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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Rockets vs. Nuggets Showdown on April 24

Matt LaMarca gives his top lineup advice for Saturday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Rockets and Nuggets, which starts at 10 p.m. ET.

Memphis Grizzlies v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Saturday night’s featured Showdown on DraftKings involves the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets. Both of these squads are dealing with a bunch of absences at the moment, so this game should provide plenty of fantasy value. That said, the Nuggets are clearly the better team. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Nuggets as 14-point favorites in this matchup, so there are some potential blowout concerns as well.

There are a lot of dynamics at play in this matchup, so let’s break down everything to help you build your showdown lineups.

(NOTE: All salaries are in the utility spot unless otherwise indicated.)


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Captain’s Picks

Nikola Jokic ($19,500) – Jokic is the most expensive player in this matchup by a sizable margin, but his price is not really an issue. There is so much value available with these two teams that you can easily pay $19,500 for him and still build a competitive roster. Jokic should also absolutely dominate when he’s on the floor. He’s averaged 1.66 DKFP per minute this season, and he’s increased his usage rate by 7.6 percentage points with Jamal Murray, Monte Morris and Will Barton off the court this season. The Rockets have struggled against big men this season, and they’ll be without their starting center with Christian Wood (ankle). In other words, it’s an absolute smash spot.

The only concern is that Jokic may not need to play much if the Nuggets can build an early lead. Is that enough of a reason to keep Jokic out of your lineup? It’s not enough for me, personally. Jokic has averaged 49.71 DKFP in 13 games as a favorite of 12 points or more over the past three seasons, which should be more than enough to make him the highest-scoring player on the slate. I’m not overthinking this one.

Kelly Olynyk ($12,600) – If you’re not going to go with Jokic, going with someone on the Rockets makes the most sense. They have a few options, but Olynyk is my favorite. He should see nearly all of the center minutes in this matchup, and Olynyk has a very fantasy-friendly skill set. He’s averaged 1.14 DKFP per minute over the past month, so he can do some damage with 36-plus minutes.


Set your DraftKings lineup here: NBA Showdown $100K Fadeaway [$25K to 1st] (HOU vs DEN)


UTIL Plays

Armoni Brooks ($4,200) – Brooks is literally the only guard left on the Rockets’ roster. John Wall, Kevin Porter Jr. and Avery Bradley have all been ruled out for this contest, which means Brooks should handle the lion’s share of the point guard minutes. He’s averaged 0.75 DKFP per minute this season, which makes him an excellent value at $4,200.

KJ Martin Jr. ($3,600) – Virtually everyone on the Rockets is in play tonight, but Martin might be their best option. Expect him to play big minutes alongside Olynyk in the Rockets’ frontcourt, and he’s averaged 0.81 DKFP per minute this season.

PJ Dozier ($4,400) – On the Nuggets’ side, Dozier stands out as one of the biggest beneficiaries from the injury to Barton. He’s already been a solid fantasy value recently, scoring at least 22.75 DKFP in four of his past five games, and he should see a few additional minutes vs. the Rockets.


Fades

Michael Porter Jr. ($9,800) – No disrespect to Porter, but he’s the only real fade option on the slate. You can easily pair MPJ with Jokic – even if you use Jokic at Captain – which I expect is what most people will do. That said, MPJ doesn’t see nearly the same boost in value as Jokic does with Barton, Murray and Morris off the court.

I’m not afraid to leave a ton of salary on the table today. Not only will it reduce my chances of having a duplicated lineup – which should always be one of your goals in Showdown – but the value plays provide just as much scoring upside as anyone but Jokic. Leaving MPJ off your teams just makes too much sense from a game-theory perspective.


THE OUTCOME

It’s hard to see a scenario where the Rockets keep this one close. They’re too banged up, and Jokic is simply too good at basketball. I like Jokic to post a triple-double in less than 30 minutes of playing time. That’s going to limit the fantasy production for the rest of the Nuggets’ starters, who could sit in the fourth quarter of a blowout.

However, the Rockets have no choice but to play their players virtually the whole game regardless of the outcome. That makes their players the much safer choice in this contest, and I think the winning lineup ultimately has at least four Rockets on it.

Final Score: Nuggets 122, Rockets 101


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Set your DraftKings lineup here: NBA Showdown $100K Fadeaway [$25K to 1st] (HOU vs DEN)


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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