Wednesday’s featured NBA Showdown contest on DraftKings is between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, and the game tips off at 10:30 p.m. ET. As usual, DraftKings is offering up a huge Showdown contest for this game, and below I give you some of my favorite options to attack for the format.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: PF/C Anthony Davis (adductor) has been ruled out Wednesday vs. the Rockets.
Anthony Davis ($17,100, CP) LeBron James (ankle) is expected to return tonight, but Davis is still the top overall option in this matchup. The Rockets are extremely depleted, and the Brow should have a field day against this soft Rockets defense that rates as the second weakest group in the NBA over their last ten. Davis is finally starting to regain his superstar form, and Dennis Schroder is still in quarantine. When the point guard has been off the floor this season, Davis’ usage rate has leaped by a team-high 5.2 percentage points, and the Lakers’ primary game plan should be to force feed him inside for Wednesday’s important tilt. After beating the Knicks in overtime last night, the Lakers only trail the Mavs by one game for the sixth seed in the West, which is the final spot in the standings to avoid the play-in tournament. Considering the circumstances, Davis should see big minutes and supply over 50 DKFP, and his upside is the highest of this single-game slate.
KJ Martin Jr. ($11,400, CP)
Christian Wood (ankle) is questionable tonight, but I believe it is unlikely we see the big man suit up. He has dealt with ankle issues all season long and with only three games left of this lost season for the Rockets, there really isn’t any logic to Wood playing again this year. Assuming the likely event of him being inactive unfolds tonight, Martin will remain a starter and continue to play huge minutes. In these last five with Wood sidelined, Martin has been a fantasy marvel, scoring 46.6 DKFP in 40.25 minutes per game.
Giving the rookie this type of opportunity to develop his game makes complete sense this late in the season for Houston, and while the Lakers present a terrible matchup (1st in defensive efficiency), Martin’s hefty volume outweighs any matchup concerns. This is a very reasonable price for the athletic forward, and utilizing Martin at captain is a sharp move that makes it possible to roster both Davis and James in your utility spots.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Lakers SG/SF LeBron James (ankle) has been ruled out Wednesday vs. the Rockets.
LeBron James ($11,000) I doubt James is 100% right now, but taking these past five games off was the right move, and he should post a strong stat line with so much at stake tonight. Competing in the play-in tournament was not in James’ plans this season and I fully expect him to see a normal complement of minutes tonight against the Rockets. In a pair of meetings with Houston this season, the future Hall of Famer is averaging 42.9 DKFP per game, and James is also amassing 49.7 DKFP per game at home in the Staples Center thus far in 2020-21. I don’t think he is worth paying up for at captain, but attacking James’ safe floor at a utility spot is necessity for this difficult showdown slate.
Khyri Thomas ($6,600)
Since coming up from the G-League and signing a ten-day contract with the Rockets, Thomas has been a very pleasant surprise. In his first three contests with the team, the shooting guard out of Creighton has provided 38 DKFP in 28.3 minutes per game off the bench. Additionally, Thomas’ usage rate has been at a very healthy 24.6%.
Just like with Martin, giving Thomas a ton of run for the last three games of the season is the right move for the Rockets, and I expect the 25-year-old’s recent success to continue with at least 30 DKFP vs. the Lakers.
D.J. Augustin ($3,800)
Kevin Porter Jr. (ankle) will miss his fourth in a row tonight, likely keeping Augustin as the Rockets’ starting point guard. As Porter’s replacement, Augustin has scored 27.5 DKFP in two of these past three starts. 20-25 minutes is a reasonable expectation for the veteran, and Augustin has chipped in with 19.3 DKFP per game when he has cracked 20 minutes this season.
He lacks true upside against this stout Lakers defense, but Augustin has a decent chance of getting us over 20 DKFP, which is all we can ask for from a player this cheap.
Kyle Kuzma ($6,400)
Kuzma has been very inconsistent, scoring less than 20 DKFP in three of his past six starts, and his fantasy production suffers with both James and Davis healthy. When he has shared the court with the two superstars this season, Kuzma has only contributed 0.7 DKFP per minute, compared to his 0.9 average for 2020-21.
In addition, despite this being a plus matchup all season long, Kuzma is only averaging 23.1 DKFP per game vs. the Rockets this season in two meetings against the club. He is priced up as if James was inactivate, and Kuzma is an easy fade for me tonight at $6,400.
As noted above, I am projecting Anthony Davis to suit up tonight, and with him and LeBron James together on their home floor competing for playoff implications, the Lakers are an easy choice against the beat up Rockets. The Rockets have lost 17 of their past 20, and during this stretch, they have lost by ten points or more 50% of time. The Lakers are large 13-point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook, but James and company should be able to cover this line in the Staples Center tonight.
Final Score: Lakers 121, Rockets 105
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) 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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