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Best lineup strategy for Mavericks vs. Trail Blazers NBA Showdown

We break down roster construction for Thursday night’s Showdown contest between Dallas and Portland on DraftKings.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The concept of deja vu is generally described as feeling like events in your life are repeating. You think you’ve seen the same person in the same place, you’re always hearing one particular song, or maybe it’s just this strange sense that the Mavericks and the Trail Blazers literally just played each other less than seven days ago. Well, fear not avid DFS player. You’re not going crazy. We did indeed see this exact matchup last Friday in Dallas, with the home team taking down the visitors 120-112. It was also the night that C.J. McCollum ($8,600) went down with a sprained ankle. He’s questionable to suit up this evening.

Let’s dive into Thursday’s featured Showdown slate on DraftKings.

Who should you play in the Captain’s slot?

Kristaps Porzingis ($9,400) might have returned from from a 10-game absence on Tuesday, yet his presence don’t change the usual spiel when it comes to selecting who to play in the Captain’s slot for the Mavericks. It’s possible you’ve heard of Luka Doncic ($20,700 CP) by this point in the season, but here’s a refresher course for the uninformed. The sophomore’s 37.3% usage rate trails only the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden among the league’s leaders, while the volume has allowed Doncic to produce a staggering 1.77 DKFP per minute played. Specific to recent contests, the 20-year-old has exceeded 60.0 DKFP in each of his past three starts and seven of Dallas’ last 11 games. He’s insanely good and a Portland team that possesses the NBA’s worst defensive rating since Dec. 23 isn’t likely to stop him (115.8).

Figuring out the Blazers’ top-option at 1.5x value takes a little more thought. First and foremost, we’ve got injury concerns. Damian Lillard ($17,100 CP) did his best Harden impression on Monday against the Warriors, dropping 61 points and collecting an eye-popping 92.0 DKFP, but the 43.2% usage rate the All-Star sported in that win won’t be necessary if McCollum is back in the mix. In fact, with 2019-20, Lillard’s usage falls from 35.0% without McCollum by his side to a far more pedestrian 27.1% when the two share the court. Add in that Dallas has surrendered the fewest DKFP per contest to opposing point guards and I’ll likely be taking my chances with Hassan Whiteside ($15,300 CP) as a Captain’s pick if McCollum’s active. I mean, Whiteside did register 21 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks against these same Mavericks on Jan. 17.

Who should you play in the UTIL?

I’m always a little hesitant to trust Boban Marjanovic ($4,200), as he’s liable to put up a DNP on any given slate, yet it’s hard to imagine the hulking center doesn’t get some run tonight with Dwight Powell’s (Achilles) recent injury and Porzingis likely still having his minutes monitored. Heck, Marjanovic logged less than 16 minutes of Tuesday against the Clippers and managed to finish the contest with 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in that truncated role. There’s a reason he’s averaging 1.32 DKFP per 60 seconds of action in 2019-20 - the second-highest figure on the team behind Doncic.

On the other side of the floor, welcome to Trevor Ariza ($3,600) chalk night. The veteran likely won’t have the highest usage rate in a starting lineup with Lillard, McCollum, Whiteside and Carmelo Anthony ($7,800); however, a player with a role as concrete as Ariza’s would seem to be is rare to find below $4K. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Gary Trent Jr. ($3,400) if the aforementioned McCollum is eventually ruled out. Yes, Trent went an abysmal 1-for-10 from 3-point range versus Golden State, but he’s taken 32 field goal attempts in Portland’s past two games. That’s enticing volume.

I am an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.