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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Lakers vs. Rockets DraftKings DFS NBA Showdown Strategy

Matt LaMarca preps you for Saturday’s 8:00 p.m. ET contest for Game 5 between the Lakers and Rockets with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

NBA: Playoffs-Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s NBA slate only features one game, but it should be a good one. The Lakers will be taking on the Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals at 8 p.m. ET. The Lakers own a 3-1 lead in this series and thus can punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals with a win.

Let’s take a look at some showdown options to get your lineup started.

(NOTE: All salaries are in the utility spot unless otherwise indicated.)

Set your DraftKings lineup here: NBA Showdown $350K Saturday Night Special [$100K to 1st]


Showdown Strategy

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers start with the dynamic duo of LeBron James ($12,400) and Anthony Davis ($11,600). Both guys are obviously expensive – especially if you want to put one in the captain’s slot – but they still stand out as two of the best plays on the slate. Davis was the captain in the optimal DraftKings’ lineup for the Game 4 showdown between these two teams, while LeBron was one of the utilities.

Let’s start with Davis. The Rockets have had absolutely no answer for him in this series and he has averaged 28.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocks. He has also been very efficient, shooting 62.0% from the field and 40.0% from three-point range. Add it all up, and Davis has scored at least 54.5 DKFP in all four games.

Of course, none of this is actually surprising. The Rockets were always expected to struggle vs. Davis after trading away Clint Capela. They have no one on their roster who is capable of matching his combination of size and athleticism and they’ve been the worst rebounding team in the league.

He’s only the third-most expensive player on this slate but he has the potential to be the highest scorer. That makes him a logical pick for the captain spot at a price of $17,400.

LeBron hasn’t been as dominant as Davis offensively but he has managed to fill the stat sheet in every category across the board. He’s averaging 25.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks per game. The one hiccup in his game has been his efficiency from behind the three-point line – he’s shooting just 26.9% from downtown – but that hasn’t stopped him from averaging 56.06 DKFP per game.

I give the slight edge to Davis at captain, but LeBron is definitely someone that I want in my lineup.

While those two guys stand out as elite options, Rajon Rondo ($5,200) might be the best pure value on the entire slate. The Lakers have been looking for competent role players next to LeBron and AD all season and Rondo has fit that bill since returning from an injury. He has scored at least 37.25 DKFP in each of his past three games, which makes him severely underpriced at his current salary. Rondo is close to a must-play in this contest and he even has some appeal in the captain spot if you want to load up on as many studs as possible.

After those three guys, we’re looking at punt plays and values. Those guys are key to winning a showdown contest — Alex Caruso ($4,800) and Austin Rivers ($4,000) were both in the optimal lineup for Game 4 at roughly 13% ownership – so picking the right players in this price range will likely dictate your success.

Caruso is definitely in play again for Game 5 but don’t expect him to garner low ownership again. He’s locked into a solid workload for the Lakers in this series and is one of the better producers in this price range on a per-minute basis, which makes him an appealing option.

Markieff Morris ($3,400) should also be a popular value option after moving into the starting lineup in Game 4. He will likely remain in that spot today, which makes him a solid option vs. a Rockets team that has been mauled on the glass.

Finally, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,600) has not been very productive in this series but at least he’s on the court for long stretches. He’s coming off more than 30 minutes in his last contest and it’s hard to find someone with a comparable workload at such a cheap salary.


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Houston Rockets

The Rockets have their own dynamic duo in James Harden ($12,000) and Russell Westbrook ($10,000) but both players have looked mortal in this series.

The Lakers have done a great job against Harden, which isn’t a huge surprise given how excellent they have been on the defensive end of the court. What is surprising is how low Harden’s usage rate has been. He has posted a mark of just 33.2% in this series, which is lower than his mark during the regular season. Stud players like Harden are supposed to increase their usage in the playoffs, not decrease it.

Overall, Harden has averaged “just” 50.94 DKFP per game. You can fit a max of three stud players in this contest – especially if you want to put one at Captain – and Harden is my preferred fade out of the group.

Westbrook is $2,000 cheaper than Harden, yet he has actually posted a higher usage rate in this series. He’s always a threat to put up a monster game in the peripheral categories as well, which gives him the potential to earn the bonus for a double-double or even a triple-double. Given the price difference, Westbrook stands out as a better play today than Harden in my opinion.

Eric Gordon ($7,200) was in the optimal DraftKings lineup in Game 4 but that had more to do with the poor play of everyone else than a great game from him. He scored just 27.75 DKFP at $6,800, which isn’t exactly great value.

Still, Gordon is someone who is capable of putting up a large volume of shots for his price tag, which is always appealing in the single-game format. If he has a hot shooting night, he could easily find himself in the winning lineup once again.

Robert Covington ($8,000) also deserves some attention. He was dreadful in Game 4, scoring just 12.25 DKFP over 23.5 minutes but he should play more in today’s contest. He’s capable of averaging well over 1.00 DKFP per minute given his ability to pile up blocks, steals and threes, plus he should command lower ownership after a subpar outing.

Rivers will likely become a popular target today after his big performance in Game 4, so I have no problem fading him. Instead, I’ll focus my attention on Jeff Green ($4,200) and Ben McLemore ($2,800). Green scored at least 20.75 DKFP in each of his past two games and his minutes have increased with Danuel House out of the lineup and now completely out of the bubble.

McLemore is definitely a bit of a wild play and he might have hit his ceiling in his last game with 13.5 DKFP. He shot 3-for-3 from three-point range in that contest but he’s super cheap and should see a handful of minutes with House out of the lineup. If you’re looking to jam one stud at captain and another two in the utility spots, McLemore could be the skeleton key.


The Outcome

The big question on this slate is which studs do you want to jam into your roster? I personally like the idea of going with Rajon Rondo ($7,800 CP) at captain, which allows me to surround him with three of the four highest-priced players without sacrificing my entire salary cap. After that, it’s all about getting lucky with the remaining two spots. I think you’ll want to target the Lakers at those value/punt positions since their offense figures to be the more productive unit in this contest.

Final Score: Lakers 111, Rockets 103


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Set your DraftKings lineup here: NBA Showdown $350K Saturday Night Special [$100K to 1st]


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