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Best lineup strategy for Nuggets vs. Suns NBA Showdown

The Nuggets enter Monday on a six-game winning streak, looking to gain ground on the Lakers in the West. We break down the DEN-PHX Showdown on DraftKings.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic controls the ball against Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo during the second half at Staples Center. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets are starting to play offense and things could get scary at the top of the Western Conference. Denver just knocked off the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, though L.A. was without LeBron James (back). Still, it was an impressive win and now the Nuggets are up to six wins in a row. All the “Nikola Jokic is out of shape” talks have quieted down, mostly because it doesn’t seem to matter what type of shape he’s in. Joker is still one of the most versatile players in the NBA. Jamal Murray is shooting the ball well, the Nuggets are deep, and are beginning to look like the team many believed we’d see going into 2019-20.

As for the Phoenix Suns, well, they’ve fallen from grace a bit after starting the season hot. Devin Booker (forearm) isn’t 100% and they haven’t really been able to shake off the injury bug. Ricky Rubio is questionable to play tonight and Deandre Ayton is dealing with an ankle injury after returning from his 25-game suspension for PED use. Anyway, let’s look at how to approach roster construction for tonight’s Showdown on DraftKings.

UPDATE: The Suns released their injury report for tonight.

Captain’s Picks

The obvious choice is Jokic ($16,500) for the Captain’s slot. He’s got the highest ceiling of any player in this game; maybe I’d consider Booker ($14,400), but he’s expensive given he’s pretty much playing hurt. If Rubio is sidelined tonight, I’d give a hard look at Ellie Okobo ($6,000), who is dirt cheap for the Captain’s slot. Okobo dropped 17 points with four boards and three assists in almost 30 minutes last game. I can also be talked into Kelly Oubre Jr. ($12,300) if Rubio sits as well. Booker isn’t 100%, so Oubre would likely be the featured backcourt scorer.

FLEX Options

If you opt to captain someone cheap like Okobo, you’ll have a lot of options to fill out the rest of your lineup. What I mean is you can essentially craft any lineup you want. Jokic ($11,000) is the only player in the FLEX spot priced above $10K, so he’s basically a lock tonight. I don’t think you can fade Jokic in this contest. Booker ($9,600) concerns me, mostly because even if he isn’t held back by his forearm injury, the Nuggets can throw solid defenders on him most of the game. I like Jamal Murray ($8,800) and Will Barton ($7,600) a lot at their price points. Both have 30+ point upside and are easy to fit in there. I think you may need to leave some salary on the table if you are scared of using Booker. Captaining Jokic spends a big chunk, but even then, you’ll want some value like Malik Beasley ($1,200) or Jerami Grant ($4,200). I think an all-out Nuggets stack is in play here and if Rubio sits, I’d use Okobo as my lone Suns player to make it work.