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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Pelicans vs. Kings DraftKings NBA DFS Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Monday’s NBA In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal between the Pelicans and the Kings with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Have you figured out how the NBA’s In-Season Tournament works yet? I hope so, because the knockout round starts on Monday with a pair of Quarterfinal matchups. The nightcap is a tantalizing tilt between two young and exciting teams: The New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings.

Which of these squads will advance and play again... At some point later this week? I could honestly use a quick refresher on this whole thing. In the meantime, let’s break this game down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $150K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (NOP vs SAC)


Captain’s Picks

De’Aaron Fox ($15,000 CP) - While I can’t say it’s egregious that Domantas Sabonis ($10,400) is the most-expensive asset on this slate, it does seem like a tiny mistake. Fox has been playing out of his mind recently, averaging 31.4 points and 8.6 assists across his last five games. It hasn’t been some crazy stretch with untenable efficiency, either. Fox just never leaves the court. He’s logged 38.2 minutes per contest since November 22 — the fourth-highest mark in the league within that span of time. All and all, the All-Star is producing 1.44 DKFP per minute in his last five starts, which is how you exceed 65.0 DKFP twice. Fox’s ceiling is massive.

CJ McCollum ($12,900 CP) - McCollum missed over three weeks with a collapsed lung, but if you’re worried about some sort of minutes restriction, don’t be. In just his second game back — a relatively lopsided victory over the Spurs on Friday — McCollum logged 38.0 minutes of action, leading the Pelicans in both field goal attempts (18) and assists (8). Zion Williamson ($9,200) remains New Orleans’ hub on offense, as he ranks first on the team in usage rate (30.0%) and DKFP per minute (1.25); yet it’s McCollum who sits right behind the former first-overall pick in raw minute-to-minute DFS production (1.22). He’s back and he’s viable.

FLEX Plays

Trey Murphy III ($6,000) - Like McCollum, Murphy also recently returned from a long-term injury, making his season debut in Friday’s win against San Antonio. The former first-round pick only played 22.1 minutes, but he certainly wasn’t afraid to make the most of his opportunity. Murphy put up 13 shots — 10 from deep — which equated out to 18 points and a notable 25.8% usage rate. Remember, Murphy started 65 games and averaged 31.0 minutes in 2022-23. He’s not an immediate threat to work his way back into the starting lineup, yet he’s no stranger to a large role.

JaVale McGee ($3,600) - McGee’s role can fluctuate, but he doesn’t need long to make a serious impact. In fact, the last five times McGee’s logged double-digit minutes this season, he’s averaged 17.8 DKFP. That might not seem like a lot, yet at a price this low, it’s incredibly useful. For 2023-24 as a whole, McGee is putting up 1.27 DKFP per minute played, a figure that trails only the aforementioned Sabonis and Fox on Sacramento.


Brandon Ingram ($8,800) - Look, there’s obvious risk in an all-out fade of someone as talented as Ingram, but the difference in his production when McCollum is healthy is jarring. Heck, look no further than the December 1 game against the Spurs, where Ingram finished with just 30.75 DKFP and a season-low 14 points. Zooming out, Ingram is averaging a microscopic 0.89 DKFP per minute when playing alongside McCollum in 2023-24. In the 497 minutes he’s played with McCollum sidelined? 1.20 DKFP. That’s all you need to know.


While the Kings are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games as favorites, I’m still leaning towards the home team on Monday. Sacramento is in a groove at the moment, with big wins over the Nuggets, the Warriors and the Timberwolves within the past two weeks. Also, the Pelicans are just 3-6 with a -2.8 net rating on the road this season.

Final Score: Sacramento 120, New Orleans 113

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $150K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (NOP vs SAC)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also 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 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.