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Best lineup strategy for Nuggets vs. Timberwolves NBA Showdown

We go over our picks for the Denver-Minnesota Showdown contest on DraftKings.

Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap of the Denver Nuggets hi-five during the game against the Phoenix Suns on January 1, 2021 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The big news out of Denver is that swingman Michael Porter Jr. is in Covid-19 health protocols and is expected to miss multiple games after being held out on Friday. The Minnesota Timberwolves are still missing Karl-Anthony Towns, who is sidelined and week-to-week after dislocating his wrist. So this Showdown contest on DraftKings is lacking in some firepower. We still have a decent amount of options to go through, so let’s give some picks.

Captain’s Picks

Nikola Jokic ($17,700) — With no KAT, the drop off from Jokic to the next highest Captain’s pick (D’Angelo Russell $14,400) is significant. With that, it’s going to be tough to not Captain Jokic given he’s very likely going to score the most fantasy points. Getting leverage is important but we can get lower ownership on players who are cheaper. Jokic has been a walking triple-double this season, averaging 23 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists through five games.

Will Barton ($11,400) — Barton entered the starting lineup on Friday in place of MPJ. He played 36 minutes, which was a season high. He had an off night against the Suns but Barton is the type of player who can fill it up if he gets hot. Even despite shooting 1-for-7, Barton was able to put up around 20 DKFP. At Captain, we’d need him to get to 30-40 DKFP before the 1.5x kicker. That seems feasible against a T-Wolves team that ranks 26th in defensive efficiency this season.

Flex Plays

Jamal Murray ($9,400) — Murray isn’t a bad Captain pivot off of Jokic or Barton, both of whom could garner more ownership. Murray is finally finding his shooting stroke, nailing at least 4 outside shots in three straight games. Most of MPJ’s touches and shots should go through Murray now, which only elevates his floor. Minnesota doesn’t play defense while playing at one of the quickest paces in the NBA. Murray should get around 20-25 shot attempts.

Anthony Edwards ($7,200) — The No. 1 overall pick has scored in double figures in each of his first five NBA games despite coming off the bench. If the T-Wolves didn’t have such a crowded backcourt, you’d think Edwards would be playing 30+ minutes by now. That isn’t the case but it doesn’t mean the Georgia product can’t fill it up off the bench. The Nuggets lost a lot on defense this offseason and it’s plummeted them to the bottom of the League in defensive efficiency.

Fades

Ricky Rubio ($6,600) — With this price, we’re essentially paying for what Rubio did last season still. He hasn’t been starting for the Timberwolves and when he’s in there, his usage gets shot by so many ballhandlers being on the roster. D’Lo and Malik Beasley with Anthony Edwards, all three of those guys take usage and points away from Rubio. The veteran guard doesn’t have more than 6 assists in a game all season. No reason to think this game will be much different.

The Outcome

There needs to be some level of desperation from the Nuggets at 1-4 in the Western Conference. It’s still early but another week of losing and Denver is in a big hole trying to make the playoffs. So I expect the Nuggets to come out and crush a weaker opponent. If that’s the case, I think stacking Denver and mixing in a low-owned play on Minny here and there makes the most sense.

Final score: Denver 118, Minnesota 102