Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics have both been slowing the pace down this season, ranking only 28th and 22nd in the NBA in pace in 2018. Cleveland has also struggled offensively, ranking only 24th in the league in offensive rating this season. Boston, on the other hand, has featured an elite defense, ranking second in the NBA in defensive rating through 21 games. The Cavs are +12.5 point underdogs in a game set at 206 points, and they feature an implied team total of only 96.8 points tonight.
At this point, I don’t expect any team to feature a full “Chalk Stack.” I do believe there will be two Cleveland players owned relatively high, although that may change as injuries are announced throughout the day. Larry Nance Jr. has taken on a major role for the Cavs recently, playing 36 and 38 minutes in his last two games. He struggled against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but scored 37.5 DK points against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has performed well when given the chance this season, averaging 11.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.0 block on a per-36 minute basis. He’s in a great spot to get back on track, even in a tough matchup. Tristan Thompson is another player that is coming off of a bad game, but will feature ownership tonight. Even with a bad game against the Thunder, Thompson is averaging 13.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals (32.8 DK points) in 34.5 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has scored 34+ DK points in four of his last five games, including a 53 DK point performance against the Houston Rockets. Keep an eye on the Cavs injury report, though, as Nance could potentially lose minutes if players like Sam Dekker and David Nwaba return from injury.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
This game is the opposite of the one listed above, as the Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards currently rank seventh and sixth in the NBA in pace this season. Philadelphia has also featured an above average offense through 23 games, ranking 12th in the NBA in offensive rating. Most importantly, Washington owns one of the worst defenses in the league, ranking 29th in defensive rating this season. The Sixers are -7.5 point favorites in a game set at 236 points, giving them the highest implied team total on the slate at 121.8 points.
Joel Embiid has been an elite player for the Sixers the entire season. He leads the team with a 33.0% usage rating, while averaging 28.0 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.0 blocks in 34.6 minutes per game. He has scored 55+ DK points in five of his last six games, as well, including three games with 59+ DK points. Wilson Chandler hasn’t been an elite option while on the court, but he’ll see plenty of playing time for a cheap price tag. Over the last 10 days, Chandler is averaging 7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists (17.9 DK points) in 30.5 minutes per game. He has been heating up a bit recently, as well, scoring 20+ DK points in three of his last four games. He makes Embiid and Ben Simmons’, the final part of this stack, price tags a bit more reasonable. Simmons only played 24 minutes in his last game, but he had scored 40+ DK points in each of his five games previous to that. In those games, he’s averaging 19.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 1.0 block, and 1.6 steals (47.1 DK points) in 36.2 minutes per game. He’s expected to play minutes in the mid-30s once again tonight, and he’s a relatively safe option to fill out a high upside stack.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been playing at a surprisingly fast pace this season, ranking ninth in the NBA in pace through 20 games. Still, they’ll see a massive uptick in pace tonight, as they get a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, who lead the league in pace this season. The Thunder only rank 20th in the NBA in offensive rating this season, while the Hawks rank 20th in defensive rating. Overall, the Thunder are -13 point favorites in a game set at 229 points. They own an implied total of 121 points tonight.
The Thunder are in a great spot tonight, but they could potentially go a bit overlooked, as this game is expected to be a blow out. Russell Westbrook has looked outstanding this season, scoring 50+ DK points in each of his last five games. Over that span, he’s averaging 21.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, 11.0 assists, and 2.0 steals (61.3 DK points) in 36.1 minutes per game. Paul George is a player that tends to go overlooked when Westbrook is active, but this duo has proven that they can play together. PG13 has seen his price tag drop quite a bit recently, but he’s averaging 22.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.2 steals (44.4 DK points) in 34.5 minutes per game. Excluding a blowout against the Cleveland Cavaliers in their last game, George has scored 40+ DK points in nine consecutive games, including five games with 50+ DK points. There are a few viable options to fill out this stack, but I’m taking the salary relief of Jerami Grant. He has scored 20+ DK points in nine of his last 10 games, including three games with more than 30 DK points. Overall, Grant is averaging 13.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks (25.6 DK points) in 32.1 minutes per game. He’s an extremely cheap option, who is likely locked into big minutes, and Grant is an athletic player that will benefit from the pace of this game. This isn’t the cheapest stack on the slate, but there are a plethora of great salary relief options on this slate, as you’ll see below.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Okobo has only played in 12 games this season, averaging 7.1 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists (13.6 DK points) in 16.3 minutes per game. The Phoenix Suns recently released Isaiah Canaan, forcing Okobo into 32 minutes in his last game. That was the first time Okobo saw the court in some time, but he scored 19 points with two rebounds, four assists, and three steals (33.5 DK points) against the Los Angeles Clippers.
With Canaan out of town, Okobo is expected to play 25+ minutes once again tonight. He doesn’t come with an elite usage rating, but should see plenty of opportunities to score fantasy points in this game. He gets a solid matchup against the Orlando Magic in a game that could score a sneaky amount of points. Okobo is currently the minimum price on DraftKings, and he’s an elite salary relief option tonight.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Baynes has quietly been enjoying a solid season, although he hasn’t seen the court for more than minutes in the teens on a near nightly basis. Through 18 games, he’s averaging 5.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists (14.8 DK points) in only 14.4 minutes per game. He has seen 20+ minutes in two of his last three games, averaging 25.0 DK points in those games. Baynes is also averaging 1.16 DK points per minute at home this season.
He is expected to play minutes in the mid-20s tonight with Al Horford ruled out for rest. He gets a great matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have struggled at times against big men this season. Baynes has been a dominant option on a per minute basis this season, and he’s an “avoid at your own risk” type of player on this slate.
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