Scotty C guides you through today’s Showdown slate in the wonderful world of NBA DFS!
In my mind, this Showdown slate between the Lakers/Nuggets is fairly straightforward. There is a HUGE dropoff from the top four players on the slate – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Nik Jokic, Jamal Murray – to everyone else in terms of both minutes and production and I think a strong strategy here is to jam three of these studs into our lineups with one of the studs in the Captain’s spot.
The fifth and sixth highest priced guys – Michael Porter Jr. and Rajon Rondo – both come off the bench and will likely play around 20-22 minutes. Between them, they’ve hit 30+ minutes just twice in these playoffs. KCP is the only other player in the entire series besides the big four who has hit the 30 minute mark. He’s shot the ball well from deep which has probably contributed to his staying on the court. The thing about KCP though is that he’s never far away from a 1-7 from three with a few other counting stats, which will crater your lineups.
This series so far is quite different from what we normally see in the playoffs where teams tend to pare down their rotations and minutes are heavily concentrated among the five starters and one – maybe two – bench guys. Instead, both teams are riding their superstars while using their benches liberally, which makes the mid-priced guys mostly unappealing and the deep value options more numerous than on the majority of Showdowns.
A balanced strategy using mid-priced plays has very little chance of working tonight. That pricing tier is pretty rough. As mentioned, Porter Jr., Rondo, Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, Gary Harris and Kyle Kuzma all have yet to hit 30 minutes in either of the games so far and their opportunities for production are swallowed up by the usage of the superstars and the rebounding ability of all the bigs in the series.
Of this group, MPJ is the most interesting as he’s a very talented offensive player who can really get it going but is exploitable on the defensive end. If the Nuggets have trouble scoring and he comes off the bench hot, he could find his way into additional run.
The other guy I want to mention from this mid tier is Harris, who has long been a player Mike Malone has relied on for heavy minutes at the SG slot. In the previous series against the Clippers, Harris had three games where he saw 35+ minutes. However, he’s been ineffective in his court time so far this series and we saw him lose run to PJ Dozier for the entire fourth quarter last game despite it being a tight, back and forth game.
Harris will undoubtedly start again, and, if he plays well, could easily have some minutes upside. But, if he struggles or the Nuggets get down, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Nuggets again turn to Dozier.
Dozier is worth talking about some more. In the first game of the series, he didn’t play at all until the game was out of hand and then he saw all 12 fourth quarter garbage time minutes. In the second game, he didn’t play at all in the first half and only got in near the end of the third quarter with the Nuggets down 78-74. He then proceeded to play the final 14 minutes and showed up well.
It’s a tough spot here because he’s just $1400, which gives us a ton of flexibility with our lineups, but there’s an outside shot he doesn’t get in the game at all tonight. However, because Harris has been so bad and because Dozier has played well, there’s also an outside shot Dozier finds himself in the rotation in the first half of tonight’s game and steals even more of Harris’ minutes.
My lean is towards the proven guy in Harris playing better, retaining his role and seeing 30+ minutes tonight, but it’s really up in the air, and Dozier is a viable option as long as you know what you’re getting into.
We’ve got 10 guys priced below 5k on DK, all of whom may be a part of their respective team’s rotation tonight, which makes it very difficult to choose between them. I say “may be” because, as mentioned, PJ Dozier’s role is unpredictable and likely depends on the play of Harris.
The 5k and below guys:
Lakers: KCP ($4800), Green ($4600), Howard ($4200), Markieff Morris ($4000), Caruso ($3600), McGee ($2200)
Nuggets: Monte Morris ($3200), Torrey Craig ($2800), Plumlee ($2600), PJ Dozier ($1400)
Of this group, KCP, Danny Green, Alex Caruso are all strong candidates for 20+ minutes. We can fit two of these guys in our lineups with most combinations of using three of the studs and a stud at Captain, which isn’t a bad way to go, especially if we’re looking for some safety.
When deciding which of these lower priced value plays to use, it’s a good idea to try to correlate them to the other players in your lineups, especially the studs. For instance, if we decide to use Murray, LBJ and AD, but leave Jokic off our team, it would make a lot of sense to use Plumlee as value since he would be likely to benefit from Jokic foul trouble or an injury.
If we leave AD off, but use the other big three, we could use McGee and/or Howard as our value. If we leave Murray off, then Monte Morris makes sense. With LBJ, it would probably be Kuzma, Markieff Morris, or Rondo. You get the idea. If foul trouble or an injury happens to one of the studs, we want to be in a position to take advantage of that with the players who are most likely to see additional playing time, or, in the case of Rondo if something happens to LBJ, with the guy who will likely come in and do a bunch of playmaking.
Just to recap, I really like using three studs tonight with a stud in the Captain spot while correlating our value in a way that makes sense toward whichever stud we choose not to use. With so many options on the table, there will of course be plenty of luck involved, but this approach allows us to take full advantage if something goes awry with the stud we’re not rostering.