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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Lakers vs. Jazz Showdown on February 24

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

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers calls out a play against the Washington Wizards during the second quarter at Staples Center on February 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Well, as of this second, Mike Conley ($7,600) continues to be the most notable player in the NBA to have never played in an All-Star Game. The 14-year veteran was snubbed once again for the honor on Tuesday night; however, as pointed out by many, Conley will have another opportunity to sneak into the festivities as Anthony Davis’ (Achilles) injury replacement.

Will that happen? I have no idea. What I do know is that Conley and the Utah Jazz will take on the Los Angeles Lakers absent Davis this evening. Maybe he can pass along a request? Is that a thing players can do?

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $200K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (LAL vs UTA)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

LeBron James ($18,900 CP) - Allow me to portray “Captain Obvious” for a few sentences. Of course you’ve got to consider James at 1.5x value on tonight’s Showdown slate — he’s LeBron James. Honestly, it’s more than just leaning on reputation. With the aforementioned Davis and Dennis Schroder (health protocols) both unavailable, Los Angeles is without the two men who rank second and third to James in overall usage rate so far this season. Knowing that, it shouldn’t be surprising that LeBron is averaging 1.45 DKFP per minute with a gargantuan 34.5% usage rate in this 894 possessions he’s had to log without the duo in 2020-21. It also isn’t shocking that James has produced 53.2 DKFP per contest since Schroder was ruled ineligible, despite the former MVP shooting just 16.7% (4-for-24) from three in that same span. If James can find his stroke, a 70.0 DKFP performance is on the table.

Donovan Mitchell ($15,600 CP) - Generally, we’ve seen Mitchell at his best as a DFS asset when Conley is sidelined. Still, even with the veteran back in the mix for Utah’s past two games, Mitchell’s averaged 29.0 points, 6.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals. That’s some pretty eye-popping production. The simple fact of the matter is this: While the Jazz have several different players that can be impactful, Mitchell is always equipped with both the highest ceiling and the highest floor on the roster. I mean, Utah is scoring 119.1 points per 100 possessions when Mitchell has been on the court so far this season, meaning the All-Star reserve is basically a walking positive game script. I’d much rather utilize James in the Captain’s spot — as this incarnation of the Lakers’ offense is essentially a monopoly — but if you’re looking to save some salary, Mitchell’s a decent consolation.


Value UTIL Plays

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5,000) - Caldwell-Pope hasn’t exactly been the most aggressive DFS asset so far this season — he comes into tonight’s tilt with his lowest usage rate since his rookie campaign (14.3%) — yet his overall volume in recent games is getting too notable to ignore. KCP logged 40 minutes in an OT loss to Washington on Monday, registering 21 points and 29.75 DKFP in the process. This, after playing over 35 minutes in a loss to Miami on Saturday. Basically, the Lakers just don’t currently have a lot of trusted rotation players at their disposal, and proven commodities like Caldwell-Pope are being asked to do more. He’s not much help if he isn’t scoring, but that level of workload warrants a serious look.

Marc Gasol ($4,800) - It has been exceedingly rare to look at a slate and say “this seems like a night where Marc Gasol is viable,” yet that’s the situation we find ourselves in on Wednesday. Not only has the veteran been asked to shoulder a slightly larger role in the absence of Davis the past few games — Gasol is averaging 24.25 DKFP and a respectable 0.96 DKFP per minute in the Lakers’ last four contests — but this is the exact matchup he was brought to California to handle. Gasol is going to play some extra possessions when Los Angeles is opposed by a traditional big like Rudy Gobert ($9,000). In fact, in February, Gasol’s two largest minute shares have come against Memphis and Minnesota; or, more specifically, Jonas Valanciunas and Karl-Anthony Towns.


Fades

Rudy Gobert ($9,000) - As mentioned above, the Jazz can run a very balanced offensive attack, with the likes of Jordan Clarkson ($7,400) and Bojan Bogdanovic ($6,400) capable of scoring 20 points on any given night. While Mitchell’s high usage rate makes him mostly immune to the effects of such a system, Gobert’s lack of consistent point production lowers his ceiling significantly. To wit, the big man has failed to register 40.0 DKFP in nine of his past 13 starts, a stretch where Gobert’s scored 12 or fewer points seven times. I don’t think that trend changes too significantly in an individual matchup with Gasol and against a Lakers team that owns the seventh-best rebounding rate in the league.


THE OUTCOME

This is a tough ask for a shorthanded Los Angeles squad. Not only is Utah 14-2 playing at home so far this season, but the Jazz are 12-1 ATS in their past 13 games as a home favorite and 9-1 ATS in their past 10 games overall. Meanwhile, without Davis and Schroder, the Lakers have dropped three-straight contests, while they’ve also failed to cover four of their last five games. It’s difficult to ever doubt LeBron, but the odds seem pretty stacked against the All-Star on Wednesday.

Final Score: Utah 114, Los Angeles 102

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $200K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (LAL vs UTA)


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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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