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Best lineup strategy for Lakers vs. Nuggets Valentine’s Day NBA Showdown

We take a look at the Valentine’s Day Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets, giving you Captain’s Picks and who to fade.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James drives to the basket on Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic during the second half at Staples Center. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

DraftKings is offering Showdown contests for four of the 10 games scheduled for Sunday and the last matchup of the slate should be a fun one. The Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Denver Nuggets in the Mile High City at 10:00 p.m. ET to wrap up the NBA’s Valentine's Day action at 10:00. LeBron James and Nikola Jokic are both top-three MVP candidates, but one player has a clear edge when it comes to DFS.

Captain’s Picks

Only Luka Doncic has scored more fantasy points than Jokic ($17,700) this year, and Denver’s star big man could tear it up against Los Angeles after busting against the Lakers earlier this month. Anthony Davis ($10,400) is in danger of missing a third straight game with an Achilles injury, and that means Marc Gasol will have to handle one of the most versatile players in the game. Spot minutes from Montrezl Harrell, who is a below-average defender, could help Jokic put up a monster line. PJ Dozier (hamstring) has been ruled out while Jamal Murray (ankle) is questionable, so Jokic could have to take his elite playmaking up another level.

James ($16,800) still hasn’t missed a game this season and tallied a triple-double the last time he faced the Nuggets. The absence of key wing defenders like Garry Harris (hip) and Will Barton (personal reasons) could make things easy for James offensively. His scoring and rebounding will need to be better than usual for him to match Jokic, though.

The value option to look out for is Monte Morris ($7,200). He’s averaging 26 minutes off the bench and could easily eclipse 30 minutes if Murray is ruled out. His .8 DKFP per minute leave something to be desired, but his 16-point performance against the Lakers earlier this year shows that he’s capable of taking over when necessary.

FLEX Plays

Michael Porter Jr. ($7,200) is back in the starting lineup and starting to look like his old self. The young swingman has scored at least 26 DKFP in back-to-back games despite having to split time with Will Barton. MPJ could be neck and neck with Jokic when it comes to shots, and those opportunities could make his price a serious bargain.

Dennis Schroder ($7,200) scored more than 36 DKFP in three straight games before underperforming in his last outing. He can bounce back against a weak defensive backcourt rotation composed of Morris, RJ Hampton, and Facundo Campazzo. The Lakers’ third-leading scorer has logged at least 38 minutes in three of his last four games.


Talen Horton-Tucker ($4,000) could be a viable play if LBJ doesn’t play. Other options like Hampton ($3,200) and Marc Gasol ($3,000) have a chance to match his production if Murray and Davis are inactive.

The Outcome

The Lakers have won seven straight despite not being at 100 percent and the Nuggets are missing several key pieces. I like the road team’s odds of getting the win. James, last year’s top-two Sixth Man of the Year Candiates, and other quality role players are enough to hold off Jokic and company.

Final score: Lakers win 115-107

DraftKings Sportsbook has a Valentine’s Day promotion for Lakers-Nuggets. Go to the DKSB app and place your better on the over/under, which is down to 0! Head here for more details.

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