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Best lineup strategy for Thunder vs. Pelicans NBA Showdown

We go over the best way to craft a winning lineup for Thursday’s featured DraftKings Showdown between OKC and NOLA.

This is one of two games prior to the NBA All-Star Break, which begins Friday and runs through next Thursday when we get back to action. The Pelicans have been on the rise since the return of Zion Williamson, who is coming off his best game in the NBA so far. Zion scored 31 points with nine boards and five assists in 27 minutes against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday. Brandon Ingram has been sidelined the past two games for the Pels and could sit out again tonight with the Break on the horizon. If that’s the case, the plays will be pretty clear on the Pelicans side. Let’s get into how to approach lineup construction.

Captain’s Pick

Zion Williamson ($14,700)

If Ingram remains out, Williamson may be the best play overall on the entire two-game slate. I mentioned his big performance against the Blazers already. That’s the type of ceiling we’re looking at long-term for Williamson. The Thunder are a better overall defensive team, but they also lack big bodies in the front court. Outside of Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel, there isn’t anyone who can contain Zion. I also don’t mind Jrue Holiday ($14,100) and I think both players are locks if Ingram is out again.

Value plays

Nerlens Noel ($3,000)

As I mentioned above, Noel may need to play extra minutes to deal with Zion down low. At 7-foot, Noel is the only big body who could maybe given Williamson some trouble in the paint. At nearly basement pricing, Noel really only needs to get around 12-15 minutes and reach 15 fantasy points in order to return value. Other than Noel, Luguentz Dort ($2,200) is cheap and the Pelicans don’t have great perimeter defenders other than Jrue Holiday. Dort has been starting for the Thunder and has seen around 25 minutes in most games, which gives him a safe floor at this price.