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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Jazz vs. Clippers Showdown on June 18

Zach Thompson gives his top lineup advice for Friday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Jazz and Clippers, which starts at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles Clippers v Utah Jazz - Game Five Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Despite losing Kawhi Leonard (knee) in their big win in Game 4 of this series, the Los Angeles Clippers got a huge win in Game 5 and now have a chance to close out the series and advance to the Western Conference Finals with a win at home Friday night against the Utah Jazz. The Jazz took the first two games of this series but have dropped three straight, and they’ll need to turn things around to keep their season alive and force a decisive Game 7, which would be on Sunday afternoon if necessary.

DraftKings Sportsbook has the over/under for this matchup at 219.5 points, and Utah is favored by two points. The Clippers are home underdogs since they will again be without Leonard, who was ruled out with his sprained right knee. The Jazz also have been without a key starter in the series with Mike Conley ($9,400; hamstring) on the sidelines. Conley and Donovan Mitchell ($11,400; ankle) are both listed as questionable for Game 6, so make sure to check back before tipoff to see their status. Let’s break down the rest of the matchups from a fantasy basketball showdown perspective.

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

Captain’s Picks

Donovan Mitchell ($17,100 CP) - Mitchell didn’t have a great Game 5, posting just 37.75 DKFP in 38 minutes after deferring to his teammates early on and struggling to get going when he tried to shoulder the load later in the game. He’ll need to be aggressive right off the tip on Friday, but if he is, he can be the player to carry the Jazz to the win. He had over 47 DKFP in each of the previous four games in this series with a usage rate of over 40%. His usage rate dropped to 28.4% in Game 5 and his true shooting percentage dropped all the way down to 48.5% from where it had been the rest of the series, which was between 56% and 67%.

Mitchell has proven he can be a top playoff performer in last year’s bubble series against the Nuggets and this year’s playoff run as well. Even though he’s less than 100% on that ankle, I think he’s the player most likely to step up since I don’t have any confidence that Paul George ($18,600 CP) will have another huge game like he did in Game 5. Prior to Game 5, Mitchell had produced at least 1.3 DKFP per minute in every game this series, and I expect him to bounce back from his down game and rise to the challenge of a road Game 6.

Nicolas Batum ($8,700 CP) - Mitchell and George are both so expensive that playing one in your Captain’s Pick and one in a flex spot will leave you stretched thin for salary in the rest of your roster and going with punt plays in a few spots. Another option to consider is playing both superstars as flex plays and going with a cheaper Captain’s Pick like Batum. Batum is a low-usage player, with a usage rate of only 11.3% during the playoffs, but he’s getting significant minutes and chipping in solid multi-category production.

He logged a personal postseason-high of 42 minutes against the Jazz in Game 5 and finished with nine points, seven boards, four steals and 28.75 DKFP. He has over 28 DKFP in all three of the Clippers’ wins, and he’ll be a key part of their attempt to close out the Jazz in Game 6. He had 0.8 and 0.9 DKFP per minute in the first four games of the series and will end up a great bargain if he gets back to that number and plays over 40 minutes again. He is a relatively safe pick at this price and allows you to stock up your flex with star options.

Value Plays

Marcus Morris Sr. ($7,200) - Morris has been very good for the Clippers in the past two games, producing 37.5 and 36.0 DKFP after only managing an average of 19.1 DKFP in the first three games of the series. Without Kawhi, the Clippers will need him to step up once again. He logged 40 minutes without Leonard in Game 5 and took more shots (16) than he had in any other playoff game. He should be set up for more work again in this contest and offer a solid return at just over $7K.

Terance Mann ($3,000) - Mann moved into the starting lineup for Game 5 in Kawhi’s spot and played 26 minutes. He finished with 23.0 DKFP on 13 points, two steals, two assists and two rebounds. Even though that production is only 0.88 DKFP per minute, he brings too much upside for this extremely cheap $3K salary. He only played nine minutes combined in Game 1 and Game 2 but has emerged as a key part of the Clippers’ rotation especially with Kawhi out.


Rudy Gobert ($10,200) - Despite the Clippers playing most of this series without a traditional center, Gobert hasn’t put together big fantasy games. He has managed double-doubles in four of the five games but is still only averaging 32.8 DKFP in 34.6 minutes per game. He only had one game with over 35 DKFP, and for a player over $10K, that kind of output just isn’t enough to justify spending up on since going with The Stifle Tower makes it virtually impossible to roster both Mitchell and George.

The Outcome

This game will likely come down to if Paul George can carry the Clippers as he did in Game 5. As impressive as that performance was, it didn’t erase his previous playoff struggles, and I’m more confident in Mitchell stepping up with a big game. I think Spida shows up with a huge game in this one and gives everyone a nice Father’s Day gift of a Sunday afternoon Game 7.

The Clippers’ supporting cast is a little more workable from a salary perspective, so most of my lineup builds actually lean their way just a little bit, especially with the extra usage from Kawhi’s absence to spread around to Batum, Morris, Mann and other affordable options.

Final Score: Jazz 123, Clippers 116

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

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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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