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Best lineup strategy for Lakers vs. Mavericks NBA Showdown [UPDATE]

We take a look at how to approach lineup construction for Friday’s featured DraftKings Showdown between Dallas and Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James gestures in the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Staples Center.  Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Jan. 10, 4:16 p.m. — Davis has officially been ruled out.

We’ve got four featured Showdown contests on DraftKings for Friday’s main 10-game slate, but here we’ll be looking at the marquee matchup of LeBron James vs. Luka Doncic. The Los Angeles Lakers will travel to Dallas to take on the Mavericks for the second time in a few weeks. The last time around, things didn’t go so great for Doncic and the Mavs, with the Lakers taking care of business in a 108-95 victory at Staples Center. But the tables could be turned tonight thanks to a big injury on the L.A. side.

Anthony Davis (glut) is expected to be out for tonight’s game vs. the Mavericks, but for now, he’s listed as questionable. Still, he’s expected to miss some time and I’d be surprised if he suits up. If that’s the case, Dallas has a shot at getting the W tonight and LeBron has a shot at a massive fantasy output. Kristaps Porzingis will remain out for the Mavericks, so that could ease the blow of losing AD. Let’s take a look at how to approach your lineup for tonight.

Captain’s Picks

Before we proceed, we have to decide between Doncic ($20,700) and LeBron ($18,000) — plus whether we want to Captain one of them to begin with. I’d say it may be wise not to captain either of the two studs considering it makes it easier to fit both of them in. If we Captain Doncic and use LeBron in the UTIL, we have only $4.3K on average for the four last slots. Captaining LeBron and UTIL for Doncic gives us $4.5K per slot, so slightly better. I’d lean Captaining LeBron if AD sits, but he’d have high ownership and I wonder if the Lakers struggle a bit without Davis. With that, I’d rather Captain Doncic since his floor is higher and ceiling too.

But really I’d rather pay down and fit both LeBron and Doncic in at UTIL while keeping a more balanced lineup overall. If that’s the case, Dwight Powell ($9,900) is playing well lately and he should continue to fill in for Kristaps Porzingis. Powell has back-to-back games of 16 points and he’s seeing 29 minutes per game over his past 10 contests. He’s shooting nearly 60 percent from the field over that stretch and things get easier down low with AD out.

FLEX Options

Since the high-priced plays have been laid out for you, we can look at some value in the UTIL slots. If we’re sticking in the frontcourt for Dallas, Justin Jackson ($2,000) is dirt cheap and gives us flexibility to pay up for Doncic ($13,800) and James ($12,000) pretty easily. Jackson has played at least 20 minutes in three of four games.

If AD is in fact ruled out, Kyle Kuzma ($6,200) is a candidate to start and should see plenty of minutes at PF tonight. Kuzma has had a pretty disappointing season so far, but when he’s played 27+ minutes, he generally returns value. He has at least 19 points in three games when he’s played 27 or more minutes over the past eight games.