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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets Showdown on May 24

Jeff Pratt gives his top NBA lineup advice for Monday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Trail Blazers and Nuggets, which starts at 10:00 p.m. ET.

On Monday night, we get Game 2 of an incredibly entertaining series between the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers upset Nikola Jokic and company in Denver on Saturday, so the Nuggets will look to salvage a split before both teams head out to Portland. In both of Denver’s wins over the Trail Blazers in the regular season, Portland was held under 90 points. The Blazers put up 123 points in Game 1, so the key to victory is clear here for Mike Malone’s squad: Slow Damian Lillard down, or you will pay the price. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Nuggets favored by 1.5 points with the O/U at 227.

Let’s break down this Showdown contest on DraftKings.

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Damian Lillard ($16,800 CP)

Lillard was the best player on the floor in Game 1, and I like his odds of repeating that feat tonight. The All-Star guard racked up 59.0 DKFP with a 35.4% usage rate on Saturday, finishing with 34 points and 13 assists. As always, Portland will go as far as Lillard can carry them in the playoffs, so there’s no reason to anticipate a drop in usage rate for the superstar in Game 2. Lillard’s scoring output has dipped below 30 points just once in his last nine games, making the floor extremely safe for your captain spot.

Michael Porter Jr. ($13,200 CP)

While the obvious choice here is Jokic ($18,900 CP), I’m not in love with his captain price tag. It’s even less appealing when you realize that he has failed to eclipse the 60 DKFP mark in each of his last seven games. As a result, I’m pivoting to Denver’s next best option, Michael Porter Jr. MPJ has really stepped up in Jamal Murray’s absence, with a career average of 21.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in games with Murray out of the lineup. In Game 1, Porter Jr. bounced back from two prior lackluster showings, racking up 25 points and nine rebounds en route to a solid 39.8 DKFP finish. As the Nuggets’ clear No. 2 option, you can count on Porter Jr. getting consistent touches. His usage rate has been 23% or higher in seven straight contests. I think he’ll be heavily featured as Denver looks to bounce back from a disappointing outing.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $300K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st] (POR vs DEN)

UTIL Plays

Carmelo Anthony ($5,000)

Anthony was met with a myriad of boos by the Denver crowd on Saturday, and the future HOFer clearly took it personally. Melo racked up 27.3 DKFP, finishing with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting off the bench. At 36 years old, Anthony can still provide a lot of firepower, and he’ll surely be locked in with limited playoff opportunities looming in his future. Portland has no problem featuring the former All-Star whenever he checks in, as shown by his 27.2% usage rate in Game 1. Expect more of the same tonight.

Aaron Gordon ($6,800)

Gordon’s fit with Denver hasn’t been seamless since the Nuggets acquired him at the trade deadline. That being said, if Game 1 of this series is a sign of things to come, he’s a must-play. With Jamal Murray done for the year, Denver needs multiple players to step up if they’re going to make a deep run. Gordon did just that on Saturday, finishing with 30.0 DKFP and a 29% usage rate. The 25-year-old wing will play a huge role in deciding Denver’s postseason fate.

Facundo Campazzo ($7,600)

Continuing the trend of Nuggets who are stepping up in Jamal Murray’s absence, Campazzo is near the top of that list. Facu does a little bit of everything for Denver, averaging 6.1 points, 3.6 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Campazzo has been a reliable DFS option as of late, racking up 21-plus DKFP in seven of his past eight contests.


Norman Powell ($10,500 CP, $7,000)

With Lillard and CJ McCollum ($13,800 CP; $9,200) running Portland’s offense and Anthony producing off the bench, Powell’s production has taken a hit. The dynamic scorer has reached the 25 DKFP mark just once in his past four games, seeing a usage rate of less than 18% in each of those contests. While Powell can break out at any moment, I don’t love his prospects with other players currently stepping up for Portland.


I think Denver is in trouble here. The task of slowing down Lillard and McCollum is hard enough, but getting players to step up and help Jokic out could be even more difficult. The Joker will do his thing, but Portland’s incredible offensive arsenal will be too much for the Nuggets, and the Blazers will head back home with a huge 2-0 series lead.

Final Score: Portland 116, Denver 109

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $300K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st] (POR vs DEN)

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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.

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