Friday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contests feature a choice between two NBA games: Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies (8:00 p.m. ET) and Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET). This article will focus on the late game. The Lakers are 8.5-point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Anthony Davis (ribs/shoulder) did not play in the Lakers’ most recent game Wednesday but is listed as probable Friday, so he appears set to return. Avery Bradley (leg) is also probable, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle) is questionable for the Lakers. For the Kings, Dewayne Dedmon (knee) and Trevor Ariza (groin) are listed as questionable, and De’Aaron Fox (ankle) is out.
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Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
— The Lakers have won nine of their past 10 games.
— The Kings have failed to cover the spread in nine of their past 10 games at Staples CEnter.
— Seven of the past eight games between the Kings and Lakers at Staples Center have gone UNDER the total points line.
— Bogdan Bogdanovic has scored 20+ points in each of the Kings’ past three games.
— LeBron James has recorded 11+ assists in six of the Lakers’ past seven games.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
The Kings finished last season playing one of the fastest brands of basketball in the league, ranking third in possessions per game. However, under a new coaching staff this season, the Kings’ pace has tanked down to third slowest in the league. The Kings’ slow pace has made their poor defense play down in terms of scoring allowed. Sacramento ranks as the league’s seventh worst defense on a possession-adjusted basis but rank towards the middle of the pack in points allowed to opponents. Still, this is a pretty good fantasy matchup for the Lakers. The Kings have poor basket protection, allowing the fifth highest field goal percentage on shots within five feet of the basket. The Kings also rank as a below-average rebounding team by the percentage of missed shots they rebound.
LeBron James ($12,400) is an obvious elite play. James has transitioned to a full-time point guard role this season, which has resulted in a spike in facilitating. James’ 11.1 assists per game ranks as the best of his legendary career, two more assists per game than his previous career-high of 9.1, which he set during the 2017-18 season. James leads the league in potential assists created with 20 per game. He also leads the league in points created off assists, averaging 28 per game. James also takes a lot of his shots within five feet of the basket, a zone the Kings have struggled to defend. Nine of James’ 19 field goal attempts per game have been taken in that zone, fifth most among all players. James’ 30% usage rate also leads all players in this game.
Anthony Davis ($11,000) is also an obvious strong play, although he carries some risk given his injury history. Davis has been battling a lingering right shoulder issue and injured his right ribs during Tuesday’s game, which kept him out of Wednesday’s contest. Davis is listed as probable, so it looks like he will be back in the lineup. Provided he plays and is not limited, Davis could take advantage of a Kings team that has been weak in the interior and weak on the glass. Eight of Davis’ 19 field goal attempts per game have been taken within five feet of the basket, which ranks in the top 10.
Editor’s Note: Davis will play tonight vs. the Kings.
Davis returning makes Kyle Kuzma ($6,400) a candidate for a reduced role. Kuzma started in place of Davis on Wednesday and played a season-high 30 minutes. If Davis is not limited, Kuzma is a candidate to move back to the bench, which could cut his minutes and volume down. Given the Kings have been below average on the glass and below average at defending the interior, Lakers big men JaVale McGee ($7,200) and Dwight Howard ($6,200) are in a solid spot. Salary-relief options on the Lakers include Danny Green ($3,800), Alex Caruso ($4,000) and Avery Bradley ($4,200). Rajon Rondo ($5,800) returned from injury Wednesday but played only 15 minutes and still is building his workload up.
The Lakers have been one of the best defensive teams in the league, which has made them a difficult fantasy opponent to go against. The Lakers have the league’s best team defense on a possession-adjusted basis and have held opponents to the third fewest points. Because of Los Angeles’ strong defense, Kings players are in a difficult fantasy spot. That said, De’Aaron Fox’s injury has opened up some boosted opportunities for other Kings players. Fox’s 28% usage rate leads the team, volume that can be distributed elsewhere on the roster. Candidates to benefit while Fox is sidelined include Buddy Hield ($8,200), Harrison Barnes ($6,800), Bogdan Bogdanovic ($8,000) and Cory Joseph ($5,200). Joseph moved into the starting five in Fox’s place and played a season-high 38 minutes, opening up more playing time for Yogi Ferrell ($3,600) off the bench.
Bogdanovic benefited the most in Fox’s first game missed, tying his season-high in minutes with 32 while posting season-best volume with 19 field goal attempts and a team-high 32% usage rate. Bogdanovic also took over most of the facilitating in Fox’s absence, creating 13 potential assists, a boost from five potential assists created per game prior to Fox’s injury. Bogdanovic’s increase in assists is supported by an increase in passing, more than doubling his season average in passes per game in one game since Fox’s injury. Given Bogdanovic’s strong shot volume and passing with Fox out, he is an appealing fantasy option to lead the Kings.
James ($18,600 CP) is the top Captain’s Pick option for the Lakers, with Davis ($16,500 CP) also an option, although Davis’ injuries make him riskier. Bogdanovic ($12,000 CP) is a strong Captain’s Pick option for the Kings given his boost in role with Fox sidelined.
The Kings rank towards the bottom of the league in point differential, and most of that is with Fox, who will not play in this game. While the Kings have the rest advantage over a Lakers team that is playing their third game in four nights, Los Angeles should not have an issue beating a poor team at home.
Final score: Lakers 115, Kings 105
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