavily on scoring, and he will have plenty of opportunities to score tonight. He also comes with a surprisingly cheap price tag for his recent production.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Dallas Mavericks are an interesting team, as they rank 14th in the NBA in pace and 18th in offensive rating through six games. They get a matchup against the San Antonio Spurs, who rank only 29th in the NBA in pace this season. With that being said, they also rank last in the league in defensive rating. The Mavericks are sizeable underdogs in a game set at 214.5 points, and they only feature an implied total of 103.5 points tonight.
Harrison Barnes returned to the Mavericks two games ago, and he has immediately been a focal point of the offense. He’s averaging 15.0 shot attempts per game, while playing 31.5 minutes. He hasn’t found elite results early on, but he comes with an extremely low price tag, and he’s a relatively safe option, who also comes with tremendous upside. The Spurs have featured one of the best defenses in the NBA against the center, but it’s difficult to ignore DeAndre Jordan tonight. He has looked outstanding this season, recording 15.3 points, 14.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.8 blocks (43.6 DK points) in 33.2 minutes per game. He has also scored 51.75 and 46.75 DK points in his last two games. Luka Doncic is questionable tonight, but if he’s starting, he makes a great option. He is leading the Mavericks with 35.0 minutes per game, turning those into 18.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. If Doncic is forced to miss this game, Dennis Smith Jr. and Wesley Matthews will both see an uptick in value tonight. Dallas isn’t a stack that can be trusted in cash games, but they come with more than enough upside to be considered in tournaments on this slate.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Brogdon has featured mixed results early this season, as he’s averaging 12.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in 31.1 minutes per game. He has flashed 35 DK point upside, but he also owns two games with fewer than 20 DK points. He has only seen a 15.8% usage rating this season, as well, but his efficiency (49.1% field goal percentage) has kept him relevant.
Brogdon will be locked into big minutes tonight, as he’s expected to see minutes in the mid- to high-30s. He’s also expected to see an uptick in usage rating tonight, as Giannis Antetokounmpo has been ruled out. There will be shot attempts, rebounds, and assists open with Antetokounmpo out, and Brogdon is a versatile player that can contribute in this offense. He’s a relatively safe option, who can be considered in all leagues tonight.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Siakam has quietly looked outstanding on a per minute basis this season. Through six games, he’s averaging 12.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.0 block on a per-36 minute basis. He has flashed double double potential in limited minutes on the court this season, although he has started five of his six games.
Siakam will draw the start once again tonight. He’s expected to play significantly bigger minutes tonight with Kawhi Leonard and OG Anunoby out. Siakam is tentatively expected to play 30+ minutes tonight, and he still comes with an extremely low price tag. He is almost guaranteed to hit value tonight, and he could be the highest owned player on the entire slate.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)