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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Mavericks vs. Suns Showdown on November 19

Pearce Dietrich gives his top lineup advice for Friday’s featured Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Mavericks and Suns, which locks at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Friday night’s featured NBA Showdown contest is a matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns at 10:00 p.m. ET. As usual, DraftKings is featuring a huge Showdown contest for this game, and below are slate specific targets for Friday’s nightcap.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $120K Fadeaway [$30K to 1st] (DAL vs PHX)

Editor’s Note: Mavericks PG Luka Doncic has been ruled out tonight vs. the Suns.

Captain’s Picks

Kristaps Porzingis ($14,400)

Luka Doncic (ankle, knee) missed Wednesday's game against the Suns and is doubtful for Friday night’s rematch with the Suns. On Wednesday, Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. ($11,100 CP; $7,400) and Jalen Brunson all pitched in and filled Luka’s shoes with each registering a 30% usage rate or higher. Two interesting things occurred on Wednesday night: the Mavs almost won without Doncic and how they almost won without Doncic.

The Mavs played small with Porzingis at the five. This seems like a recipe for disaster against Deandre Ayton, but Porzingis held Ayton scoreless when the two were matched up against each other. On the opposite end, Dallas scored 18 points when Ayton guarded Porzingis. Although Porzingis was 1-for-5 from the field in this matchup, he earned four assists — this was Dallas’ most effective rotation and their best shot at winning without Luka Doncic.

Those stats do not jump off the page and make Porzingis a must roster player tonight, but it does reveal the Mavericks’ hand. The only way that Dallas — 8 point dogs — is going to win at Phoenix on Friday night sans Luka is by being creative with Kristaps Porzingis. It could be an absolute bust spot, but the sky is the limit when they hand the keys over to the Unicorn.

JaVale McGee ($6,600)

This is a salary move. The idea is that McGee is a very efficient player. He likely will not go off because his minutes are limited, but he is productive with the minutes that he receives. In his limited court time, he should hit value and this will allow DFS players to build very strong lineups in the utility spots.

On Wednesday night, McGee played 12 minutes, but he scored 23 DKFP (10 points, six rebounds and three blocks). That’s almost 2.0 FPPM, but that’s not an outlier performance. McGee has as 24.1 PER — his player efficiency rating ranks 13th. Deandre Ayton’s return hurts his this play, but Frank Kaminsky is out. Also, if Dallas is going to run small without Luka Doncic, this could boost Ayton’s efficiency. However, that might not matter if McGee is relegated to the second unit, but that’s not a complete loss. In the secondary rotation, he will match up with Willie Cauley-Stein (33rd ranked center in DRPM in 2020-21). Cauley-Stein’s PER is 7.1 this season, down from his career average of 17.1 (an average NBA player has a PER of 15.0). Dallas’ front court problems are worse than just Willie Cauley-Stein. The team struggles as a whole to contain opposing centers. They’ve allowed the most DFPF per game to opposing centers (61.35 DKFP) and they boost the position’s production by 11%. Deandre Ayton ($12,300 CP; $8,200) posted 19 points and 13 rebounds on the Mavs on Nov. 17, and he deserves a utility spot tonight, if not a hard look at Captain.

UTIL Plays

Jalen Brunson ($8,800)

If Luka Doncic plays, then play him and downgraded everyone else. However, it doesn’t seem likely that he will play, so Brunson has a real opportunity to have another big night. Before Doncic’s injury, Brunson was already emerging as a key contributor on this team. On Nov. 15, Brunson logged 35.6 minutes by playing the final 20 minutes of the game (17 points, two rebounds and six assists). With Doncic off the court on Wednesday, Brunson moved into the starting rotation and had his best performance of the season. His usage rate increased from the 16.9 % on Nov. 15 to 26.2% on Nov. 17 resulting in 42.3 DKFP (18 points, nine rebounds and nine assists).

Devin Booker ($11,000)

On a normal slate, Booker would be a fade based on the Mavericks’ defense and pace of play. Dallas is not an unstoppable force, but there are simply better places to go, but on a Showdown slate, there is nowhere else to go. With few players to choose from to begin with, and even fewer elite options on these rosters, it’s hard to not include the best player available on this slate in lineups.

On Wednesday, Booker was disappointing, but he he could very easily bounce back. In 35 minutes of work, he did not earn a single assist. His season average is 5.1 assists, and most projection sites have him at a minimum of four assists tonight. The bright spot to Wednesday’s matchup was that he grabbed nine rebounds and fired up 21 shots — of which only 11 fell, so that can improve, too.

Booker has consistently been inconsistent this season. His DKFP varies from game to game, but the range of outcomes are similar. Typically, he scores a DKFP in the low 30s or high 40s. A high-40s night works, but a low-30s night kills showdown lineups. Due to the lack of upside and inconsistency, Booker is not suitable to be a Captain’s Pick, but on a slate with a dearth of options, he'll work as a utility.

Frank Ntilikina ($2,200)

Frankie says relax. Even with the appealing savings, it will be hard to justify rostering Frankie Ntilikina when he goes to Phoenix (that concludes the 80s pop references quota for the season). Ntilikina consistently plays 16-20 minutes on the second unit, so Doncic’s absence does not directly benefit the backup point guard. Although he could see some run with the first team, that’s not necessary. When Doncic starts, one of the Mavs’ other key contributors spends less time with the first unit and picks up usage with the second unit. Kristaps Porzingis and Jalen Brunson will be forced to stick with the first unit for most of the game tonight, as they did on Wednesday evening. That left Frank Ntilikina in charge of the second unit, and his usage rage surged from 11.6% on Nov. 15 to 20.2% on Nov. 17 resulting in 21.8 DKFP.


Chris Paul ($10,600)

He’s aging gracefully and the Suns are winning games. He does not care about padding stats other than possibly passing Jason Kidd for second-most assists all-time. That’s a stretch, but it’s possible and a problem. DFS players need points too, but Paul has become a pass-first player. Who can argue with it? The Suns nearly won the championship last season and are in second place in the Western Conference (11-3). If Paul’s salary ever drops, then he’ll be a viable option. He could go off tonight, but with the Suns as nearly double-digit favorites, this does not seem like a night where Paul will have to bear the load.

The Outcome

A lot depends on whether Luke Doncic suits up on Friday night. The team said his injury was not “too serious” and Wednesday’s absence was precautionary. It might not be “too serious,” but it’s serious, if Doncic is doubtful heading into this game. It makes zero sense to risk exacerbating his injuries in a game before Thanksgiving. Maybe the Unicorn leads the Mavericks to victory, but probably not.

Final Score: Suns 108, Dallas 97

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $120K Fadeaway [$30K to 1st] (DAL vs PHX)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) 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.

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