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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets Showdown on December 8

Mike Barner gives his top NBA lineup advice for today’s fantasy basketball contest on DraftKings between the Trail Blazers and Nuggets.

Among the three games that will be played in the NBA on Thursday is a matchup between the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets. Both teams have significant star power, making for a potentially entertaining battle. This game will also be the featured DraftKings Showdown contest, so let’s highlight some players to consider while crafting your lineups.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $120K Fadeaway [$30K to 1st] (DEN vs POR)

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets

Captain’s Picks

Nikola Jokic ($17,400 Captain’s Pick): By his lofty standards, Jokic is coming off a quiet game against the Mavericks in which he “only” scored 41.5 DKFP. Prior to that, he had scored at least 50.8 DKFP in seven straight games. He is averaging 52.8 DKFP for the season and is difficult to pass up for the Captain’s Pick whenever the Nuggets are included in a Showdown contest.

Jamal Murray ($11,700 Captain’s Pick): For those who want to differentiate their lineup in tournament play, taking a chance on Murray at this spot isn’t a crazy idea. He was also hot heading into that Mavericks game, scoring at least 34.5 DKFP in five straight games. The Mavericks limited him to just 22.0 DKFP, part of which can be attributed to him getting into early foul trouble. With Michael Porter Jr. (heel) still out, Murray will again be asked to provide added support in the scoring department.

UTIL Plays

Anfernee Simons ($9,200): Simons has come into his own this season, providing 24.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.2 three-pointers per game. He has been playing a ton, logging 37 minutes per game. His usage rate has also increased to 27.2 percent, which is more than two percentage points higher than last season. His scoring prowess could be the difference in this matchup, given that the Nuggets have the fifth-worst defensive rating in the league.

Aaron Gordon ($7,000): The absence of Porter has also forced the Nuggets to rely more on Gordon. He hasn’t disappointed, averaging 19.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists over his last 11 games. What’s even more impressive is that he shot 66.4 percent from the field during that stretch, including 51.7 percent from behind the arc.

Bones Hyland ($6,200): Hyland played his part against the Mavericks on Tuesday, providing 20 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals and five three-pointers over 30 minutes off the bench. He has produced some duds lately, and his inconsistency does make him a bit risky. However, the risk could be worth the potential reward, considering he has scored at least 30.5 DKFP in four of his last seven games.


Josh Hart ($6,600): The Trail Blazers don’t ask Hart to score much, which has left him with a 12.5 percent usage rate. He has remained fantasy relevant, though, because he is averaging 8.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The problem for this matchup is that both the Trail Blazers and the Nuggets rank inside the bottom-10 in the league of pace of play, which could afford Hart with fewer opportunities to contribute in those areas.


The Nuggets have lost three straight games, two of which came on the road. They have played 15 of their 24 games on the road this season, and this matchup will further add to that lopsided total. The Trail Blazers are the more rested team because they haven’t taken the floor since Sunday. They are also happy to have back Damian Lillard ($10,000), who scored 21 points over 32 minutes in his return Sunday against the Pacers. Look for them to defend their home floor on the strength of their improved health.

Final Score: Trail Blazers 117, Nuggets 112

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $120K Fadeaway [$30K to 1st] (DEN vs POR)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.