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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Pelicans vs. Lakers Showdown on January 15

Garion Thorne gives his top NBA lineup advice for Friday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Pelicans and Lakers, which starts at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images

After losing to the Clippers on Wednesday evening, the New Orleans Pelicans will finish their swing to Staples Center by squaring off with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. While it’s unclear if the team will be getting Eric Bledsoe ($6,800; eye) back from injury, we do know that Zion Williamson ($8,600) will return to action.

How does that news effect tonight’s Showdown slate? Let’s break it all down.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $120K Fadeaway [$30K to 1st] (NOP vs LAL)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

LeBron James ($14,700 CP) - It’s always a little difficult dealing with “super teams” in Showdown, as picking one All-Star over another in the same matchup can be a headache. Still, when it comes to the 2020-21 Lakers, James has clearly been the Batman to Anthony Davis’ ($10,200) Robin. The former MVP comes into Friday’s slate carrying a 32.6% usage rate than dwarfs Davis’ mark (25.8%), while James’ average of 1.48 DKFP per minute is the best ratio on Los Angeles’ roster by a wide margin. As you can imagine, James has also been the more consistent DFS asset between the two, having registered at least 40.0 DKFP in each of his past 10 games. As a point of reference, Davis has failed to reach that same plateau in five of his 11 starts so far this season. I imagine James will be the more popular play at 1.5x value — especially as he’s slightly less expensive — but I think that’s a justified decision by the public.

Eric Bledsoe ($10,200 CP) - I’m going to go back to the well with Bledsoe and hope that this time he actually plays. I’m not necessarily saying that the veteran could have been the one to explode for 37 points like Nickeil Alexander-Walker ($4,800) back on Wednesday; however, in the 107 minutes Bledsoe’s logged with Lonzo Ball (knee) on the bench so far this season, he’s averaging 1.19 DKFP per minute and a team-leading 36.4% assist rate. With Ball in the same lineup, those figures are at 0.64 DKFP and 15.8%, respectively. If Bledsoe can play through the eye issue that’s currently left him with a questionable tag for tonight’s contest, he should have the opportunity to do some special things. If not, as we all witnessed two days ago, Alexander-Walker very much vaults himself in Captain’s pick consideration.


Value UTIL Plays

Nickeil Alexander-Walker ($4,800) - Obviously you’ll have to gauge your expectations with the young Canadian after his 52.5 DKFP outburst against the Clippers. For one thing, as a career 39.1% shooter, I doubt Alexander-Walker is going to go 15-for-23 (65.2%) from the field all that often. Also, not only is there a chance that the aforementioned Bledsoe will be back in the mix, but Williamson and his team-leading 29.1% usage rate were a pretty crucial absence during Wednesday’s performance. Still, even in a worst-case scenario, I’d expect NAW to garner about 20-to-25 minutes in tonight’s contest, which is more than enough time to reach value when you’re averaging an eye-popping 27.5 field goal attempts per 100 possessions. Volume is never an issue with the sophomore guard.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,600) - You must have at least one hyphen in your name to be considered a value on this slate. Dennis Schroder ($8,000) has significantly cut into the role that KCP had carved out for himself in last year’s playoffs, but the veteran wing still comes into Friday’s tilt sitting sixth on the Lakers in both minutes per game (22.8) and points per game (10.1). Yet, despite those facts, Caldwell-Pope is the eighth-most expensive Los Angeles asset in Showdown. That’s not going to equate to a huge amount of value gained in the long run — there’s just too much usage at the top-end of this roster — but the fact that KCP is basically half the price of Kyle Kuzma ($6,000) is insane. The two men are too similar an archetype of that level of discrepancy.


Fades

Kyle Kuzma ($6,000) - This could all change in a heartbeat if one of James or Davis gets ruled out — they are infinitely questionable, after all — but under the conditions of a full Lakers roster, I don’t see the appeal of Kuzma at this price point. As mentioned above, someone like Caldwell-Pope provides similar DFS value at a fraction of the cost, while Alexander-Walker and Josh Hart ($5,600) are superior and cheaper options on the Pelicans’ side of the ledger. If we remove Kuzma’s lone 30-plus DKFP performance in 2020-21, which happened to come with Davis sidelined against Minnesota, the 25-year-old is only averaging 19.2 DKFP per game. That’s simply not enough.


THE OUTCOME

This is a big line and the Lakers are only 7-6 ATS so far this season, but these are two teams that have been moving in completely opposite directions across the past two weeks. To wit, over their last five games, no team in the NBA has a better net rating than Los Angeles, as its been outscoring its opponents by 11.5 points per 100 possessions. Eric Bledsoe being available would help New Orleans’ chances, but counting on Bledsoe isn’t exactly a winning formula.

Final Score: Los Angeles 119, New Orleans 103

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $120K Fadeaway [$30K to 1st] (NOP vs LAL)


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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.


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