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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Mavericks vs. Trail Blazers Showdown on March 19

Garion Thorne gives his top lineup advice for Friday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Mavericks and Trail Blazers, which starts at 10:00 p.m. ET.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Look, society is going to tell you that today should be all about the NCAA Tournament. I get it. You’ve been waiting two years, your alma mater is playing, you just think there’s more “passion” in the collegiate game. Still, isn’t there a part of you that wants to watch Luka Doncic ($12,000) square off with Damian Lillard ($12,400) in a contest where all parties involved can actually shoot free throws?

C’mon. You know you want to. Let’s break down tonight’s All-Star-studded tilt between the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trail Blazers from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $100K Fadeaway [$25K to 1st] (DAL vs POR)


Captain’s Picks

Luka Doncic ($18,000 CP) - I would never suggest that someone priced at or over $12K is cheap on a given slate, but I must admit it’s odd to see Doncic come in at a lower salary than anyone — even if that person is the red-hot Lillard. For a point of reference, Doncic was $13.2K on Wednesday’s Showdown slate against the Clippers, a night where the third-year guard went off for 42 points and 74.0 DKFP. Imagine scoring over 70.0 DKFP and your price tag getting a reduction. It’s not like Portland presents all that daunting a matchup, either. No team has allowed more DKFP to opposing point guards so far in 2020-21, the Blazers have the NBA’s third-worst defensive rating across their past five contests (117.7) and, on top of all that, they’re on the second night of a back-to-back with tired legs. Considering Doncic is averaging an insane 1.55 DKFP per minute in the month of March, this is a no-brainer.

Damian Lillard ($18,600 CP) - I must reiterate that Doncic is the clear choice in the Captain’s slot, but it’s not like Lillard hasn’t had some amazing exploits of his own in recent games. I mean, the implied volume you’re acquiring when you put the All-Star into a lineup in almost unbelievable. To wit, across Portland’s past six contests, Lillard is averaging 37.8 minutes and an NBA-high 37.2 points. It’s a stretch where the guard has also picked up a pair of double-doubles, which is what makes Thursday’s performance against the Pelicans even more of an anomaly. Despite logging 37.9 minutes of action — and dishing out nine potential assists — Lillard finished the 101-93 victory with zero dimes and seven turnovers. Expect those figures to normalize on Friday, especially if Terry Stotts decides to play it safe with C.J. McCollum ($8,400), who is headed into his third start in four nights after missing 25 consecutive games due to an injury. Is there any chance we see him rest?

Value UTIL Plays

Maxi Kleber ($5,000) - While the Mavericks don’t come into this evening’s contest with any “big name” injuries, the absences of Dorian Finney-Smith (personal) and Willie Cauley-Stein (health protocols) do open up a surprising amount of minutes in Dallas’ frontcourt. With depth lacking, it’s Kleber who has and will continue to inherit most of these opportunities. Heck, with Finney-Smith missing on Wednesday, Kleber logged an eye-popping 40.9 minutes in the team’s lopsided victory over Los Angeles. The forward might only be averaging 0.71 DKFP per minute in 2020-21, but that type of implied workload would make anyone DFS viable.

Nassir Little ($2,200) - In terms of usage, this is a pretty top-heavy slate. If you’re going to Captain one of Doncic or Lillard, you’ll need to be able to find some extreme value towards the bottom of the pricing list. If the aforementioned McCollum does sit, that would open the door for someone like Anfernee Simons ($1,000); however, if nothing changes between now and 10:00 p.m. ET, the lowest I’m willing to go is Little. The sophomore is averaging 19.1 minutes per game dating back to the All-Star break, a span of time where Little has scored at least 10.0 DKFP each and every contest. That might not seem all that impressive, but 5x value is 5x value and Little’s role appears to be set in stone.


C.J. McCollum ($8,400) - This would get much simpler if we eventually get word that McCollum just isn’t playing on Friday, yet the guard isn’t all that enticing even if he does end up active. McCollum doesn’t quite have his legs back after his extended injury absence, and it’s shown with the guard shooting a paltry 6-for-27 (22.2%) in the two contests since he’s returned to the Blazers’ lineup. McCollum also logged a mere 20.5 minutes in Thursday’s win. Granted, this might have been Stotts’ attempt to save McCollum for tonight’s back-to-back, but it doesn’t bode well for how long a leash he’ll have versus the Mavericks. It’s best to avoid him for the next few slates, at least until he shows he can handle a 30-minute workload again.


Dallas has to be feeling pretty good right now. The team is 7-3 over its last 10 games, with impressive victories over the Clippers, the Nuggets and the Nets. Sure, they might be playing on the road on Friday, but the Mavericks are actually 5-2 ATS in their past seven contests away from home as a favorite. As for the Blazers, they’re playing their third game in four nights and they’ve covered just once in their last six matchups. Call it a “schedule loss” if you must, but Dallas is going to win this evening.

Final Score: Dallas 120, Portland 111

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $100K Fadeaway [$25K to 1st] (DAL vs POR)

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