Since it’s a short four-game slate (finally), we’re going to take a look at the featured Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Trail Blazers and Pelicans. There is a lot to unpack before we get going with analysis, so let’s take a look at the injuries.
— Damian Lillard has already been ruled out for the Blazers due to back spasms.
— Brandon Ingram (knee), Lonzo Ball (adductor) and Frank Jackson (neck) are all questionable for New Orleans.
— Josh Hart (ankle) and Derrick Favors (back) are out, while Jahlil Okafor (ankle) is doubtful to play for the Pels.
— Carmelo Anthony is expected to make his Blazers’ debut after officially signing his one-year, non-guaranteed contract Tuesday.
— Right now the line on DraftKings Sportsbook favors the Pelicans by half a point. This should continue to move in NOLA’s favor, though the injuries could shift things. The O/U is set at 230 right now, a bit down, but still highest on the four-game slate.
Who should you use in the Captain’s slot?
I think there are two stud options, though it will depend on a bit on injuries. CJ McCollum ($13,200) is the top choice with Dame sidelined. He’s been shooting the ball well, entering the game 14-for-30 from three-point range in his past three games. He should see upwards of 36-38 minutes, will be the primary ball-handler and focal point of Portland’s offense.
On the other side, Jrue Holiday ($14,400) would be a great choice if Ingram, Ball and Jackson are all out. Like CJ, Holiday would be the focal point for the Pels on offense, dominate the ball and see high usage and minutes. Both have the highest ceilings in this game. I also like Ingram ($12,000) if he is healthy and plays. He’d likely go under-owned depending on when news drops.
As for values in the Captain’s spot, Anfernee Simons ($6,900) — nice — should back up McCollum and could see 20+ minutes with Lillard out. Simons wouldn’t need to do much, but he’s got a decent floor given the price and would open up the ability to play multiple high-priced players in the FLEX slots. Kent Bazemore ($5,400) also isn’t a bad option as a scorer with Dame out.
How to fill out the rest of your lineup
If we lock in CJ, that gives us around $7.3K on average for the remaining five spots. I think after this it’s important to work from high-priced players down, mostly because there aren’t many players in the FLEX with high salaries outside of Jrue ($9,600). So if you lock those two in, we’re at $6.8K on average. If Ingram is out, we can almost certainly lock in CJ, Jrue and Hassan Whiteside ($7,200). But it looks as if we may need to leave salary on the table, so picking the rest of the lineup will be crucial.
I think in a potentially high-scoring game we should target as many shooters as possible. J.J. Redick ($6,000) and Rodney Hood ($5,200) fit this mold to a T. Depending on who is IN/OUT for NOLA, E’Twaun Moore ($5,000) should at least see a ton of minutes, ideally we get either Ingram or Ball in there if they’re active so we aren’t leaving $2-3K on the table, but hey, that’s show biz baby!