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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Heat vs. Lakers Showdown on September 30

Garion Thorne gives his top lineup advice for Wednesday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Heat and the Lakers, which starts at 9:00 p.m. ET.

It would be easy to say that this is not the Finals matchup any of us predicted at the beginning of the 2019-20 NBA season, but, to be fair, I also didn’t think I’d be making that claim in September. It’s been an absolutely wild year and we’ll see the basketball portion of it come to and end within the next two weeks, with either the Heat or the Lakers hoisting up the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Still, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Before a team can win four games, they’ve got to win one. Let’s break down tonight’s Game 1 tilt from a Showdown perspective.

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Los Angeles Lakers

It feels really weird to say this about a Lakers team that has been one of the most top-heavy rosters in the NBA throughout the entirety of the season, but if you’re looking for value on this slate, it’s going to come from Los Angeles. Well, at least once you decide what you’re going to be doing with LeBron James ($13,200) and Anthony Davis ($12,000). Ideally, you’d like to get both in your lineup — as the duo’s usage rates completely dwarf their other teammates’ numbers — however, if you could only afford one, it should probably be James.

The former MVP just clearly has another gear in these types of settings, one that makes his DFS ceiling higher than anyone else who will take the court this evening. To wit, James has exceeded 60.0 DKFP in eight of the Lakers’ 15 playoff contests so far, with his triple-double performance in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals still fresh in everyone’s mind. James also averaged a whopping 1.51 DKFP per minute played against the Nuggets, which was much more efficient than Davis was able to be in the same matchup (1.25). It would be silly to suggest that I’m nervous about the All-Star big man, yet Davis did produce a paltry 41.8 DKFP across the final three games of the Denver series with a major workload. He’ll also now have to face Bam Adebayo ($10,600) in the paint, who finished the regular season inside the top 10 in defensive box plus/minus. Without question, he’s the most daunting individual interior defender Davis has faced on this run to the Finals.

After those two, the next most-expensive Los Angeles asset is Rajon Rondo ($5,200). That’s the type of drop-off we’re dealing with on the pricing list. Still, that’s not to say that Rondo isn’t viable, as he’d managed to score at least 20.0 DKFP in every playoff game he’d appeared in this season prior to logging just 13 minutes against the Nuggets in Game 5. Really, Rondo possesses easily the highest floor of the Lakers’ secondary pieces, especially considering how flexible Frank Vogel has proven to be with his rotation depending on the matchup. Well, Rondo or Alex Caruso ($3,000), who has garnered over 20 minutes of action in 12 of his last 13 appearances. Houston was a Markieff Morris ($2,600) series, but Denver was a Dwight Howard ($5,000) series and I think that’ll carry over to Wednesday. Expect Howard to draw another start with how dominant the aforementioned Adebayo was in Miami’s wins against Boston. Aside from those three pieces, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,600) is sporting a .731 true shooting percentage dating back to Sept. 10 and has a pretty set-in-stone role. Feel free to get him into a lineup to make some of the larger salaries fit.

Miami Heat

One of the biggest components of this slate will be whether or not the Heat revert back to their larger rotation for the early games in this series. Not that 10 minutes of Kelly Olynyk ($2,000) or Derrick Jones Jr. ($1,600) is going to mean all that much in terms of their own value, but Miami essentially used a tight seven-man system in Game 5 and Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals and, as you would expect, six of those seven men are priced above $6K this evening. In fact, the lone person who isn’t is Andre Iguodala ($3,400), who will probably be a pretty popular play when factoring in recency bias. The veteran went 4-for-4 from 3-point range on Sunday, finishing with 15 points and 26.25 DKFP. Still, I’m not sure I’m comfortable rostering someone with a microscopic 8.8% usage rate since the beginning of the playoffs. Not to mention someone averaging a team-low 0.57 DKFP per minute within that same span. Iguodala will get on the court, but if Jae Crowder’s ($6,200) shooting begins to normalize, I don’t know how big his role will end up being.

On the other end of the spectrum, we find Adebayo, Jimmy Butler ($9,200), Goran Dragic ($8,600) and Tyler Herro ($8,000). On first glance, I think this is a slate where you’ll have to fade Miami’s center. For as great as Adebayo was in the ECF, the Celtics simply had no one to match the Kentucky product’s size and skill in the paint. That won’t be an issue for the Lakers, who are stocked with a laughable amount of depth at the four and five spots. That’s crucial to note because it was actually Butler, not Adebayo, who led the Heat with 1.17 DKFP scored per minute in the team’s first nine games of the playoffs.

Really, there was almost no separation between those two pieces and Dragic — the team leader in playoff usage rate 26.6% — which drives home just how flattened the DFS potential becomes towards the top of Miami’s pricing list. Considering how all four of these players are locked into 30-plus minutes with similar offensive workloads, you might as well try and save here so you can splurge with Los Angeles’ stars. Dragic and Herro seem like the better dollar-for-dollar plays.


While you’d obviously love to stick LeBron James ($19,800 CP) in the Captain’s spot and go from there, I’m not sure this is the slate to be using nearly 40% of your budget on a single player. Instead, I’d be looking to exploit the mid-tier, in hopes of possibly rostering both James and Anthony Davis. Goran Dragic ($12,900 CP) makes for a decent option at 1.5x value, as does Rajon Rondo ($8,100 CP) or, if he starts, Dwight Howard ($7,500 CP).

Final Score: Los Angeles 108, Miami 100

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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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