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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Nuggets vs. Lakers Showdown

Julian Edlow gives his top lineup advice for Friday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Nuggets and Lakers, which starts at 9:00 p.m. ET.

With just one game on today’s NBA slate, we are focusing on the DraftKings Showdown contest between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets shocked the Clippers, coming back from double-digits in each of the last three games of the series to complete their second straight comeback from a 3-1 hole. Meanwhile, the Lakers handled the Rockets in five games and have been off for almost a week.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NBA Showdown $800K Battle of the West [$200K to 1st] (DEN vs LAL)


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Showdown Strategy

Denver Nuggets

Denver’s riding high heading into this series, but things are about to get more difficult on Nikola Jokic ($11,000) and Jamal Murray ($10,000). Jokic scored at least 50 DKFP in each of the last six games of the Clippers’ series, finishing on a high note with 67 DKFP in Game 6 and 75 DKFP in Game 7. I can’t see that kind of success continuing against a Lakers frontcourt with a lot more size to match up with the Joker. Jokic averaged just 36.8 DKFP in four regular season matchups against the Lakers, but it’s worth pointing out the starters sat the fourth quarter of the matchup in the bubble. Murray’s also had his struggles in this matchup, averaging 34.8 DKFP in four games. I think paying for the Lakers’ studs is the safer move, but getting some exposure to one of Denver’s go-to-guys is worth a look in GPPs.

Gary Harris ($7,600) saw his role really grow in the last series, partially because he got his health back, but also because of the matchup. Harris played big minutes because of his defensive ability on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and the Nuggets will need to use him similarly against LeBron James ($11,600). Averaging 29.5 DKFP over his last two contests, I like Harris as a solid mid-priced play on this slate.

Jerami Grant ($6,400) was in a similar situation to Harris in the last series, getting a lot of run because of his defense. That should be the case this time around, using his versatility to cover LeBron, and maybe even Anthony Davis ($10,800). However, with all of the size the Lakers usually have on the floor, we also could wind up seeing more Paul Millsap ($5,800), who averaged 27.6 DKFP against the Lakers this season.

Michael Porter Jr. ($8,400) feels like the most likely fade, just because he’s so expensive and his defense has kept him off the floor as the postseason has progressed. Maybe Denver goes down and needs the offense, but it’s a huge chunk of salary to risk.

If there’s a punt play on the Denver side, I’ll take Mason Plumlee ($1,800). He averaged 22.3 DKFP against the Lakers in the regular season and could see some extra minutes to match size against size.


Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James ($11,600) is in a pretty average spot in this series, but it still might just be worth buying the points. He’s been pretty consistent in the postseason and was right around his season averages in three matchups against Denver this season — 56.6 DKFP per game.

If you’re picking between LeBron and Anthony Davis ($10,800), I’ll actually lean to the cheaper AD. Not only do we save $800, but there could be more upside in exposing Denver’s bigs on the defensive end. AD averaged 51.7 DKFP in four regular season matchups against the Nuggets, but was scoring well at 29.3 points per game. LeBron also likes to defer early in a series, potentially trying to get his co-star off to a hot start.

Rajon Rondo ($5,400) is the key for the Lakers, and he is listed as questionable with back spasms. Once he shook the rust off, Rondo was spectacular in Games 2-4 of the Houston series, scoring at least 37 DKFP in each contest. If he’s unrestricted for Game 1, he’s the top mid-priced play on the slate.

If Rondo winds up ruled out, it does make LeBron a stronger play, just because he should be on the ball more. The trickle-down effect would mean more Alex Caruso ($4,000), who’s already a potential value with the Lakers at full strength. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,000) is the top punt play to consider, while Kyle Kuzma ($7,000) is a pretty clear fade.


The Outcome

Denver clearly has built momentum going into this series, and should have confidence. The Lakers have struggled in Game 1, going 0-2 so far, but then winning out the rest of the series. While I think we could see some early struggles from the Lakers, I do like them to figure it out late. I’ll take advantage of the Lakers’ PG situation and look to captain Rajon Rondo ($8,100 CP) if healthy, or take the value in Alex Caruso ($6,000 CP) if Rondo is ruled out.

Final Score: Lakers 108, Nuggets 103

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NBA Showdown $800K Battle of the West [$200K to 1st] (DEN vs LAL)


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