This evening’s matchup between Portland and Dallas will mark the official mid-way point for what’s been an eventful campaign for the Blazers. Coming off a trip to the Western Conference Finals, much was expected from Damian Lillard ($10,000) and the rest of Portland’s roster, yet, three months of injuries and one Carmelo Anthony ($7,400) signing later, and the Blazers are currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture.
However, after a 117-107 victory in Houston on Wednesday night, spirits are high. Can Portland build off that win and have another solid performance against a Southwest Division opponent in the form of the Dallas Mavericks? Let’s break it down from a Showdown perspective.
Who should you play in the Captain’s spot?
When forced to choose between the Blazers’ two options priced above $9K on this slate, I feel the need to lean Hassan Whiteside ($14,400 CP) over Lillard ($15,000 CP). Really, it just comes down to consistency. While both players have been producing at incredible rates going back to Dec. 4 - Lillard’s scoring 1.30 DKFP per minute and Whiteside’s at 1.22 - the highs have been higher for the big man, while the lows have been lower for the All-Star. To wit, in that same 21-game span, Whiteside’s exceeded 55.0 DKFP four times, while Lillard’s done so just twice. On the other side of things, Lillard’s produced fewer than 40.0 DKFP on six occasions, with Whiteside dropping below that threshold on only four nights. Sure, we’re splitting hairs, but those trends, combined with the fact that Dallas has surrendered the fewest DKFP per contest to point guards in 2019-20, definitely have me preferring the former second-round pick.
For the Mavericks, it’s the same question as always. Using Luka Doncic ($20,700 CP) is a daunting proposition from a monetary standpoint, yet, from a statistical perspective, it makes all the sense in the world. It doesn’t hurt that Kristaps Porzingis (knee) has already been ruled out for this evening’s tilt, either. In 528 minutes without Porzingis on the floor so far this season, Doncic has posted an eye-popping 39.7% usage rate and 1.88 DKFP per minute. Maybe you don’t have to Captain him with the Blazers presenting some solid options of their own, yet fade the MVP candidate at your own risk.
Who should you play in the UTIL?
The aforementioned Anthony pops up as a viable mid-tier value on this particular slate, as the Mavericks have conceded the most DKFP per game to opposing small forwards through 41 contests. Anthony’s also in an obvious groove, having exceeded 35.0 DKFP in four of his last five starts. Heck, he’s just been playing well in January in general. In the month, Anthony is averaging 17.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per night, all while maintaining a .629 true shooting rate. Additionally, at the same position, you’ll find Mario Hezonja ($1,000). The former lottery pick is a bit of a punchline in NBA circles, but he’s produced a respectable 0.80 DKFP per minute in 2019-20 and he’s listed as probable to return from a two-game absence. You could do worse at the minimum.
When it comes to value on Dallas’ roster, look no further than Boban Marjanovic ($2,600). The fan favourite has been getting some decent run in the Mavericks’ rotation the past three contests and that’s really the lone obstacle for the 31-year-old. I mean, just take a glance at his per 36 numbers. Marjanovic is putting up an insane 22.2 points and 16.4 rebounds. With an obvious defensive matchup in Whiteside, Marjanovic should see at least 10 minutes of action on Friday and that’s probably all he needs to be useful in DFS.
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