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Best lineup strategy for Raptors vs. Cavaliers NBA Showdown

We break down how to craft a winning lineup for Thursday night’s featured Showdown contest on DraftKings.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

As has been long established in the history of sports, you can only play the team in front of you. That’s exactly what the Raptors have been doing as of late and it’s led directly to eight-straight wins. Obviously, it helps when a large percentage of those victories have come against the likes of the Hawks, the Knicks and the Wizards; but I’m sure Nick Nurse and Co. aren’t complaining as Toronto’s used this easy stretch of matchups to secure second-place in the Eastern Conference. They’ll get what would certainly seem to be another “cupcake” opponent this evening as the team travels Cleveland, Ohio.

It’s the Raptors. It’s the Cavaliers. Let’s dive into it all from a Showdown perspective.

Who should you play in the Captain’s slot?

Serge Ibaka ($12,600 CP)

We can all assume that it will be Ibaka who gets the nod to fill in for the injured Marc Gasol (hamstring) in Toronto’s starting lineup on Thursday, and it’s a role where the veteran has thrived so far this season. Ibaka’s averaged 34.4 DFKP in his prior 14 starts in 2019-20, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering the big man has produced 20.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per 36 minutes. Yes, most of those 14 opportunities came with Pascal Siakam also sidelined, which definitely helped Ibaka’s usage; but starting means more minutes with Kyle Lowry and that’s always a good thing. Ibaka’s shot 52.7% when sharing the floor with the five-time All-Star this year and just 45.8% without Lowry feeding him passes.

Who should I stack with Ibaka?

Pascal Siakam ($9,800)

Siakam is the most expensive player on this evening’s slate and it’s not too hard to figure out why. Though the fourth-year forward looked a tad rusty after returning from an 11-game injury absence, Siakam has been recently playing at the level that made him an All-Star starter this season in the East. Across his past four starts, the 25-year-old has managed 1.39 DKFP per minute on the court, thanks in large part to a robust 31.8% usage rate. Take advantage of the fact that Siakam’s salary isn’t above $10K.

Where can I find value in the contest?

Terence Davis ($4,400)

You’d be justified in using either Davis or Chris Boucher ($5,000) to save a little cash, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that Boucher’s ownership will likely double the rookie guard’s. Personally, I’ll lean into the variance. While Boucher’s minutes are set-in-stone thanks to both Gasol and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle) already being listed as out, Davis’ are also pretty secure with Patrick McCaw (nose) additionally featured on the Raptors’ IR. Add in a possible lopsided script and I could see Davis getting some serious run on Thursday. Not a bad trait for a player averaging 0.98 DKFP per minute and possessing a .608 true shooting percentage.

Who should I fade?

Darius Garland ($6,800)

Garland hasn’t been lacking in volume lately, generally logging huge minutes prior to being given a night of rest on Tuesday versus the Pelicans; yet, at the same time, he hasn’t done much with the opportunity. Garland’s shooting a putrid 39.3% from the field in his rookie campaign and he pairs that eye-sore with Cleveland’s lowest rebounding rate (3.5%) and block rate (0.0%). He needs to score to be impactful and I have my doubts he gets that done against a team that owns the second-best defensive rating in the NBA (104.4).

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.