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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Nuggets vs. Suns DraftKings NBA DFS Showdown Strategy for October 20

Garion Thorne preps you for Wednesday’s 10:00 p.m. ET contest between the Nuggets and the Suns with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets

“Suns in four.” What else really needs to be said? While the Phoenix Suns would eventually fall short of their title goals last season, that meme, that fan will likely live on within the team’s fandom forever. So there isn’t a better way to start off the 2021-22 season than by revisiting that moment with a rematch of the Western Conference semifinal that birthed an internet sensation, with the Denver Nuggets now out for some revenge.

Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $150K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (DEN vs PHX)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Nikola Jokic ($18,600 CP) - It’s obviously going to be very pricey to Captain someone of Jokic’s stature — he is the reigning NBA MVP — but in a contest against the generally balanced attack of the Suns, I truly think you need to take advantage of the big man’s incredible ceiling. Jokic was an absolute animal in the over 2,300 possessions he logged with Jamal Murray (knee) sidelined last season, averaging 1.66 DKFP per minute thanks primarily to a 33.5% usage rate and a 63.9% true shooting percentage. That’s the beauty of Jokic as a fantasy asset, he doesn’t need to be as efficient as he is due to his massive amount of volume, but he’s able to bring both elements to the table. He’s the only player on this slate that produced more than 40.0 DKFP per game in 2020-21 and he should be treated as such.

Chris Paul ($14,100 CP) - It can be difficult choosing between Paul, Devin Booker ($10,000) and Deandre Ayton ($8,600) because the trio had such similar DFS production last season. However, I do think Paul gets the edge on this particular slate. There’s simply a pretty good case to be made that the veteran should be Phoenix’s most expensive asset. It was Paul, not Booker, who led the Suns in DKFP per minute in 2020-21 (1.22), with the latter’s assist rate falling to just 20.6% playing next to the future Hall of Fame point guard. Those secondary counting stats matter, and Paul showcased that during the seven games he started against the Nuggets last season, managing 22.1 points and 10.7 assists per contest. Heck, Paul averaged an eye-popping 48.7 DKFP when facing Denver between both the regular season and the playoffs. I’d still rather Captain Jokic, but Paul’s productivity can’t be overlooked.


Value UTIL Plays

Bones Hyland ($1,800) - While you never want to draw too many conclusions from preseason rotations, it would seem that Hyland is going to play a major role for the Nuggets this season, at least until the aforementioned Murray is able to return. To wit, the rookie guard led Denver’s in bench minutes in all five tune-up games, including a contest against the Thunder last Wednesday where the Nuggets’ regular season starting five all suited up. The 26th overall pick finished the preseason averaging an impressive 15.2 points per game, and if he ends up seeing 15-20 minutes of action this evening, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be able to pay off this extremely modest salary.

Landry Shamet ($1,200) - There’s two sides to predicting NBA rotations in mid-October. On the one hand, you have nothing aside from preseason lineups and training camp buzz to base your decisions on. On the other hand, there’s so much possible value to be derived from the situation if you end up being right. I think I’m going to end up being right about Shamet. At first glance, you might think there isn’t a huge role for the wing on a team that already employs Booker, Miles Bridges ($6,400) and Cameron Payne ($4,400), but it was Shamet that started three of the Suns’ four preseason games when a usual starter was held out. If that isn’t Monty Williams tipping his hand, I’m not sure what is. Shamet’s a career 39.7% three-point shooter. It shouldn’t come as a shock that there’s a place for him in Phoenix’s plans.


Fades

Jae Crowder ($7,200) - The beautiful thing about the “stars and scrubs” build that I’ve outlined above is that you don’t need to fade someone like Booker or Michael Porter Jr. ($8,000) to be able to stay below the salary cap. It’s a freedom that allows you to completely disregard a pretty underwhelming mid-tier of assets, one headlined by Crowder. Now, that’s not to suggest that Crowder doesn’t have his moments, but there’s a clear drop-off in terms of ceiling when you dip below the $8K mark in this Showdown contest. Also, in no world should Porter be priced closer to Crowder than Chris Paul. The veteran simply isn’t viable on Wednesday, especially with similar options like Will Barton ($6,600) and Aaron Gordon ($6,200) available for less money.


THE OUTCOME

The Suns were an absolute force at home in 2020-21, finishing the regular season with a 27-9 record in Phoenix and a 9.2-point net rating that was the second-best mark in the entire league. Conversely, the Nuggets are 2-5 ATS in their past seven contests as a road underdog. Combine all that with last year’s sweep, and I’ll be siding with the Suns this evening.

Final Score: Phoenix 110, Denver 101

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $150K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (DEN vs PHX)


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