Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings will be playing the fastest paced game on the slate. These two teams rank fourth and second in the NBA in pace, respectively. Surprisingly, Los Angeles only ranks 17th in the league in offensive rating, but Sacramento only ranks 22nd in the NBA in defensive rating. In a plus matchup, the Lakers are +4 point underdogs in a game set at 231 points. Los Angeles still features a respectable implied total of 113.5 points tonight.
The Lakers will be without Rajon Rondo and LeBron James, who have already been ruled out. Lonzo Ball will be locked into big minutes, and he’s averaging 0.91 DK points per minute on the season. He’ll also see an uptick in usage rating, as the offense will run through him a bit more without James active. Through 34 games, Ball is averaging 8.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.5 steals (26.0 DK points) in 28.6 minutes per game. He’s expected to see minutes in the high-30s tonight, and Ball comes with 40+ DK point upside for an extremely low price tag. Lance Stephenson is expected to step into a larger role and play minutes in the mid-20s tonight. He’s also expected to see a usage rating sitting around 24-26% without James in the lineup. He has scored 25+ DK points in each of his last three games with 23 minutes, and he’s averaging a healthy 1.05 DK points per minute on the season. Stephenson also needed only 13.5 minutes to score 19.25 DK points against Sacramento earlier this season. He’s another cheap option, who should have no problems exceeding value on this slate. If JaVale McGee is ruled out, Ivica Zubac can slide into this stack, but Kyle Kuzma makes the cut at the moment. Kuzma is averaging 18.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists (32.6 DK points) in 37.1 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Kuzma is expected to see a boost in usage tonight, and he’ll take on a larger offensive role. He consistently scored 40+ DK points when Brandon Ingram was injured, and he could see similar shot attempts with James out tonight. The Lakers are one of the safest stacks in an elite matchup, meaning they will feature quite a bit of ownership tonight.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Milwaukee Bucks have been pushing the pace throughout the 2018 season, ranking sixth in the NBA in pace thus far. They get a matchup against the New York Knicks, who currently rank 13th in the league in pace this season. Milwaukee also features an elite offense, ranking third in the NBA in offensive rating. New York hasn’t been as lucky defensively, ranking 29th in the league in defensive rating in 2018. The Bucks are -14.5 point favorites in a game set at 227.5 points, giving them the highest implied total on the slate at 121 points.
There are a few Bucks players that could feature ownership tonight – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton – but we’re going to leave them out of this tournament stack. Malcolm Brogdon is the first player that needs to be mentioned. Since returning from injury, he’s averaging 14.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.3 steals (32.6 DK points) in only 26.0 minutes per game. He needed only 27 minutes to score 37.25 DK points against New York in his last game, and he comes with similar upside tonight. Brook Lopez is another player that has somewhat been overlooked for Milwaukee. He’s only averaging 9.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.6 blocks (22.4 DK points) in 25.6 minutes per game over the last 10 days, but he has scored 25+ DK points in seven of his last nine games, including three games with 30+ DK points. Lopez is also averaging a 15.3/5.7/1.3/2.3/0.3 line (30.1 DK points) in 29.3 minutes per game against New York this season. Eric Bledsoe has cooled off recently, but he still features quite a bit of upside. He has also been an elite option at home, where he’s averaging 1.25 DK points per minute, as opposed to 0.99 DK points per minute on the road. Bledsoe is also averaging 18.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 1.7 steals (41.1 DK points) in 32.2 minutes per game against the Knicks this season. The focus of a Bucks stack will be on Antetokounmpo and Middleton, meaning we can still find a stack in arguably the best team on the slate.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
I have outlined Ball above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He’s averaging a bit under 1.0 DK point per minute this season, and he’s expected to be locked into minutes in the high-30s tonight. There’s built in value to his price tag because of the injuries to LeBron James and Rajon Rondo. He also gets an elite matchup against the Sacramento Kings, who rank 27th in the NBA against point guards. There’s no real reason to avoid Ball on this slate.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
I have outlined Stephenson above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He has consistently found success when given the minutes, and he’s expected to see minutes in the mid-20s tonight. The Sacramento Kings have also struggled against small forwards this season, and Stephenson makes one of the best salary relief options on the slate. He can be considered in all leagues, especially if you need a bit of salary relief.
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