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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Cavaliers vs. Lakers Showdown on March 26

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

Sacramento Kings v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Let’s just say this isn’t exactly the best-case scenario matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Due to injuries, both LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (calf) will be unable to play in Friday’s contest, while Cleveland’s best player, Collin Sexton ($8,600; hamstring), is questionable to suit up on the other side.

Still, that doesn’t mean this isn’t an interesting slate. In fact, with so much missing at the top, there’s loads of value to consider elsewhere. Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

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


Captain’s Picks

Dennis Schroder ($12,300 CP) - You could very easily go with Kyle Kuzma ($9,200) or Montrezl Harrell ($9,000) in this spot instead of Schroder, but that apathy almost validates the guard’s viability on tonight’s slate. In the three games the Lakers have played since James’ ankle injury, those three are the only players to log over 100 minutes of action and they’ve each done so with a usage rate hovering around 24.0%. To be perfectly blunt, it’s just difficult to separate the trio as DFS assets. They’ve produced extremely similar outputs, so, in the end, it sort of makes the most sense to stick the cheapest of the group into the Captain’s slot — especially considering Schroder’s average of 1.02 DKFP per minute since Mar. 21 leads the team. At the very least, the veteran is the first step towards a balanced build.

Darius Garland ($11,700 CP) - It’s really hard to assess the Cavaliers’ roster on this slate without knowing the status of Sexton. The former lottery pick had seemingly taken his game to another level so far in March, averaging 1.10 DKFP per minute with a massive 32.4% usage rate; so obviously, if he isn’t active, that leaves a pretty large void in Cleveland’s starting five. However, it’s a void that Garland filled admirably on Wednesday. The sophomore logged 36.8 minutes in the team’s 103-94 victory over the Bulls, finishing with 22 points, nine assists and 43.0 DKFP — the third time he’s exceeded 40.0 DKFP in his last five starts. Garland also leads the Cavaliers with a 27.5% usage rate in the 390 possessions he’s played without Sexton, Andre Drummond and the recently traded JaVale McGee. Again, this all goes out the window if Sexton’s available, but Garland could be in a position to turn some heads on Friday.

Value UTIL Plays

Isaac Okoro ($4,400) - Okoro is an extremely low-usage option for the Cavaliers, but he’s been logging some huge workloads in recent weeks and that’s starting to lead to some consistent fantasy production. To wit, the rookie has managed 20-plus DKFP in three of his last five starts, as his contributions in the rebounding and steals categories have ticked up noticeably. You’re not likely to get a ceiling performance out of the 20-year-old; however, Okoro and Dean Wade ($4,000) have been steadily siphoning Cedi Osman’s ($5,400) role. I’d rather play either of the younger forwards than Osman on this evening’s slate.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,600) - Look, I get it. No one in the world has ever really been excited by inserting KCP into a fantasy lineup. However, the fact that he’s essentially the least-expensive Lakers rotation player on tonight’s slate is a little insane. Heck, if you exclude the remaining “big three” I wrote about above, Caldwell-Pope was the lone tertiary Los Angeles player to record more than five points in Thursday’s loss to Philadelphia — he had 19 and logged more than 30 minutes for the second time in LeBron’s three-game absence. To be completely transparent, I’m not for a second suggesting that Caldwell-Pope is a high-floor asset by any means, but there’s no reason the likes of Wesley Matthews ($5,000) or Marc Gasol ($4,600) should be more expensive.


Talen Horton-Tucker ($6,600) - Allow me to get on my soapbox for a moment’s time. Why is Horton-Tucker this expensive? I understand that the sophomore has had some nice moments since the All-Star break — a double-double against the Warriors comes to mind — but aside from Lakers fans assuring you that he’s amazing, what has he done to deserve this price tag? THT is averaging 0.9 DKFP per minute for the season with .517 true shooting percentage. Maybe he’ll be great in two years, but, with James out of the lineup the past two games, Horton-Tucker has logged fewer than 20 minutes in both contests while scoring a combined eight points. Fade the prospect, go with a less pricy UTIL asset and try to get at least two of Schroder, Harrell and Kuzma into your lineups.


This isn’t exactly a matchup of titans, especially when it comes to recent trends. While the Lakers have failed to cover each of their past four games — a stretch where they’ve been outscored by 11.0 points per 100 possessions — the Cavaliers are just 3-12 ATS in their last 15 contests on the road. I don’t want to bet this game, I don’t want to watch this game. So, at the end of the day, I’ll reluctantly take the points and check the box score Saturday morning.

Final Score: Los Angeles 103, Cleveland 100

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

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