This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Sunday's single-game showdown slate kicks off a 1 p.m. EDT as the Clippers try to close out the series against the Nuggets. Rather than run through the various strategies and methodologies I use when assembling these unique contests, I'll refer you to my recent article where I've explained how to tackle Showdowns in further detail.
DEN vs. LAC (-8.5) O/U: 215.5
(odds subject to change)
As I've explained in the strategy article, the goal of beating these contests is to identify the available value on the slate and building from there. With the CPTN slot receiving a 1.5x multiplier but also responsible for a 1.5x salary increase, we also need to identify the player whose upside can merit this designation without damaging your production from the UTIL slots. The best way to do this is to make your projections for the players so you can identify a DKFP-per-dollar amount. From there, you can estimate the production you'd need to merit the 1.5x salary increase. For example, we selected Rajon Rondo as our CPTN the other day and he was the CPTN in the winning roster primarily due to his upside and eventual score matching the salary boost.
Unlike the Lakers-Rockets build, I think the CPTN spot will be higher up the chain on this slate. My reasoning for this is pretty simple. Both teams have many players below the $8,333 median that will make a higher-valued CPTN possible. The 4k-6k range players are great ways to save, but aren't really worthy of the CPTN designation. So, this is one of those exceptional slates where spending up may be the way to go.
FINDING THE VALUE
Marcus Morris, LAC ($8,700 CPTN, $5,800 UTIL) vs. DEN
I'll end up sounding like a broken record in this section because in this case my CPTN won't be coming from guys at this salary level. Both Morris and Paul Millsap (below) are guys who will ALLOW for a bigger spend at CPTN, but there's no avenue where either player will meet 5x value at the heightened salary. Morris offers about a 17-point deviation between his best and worst performances in the playoffs, and his UTIL salary is worthwhile for the upper third of that field. While not a UTIL lock, he's someone you have to consider.
Paul Millsap, DEN ($8,100 CPTN, $5,400 UTIL) vs. LAC
While I don't think Millsap can get to 40 DKFP to reach value at the CPTN salary, I think he'll get closer than anyone else we have available below the DK median salary. In truth, he hasn't gotten close, but this is a tough slate compared to the relative ease we had in selecting a value pick for the CPTN slot for LAL/HOU. It may result in spending more for the position, but Millsap can save a lot of your cash if you're looking for upside in your UTIL position.
Below these guys, we have a mostly interchangeable grouping and they are only going to come into play if we use three elites, with one of them in the CPTN slot (see below). These guys are:
Gary Harris ($5,000)
Montrezl Harrell ($4,600)
Monte Morris ($3,800)
JaMychal Green ($3,400)
I buried the lead. I think the CPTN tonight is Paul George (CPTN $14,400, UTIL $10,000). I think it's almost impossible to get your money's worth from Kawhi Leonard (CPTN $17,100, UTIL $11,400) or Nikola Jokic (CPTN $16,200, UTIL $10,800) at the CPTN spot. However, slot George in at CPTN and you'll see after a bit of experimentation there's a way to squeeze all three into the lineup without sacrificing too much. The list I outlined above is how you get there. Things change a bit if you only go with two elites. It's at that point that you can begin to consider guys like Michael Porter ($7,600) and Ivica Zubac ($7,000).
The big question is how will your output differ by downgrading? If I put a group of George at CPTN and Leonard and Jokic in the UTILs, let's assume I fill it with Marcus Morris, Monte Morris and JaMychal Green. With the fillers, I'll set a reasonable projection of 55 DKFP. Now, let's keep George where he is but we only add Leonard or Jokic and assume 100 total DKFP from them. I could now afford guys like Porter, Zubac, Williams, Morris. I could even take a flyer on Murray and go cheaper elsewhere. My conclusion is that if I reduce the elites' number, you might get a little bump but let's take the total money remaining and assign a point-per-dollar value to it - $220 per point is reasonable if we assume they all score around 50 DKFP. We could do lots of math, like taking the cost differential and divide it by 220, etc. But put simply, it adds up to the loss of 50 DKFP, correct? Does my two-elite build make up for the losses I incur in a three-elite build? I don't think so, not even close.
My advice boils down to this: George as a CPTN, and Murray is eligible if you want exposure there. From there, you add two of the following: Leonard, Jokic or Murray. Depending on how you go from there, many value combos exist, but I think finding a way to get Morris and/or Millsap in will grant you the most upside. I don't think you can get Porter in anymore, but that's fine since I predict a lot of people will put Porter as their captain. That's fine for them, but I don't think it makes a lot of sense. One last word of advice: don't be afraid to leave money on the table. People will be trying to squeeze every last dollar of their allotment, and leaving some cash out there might be the uniqueness you need to make a difference.
I hope this article helps you in your builds today!