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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Mavericks vs. Suns DraftKings NBA DFS Showdown Strategy for November 17

Garion Thorne preps you for Wednesday’s 10:00 p.m. ET contest between the Mavericks and the Suns with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

The absence of Luka Doncic (ankle) in this matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns is both good and bad. Obviously, we’d all rather see the former lottery pick dazzling us on the court; however, at the same time, Doncic on the sideline creates a lot of value on the Mavericks’ roster, while it also might diversify the strategy on a single-game slate. We all do live for chaos, right? ...Right?!

Let’s break down tonight’s action from a Showdown perspective.

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


Captain’s Picks

Deandre Ayton ($12,300 CP) - Often, it can be hard to distinguish the No. 1 option for the Suns on a Showdown slate. Though Devin Booker ($10,400) does lead the team’s rotation players in usage rate by a wide margin (31.4%), it’s Chris Paul ($10,200) and Ayton who tend to contribute in the secondary statistics, essentially giving Phoenix three assets that usually register around 35-40 DKFP per contest. However, on Wednesday, I think Ayton stands well above the pack. It’s all about matchup. The Mavericks have been slaughtered by opposing big men all season long, as they’ve surrendered the most DKFP per game to centers. Heck, in just the past couple of weeks, Dallas has conceded huge performances to Nikola Jokic, Nikola Vucevic and Jonas Valanciunas, not to mention a decent showing from Robert Williams. The Mavericks are allowing the fifth-most opponent points per game in the paint (48.2) and the fourth-most opponent rebounds per 100 possessions (47.2). It’s hard to think of a better situation for Ayton to hit his ceiling.

Jalen Brunson ($11,400 CP) - Suffice to say, everyone on Dallas’ roster sees an uptick in usage when Doncic is not on the court. He’s about as ball-dominant as any player in the league and his absence changes the entire fabric of the Mavericks’ team. That said, I don’t think anyone is impacted quite as much as Brunson. No player on Dallas has logged as many minutes with Doncic off the floor so far in 2021-22, a testament to Brunson’s ability to create offense without the dynamic Slovenian at his side. In fact, in the 319 possessions Brunson’s played without Doncic this season, the Villanova product owns a 27.5% usage rate and he’s scoring an impressive 1.24 DKFP per minute. Kristaps Porzingis ($9,400) and Tim Hardaway Jr. ($7,400) will also be called upon to fill the void, yet I’d expect it’s Brunson who ends up leading the Mavericks in minutes on Wednesday evening. That volume is enough to consider him at 1.5x value.

Value UTIL Plays

Reggie Bullock ($1,800) - Bullock is far from the highest usage asset in the world, but his price tag on this slate is a little confusing. Despite being entrenched in the Mavericks’ rotation — Bullock logged 29.7 minutes in a win over Denver on Monday — the wing finds himself priced just above the minimum. This is a player who’s registered at least 15.0 DKFP in three of his last five games and who will likely be the first man off the bench for Jason Kidd with the aforementioned Brunson stepping into the starting five. Sterling Brown ($2,600) and Trey Burke ($1,000) could also end up as viable options, but I truly believe Bullock’s floor is 6x value with Doncic unavailable to play. That’s always enticing.

Landry Shamet ($1,200) - The Suns run with one of the deepest rotations in the NBA, so usually you can find at least one player on their roster who is a little underpriced. Tonight, that distinction falls on Shamet. In truth, Shamet and Bullock are very similar assets, and neither possesses a jaw-dropping amount of upside. Still, Shamet is locked into 15-20 minutes of action per game, he’s shooting 39.2% from three-point range and he’s managed to register at least 10.0 DKFP in six consecutive contests. Individually, he likely won’t be the guy that wins you a slate, but his salary makes so many other pieces fit. There’s value in that.


Chris Paul ($10,200) - I don’t really have anything horrendous to say about Paul, but you’ve only got six lineup slots and a finite amount of salary, and there’s simply assets I prefer on this slate. I already mentioned Ayton as a potential Captain’s pick, while Booker’s shot volume tends to give the young guard a slighter higher ceiling than his veteran teammate. Also, with the usage vacuum created in Doncic’s absence, I’d rather take my chances on cheaper Mavericks like Brunson, Hardaway Jr. and Porzingis. Paul’s failed to produce even 40.0 DKFP in four of his last five starts and Dallas has conceded the fewest DKFP per game to opposing point guards so far this season. Again, it’s not like I think he’s going to be held scoreless, but this just isn’t Paul’s script.


Sometimes we see the ol’ “Ewing Theory” kick in the first night a team is without their best player — the Mavericks are outscoring opponents by 19.0 points per 100 possessions with Doncic off the floor in 2021-22 — yet I think Dallas will be hard-pressed to pull off the upset in Phoenix. The Suns are in a serious groove right now, having gone 7-1 ATS in their past eight games and 9-1 in their last 10 contests overall. We’re all being reminded that Phoenix is still a threat to make a deep playoff run.

Final Score: Phoenix 109, Dallas 98

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

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