Saturday’s NBA DFS slate features just one game. The Lakers will take on the Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals starting at 8 p.m. ET.
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These two teams have a lot of star power, with four players commanding salaries of at least $10,000 on DraftKings.
Let’s start with the Lakers. They have both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and both players have been excellent in this series. Davis has been absolutely dominant on the interior against the Rockets’ small lineup. They have no one with the size and strength to guard him on the interior, and Davis has responded with an average of 28.5 points per game on 62.0% shooting from the field.
The Rockets have also been the worst rebounding team in the league since trading away Clint Capela, which has benefitted both Davis and James. Davis leads the team with an average of 12.3 rebounds per game in this series, while LeBron isn’t far behind at 10.3. Overall, the Lakers are averaging 10.3 additional rebounds per game compared to the Rockets, which gives them a huge advantage on the glass.
LeBron hasn’t been as dominant as a scorer, but he’s stuffed the stat sheet in this series. He’s averaging 25.0 points and 7.5 assists per game to go along with his rebounding numbers, and he’s also added 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks per game. He hasn’t even been that efficient as a scorer – he’s shooting just 26.9% from 3-point range and 67.9% from the FT line – but that hasn’t stopped him from averaging 56.06 DraftKings points per game.
I’m giving the slight edge to Davis in the captain slot since he’s a bit cheaper, but I ultimately want both of these guys in my lineup.
James Harden and Russell Westbrook stand out as the stud options on the Rockets side. Harden has been his usual consistent self in this series, scoring at least 50.5 DraftKings points in three of the first four games. That said, his usage rate is actually down compared to his mark during the regular season, and he hasn’t displayed the same upside that we’ve become accustomed to.
With that in mind, I’d rather target Westbrook at -$2,000 cheaper on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He’s actually posted a higher usage rate than Harden in this series, and he’s always threat to put up a monster game in the peripheral categories as well.
The big question is just how many of these studs you can fit into your lineup. Four is absolutely impossible, and three is very difficult. The optimal lineup for the Game 4 DraftKings Showdown contest featured just two of these four players – Davis at captain and LeBron at utility – and you may want to consider going with just two of these four players again today. The stars and scrubs approach is definitely a preferred strategy in the single-game formats, but the scrubs in this series have very little upside.
If you do want to jam three studs into your lineup, targeting Rajon Rondo at the captain spot definitely has some appeal. He’s priced like a value at $5,200 on DraftKings ($7,800 at captain), but he’s played like a stud. He’s scored at least 37.25 DraftKings points in each of his past three games, and he’s become the Lakers’ clear No. 3 option behind LeBron and AD. Rondo still isn’t a great shooter – although he has made some strides from 3-point range – but he’s capable of contributing in every category across the board.
He’s the fifth-priciest option today on FanDuel but just the ninth-priciest option on DraftKings. The FanDuel salary is definitely still fair, and he’s basically a must-play on DraftKings.
After Rondo, the rest of the options in this price range are a bit dicey. Eric Gordon was in the optimal DraftKings lineup in Game 4, but that had more to do with the poor play of everyone else than a great game from him. He scored just 27.75 DraftKings points at $6,800, which isn’t exactly great value.
Still, Gordon is someone who is capable of putting up a large volume of shots for his price tag, which is always appealing in the single-game format. If he has a hot shooting night, he could easily find himself in the winning lineup once again.
Robert Covington also deserves some attention. He was dreadful in Game 4, scoring just 12.25 DraftKings points over 23.5 minutes, but he should play more in today’s contest. He’s currently projected for 36.5 minutes in our NBA Models, and Covington is capable of averaging over 1.00 fantasy points per minute. He has the ability to stuff the stat sheet in every category, and he’s particularly valuable on FanDuel where blocks and steals are worth 3 points apiece.
Values & Punts
This is the area where the single-game contests are usually decided. The optimal lineup on DraftKings for Game 4 featured both Alex Caruso and Austin Rivers in this price range, and both guys were owned in approximately 13% of lineups. If you had both in your lineup on Thursday, there’s a good chance you took home some serious cash.
Who will be those options today? Let’s look at some of the top contenders:
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,600 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): KCP has not been very productive in this series, but at least he’s on the court for long stretches. He’s coming off more than 30 minutes in his last contest, and it’s hard to find someone with a comparable workload at such a cheap salary.
- Jeff Green ($4,200 on DraftKings, $9,500 on FanDuel): Green is similar to Rondo in that he is way more expensive on FanDuel than he is on DraftKings. That makes him a clear target on the latter. He’s scored at least 20.75 DraftKings points in each of his past two games, and his minutes have increased with Danuel House out of the lineup.
- Markieff Morris ($3,800 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Morris is the easiest choice in this price range today, which means he should command the highest ownership. He moved into the starting lineup in place of JaVale McGee in Game 4, and he will likely retain that spot for the rest of the series. He has some offensive ability, and being a big man gives him the same edge on the glass that it does for LeBron and AD.
- Alex Caruso ($4,800 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel): You can make a good case for fading Caruso after his last performance. His ownership will likely be on the rise, and he scored 10.25 DraftKings points or fewer in each of his two previous contests. That said, he’s locked into a solid workload for the Lakers in this series and is one of the better producers in this price range on a per-minute basis.
- Ben McLemore ($2,800 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): This is a DraftKings-only play, since there’s no reason to target McLemore when KCP and Morris are the same price. McLemore might have hit his ceiling in his last game with 13.5 DraftKings points – he shot 3 for 3 from 3-point range – but he’s super cheap and should see a handful of minutes with House out of the lineup. If you’re looking to jam one stud at captain and another two in the utility spots, McLemore could be the skeleton key.