Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans have been pushing the pace early this season, ranking third in the NBA in pace through 24 games. They get a great matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, who have also been pushing the pace, ranking eighth in the league in pace thus far. Los Angeles currently ranks 13th in the NBA in defensive rating, as well, while New Orleans ranks fifth in the offensive rating. The Pelicans are currently -2.5 point favorites in a game set at 236.5 points, and they feature one of the highest implied totals on the slate at 199.5 points.
Anthony Davis will likely be one of the highest owned players on the slate, and for good reason. He leads the team with a 28.1% usage rating, and he has been playing at an elite level recently. Over the last 10 days, Davis is averaging 33.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.2 blocks, and 1.4 steals (64.8 DK points) in 36.2 minutes per game. He has scored 65+ DK points in three of his last four games, including an 80.25 DK point performance against the Charlotte Hornets. Davis scored 67.75 DK points in his only matchup against the Clippers this season. Jrue Holiday has called off quite a bit recently, scoring less than 40 DK points in four of his last five games. He has been a consistent option for the majority of the season, though, and he’s still averaging 20.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 1.3 steals (40.1 DK points) in 36.2 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Holiday will be locked into big minutes, and even in his struggles, he makes a great option in a plus matchup tonight. Tim Frazier has taken on a starting role for the Pelicans, and he has looked outstanding in that role. Over his last three games (starts), he’s averaging 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 10.0 assists (30.4 DK points) in 33.0 minutes per game. Frazier likely won’t command much ownership on this slate, but he’s a cheap way to fill out this stack. He also comes with tremendous upside, while making Davis and Holiday a bit more affordable in this stack.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors have been playing at a surprisingly slow pace in 2018, ranking only 17th in the NBA in pace through 24 games. They will see a massive uptick in pace tonight, though, as they face off against the Atlanta Hawks, who lead the NBA in pace this season. Golden State has featured one of the best offenses in the NBA, though, ranking third in the league in offensive rating. Atlanta has struggled a bit defensively, ranking 19th in the league in defensive rating in 2018. The Warriors are -10.5 point favorites in a game set at 236 points. They own the highest implied total on the slate by nearly four points at 123.3 points.
Stephen Curry recently returned from injury, playing 36 minutes against the Detroit Pistons. On the season, he is averaging 29.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.1 steals (47.9 DK points) in 33.3 minutes per game. He has seen his price tag drop significantly because of his injury, but Atlanta features one of the worst backcourt defenses in the NBA. Curry has also posted a 32.3% usage rating throughout the season, and that will likely continue tonight. Kevin Durant leads the team in that category this season, though, posting a 32.9% usage rating through 24 games. That has certainly increased with Curry injured, but Durant will continue to be a focal point of the offense tonight. Over the last 10 days, he’s averaging 40.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 1.8 blocks (68.0 DK points) in 40.0 minutes per game. He struggled a bit with Curry back in his last game, but still played 40 minutes. Atlanta simply doesn’t have anyone that can guard Durant, and he’s in a great spot with Draymond Green injured once again. The Warriors are dealing with multiple injuries to their big men, leaving Kevon Looney to take over extra minutes. He has performed well on the season, averaging 5.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists (16.7 DK points) in only 18.6 minutes per game. He has played 20+ minutes in five of his last six games, and he’ll be locked into 20+ minutes again tonight with Green, DeMarcus Cousins, and Damian Jones all injured. Looney could also potentially see extended run in a blowout.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
Los Angeles Clippers
This game has been outlined a bit above, and it will feature the fastest pace on the slate. The Los Angeles Clippers have found plenty of offensive success this season, ranking fourth in the NBA in offensive rating through 22 games. This is also a great matchup, as the New Orleans Pelicans only rank 24th in the league in defensive rating. As mentioned above, this game features a projected game total of 236.5 points. The Clippers are +2.5 point underdogs, giving them an implied total of 117 points on this slate.
It’s a bit surprising that the Clippers could be low owned tonight, but certain players will command lower ownership than others. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been starting and will likely go overlooked with Lou Williams slightly cheaper. Over the last 10 days, SGA is averaging 11.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.0 block, and 1.2 steals (25.4 DK points) in 28.5 minutes per game. He has scored 33.75 and 37.75 DK points in two of his last three games, and he will benefit from the pace and extra opportunities for peripheral stats. Montrezl Harrell has been playing at a high level for quite some time, and he’s averaging 20.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.0 steal (38.8 DK points) in 29.0 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He’s an athletic big, who should find plenty of minutes in this matchup. He also is averaged 1.24 DK points per minute in his first matchup against the Pelicans this season. Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari both make low owned options, who can be considered, but I’m siding slightly with Harris. He has struggled at times recently, but he has posted 43 and 53.75 DK points in two of his last four games. In his only matchup against the Pelicans this season, Harris posted a 26/9/3/1 line (44.3 DK points) in 37.3 minutes. Avoiding Lou Williams is a risky strategy tonight, but has the potential to pay off big time in tournaments.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Burks continues to be a cheap option, and I’ll continue to attack him until his price tag jumps. In his career, he’s averaging 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.0 steal on a per-36 minute basis. He has played two games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.5 steals (27.3 DK points) in 25.0 minutes per game. These are normal lines for Burks when he’s given the opportunity.
He’s expected to play minutes in the mid-20s once again tonight. He gets a solid matchup against the Brooklyn Nets, although this game is going to be one of the slowest paced on the season. Burks has posted a 26.4% usage rating with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, and that could potentially be the case tonight. He’s an elite salary relief option on a seven game slate tonight.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Thompson isn’t exactly “cheap” or “hidden,” but he’s entirely too cheap for how well he has been playing. Over the last 10 days, he’s averaging 14.2 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.5 steals (37.7 DK points) in 36.1 minutes per game. He struggled a few games ago, but he posted 37+ DK points in five consecutive games (excluding his performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder).
Thompson will continue to see the same role in the Cavs rotation, and he should see minutes in the high-30s or low-40s tonight. He gets an elite matchup against the Brooklyn Nets, who rank 30th in the NBA against centers. We’ve been attacking centers against the Nets the entire season, and there’s no reason to stop that in this matchup. For what it’s worth, I would have recommended Kevon Looney here, who is mentioned above, if I didn’t swap to Thompson, who can be used in all leagues.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)