We’ve got just one game on Saturday’s NBA schedule and it’s a big one. All eyes will be on Las Vegas with the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers facing off in the final of the league’s inaugural In-Season Tournament. The Pacers took out the Celtics and Bucks in the knockout round to reach Saturday’s final, while the Lakers ousted the Suns and Pelicans en route to this contest.
Here we’re going to provide one potential DFS lineup strategy for Saturday’s Showdown contests, including Captain’s picks and who to fade.
Anthony Davis ($17,100) - It’s tempting to go with LeBron James in a final, but Davis offers similar production at a slightly lower price point in this spot. The big man is averaging 51.3 DKFP this season, but that number has gone up to 56.8 DKFP over the last five games. Davis should be a force on the glass, and he’s guaranteed to play more minutes because the Lakers don’t have as much depth on the interior. The Pacers rank 26th in fantasy points allowed to big men, so this is a favorable matchup to back Davis.
Tyrese Haliburton ($18,100) - The Pacers point guard is a no-brainer here. He’s on fire in the tournament, dropping 67 DKFP and 63.3 DKFP in the two knockout games. Haliburton also went for 73 DKFP against the Heat prior to the tournament knockout rounds. The Lakers rank 23rd in fantasy points allowed to point guards, so the matchup is great. The stage is set for Haliburton to announce himself to the league as a star, and he should continue to perform at a high level.
LeBron James ($11,600) - There’s no way you can leave James out of the lineup entirely, and he does have value as a captain too if you wish to go that route. He’s an automatic fantasy star, especially in situations like this. James did get a bit of a breather against the Pelicans, playing just 22 minutes in a blowout. He’s fresh and ready to go in a final, so you can expect him to deliver a solid outing. The King is averaging 48.5 DKFP per game this season.
Bennedict Mathurin ($5,200) - Andrew Nembhard is out for Indiana, which means Mathurin should get more run in this game. He could even get the start. The Pacers have been an offensive machine, and Mathurin has benefitted so far off the bench. He’s averaging 22.2 DKFP per game, hitting 26+ DKFP in two of the last three contests. With Nembhard out, Mathurin should see more run and offers good upside at this price point.
Buddy Hield ($7,200) - It hasn’t been great for the Pacers wing, who is shooting 24.2% from behind the arc over the last five contests. Hield had a trade demand in the preseason, and it’s interesting to see him gel with Indiana’s offense despite that request. However, this is not a great matchup for him. The Lakers defend the perimeter well, and Hield is out of sorts at the moment from deep. He’s not worth rostering at this price point.
Austin Reaves ($7,800) - Reaves has been consistent of late, averaging 32.4 DKFP over the last three games and topping 30 DKFP in each contest. However, he’s only putting up 29 DKFP per game this season and that’s not good enough at this price point. Reaves does a little bit of everything for the Lakers but it’s hard to see him breaking out in this game. Leave him out of your Showdown lineup and spend the money elsewhere.
This is a matchup of strength vs. strength. The Pacers are the best scoring team in the league, while the Lakers rely on their defense to win games. Indiana’s rising star Haliburton has taken over this tournament, but can he outshine James and Davis in a final? This should be a tight, relatively high-scoring matchup. In the end, I like LA’s experience to make enough plays late to pull out a close win and secure the inaugural NBA Cup.
Final score: Lakers 121, Pacers 118