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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Nuggets vs. Clippers Showdown on January 5

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

One of the four games in the NBA on Thursday is a matchup between Western Conference teams with championship aspirations when the Denver Nuggets host the Los Angeles Clippers. This is also the featured Showdown contest on DraftKings, so let’s highlight some players to consider while building your lineups.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $200K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (LAC vs DEN)

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Captain’s Picks

Nikola Jokic ($19,200 CP): If the Nuggets are involved in a Showdown contest, it’s difficult to feel good about playing anyone other than Jokic in the Captain’s spot. He’s nearly averaging a triple-double for the season, putting up 25.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 9.5 assists per game. His usage rate is down by more than three percentage points compared to last season, but his 61.5% shooting from the field is the highest mark of his career. As he goes, so do the Nuggets.

Kawhi Leonard ($13,500 CP): After sitting out Monday vs. the Heat with an illness, Leonard is not on the injury report for this game. Paul George (hamstring) is questionable, though, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sit out since the Clippers also play Friday. Leonard has scored at least 38.8 DKFP in five of his last six games, and the Nuggets have the sixth-worst defensive rating in the league. For those who want to fade Jokic in tournament play, Leonard should be considered for this spot.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Clippers SG/SF Paul George (hamstring) will be available to play tonight vs. the Nuggets. PG John Wall (injury management) has been ruled out.

UTIL Plays

Aaron Gordon ($7,800): Gordon was ice cold vs. the Timberwolves on Monday, shooting 4-for-18 from the field. Still, he finished with 12 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and a steal. He is having one of the best seasons of his career, providing 17.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting 58.3% from the field. With plenty of minutes and his ability to contribute in multiple areas, Gordon is one of the top options for a utility spot.

Ivica Zubac ($5,600): The Clippers don’t have much size up front outside of Zubac. That means he should play a ton in this matchup with Jokic, provided he can avoid getting into foul trouble. Across the 19 games in which Zubac has logged at least 30 minutes, he has averaged 13 points, 13.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

Marcus Morris Sr. ($5,200): Even with all of the depth that the Clippers have, Morris is averaging 30 minutes per game. The veteran hasn’t provided many letdown performances, scoring at least 10 points in each of his last 14 games. His upside isn’t that high, but with him scoring at least 22.5 DKFP in 10 straight games, he is still worth considering.


Michael Porter Jr. ($6,800): This is a tough matchup for Porter, who relies heavily on scoring to provide value. The Clippers have played at the ninth-slowest pace in the league and they have the fifth-best defensive rating. They have also allowed the eighth-fewest rebounds per game, which is the only area outside of the scoring column where Porter is even somewhat appealing.


It seems likely that George isn’t going to play in this game. He has dealt with a hamstring issue before and the Clippers play again Friday, so they would be wise not to push him. The Clippers are a modest 10-10 on the road this season, while the Nuggets are 14-3 at home. Operating under the assumption that George does not play, look for the Nuggets to add another victory to their home record.

Final Score: Nuggets 117, Clippers 111

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $200K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (LAC vs DEN)

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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.