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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Kings vs. Lakers Showdown on November 26

Pearce Dietrich gives his top lineup advice for Friday’s featured Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Kings and Lakers, which locks at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles Lakers v Indiana Pacers Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Friday night’s featured NBA Showdown contest is a matchup between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET. As usual, DraftKings is featuring a huge Showdown contest for this game, and below are slate specific targets for Friday’s nightcap.

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


Captain’s Picks

Russell Westbrook ($17,700)

LeBron James ($16,800 CP; $11,200) and Anthony Davis ($17,100 CP; $11,400) receive all of the praise, but Westbrook is the guy showing up everyday and putting in the work. The Lakers’ upset win at Indianapolis on Wednesday is credited to the return of LeBron James, but Westbrook was the true star — his Plus/Minus was +14 while James had a -3, and Davis did not even bother to suit up because he was under the weather. James outscored Westbrook and dished out one more assist, but Westbrook out rebounded James and was only one block shy of James’ two. Furthermore, James scored twice as many points as Westbrook — 39 pts to 20 pts — because he took twice as many shots — 29 FGA to 15 FGA (both need to work on their shooting, but that’s another story).

The question becomes, “Why won’t James play hero ball again?” It could happen or James could go back into safety mode and build his energy reserves. The Lakers had lost seven of 10, were closing out a six game road trip and LeBron had been absent for most of those trials and tribulations. He needed to step up and kick some fans out of the first row, and he checked both of those boxes in Indianapolis. With that out of the way and a matchup with the Kings on deck, it would seem likely that James hands the keys back over to Russell Westbrook. In the game before the Pacers win, Westbrook recorded a triple-double against the Knicks while LeBron was suspended.

The perception is that Westbrook is having a down season, but that’s anecdotal and heavily influenced by highlighting specific games (i.e. his 33% shooting percentage vs. the Pacers). The reality is that he is shooting 43.1% from the field and his career average is 43.7%. The notoriously average 3-point shooter is shooting the long ball the same as always (30.3% this season vs. 30.5% over his career).

This pick is pretty simple, and for the most part, the stats are noise. There is but one thing that matters on Friday night: Does LeBron play, and if so, then how hard? If LeBron is all-in, then he’s the Captain’s Pick. If it’s LeBron light, then fire up Russell Westbrook.

Buddy Hield ($9,900)

Early in the Alvin Gentry interim era, Buddy Hield has emerged as the Kings’ standout. Hield played for Gentry during his rookie season (New Orleans 2016-17), so there could be some ancient chemistry. Hield’s emergence could be the result of someone having to carry the load for the second unit in Gentry’s paced-up offense. Perhaps nothing has changed, it’s just that a couple more threes have fallen for Hield in the last two games.

He could go cold tonight and be an absolute bust, or he stays hot and the new coaching staff increases his role because no one else on the team is doing anything. Whether the shots fall or not is another thing, but his minutes will be there (over 30 minutes in each of the last three games) and so will the shots — 16 FGA on Nov. 22 vs. the 76ers and 16 FGA on Nov. 24 vs. the Trail Blazers.

The Lakers play at the third-fastest pace in the league and are middle of the road defensively. It’s not that they are bad defensively, but being that it’s the regular season, this veteran team does not exert maximum effort on a nightly basis. The veterans do not even suit up on a nightly basis. Westbrook only plays every night because he’s the new kid in town. Anthony Davis and LeBron James might play and they might sit, or they play but barely play because it’s the 7-12 Kings after all. All of this is to say, Buddy Hield should be in a favorable spot for DFS purposes on Friday night.

EDITOR’S NOTE: LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be available to play tonight vs. the Kings.


UTIL Plays

Antony Davis ($11,400)

If all three of LA’s big three play, then Davis suffers the least. That being said, even with Davis’ numbers taking the smallest hit when all three are on the court, it will be difficult to consider rostering any of the Lakers’ stars in the Captain’s spot. Of course if LeBron James sits, then it’s all systems go for Davis and a statistical analysis is not necessary. However, if all three play, why is Davis safer?

The why is simple. Davis has a role in the front court. His rebounding rate is 14.1% with all three on the court and 15.2% without LeBron James on the court — not much of a change. His usage rate takes a small hit from 28.5% to 25.8%, but overall he’s stable and productive with his game relying heavily on rebounds and high percentage shots. Whereas LeBron is dependent on lower probability shots falling, fewer rebounds and Russell Westbrook not getting hot. Also, there is a chance of only Davis and Westbrook suiting up or LeBron taking it easy. It’s unlikely that James will play without Westbrook or Davis on Friday. Unless Anthony Davis pulls one of his frequent Mr. Glass routines and exits early.

De’Aaron Fox ($8,600)

To say the least, Fox has been disappointing this season. However, there is upside, if he ever decides to break out. There are value plays on this slate that allow Fox to fit into most lineups with a couple of stars from the Lakers. No one doubts Fox’s talent, but the Luke Walton slow-motion offense didn’t work out too well for Fox or the Kings. Fox has not fared much better under Alvin Gentry, but this is only the third game of the new regime.

In his second game with Gentry, Fox was 8-for-13 from the field with two rebounds and six assists, but he only played 27 minutes because he was ejected. Even if he played the full game, he wasn't on pace to break the slate with that score. However, that type of performance is not too far away from securing a spot in the winning lineup on a Showdown Slate.

Fox leads the team in minutes per game (35) and the next closest player to his team-leading usage rate of 28% is Buddy Hield at 24%. Harrison Barnes has the third-highest usage rate (21%), but he is questionable for Friday and some of that work would likely go to Fox. This is a pace-up spot against an average defense. It would be a mistake to overlook the Kings’ best player at an affordable price.

Alex Len ($1,000)

Richaun Holmes ($7,200) was unable to play on Wednesday due to a knee injury and is questionable for Friday’s game. Alex Len got the start vs. the Trail Blazers, but he did not see much action. However, in his 17 minutes, Len was 5-for-6 from the field with three rebounds, two assists and a block. How can we trust that Len will get minutes on Friday night? We can’t, but his limited action on Wednesday was the direct result of foul trouble — he picked up two quick fouls to start the second half and got yanked. If Holmes sits again and Len stays out of foul trouble, he will easily be one of the best value plays on the Showdown Slate. Even if Holmes plays, and Len gets closer to 20 minutes than 30 minutes, he can still work. In three of his last four games, he’s averaged 14.6 minutes and 19.2 DKFP. That’s 1.3 FPPM and it will work with only 15 minutes, but at 25 minutes, that rate breaks the slate with 32.8 DKFP from a $1,000 player.


Fades

LeBron James ($11,200 CP; $10,500)

Go big or go home. This is a bold move that will win the slate or result in lineups going nowhere near the cash line. In fact, if James goes off and carries ownerships, then lineups without him will finish near the bottom. However, James is once again carrying the Q tag into Friday night’s matchup.

Long before the Lakers’ injury report was announced, it seemed like this would be a day off for James, or at the very least, it was going to be a light night for him. Now that he’s questionable again, it’s very unlikely that he suits up and if he does, how much will he push it against the Kings? The Lakers are only seven-point home favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook. That line is low, and it seems like the Sportsbook doesn’t believe that LeBron James is going to give it a go on Friday night.


The Outcome

The Lakers are not good, but they’re not bad either. NBA fans are expecting this team to win every night, but they do not have the roster to roll through the league. They’re definitely not going to win every night, if LeBron James rarely plays. Eventually they will be fine, but right now it will be a struggle from night to night. However, at home against inferior opponents, this team has more than enough firepower to win sans LeBron.

Final Score: Lakers 118, Kings 110

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


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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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