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

Greg Ehrenberg gives his top lineup advice for Sunday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Lakers and Nuggets, which starts at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game One Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

With just one game on today’s NBA slate, we are focusing on the DraftKings Showdown contest between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets. The Lakers are up 1-0 in the Western Conference Finals after taking Game 1.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NBA Showdown $300K Shootaround [$100K to 1st] (DEN vs LAL)


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Showdown Strategy

Los Angeles Lakers

In the Captain’s slot, I think the choice has to come down to either LeBron James ($18,300 CP/$12,200) or Anthony Davis ($17,700 CP/$11,800). Both are viable, although I lean towards LeBron as the stronger play. The reason is because he’s showing more of a fantasy ceiling in the playoffs. James has a triple-double with 73.25 DKFP in the playoffs and has topped 60 DKFP six times. AD has only gone over 60 DKFP on three occasions. With the salary between the two similar, give me James, who is looking unstoppable in the playoffs.

Pay close to attention to the Lakers’ starting lineup today. They mixed it up last game, starting JaVale McGee ($2,200) over Markieff Morris ($3,800). Even though he started, McGee only played 11 minutes and scored just 1.0 DKFP. The primary benefactor of the lineup change was Dwight Howard ($2,800). With the Lakers playing bigger lineups, he logged 16 minutes and scored 23.75 DKFP. There are whispers that could start over McGee after how he played last game, although he’s a good value even if coming off the bench. Howard averaged 19.9 DKFP in a reserve role during the regular season, which is more than enough at his current salary.

Even though he was listed as questionable to play in Game 1, Rajon Rondo ($6,800) was active and ended up scoring 26.25 DKFP. His playing time was a bit limited, but that was a result of the score as opposed to his back injury. Rondo played 22 minutes and didn’t play his normal minutes down the stretch of the fourth quarter since the Lakers were up by 20 at the time. He’s a fine option and his minutes figure to go back to the 28-30 range he played against Houston.

The Lakers’ production is so centered around LeBron and AD that it’s hard to find a ton of players to like. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,400) is one viable option for cheap since he’s playing consistent minutes in the postseason is coming off of a strong Game 1. KCP scored 18 points, his best mark of the postseason, and finished with 26.25 DKFP. He likely won’t repeat that outing, but he has scored at least 15 DKFP in four consecutive games.


Denver Nuggets

For Showdown contests with the Nuggets, I almost always think the best option to pay up for is Nikola Jokic ($11,400). Even though Jamal Murray ($9,800) is having a strong postseason, there is no comparing them as fantasy players overall. Including the playoffs, Jokic averages 47.27 DKFP and Murray puts up 35.82 DKFP per game. There is a wider gap between the two than their price tags suggest.

I always have issue figuring out which of the forwards to play from Denver. There is no playing time consistency between Michael Porter Jr. ($8,000) and Paul Millsap ($5,200). Even though MPJ had a big fantasy night in Game 1, most of his damage was done in garbage time. I think he’s overpriced for tonight’s game, so I view Millsap as the better option relative to salaries. Porter is somebody I am looking to fade, as is Gary Harris ($7,400), who is also too pricey. Given the star power in this series, going stars and scrubs is the lineup construction I prefer. This isn’t a viable build of rostering overpriced role players.

There isn’t really a standout value play on Denver. The best way to save salary is with one of the Lakers’ cheap big men. If rostering a cheap player from the Nuggets is needed then Torrey Craig ($2,000) makes the most sense. His playing time has disappeared in Game 1, but there is still a route for him to get extended minutes. Gary Harris often gets into foul trouble and this is when we see bigger minutes from Craig. We saw him get over 20 minutes in a couple of games against the Clippers when Harris was in early foul trouble.


The Outcome

I think the Nuggets should put up a better fight tonight than they did in Game 1. The first game of the series was completely one-sided, although foul trouble was part of the issue. Since Murray and Jokic both picked up three fouls in the second quarter, neither of them finished the half. This was an issue throughout the game and the Lakers had a massive free throw advantage. The Lakers are clearly the better team and I expect them to win, but the score should be tighter for most of today’s game.

Final Score: Lakers 110, Nuggets 103

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NBA Showdown $300K Shootaround [$100K 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 gehrenberg) 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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