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Suns vs. Kings 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 (PHO vs SAC)

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 DK Dollars cannot be withdrawn from your balance.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.


Sacramento Kings

There are only two Kings’ players with a price tag above $8K on Monday’s simulated slate: Buddy Hield ($10,400) and De’Aaron Fox ($9,800). You don’t necessarily have to only roster one of these assets, yet, at the same time, figuring out which possesses more value is a key element of this contest. Well, allow me to keep you in suspense no longer. For the life of me, I can not justify Hield being more expensive than Fox. It just doesn’t make any sense. Sure, Fox has missed large portions of the season due to injury, but, in his 45 games, he’s averaged a team-leading 39.4 DKFP per night. Hield, on the other hand, sits second with a 34.0 DKFP average. Even more jarring than that discrepancy is how the duo stacks up in day-to-day consistency. Where Fox has managed to exceed 35.0 DKFP in a stunning 75.6% of his appearances in 2019-20, Hield’s accomplished the same feat in a mere 43.8% of his opportunities. Does the Oklahoma product have 50.0 DKFP upside? Of course. However, it’s laughable that he would be priced higher than his teammate.

After that pairing is where things start to get really interesting when it comes to Sacramento’s rotation. Harrison Barnes ($7,200), Bogdan Bogdanovic ($6,400) and Nemanja Bjelica ($5,800) have all been pretty sturdy DFS assets this season, each averaging more than 25.0 DKFP per contest. Yet, you could say the very same thing about both Richaun Holmes ($4,200) and Jabari Parker ($4,000), who each seemingly check into this slate as massive values. In particular, Holmes’ price point is almost insulting. Ailments have limited the 26-year-old to just 39 games in 2019-20, however, in those appearances, Holmes has put up 29.4 DKFP per night. That is good for the third-highest rate on the Kings. On top of that, the big man has surpassed the 30.0 DKFP plateau in nearly half of his chances (48.7%), while someone like Barnes has struggled to do so in a paltry 22 of his 64 starts (34.4%). As for Parker, though he’s played only once since making his way to Sacramento, the former second-overall pick was able to exceed 25.0 DKFP in 18 of his 32 opportunities with the Hawks, a stretch that included a huge 64.5 DKFP performance versus Milwaukee.

If that wasn’t enough potential bargains, let’s close our Kings conversation out with some Harry Giles III ($1,600) banter. The sophomore was sort of in the doghouse to begin 2019-20, yet, prior to the shutdown, Giles had started 14 of Sacramento’s last 16 games and was appearing to thrive in the role. In fact, Giles can now claim to have scored at least 15.0 DKFP in exactly half of his 38 contests this season, essentially giving the 22-year-old a 50% chance of reaching 10x value on this slate. Giles has also managed to eclipse the 30.0 DKFP mark on three occasions, giving him a decent amount of raw ceiling.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns are about as top-heavy a roster as we have in these NBA simulations, so it’s almost less important to stack up the likes of Devin Booker ($11,600) and Deandre Ayton ($9,400) against each other than it is their opponents. Basically, with both averaging well over 40.0 DKFP per game this season, we know the duo is viable. The bigger question is: Should you prioritize playing Booker and Ayton over someone like the aforementioned Fox? Well, let’s break down the stats. In 2019-20, Booker has managed to exceed 40.0 DKFP in a whopping 61.3% of his appearances, while Ayton comes in slightly below that mark with a 56.7% ratio of his own. As for Fox, he was able to muster 40.0 DKFP just 40.0% of the time. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t use all three in a single build, but it does illustrate how Phoenix’s concentrated offensive approach does breed amazing assets for this simulated format. Heck, considering Ayton’s over $2K less expensive than his teammate, he’s probably one of the best options on the board to be a Captain’s pick.

We then get to the tier of Ricky Rubio ($8,600) and Kelly Oubre Jr. ($8,000), who are essentially without a Sacramento equivalent in this particular contest. I mean, I don’t intend to keep picking on Barnes, but when his production is juxtaposed to the production of these two players, it’s not even close. Remember that Barnes has only surpassed 30.0 DKFP in 34.4% of his opportunities this season, where Rubio has been able to reach that threshold in an eye-popping 61.0% of his games in 2019-20. For Oubre, the ratio is an equally impressive 55.4%. If the money allowed it, I wouldn’t be attempting to get these two Suns into my lineups before someone like Fox, but it’s painfully clear that the Kings’ point guard is the only Sacramento player with a salary above $5K that you should consider viable on this slate.

Finally, l would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Aron Baynes ($3,200). The reserve center was one of the fantasy world’s most interesting storylines all season long and his ability to take advantage of his opportunities to start makes him a somewhat intriguing asset on this slate. Not only has Baynes surpassed the modest total of 20.0 DKFP in 59.5% of his 42 contests in 2019-20, but he’s also managed to reach 30.0 DKFP on 11 different occasions. At the very least, he should be able to bring back 5x value this afternoon.


There are two ways you can go when it comes to determining a Captain on Monday’s slate. First, you could swing for the fences with Deandre Ayton ($14,100 CP) and hope that his massive ceiling hits. Second, you could go for a more balanced approach and put Richaun Holmes ($6,300 CP) at 1.5x value, as the center is by far the asset with the most egregious salary in this contest. With the latter strategy, you’d be able to stuff your lineup with as many expensive Suns pieces as physically possible. It’s a pretty enticing build, if I’m being honest.

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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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