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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Nuggets vs. Blazers Showdown on May 22

Matt LaMarca gives his top lineup advice for Saturday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Nuggets and Blazers, which starts at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

We have officially made it to the NBA playoffs. It wasn’t always the prettiest ride, but we were reminded of just how entertaining basketball can be during the play-in tournament. There are four games on Saturday, and things will wrap up with a matchup between the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Nuggets finished with the better record during the regular season, but the Blazers are actually favored in this series.

That said, the Nuggets are favored at home in Game 1. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Nuggets as one-point favorites, while the total sits at 227.0.

DraftKings is offering up a featured showdown for this contest, so let’s break down some of the top options to consider for your lineups.

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Captain’s Picks

Nikola Jokic ($18,300) – Jokic is the clear top option if you’re paying up at captain. He put together a fantastic season – he’s a virtual lock to take home the MVP award – and he’s been arguably the top player in fantasy. He’s averaged a stout 1.67 DKFP per minute this season, which is the top mark on these two teams by a significant margin.

Jokic will also be asked to carry a larger workload given their current injury situation. Jamal Murray will miss the rest of the season, while P.J. Dozier and Will Barton are both out on Saturday. Jokic has increased his usage rate by 2.5% with all three players off the court this season.

Finally, Jokic should be able to do some serious damage in this matchup. The Blazers finished the season 29th in defensive efficiency, and Jokic has historically feasted against them. He’s played 28 career matchups vs. the Blazers, and he’s outperformed salary-based expectations by an average of +4.86 DKFP.

Facundo Campazzo ($10,200) – If you want to go with a cheaper option at captain, Campazzo makes a lot of sense. He should handle the majority of the minutes at point guard for the Nuggets, and he’s increased his production to 0.90 DKFP per minute over the past month.

Set your DraftKings lineup here: NBA Showdown $200K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (POR vs DEN)

UTIL Plays

Damian Lillard ($11,400) – Lillard put together another fantastic season for the Blazers, and he’s been known to elevate his game during the playoffs. He’s already started to increase his production down the stretch, averaging 1.41 DKFP per minute over the past month, and he should play close to 40 minutes on Saturday.

Michael Porter Jr. ($10,000) – It’s going to be tough to fit MPJ and Lillard if you go with Jokic at captain, but it’s not impossible. It leaves you with an average of just over $3,400 for your final three roster spots, and there are some solid value options to make that happen. Porter has taken over as the Nuggets’ No. 2 option offensively given all their injuries, resulting in an average of 1.17 DKFP per minute over the past month.

Monte Morris ($2,800) – I really like Morris at this price tag on Saturday. He’s a huge part of the Nuggets’ rotation when healthy, but injuries have kept him out of the lineup recently. That said, he’s had nearly a full week off since the Nuggets’ last game, so I’m expecting him to see a solid workload vs. the Blazers. If he can play around 24 minutes, he should crush this price tag. Anfernee Simons ($2,000) and Shaq Harrison ($1,000) are some other punt plays you can use to round out your lineups.


Enes Kanter ($5,000) – Kanter is a great fantasy asset when he’s on the floor, but his playing time can vary drastically. He carried a large workload while Jusuf Nurkic was out of the lineup, but now that’s he’s back at full strength, Kanter has played 17.2 minutes or less in each of his past three games.

He could see even fewer minutes than expected in this series vs. the Nuggets. Kanter is a major liability on the defensive end, so the Blazers simply can’t expose him to Jokic if they want to win.


I like the idea of a stars-and-scrubs build in this contest. I want all three of Jokic, Lillard and Porter in my lineups, preferably with one at the captain spot. I’d also love to fit in Campazzo, and I’m willing to get a little creative to make that happen.

As for the game itself, I think Jokic is going to be too much for the Blazers to handle. He’s a dominant offensive force and the Blazers just don’t play enough defense to slow him down. He should flirt with a triple-double and lead the Nuggets to victory in this contest and the series.

Final Score: Nuggets 119, Blazers 112

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Set your DraftKings lineup here: NBA Showdown $200K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (POR vs DEN)

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