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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Nuggets vs. Lakers Showdown on May 18

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

Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals was a thriller. Game 2 is upon us Thursday, which means we also have another Showdown contest to play on DraftKings. Let’s discuss some player to consider while building your lineups.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $500K Shootaround [$100K to 1st] (LAL vs DEN)

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Captain’s Picks

Nikola Jokic ($18,900 CP): Jokic had a performance for the ages Tuesday. He hit one big shot after another, including a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter with Anthony Davis having a hand in his face. When it was all said and done, he produced yet another triple-double with 34 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists. With at least 72.8 DKFP in each of his last six games, Jokic might be too good to pass up for this important position.

Anthony Davis ($17,400 CP): For those who want to try and differentiate their lineup and fade Jokic in the Captain’s spot, Davis is also a great option. He was nearly was dominant as Jokic, finishing with 40 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks. The Lakers presented size issues for the Nuggets, with Davis being someone they had no answer for. Expect the Lakers to continue to rely heavily on Davis as they try to even up the series.

UTIL Plays

Jamal Murray ($9,400): Murray shot 45.4% from the field during the regular season and has increased that mark to 47.2% during the playoffs. That has enabled him to average 26.3 points and 3.0 3-pointers per game. He has also provided plenty of production in other departments, like in Game 1 when he added five rebounds, five assists and three steals to his 31 points. As the top running mate to Jokic, Murray should continue to receive plenty of opportunities to thrive.

Michael Porter Jr. ($7,200): Despite Jokic gobbling up so many rebounds in Game 1, Porter still chipped in 10 boards. That resulted in his third double-double over the last five games. After averaging 29 minutes per game during the regular season, he has logged 33 minutes per game in the playoffs. That has helped him increase his rebounding average from 5.5 to 7.8 per game. Combine additional rebounds with his shooting prowess and Porter has scored at least 36 DKFP in four of the last five games.

Rui Hachimura ($3,600): After not playing much in the previous series vs. the Suns, Hachimura logged 28 minutes Tuesday. That helped him score 21 DKFP. The Lakers had him defending Jokic in the second half, which left Davis free to patrol the paint on the defensive end. That helped them make a run, so it’s possible they try the same strategy in Game 2. That leaves Hachimura with the potential to provide significant value at such a cheap salary.


Aaron Gordon ($6,800): The Nuggets need Gordon to defend, not score. He only attempted nine shots in Game 1 and is averaging just 9.9 shot attempts per game during the playoffs. That has contributed to him scoring 25 DKFP or fewer in five of the last six games. Don’t expect his role to change anytime soon.


The Lakers’ adjustments in the second half almost helped them pull off a big comeback Tuesday. Both defenses struggled, which helped the Nuggets and Lakers shoot 54.9% and 54.8% from the field, respectively. The Nuggets have yet to lose a game at home during the playoffs, so even though the Lakers might be able to keep this close again, look for the Nuggets to come away with the win.

Final Score: Nuggets 121, Lakers 116

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $500K Shootaround [$100K to 1st] (LAL 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.