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Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Simulated NBA Game: DraftKings DFS Showdown Strategies and Captain's Picks

With real basketball currently on hiatus, DraftKings is launching simulated basketball games! Take note of the rules since this contest doesn’t work like any other contest we have had before. Here, we will focus on Sunday’s free simulated game between the Grizzlies and Nuggets, which locks…

With real basketball currently on hiatus, DraftKings is launching simulated basketball games! Take note of the rules since this contest doesn’t work like any other contest we have had before. Here, we will focus on Sunday’s free simulated game between the Grizzlies and Nuggets, which locks at 3:00 p.m. ET.

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

Set your FREE to play lineups here: Simulated Basketball $2K FREE Contest (MEM vs DEN)

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 DK Dollars cannot be withdrawn from your balance.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.


Memphis Grizzlies

At this point, it must seem like I’ve written this sentence in every conceivable way, but Jonas Valanciunas ($7,200) is far too inexpensive on this slate. Like, to a jarring degree. The Grizzlies last appeared in a simulation on June 15 and, that afternoon, the team’s veteran center sat as Memphis’ second-most expensive asset at $8.8K. Now, six days later, he’s just over $7K? What gives? It’s not like Valanciunas doesn’t have the production to back up my incredulousness, either. In fact, the former lottery pick currently leads all Grizzlies players in DKFP per game (35.0) and he’s also scored at least 30.0 DKFP in a team-best 64.5% of his appearances. Ja Morant ($10,200) has very similar ratios, but why pay up for the rookie when you could have Valanciunas for thousands less?

Still, if Morant’s salary seems off, it looks completely earned when juxtaposed to Dillon Brooks’ ($9,000) price tag. While the Canadian guard does rank third on Memphis’ roster in points per game (15.7), without many consistent contributions to secondary statistical categories, Brooks’ isn’t generally all that appealing a DFS option. To wit, Brooks has only managed to exceed 30.0 DKFP in 35.4% of his 65 contests so far in 2019-20. To put that in perspective, Jaren Jackson Jr. ($8,200) has crested the 30.0 DKFP mark in 51.9% of his chances this season. There’s absolutely no reason to be spending $9K on Brooks when you could have the sophomore big man or the aforementioned Valanciunas at much, much cheaper salaries.

Finally, when you’re looking for some mid-tier and extreme values on this roster, the first name that should come to mind is Gorgui Dieng ($4,600). The Louisville product doesn’t possess the highest floor in this format; however, due to a stretch of starting in Karl-Anthony Towns’ place back in Minnesota, Dieng has been able to eclipse 30.0 DKFP on 11 occasions in 2019-20. After that, I’d focus my attention on either Josh Jackson ($3,200) or John Konchar ($1,000). Both had been more involved in Memphis’ rotation immediately prior to the league shut down, making each a viable option on this slate. For Jackson, he’s exceeded 20.0 DKFP in 61.1% of his 18 NBA games this season. For Konchar, he’s managed at least 14.0 DKFP in seven of his 15 appearances. The rookie also possesses a 20.0% chance of reaching 20x value this afternoon, so, despite the risk, he has the potential to make some serious noise.

Denver Nuggets

I wouldn’t blame anyone for attempting to put Nikola Jokic ($10,600) into their lineup twice this afternoon, that’s how much better the All-Star center is than every other person on the slate. Consider that not only is Jokic the lone player between these two teams averaging more than 40.0 DKFP per game, but he’s also the lone player averaging over 45.0 DKFP per game. Morant – the other man with a salary above $10K on Sunday – has managed to exceed 50.0 DKFP five times in 2019-20. Jokic has done it on 26 different occasions. Yeah, he’s dropped a nickel in 40.0% of his 65 contests this season. On top of that, Jokic has checked in with at least 40.0 DKFP in a whopping 67.7% of his starts, giving him a combination of the highest ceiling and highest floor of all these assets. Jokic is a lock for all builds and he’ll likely end up being your Captain’s pick.

Where things get a little less cut and dry is Jamal Murray ($9,800). The Toronto native is one of just two Nuggets priced above $7K on this slate, but it’s fair to get the impression that you could find a similar level of production for a little less salary. Well, I’m here to tell you that the person you’re searching for is Will Barton ($5,000). I have no Earthly idea why a player of Barton’s caliber is so cheap this afternoon. Heck, in the recent past, Barton’s been more expensive than Murray in these simulations, so this pricing makes even less sense. Anyway, for the season as a whole, Barton’s averaging 32.1 DKFP per contest compared to Murray’s 34.7 DKFP. Also, while the former lottery pick has eclipsed 30.0 DKFP in 61.8% of his 55 games, Barton’s accomplished the same feat 56.9% of the time. Those numbers do suggest that Murray deserves the higher price tag, yet there’s no justification to the guard being twice as expensive as Barton.

Another area where we see an odd pricing dynamic with Denver is the discrepancy between Jerami Grant ($6,400) and Paul Millsap ($5,400). The former has surpassed the 30.0 DKFP plateau in a paltry 21.9% of his overall appearances, while the latter has cleared that same threshold in 40.9% of his 44 games and done so with a noticeably higher floor. Millsap is simply a superior DFS option and, with Barton is the same price range, the two make for a very enticing and inexpensive duo.


There are actually quite a few ways you could go with your Captain’s pick on Sunday; however, in the end, you’re probably going to just decide to exploit the upside of Nikola Jokic ($15,900 CP). There’s almost no world in which the Serbian isn’t the highest-scoring asset on this slate and, if he hits his 70-plus DKFP ceiling, those with him at 1.5x value are going to find their lineups in another stratosphere. That being said, Jonas Valanciunas ($10,800 CP) and Will Barton ($7,500 CP) are equally viable choices that provide slightly more salary flexibility.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.

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