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Best lineup strategy for Cavaliers vs. Lakers NBA Showdown

LeBron welcomes in his former team for the first time this season. We go over how to approach lineup construction for the DraftKings Showdown contest.

To finish out the Showdown slate on DraftKings for Monday night we’ve got a big-time narrative, and you know I love narratives. The Cleveland Cavaliers will travel cross-country to face the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James. It’s been a while since LeBron ditched Cleveland for a second time, opting to head to L.A. The Lakers now have Anthony Davis and are on top of the Western Conference again. The Cavs on the other hand, are going through another rebuild and will most likely sell off Kevin Love at the Trade Deadline. It’s a tale of two teams.

LeBron (illness) is not on the injury report and should be able to play tonight. Davis (glute), however, will likely be sidelined again after landing on his tailbone last week. Rajon Rondo (finger) is also questionable, while Avery Bradley and Danny Green both should play. The Cavs aren’t dealing with any injuries currently, but we’ll keep an eye out leading up to lock at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Captain’s Picks

With no AD and the narrative to consider, it’ll be hard not to Captain LeBron James ($18,300). I really don’t care how expensive he is, the pick is right there. James sat Saturday due to an illness, but is expected to go tonight. With AD out on Friday night, James dropped 35 point with 16 boards and seven assists in 32 minutes at a 40.8% usage rate (69 fantasy points). I expect LeBron to come out and lay the hammer down on his former team, though that would make me worry about a blowout here.

Kyle Kuzma ($12,900) doesn’t look like a bad play for Captain. He’s coming off a season-high 36 points on Saturday — granted it was without LeBron or AD. If AD remains out, Kuzma will start again. We saw Kuzma play 33 minutes in the blowout win over the Mavericks last Friday, so if the game script plays out the same Monday vs. Cleveland, Kuzma gets garbage time.

On the Cavs side, Kevin Love ($14,100) and Tristan Thompson ($15,300) are the only viable Captain options I’d say. Both have some narrative: Love being from the area, went to UCLA. Thompson has the whole Kardashian family within close proximity. Thompson has posted back-to-back solid outings and no Davis helps him down low. Love has been streaky, but has also come back down to earth a bit after his outburst. Both are decent GPP pivots off the Lakers chalk.

FLEX Options

If you’re going to Captain LeBron, then it will be tough to fit in every stud player in this game. For that reason, it may be a wise choice to pay down at Captain and fit in James, Kuzma, Thompson and Love (or three of those players). If you need some value on the Cavs side, Darius Garland ($7,000) has been unleashed and is playing a ton of minutes. He’s scored at least 14 points in seven of eight games, and has at least seven assists in four of those contests.

Outside of Garland, if we’re consider cheap value, Cedi Osman ($5,000) should see 30+ minutes and wouldn’t be held back by garbage time really. The Cavs are running a pretty short rotation, so Alfonzo McKinnie ($1,400) is also a strong value if the game gets out of hand. McKinnie has played 20 or more minutes in three of the past four games. By using McKinnie or another cheap option such as Alex Caruso ($1,800), you’d be able to fit in at least three top plays, which seems ideal to me.