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Trail Blazers vs. Spurs Simulated NBA Game: DraftKings DFS Showdown Strategy, Captain’s Picks

Garion Thorne preps you for DraftKings’ simulated NBA Showdown contest between the Trail Blazers and Spurs, which starts at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 19th.

Washington Wizards v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

With real basketball currently on hiatus, DraftKings is launching simulated basketball games! Take note of the rules since this contest doesn’t work like any other contest we have had before. Here, we will focus on Sunday’s free simulated game between the Trail Blazers and Spurs, which locks at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Set your FREE to play lineup here: Simulated Basketball $2K FREE Contest (POR vs SA)

Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.

Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.


San Antonio Spurs

As you would expect with a roster constructed like San Antonio’s, there’s a bit of a price gap between DeMar DeRozan ($10,000), LaMarcus Aldridge ($9,400) and everyone else. In fact, the Spurs’ pair of former All-Stars are more than $2K more expensive than any other member of their team on this afternoon’s slate; something that is justified by the fact that DeRozan and Aldridge are the lone two players on San Antonio averaging more than 30.0 DKFP per contest so far in 2019-20. Still, with a couple of high-salary Portland options also available, it’s worth knowing which of DeRozan and Aldridge happens to be more viable on Sunday. Spoiler alert: It’s the USC product. Actually, it’s not even all that close. While DeRozan has exceeded 35.0 DKFP in 70.5% of his 61 games, Aldridge has only managed to reach that same threshold 56.6% of the time. That’s a much higher floor for just $600 more, right?

However, the real discrepancies in the Spurs’ pricing come in the mid-tier. Sorry to burst the bubble of any fans Patty Mills ($7,200) and Bryn Forbes ($6,200) might have, but there’s no world in which they should ever be bestowed with a higher salary than the likes of Derrick White ($5,800) or Dejounte Murray ($5,400). I mean, you don’t even really have to dig all the deep into the numbers to see why, either. Murray and White rank third and fourth, respectively, on San Antonio’s roster for daily DKFP average, while Mills and Forbes haven’t even been able to muster 20.0 DKFP per game. Specifically, it’s Murray’s price tag that absolutely begs to be exploited. Consider that the 23-year-old has surpassed the 30.0 DKFP plateau in 36.2% of his 58 appearances so far this season, while someone like Forbes has only exceeded the 20.0 DKFP plateau in 34.9% of his opportunities. Heck, even Rudy Gay ($5,000) is a more enticing play than Mills or Forbes, as the veteran forward has mustered at least 20.0 DKFP in 55.0% of his contests in 2019-20.

In the end, that $5K tier is mostly where you’re going to find value with the Spurs, as the squad doesn’t really possess any screaming bargains towards the end of their rotation. Though, I guess you could explore the viability of Jakob Poeltl ($3,000). The former lottery pick has seen his salary a little closer to the minimum in prior simulations, however, even at $3K, the fact that Poeltl’s scored 20-plus DKFP in 48.3% of his 58 games is notable. The big man also comes with a 43.3 DKFP ceiling, thanks to a 15-rebound, five-block performance against the Rockets back on December 3. Not too bad at all.

Portland Trail Blazers

When breaking down this slate, I could spend a lot of time regurgitating insane Damian Lillard ($11,400) statistics, yet, I don’t really think there’s anyone questioning the All-Star’s status as the highest-priced asset in this contest. Lillard’s averaging 50.3 DKFP per game in 2019-20. He’s also managed to exceed 45.0 DKFP in 56.9% of his 58 starts, with so many 50.0 DKFP performances that it would make your head spin. So, yeah, I think it’s safe to assume that everyone and their mother knows that Lillard is viable this afternoon regardless of his price. However, C.J. McCollum ($10,600) is a little more of a debate. Obviously, the 28-year-old is a dynamic fantasy option, but the case could be made that he shouldn’t be more expensive than the aforementioned DeRozan. To wit, McCollum’s surpassed the 35.0 DKFP plateau in 56.5% of his 62 contests, while he’s only been able to bring back at least 40.0 DKFP 40.3% of the time. For the sake of comparison, DeRozan’s cleared that hurdle in 47.5% of his 61 chances.

I mean, even if you don’t want to just stick within the confines of Portland’s own roster, it’s pretty easy to see that McCollum shouldn’t be his team’s second-most expensive player. Instead, that honor should have been given to Hassan Whiteside ($8,800), who has to be the most tempting potential Captain’s Pick on this whole slate. The hulking center is averaging 43.4 DKFP per game as opposed to McCollum’s 38.2 DKFP figure, and, on top of that, Whiteside’s exceeded 40.0 DKFP in 67.2% of his 61 appearances with many of those performances being of the 50.0 DKFP variety. To be perfectly blunt, it’s insane that Whiteside is only the fifth-highest priced asset on this slate and I wouldn’t be shocked if his ownership in the Captain’s slot as hovering around 35% in Sunday’s Showdown contest. Especially with how much of the Blazers’ roster costs less than $5K, it’s not like you have to look to conserve salary at the top of your lineup.

Finally, let’s take a brief moment to talk about Rodney Hood ($1,800). The veteran was only able to take the court in 21 games in 2019-20 before a season-ending Achilles injury; but, for the purposes of this simulation, Hood did enough in that short span to be an interesting piece. In fact, Hood managed to eclipse the 20.0 DKFP mark in 11 of those 21 contests, giving him a better than 50% chance of bringing back at least 10x value. It’s not often you get to have this much confidence in an asset priced below $2K, yet Hood is almost a perfect way to close out a “stars and scrubs” type build.


It has to be Hassan Whiteside ($13,200 CP). You could make the case for Damian Lillard ($17,100 CP), DeMar DeRozan ($15,000 CP) or Dejounte Murray ($8,100 CP), but none of those men are able to combine Whiteside’s immense upside with his level of discount price. As I stated above, there’s a pretty good chance that this will end up being the consensus play at 1.5x value, yet I’m not afraid to eat the chalk on this one.

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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 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.