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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Pacers vs. Lakers Showdown on March 12

Garion Thorne gives his top lineup advice for Friday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Pacers and Lakers, which starts at 10:30 p.m. ET.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers calls out a play against the Washington Wizards during the second quarter at Staples Center on February 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

In a year with so much turmoil, it’s nice to have stuff to rely on. The love of your family and friends, the warm glow of your favorite television show and, mostly, LeBron James ($12,000; ankle) playing through a probable tag on the Los Angeles Lakers injury report. As they say, it’s truly the little things in life.

James and Co. will welcome in the Indiana Pacers this evening. Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

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


Captain’s Picks

LeBron James ($18,000 CP) - Of course James is an option for the Captain’s slot. There’s only two members of the Lakers currently averaging more than 28.0 DKFP per game, and with Anthony Davis (calf) sidelined, James is the only one of that duo who’s active. In the almost 1,500 possessions the former MVP has logged without Davis on the court in 2020-21, James has produced 1.48 DKFP per minute with a gargantuan 33.4% usage rate. He’s also put up 59.8 DKFP the past nine games he’s been forced to play at least 35 minutes. I think the Pacers are good enough to keep things close, creating a script where James has the time to reach his ceiling. You’ll want to have heavy exposure in such an event.

Domantas Sabonis ($17,100 CP) - Here’s the rub with Sabonis on this slate: He’s the obvious choice on the Pacers’ roster for a Captain’s pick, yet that might say more about Indiana than it does about the All-Star’s upside. While Sabonis has certainly showcased his upside so far this season — an 83.75 DKFP triple-double against the Timberwolves comes to mind — his production has slowed since a torrid start. In fact, coming into tonight’s tilt, Sabonis has failed to register 50.0 DKFP in nine of his last 13 starts. He remains an exceedingly high-floor asset and his average of 1.29 DKFP per minute since Feb. 1 is easily the top mark on the Pacers, but when you’re only $900 cheaper than LeBron James in the Captain’s slot, you better be able to put up similar numbers. In a matchup against a Los Angeles defense that’s surrendered the third-fewest DKFP per contest to opposing power forwards, I don’t think Sabonis can do that.

Value UTIL Plays

Doug McDermott ($5,800) - The issue with finding value on the Pacers is that Nate Bjorkgren, much like his former boss Nick Nurse, isn’t afraid to run his starters into the ground on any given night. In fact, Indiana’s was basically running an eight-man rotation in its final few games before the All-Star break. However, when you’re a moderately priced player within the circle of trust, that can mean great things for your value. Just ask McDermott. The 29-year-old is putting up career-highs across the board in 2020-21, thanks mostly to averaging 28.2 minutes per contest as a starter. Jeremy Lamb ($4,600) is definitely an interesting name that’s lower on the salary list, but McDermott is consistently outperforming his teammate, having scored double-digit points in 70.6% of his appearances this season. McDermott is simply the safer play.

Markieff Morris ($5,000) - With Marc Gasol (health protocols) still out, I don’t expect that Frank Vogel will be changing his starting lineup for tonight’s game — especially considering how big Indiana’s frontcourt duo is. That means we should see Morris get his sixth-straight start, which is only good news for prospective owners. The veteran has averaged 23.0 DKFP since the lineup switch, with Morris even logging in excess of 30 minutes in each of Los Angeles’ final two contests before the All-Star break. I wouldn’t be shocked if Morris reaches that threshold once again this evening.


Malcolm Brogdon ($9,600) - This just comes down to price. While Brogdon is heavily involved in the Pacers’ offense — he ranks fifth in the NBA in touches per game (90.8) — the recent production doesn’t warrant owners spending almost $10K on the guard this evening. Brogdon has scored 50.0 DKFP in a regulation contest since all the way back in January, and his .496 true shooting percentage dating back to Feb. 3 is horrific. With Sabonis being able to shoulder so much of Indiana’s shot creation responsibilities, and T.J. McConnell ($6,600) seeing his role increase the past couple of weeks, if Brogdon’s shot isn’t falling efficiently, he simply doesn’t possess a ton of value.


Both these teams come into Friday’s slate having not played their best basketball as of late. To wit, neither has a positive net rating across their past 10 contests. Still, at the end of the day, I’ll put my money on LeBron James playing at home. It also doesn’t hurt matters that the Pacers are 0-6 ATS in their last six games, while the team has also failed to cover any of their past eight matchups as an underdog. Yuck.

Final Score: Los Angeles 109, Indiana 102

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

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