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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Mavericks vs. Rockets Showdown on December 29

Mike Barner gives his top NBA lineup advice for Thursday’s fantasy basketball contest on DraftKings between the Mavericks and Rockets.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Thursday won’t be the busiest of nights in the NBA with only six games on the schedule. One of them will be a matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets. This will also be the featured DraftKings Showdown contest, so let’s highlight some players to consider for your entries.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $50K Fadeaway [$10K to 1st] (HOU vs DAL)

Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets

Captain’s Picks

Luka Doncic ($21,900 Captain’s Pick): Talk about a night for the record books. Doncic was on another planet Tuesday against the Knicks, posting 60 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and one block in a wild comeback victory. He also had a 50-point performance against the Rockets last week in which he chipped in eight rebounds, 10 assists and three steals. Despite his hefty salary, Doncic is the clear top option for this important position.

Christian Wood ($15,000 Captain’s Pick): For those who want to differentiate their lineup in tournament play, deploying Wood at the Captain’s spot could be a viable strategy. With injuries hitting their frontcourt, the Mavericks have finally been forced to start Wood. He has responded by averaging 18.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 2.5 blocks over the last six games in that role.

UTIL Plays

Jalen Green ($8,600): Make no mistake about it, Green’s forte is scoring in bunches. He has taken a step forward in his second season in the league, scoring 21.6 points per game. He has also improved other aspects of his game, averaging 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists. After scoring 41.5 DKFP against the Mavericks last week, Green is also a great target for their rematch.

Alperen Sengun ($7,800): Sengun is risky. Despite their lack of options at center, the Rockets have only been playing him an average of 27 minutes per game. He was limited to 22 minutes versus the Celtics on Tuesday, leaving him with nine rebounds and no points. The last two games that he played at least 30 minutes, he scored 37.5 and 53.8 DKFP, respectively. He played 27 minutes the last time he faced the Mavericks, scoring 41.5 DKFP. Taking a chance on him to receive similar playing time is worth it considering his ceiling.

Davis Bertans ($2,200): Speaking of taking a chance. The Mavericks are running out of healthy big men with Maxi Kleber (hamstring) and Dorian Finney-Smith (hip) both out. They were both out the last time these two teams met, which helped Bertans score 20.5 DKFP over 17 minutes. Given that the Rockets have the third-worst defensive rating in the league, Bertans could once again provide significant value.


Kemba Walker ($7,400): The Mavericks’ bench is a mess. It’s so bad that they have turned to Walker to try and provide a spark. He hasn’t played in more than 50 games since the 2019-20 season and he wasn’t even on an NBA roster at the beginning of this season. He did have one big performance against the Cavaliers when the Mavericks were resting players, but he has scored 21.5 DKFP or fewer in five of the six games that he has played.


Coming off the emotional win against the Knicks, this has the potential to be a letdown game for the Mavericks. The Rockets played them hard the last time around, ultimately losing by six points. The Mavericks are currently on a four-game winning streak in which none of the victories were by more than nine points. While the Mavericks should ultimately win this game, the Rockets could make it tough on them.

Final Score: Mavericks 113, Rockets 105

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $50K Fadeaway [$10K to 1st] (HOU vs DAL)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.