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Hornets vs. Rockets Simulated NBA Game: DraftKings DFS Showdown Strategies and Captain's Picks

With real basketball currently on hiatus, DraftKings is launching simulated basketball games! Saturday’s simulation is between the Hornets and Rockets, and the contest locks at 3:00 p.m. ET. Take note of the rules since this contest doesn’t work like any other contest we have had before. Set…

With real basketball currently on hiatus, DraftKings is launching simulated basketball games! Saturday’s simulation is between the Hornets and Rockets, and the contest locks at 3:00 p.m. ET. Take note of the rules since this contest doesn’t work like any other contest we have had before.

Set your free to play lineups here: Simulated Basketball $2K FREE Contest (CHA vs HOU)

Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.

How does Simulated Basketball work?

DraftKings will choose an NBA matchup and prior to each game, entrants can draft free DFS Showdown lineups for the upcoming simulated game. Lineups will receive fantasy points for a player’s performance within a randomly-assigned game earlier this season (any game from the 2019/20 season is eligible, not just the specific Showdown matchup listed above).

How does Simulated Basketball scoring work?

All lineups will receive points for the performance of their players in a specific game from the 2019/20 season. Each individual player will be randomly assigned stats from a single game in the 2019-20 season prior to the contest going live. Points will be revealed per player as the game moves along. Players will receive points in accordance with our single-game NBA Showdown Captain Mode rules and scoring.

Which players are eligible in the player pool?

Players who have played in at least 15 games in the 2019/20 season are eligible to be drafted.

What do I get if I win?

Every free contest will award DK Dollars that can be used to enter DFS contests.

What are DK Dollars?

DK Dollars act just like cash and can be used to enter any daily fantasy contest on DraftKings. DK Dollars cannot be withdrawn from your balance.

Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.


Between James Harden ($17,700 CP/$11,800) and Russell Westbrook ($11,000), I prefer Harden as a play. With that said, we can probably roster both since there are a few cheap viable plays in this contest. In the Captain’s Pick spot, I am looking to roll with Harden. While Russ has come on strong since the new year, Harden is still the much better fantasy producer for the season. He averages 59.24 DKFP, and Westbrook averages 51.25 DKFP. The problem with Westbrook’s scoring average is that he got off to a bit of a slow start with Houston. We also need to consider the massive upside from Harden during the games that Russ missed. Harden has scored over 70 DKFP 17 times this season.

If you want to get risky and save a bunch of salary to fit the two former MVPs into your lineup, Isaiah Hartenstein ($1,200) is the ultimate boom or bust play at min price. It’s well documented how hard he has busted as chalk at times this season, and he isn’t even on the Rockets’ roster anymore. This doesn’t mean he didn’t put up some strong games this season. Hartenstein has scored as many as 52.75 DKFP when he had a double-double against the Timberwolves in January. Playing a guy like Hartenstein opens up the potential for a stars and scrubs lineups with Russ and Harden.

In previous Rockets’ sim games, Eric Gordon ($4,600), was way overpriced, which isn’t the case for today. In fact, he’s gone from too expensive to too cheap. Gordon averages 22.04 DKFP per game, making him a solid value play despite his poor shooting to open the season. We can also consider P.J. Tucker ($4,800) in play since he averages nearly the same amount of DKFP as Gordon at 21.65 per game.

Charlotte Hornets

As one of the weakest teams in the NBA, Charlotte doesn’t offer much fantasy upside, so it makes sense to build rosters that focus on the Rockets and their superstars. Due to the rules of these contests, there is no concern of any sort of negative correlation and we can load up one team. The production of players doesn’t have any relation. On the high end, we do need to consider whether Devonte’ Graham ($10,200) or Terry Rozier ($9,200) is the better fantasy option. Of the two, I prefer Graham if the salary is available although it makes more sense to fade both of these guards in favor of the Rockets’ All-Stars.

Of the mid-range players, it’s tough to find one that looks like a solid option from the Hornets. Miles Bridges ($8,000), PJ Washington ($6,400) and Cody Zeller ($5,800) all average around 25 DKFP. None of them have much upside, but they are all fairly safe plays that can be rostered to fill out a lineup. One player I am not looking to roster is Malik Monk ($5,000). While he’s had a few decent games this season, his odds of drawing one of them are low, and he only averages 18.28 DKFP.

As a super value, there’s a bit of upside in Nicolas Batum ($1,600). For nearly min price, he averages 15.86 DKFP, so not that much less than Monk, who is $3,400 more expensive. There also doesn’t appear to be much downside from Batum since he’s only scored single-digit DKFP five times this season. Most of those games were because he left early with an injury. As long as we can avoid those landmines, he offers a lot of savings.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.