UPDATE: Brogdon and Sabonis will start vs. the Sixers.
Sabonis and Brogdon both starting tonight for @Pacers.— Mark Montieth (@MarkMontieth) January 13, 2020
I went over this below, but with Brogdon and Sabonis back, we can adjust things a bit. I like Sabonis over Brogdon as someone to pay up for. Ben Simmons is a great defender and there’s no Embiid down low for Sabonis to deal with. The Pacers bench gets a downgrade and I’d be cautious paying up for Warren.
We’ve got three featured Showdown contests on DraftKings among the seven-game Monday slate tonight. Of the three, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Indiana Pacers appears to be the most competitive and potentially low scoring of the bunch. Right now, we know Joel Embiid is going to be sidelined due to ligament damage in his finger. We also know both Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon are questionable to play for the Pacers. That’s a lot of high-profile players missing/potentially missing from the lineup. But still, we can take a crack at the best strategy for crafting a Showdown lineup for PHI-IND.
No Embiid gives us a few good options on the Philly side. Ben Simmons ($13,800) is the most obvious choice. He hasn’t really shown an increase in usage or scoring in the past two games without Embiid, but the Pacers have struggled recently on defense. Indiana is allowing 114.2 points and 49.9% from the field over its past five games. That FG% tells us the lack of size down low for the Pacers has been an issue.
If Sabonis is out, Al Horford ($11,700) and Tobias Harris ($11,400) should both have easy times scoring inside the arc. Even with Sabonis, the Pacers have lost three of four games in pretty bad fashion. Horford has benefitted from the extra usage the past two games and would provide a safe floor for the Captain spot. Mike Scott ($5,100) would be the cheap pivot if you want to fit in Horford, Simmons and Harris.
I think with the way Indiana is playing, we have to lean on Philly for at least 4-of-6 lineup slots tonight. If that isn’t the case and you like Indiana more, TJ Warren ($9,900) would be in a good spot if Sabonis and Brogdon are both out again. Warren has a high ceiling we like for the Captain and his usage has gone over 30% in two of three games. If Sabonis ($14,100) is healthy and not on a restriction, I’d say he’s a good play with no Embiid.
Without Embiid and potentially Sabonis and Brogdon, there aren’t many UTIL options that make it easy to fit in some value here. Scott ($3,400) is the clear-cut value option starting for Embiid, but even if you Captain Simmons at his high price, you’ll probably need to leave salary on the table. This is fine, though, considering we could see a low-scoring, tight ball game. We could also see the Sixers take over with how the Pacers are playing. If that’s the case, Norvel Pelle ($1,600) and Matisse Thybulle ($1,000) are basement priced players who could see increased minutes. But again, they’re only viable if we have Sabonis and/or Brogdon to pay up for.
I think a balanced approach isn’t a bad idea here. You can pretty easily fit in whoever you want on both sides of this game. Taking the six players who are expected to see the most playing time is a viable strategy. There aren’t many sources of production if Brogdon and Sabonis remain sidelined. If either one or both are back, we can decide who to play — likely Sabonis ($9,400) with Aaron Holiday ($6,000) and Warren ($6,600). I’d keep an eye on the news and react accordingly.