Thursday’s five-game NBA slate brings a fun matchup between the Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks, two teams who are expected to challenge for deep playoff runs in the Western Conference. This game is also the featured Showdown contest on DraftKings, so let’s dive into some players to target as you craft your entries.
Nikola Jokic ($17,100 CP): Jokic started off slowly last season, but that sure hasn’t been the case this time around. He’s destroyed the competition, averaging 24.1 points, 11.9 rebounds and 11.9 assists. He already has four triple-doubles through seven games and he just missed two others when he finished two games with nine rebounds each. Yes, his salary at the Captain’s spot will do a number on your budget. However, his upside is off the charts, so he could be well worth it.
Luka Doncic ($15,300 CP): There’s no need to overthink this one. If you don’t roll with Jokic at the Captain’s spot, then Doncic should be your choice. Even with a couple of blowouts resulting in him playing limited minutes, he’s still averaged 25.8 points, nine rebounds and 7.2 assists. The continued absence of Kristaps Porzingis (knee) means that Doncic will continue to have as high of a ceiling as anyone in the league, let alone in this game.
Michael Porter Jr. ($8,400): Porter was a popular pick to have a breakout season and he was doing just that in the early going, averaging 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, one steal and 1.5 blocks across his first four games. Now a starter, he averaged 29 minutes during that stretch, which is a significant boost from the 16 minutes per contest that he averaged last season. Porter has missed the last three games while in the league’s health and safety protocol, but the good news is that he is expected to be back for this contest and resume his expanded role.
Tim Hardaway Jr. ($7,800): With Porzingis out, Hardaway is one of the main supporting players for Doncic. Despite moving to the bench Monday against the Rockets, Hardaway still recorded 44.8 DKFP across 31 minutes. Playing time and shot attempts shouldn’t be difficult for him to come by here, regardless if he starts or comes off the bench.
Maxi Kleber ($4,600): Kleber is coming off of an odd performance in the game against the Rockets. He made his first start of the season, but only took one shot while playing 18 minutes. However, he chipped in nine rebounds and three assists. His 11.1 percent usage rate is a clear indication that he is an afterthought within the Mavericks’ offense. However, with the absence of Porzingis still making him an important part of their overall roster, Kleber has been able to score at least 25.3 DKFP in two of the last four games. In order to fit Jokic or Doncic into the Captain’s slot, taking a chance on a player like Kleber at this salary is likely necessary.
Josh Richardson ($7,000): Richardson is a better real-life basketball player than he is a fantasy option. He struggles to provide much outside of the scoring department, evident by the fact that he averaged 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists with the Heat last season and is now averaging 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists with his new squad. He’s not exactly a big-time scoring option, either, with his 19.2 percent usage rate this season, which has left him to average just 22.6 DKFP a game.
The expected return of Porter is huge for the Nuggets, while the continued absence of Porzingis is a hinderance for the Mavericks. They have struggled on the offensive end without him, averaging only 107.7 points a game. Meanwhile, the Nuggets have averaged 117 points a night despite Porter missing some time. Look for their superior scoring options to help them emerge victorious.
Final Score: Nuggets 114, Mavericks 110’
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) 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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