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

Is there enough value to fit in LeBron or AD as Captain? We take a look at how to approach Tuesday’s featured Showdown between New York and LA on DraftKings.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James goes up for a basket in the second half of the game against the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center.  Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Jan. 7, 9:31 p.m. — LeBron will play vs. the Knicks.

I don’t think I’d shy off of James tonight, I think he’s good to go. I would be a bit concerned if the Lakers start to blowout the Knicks and James takes a seat for most of the second half. I’d lean AD over LeBron in the Showdown for that reason, but I love Randle since Morris is out for the Knicks.

UPDATE: Jan. 7, 8:50 p.m. — Morris has been ruled out along with Dennis Smith Jr. for the Knicks. LeBron is a game-time decision.

UPDATE: Jan. 7, 2:40 p.m. — So a few things for this game. First, LeBron James is dealing with an illness but is hopeful to play, per coach Frank Vogel. I wouldn’t be too concerned about James but something to note. Second, Marcus Morris (neck) is now doubtful, so its likely he sits tonight. If that’s the case, Randle is a lock for this contest. I’d also consider Mitchell Robinson and Taj Gibson as value options.

We close out Tuesday night’s main six-game NBA slate with a Battle of East vs. West when the New York Knicks take on the Los Angeles Lakers. This rivalry has lost its luster over the past few decades, but we at least get to watch a star-studded Lakers lineup at home. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have avoided poor healthy for the most part this season and both are good to go vs. New York tonight. The Knicks are also entering the game healthy, with only Elfrid Payton and Marcus Morris popping up on the injury report as probable (Payton has been away for personal reasons). Let’s get into some lineup strategy for the Showdown on DraftKings.

Captain’s Picks

I think the biggest questions for this contest is: Should I Captain LeBron ($21,000) or Davis ($20,100). Both are incredibly high-priced for the contest, which is understandable. But the issue is finding value to make one or both of them fit. If you Captain LeBron and play AD in the UTIl slot, you have $3,900 left over on average to construct the rest of the lineup. This isn’t really ideal when that leaves you with guys like Alex Caruso ($3,600), Frank Ntilikina ($3,400) and Reggie Bullock ($1,600). I don’t mind Bullock so much, and the other two values are OK, but is it worth fitting in LeBron and AD over more balance? I’m not sure.

I think the way to make this work is using LeBron and AD as UTIL slots and paying down a bit at Captain. Julius Randle ($14,400) is a bit cheaper and in a revenge spot vs. the Lakers. He’s also averaging 20.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per game over the past four. If I’m going to get super cheap, Bullock ($2,400 CPT) can help you fit in LeBron, AD and Randle.

UTIL Options

I went over a decent amount of ways to approach the UTIL slot above, but if you’re looking for a few other options, well let’s see. Marcus Morris ($8,600) is probable and shouldn’t be restricted at all. He’s the type of physical player that will relish a matchup vs. LeBron so I think we get his A-game tonight. Morris dropped 38 points on the Clippers the other night and is on pace to set a career high in scoring this season. The Knicks can’t defend the 3-point line, so Danny Green ($5,200) is in a good spot tonight. He’d be a GPP play since his floor is very low, plus he’d have to knock down at least 4-5 outside shots.