clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Jazz vs. Suns Showdown on December 31

Mike Barner gives his top NBA lineup advice for Thursday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Jazz and Suns, which starts at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Thursday brings seven games in the NBA as we mercifully say goodbye to 2020. One of the marque matchups will be two playoff-aspiring teams facing off in the Western Conference when the Utah Jazz host the Phoenix Suns at 9:00 p.m. ET. This game also makes up the featured DraftKings Showdown contest, so let’s highlight some players to consider as you build your lineups.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $100K Fadeaway [$25K to 1st] (PHO vs UTA)


Utah Jazz vs. Phoenix Suns

Captain’s Pick

Rudy Gobert ($13,500 CP) — Gobert is about as reliable as they come, which makes him an ideal fit for the Captain’s spot. He’s averaged at least 13.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and two blocks in each of the last four seasons, while also shooting at least 62.2 percent from the field in each of those campaigns. He’s provided similar production through Utah’s first three games this season, averaging 16.7 points, 14.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting a whopping 75 percent from the field.

Donovan Mitchell ($13,800 CP) — Mitchell entered the league firing at will, never finishing with a usage rate below 29.1 percent in any of his first three seasons. It’s been much of the same for him out of the gate, averaging 20.3 points to go along with a 30.8 percent usage rate. He’s not just looking for his own shot, though, based on his career average of four assists a night. Facing the Suns’ defense is no walk in the park, but Mitchell’s leading role within Utah’s offense still makes him an appealing Captain’s Pick.

FLEX Plays

Chris Paul ($8,200) — The Suns smoked the Pelicans in their last game on Tuesday, which left Paul to log just 23 minutes. Still, he finished with nine points and nine assists. He has plenty of weapons around him on the Suns, which has helped him average 9.5 assists through four games. He hasn’t averaged at least nine assists a game since the 2016-17 season, which was his final campaign with the Clippers. His scoring numbers might take a hit this season, but an increase in assists should help balance that out, to an extent.

Jae Crowder ($6,000) — Although the addition of Crowder didn’t generate a ton of headlines, that doesn’t mean he won’t be an extremely valuable part of the Suns this season. He can guard multiple positions while also stretching the floor on the offensive end, which is evident by the fact that he has averaged at least 2.1 three-pointers in three of the last four seasons. He’s made a good first impression with his new team, scoring at least 29.5 DKFP in two of four games.

Jordan Clarkson ($5,400) — The Jazz have an impressive starting five, but their bench is short on offensive weapons. Enter Clarkson, who has never been shy about jacking up shots. He provided the spark that they needed after being acquired from the Cavaliers last season, averaging 15.6 points to go along with a 26.7 percent usage rate. That’s carried over into this season with his 27.3 percent usage rate and average of 18 points per contest. Although his contributions in other areas will likely be underwhelming, he still warrants consideration at this salary.


Deandre Ayton ($8,600) — Of the two centers in this game, Gobert is the safer option. He’s scored at least 41.5 DKFP in every game this season while Ayton hasn’t topped 37.3 DKFP in a game and has scored 31.5 DKFP or fewer in a game three times. Since there isn’t much of a difference in salary, it might make sense to either spend more for Gobert or spend down slightly for Paul.

The Outcome

The addition of Paul is huge for the Suns and should immediately vault them into playoff contention. While this has the makings of a close contest, the improved depth on the Suns could be the difference in them emerging with a victory. They have also proven to be one of the best defensive teams in the league out of the gate, allowing just 98.5 points per contest.

Final Score: Suns 114, Jazz 110

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $100K Fadeaway [$25K to 1st] (PHO vs UTA)

Place your NBA bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.

For sports betting, head over to DraftKings Sportsbook or download the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

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 I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA) or TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789. 21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/NH/IN/NH/IA/CO/IL/TN only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for full terms and conditions.