Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Memphis Grizzlies have been playing at the slowest pace in the NBA through 12 games this season. They will see a massive uptick in pace against the Milwaukee Bucks, who currently rank fifth in the NBA in pace in 2018. Milwaukee has featured a dominant defense, ranking third in the league in defensive rating, while Memphis ranks only 24th in the league in offensive rating. The Grizzlies are +10 point underdogs in a game set at 215 points, and they only feature an implied total of 102.5 points tonight.
There isn’t only one “Chalk Stack” tonight, but the value for Memphis will likely draw some ownership, regardless of their Vegas line. Dillon Brooks has been ruled out for the next six-to-eight weeks, leaving Marshon Brooks to play bigger minutes. In his first game without Brooks, he scored 15.5 DK points in 23 minutes. He currently ranks second on the team with a 24.9% usage rating, and he’ll see similar minutes tonight. For the near minimum price tag, it’s difficult to avoid a scorer as good as Brooks. Shelvin Mack is another guard that is entirely too cheap tonight. He has scored 20+ DK points in six of his last seven games, failing to top 20 DK points in his only game with fewer than 20 minutes. Overall, he’s averaging 25.7 DK points per game over that span. He’s also likely to see minutes in the high-20s tonight with Brooks injured. Mike Conley, Kyle Anderson, Garrett Temple, and Jaren Jackson Jr can all be considered to round out this stack, but Marc Gasol will likely feature the most ownership. He has been playing at an extremely high level recently, scoring 40+ DK points in six of his last 10 games, including a pair of games with 50+ DK points. He has been a complete player on the season, averaging 14.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.9 steals in 33.7 minutes per game. It seems likely that Brook Lopez will guard Gasol for the majority of the game, and he simply doesn’t have the defensive skill set to slow him down.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Minnesota Wolves and New Orleans Pelicans will be playing in one of the fastest paced games on the slate. These two teams rank ninth and fourth in the NBA in pace, respectively. Minnesota has featured an average offense, ranking 15th in the league in offensive rating through 14 games. New Orleans hasn’t found similar defensive success, as they only rank 26th in the league in defensive rating this season. The Wolves are currently -1 point favorites in a game set at 235.5 points, giving them the highest implied total on the slate at 118.3 points.
Minnesota features a plethora of questionable players tonight, which makes them somewhat difficult to outline as a stack. Karl-Anthony Towns is not one of them, though, and he makes an outstanding option. He has posted a 24.9% usage rating this season, and he has simply looked like a different player with Jimmy Butler off of the court. Overall, he has scored 50+ DK points in five of his last eight games, including four games with 59+ DK points. He’s also averaging 1.46 DK points per minute at home this season, as opposed to 1.21 DK points per minute on the road. Andrew Wiggins is another player that will benefit from the absence of Butler, but he’s questionable tonight. He has been a relatively consistent option, scoring 26+ DK points in each of his last nine healthy games. He comes with a surprisingly low price tag, and he makes an outstanding option if he’s announced as healthy tonight. Jeff Teague recently returned from injury, scoring 24 points with one rebound, 11 assists, and three steals (47.25 DK points) in 35 minutes in his first game back. He’s questionable tonight, but he’s entirely too cheap if he’s active. On the season, he’s averaging 30.1 DK points per game, and his price tag will skyrocket as he continues to get healthy.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Toronto Raptors have been playing at an above average pace this season, ranking 12th in the NBA in pace thus far. The Detroit Pistons also rank 15th in the league in pace, meaning we’ll have another above average paced game tonight. Toronto has also found elite offensive success, ranking third in the NBA in offensive rating through 14 games. This is a tough matchup, though, as Detroit currently ranks eighth in the league in defensive rating. While this is a matchup of offense versus defense, the Raptors are -9.5 point favorites in a game set at 224 points. They own an implied total of 116.8 points tonight.
Toronto is a team that is seemingly overlooked on a near nightly basis. They continue to feature one of the best offenses in the NBA, starting with Kawhi Leonard. Leonard leads the team with a 29.3% usage rating, turning that into 24.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.6 steals in 32.6 minutes per game. He has cooled off a bit over his last two games, but he has been a consistent option, who comes with tremendous upside for the majority of the season. Kyle Lowry has also cooled off recently, but he has been enjoying an outstanding season. Through 14 games, he’s averaging 16.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 11.0 assists, and 1.4 steals (42.1 DK points) in 33.3 minutes per game. Serge Ibaka has been one of the most underappreciated fantasy options this season, and that will likely continue tonight. Over his last five games, he’s averaging 1.5 DK points per minute. Overall, he’s averaging 19.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists (36.8 DK points) in only 24.4 minutes per game. He’s no longer a cheap option, but he’s expected to play minutes in the high-20s tonight. The Raptors aren’t the safest stack on the slate, but they come with tremendous upside and should feature relatively low ownership.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
I’ve talked about multiple guards in the Memphis Grizzlies stack, but I’ll outline Anderson here. He has struggled a bit this season, averaging 5.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals (20.3 DK points) in 27.2 minutes per game. He has been forced into bigger minutes recently, though, and he has found success over his last four games. Over that span, he’s averaging an 8.3/8.8/3.0/0.3/1.8 line in 33.3 minutes per game.
Anderson will continue to be locked into big minutes, as Memphis deals with multiple injuries. He gets somewhat of a tough matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, but the fast pace they play at will allow more opportunities for Anderson to score fantasy points. He’s a versatile guard, who can contribute in each of the five categories, and the pace of this game makes him a safe option that can be considered in all leagues.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Larry Nance Jr.
Nance has always been a dominant per minute player, and that has been the case once again this season. Through 11 games, he’s averaging 12.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.0 block on a per-36 minute basis. He has seen his role increase recently, as he has played 35 and 31 minutes in his last two games. He has failed to score double digit points in each game, but was still able to record 27.5 and 30.5 DK points.
The Cleveland Cavaliers look as if they are finally ready to lock Nance into big minutes, and he should see 30+ minutes again tonight. He gets a great matchup against the Washington Wizards, who have struggled to rebound the ball this season. This is important, as rebounding is arguably Nance’s best attribute. He’s only going to be this cheap for so long if he continues to play big minutes, so we need to take advantage of it while we can.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)
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