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The Art of the Lineup Stack for the NBA Bubble (2020 Fantasy Basketball)

by Vaughn Dalzell | @VaughnDalzell | Featured Writer
Jul 30, 2020

Russell Westbrook and James Harden are the top fantasy duo in the NBA.

The NBA is back, and Orlando is buzzing with basketball. One of the most exciting parts of the league is DFS, and the opportunity to watch different players compete daily. In this article, we rank the top-five NBA stack teammates by their FanDuel fantasy points per game finishes this season.

With those players, we examine their schedule and cheap options in the lower-tiers of DFS to go with your stacks, because what’s the point of them if no one else can score? These 10-plus players have been studs all 2019-20 and are worth having in the NBA’s eight-game restart and potentially beyond.

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1. Rockets’ James Harden ($10,600) + Russell Westbrook ($9,800)

Total Fantasy Points Per Game: 105.2
The former Thunder teammates, now Rockets duo, Harden, and Westbrook are the top fantasy duo in the league. The two are also the highest points scoring pair in the NBA. Harden averages the second-most fantasy points per game in the association with 56.4, and Westbrook is on the cusp of joining the exclusive 50-club with 49.1 per game.

Harden leads the league in points per game with 34.4, and Westbrook is seventh with 27.5. They are the only pair on the same team to rank inside the top 10 in scoring. They are also the only teammates to rank top-12 in assists per game with Harden edging Westbrook out 7.4 (9th) – 7.0 (12th). They also combine for 12.4 rebounds per game and considering they’re still experimenting playing small ball without a center, the two, or mainly Westbrook, could lead the team or go double-digit rebounds often.

Both players have top 25 Player Efficiency Ratings and top-six in usage rate, making them must-have in DFS on a daily night. With the league’s daily schedule of games being shorter, Harden becomes more valuable, and stacks may be increasingly the best way to win money in DFS. Harden and Westbrook are expensive but worth the $20,400 price tag in DFS.

Rockets’ Remaining Schedule: DAL, MIL, POR, LAL, SAC, SAS, IND, PHI

Players Worth Drafting with Harden and Westbrook: Mikal Bridges (PHX) $5,300, Jaxson Hayes (NO) $3,900, and Dejounte Murray (SAS) $6,200
Bridges, Hayes, and Murray are all expected to see an uptick in minutes for their respective teams. Murray could very well be the second-leading scorer on the Spurs, and Bridges has the potential to be the starting forward from game to game for the Suns. Hayes is a young big packed full of energy on the Pelicans. With Williamson easing back into the practice and the lineup, Hayes could see some extra possessions early in the schedule and if they’ve been eliminated.

2. Lakers’ LeBron James ($11,400) + Anthony Davis ($10,400)

Total Fantasy Points Per Game: 104.3
LeBron James is attempting to become the oldest MVP in league history at 35-years-old joining Karl Malone (1999), while Anthony Davis tries to win his first league Defensive Player of the Year award. The two have had instant success as a tandem since the Lakers-Pelicans offseason trade, and both players rank top 22 in points, rebounds, and player efficiency rating.

If you’re looking for a pair of teammates that won’t give out negative points in DFS such as turnovers as often as others, the Lakers duo is for you. James averages a league-high 10.6 assists with a not so impressive 4.0 turnovers per game. Davis averages 2.5 per game giving the Lakers pair 6.5, while the Rockets’ duo averages 9.0 per game. James averages 52.3 fantasy points per game, just ahead of Davis’ 52.0, and the two ranks just behind the Rockets’ Harden and Westbrook duo 105.2-104.3.

The Lakers are 5.5-games ahead of the second-place Clippers in the West, making a case for the Lakers stars to play fewer minutes with the one-seed all but locked up. With the Pacers, Nuggets, and Kings as the final three games, I would let the two rest, so select Davis and James early in their schedule before the minute restriction.

Lakers’ remaining schedule: LAC, TOR, UTA, OKC, HOU, IND, DEN, SAC

Players Worth Drafting with Davis and James: Joe Ingles (UTA) $5,500, Josh Hart (NO) $4,400, and Norman Powell (TOR) $5,500
Ingles will move into Bojan Bogdanovic‘s role with the Jazz as one of the club’s three-point marksmen while Hart and Powell find their role amongst a healthy rotation. The Raptors have their healthiest squad since the first month of the season, and Hart could see an increase in minutes if the Pelicans are out of playoff contention.

3. Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,700) + Khris Middleton ($7,100)

Total Fantasy Points Per Game: 93.0
Antetokounmpo averages an NBA-best 57.2 fantasy points per game, and his All-Star teammate Khris Middleton averages 35.8. The Greek Freak ranks both third in scoring (29.4) and rebounding (13.7) per game as well as first in PER (31.71). He’s the leading candidate for MVP and DPOY and can become the third player to win both awards in a season.

Giannis is undoubtedly worth having each night, and he’s often priced less than James and Harden, who both average fewer fantasy points. Middleton isn’t a bad option as a stack number two, but Eric Bledsoe also takes away from his production with his 30.8 fantasy points per game. They are one of the better trios in the league, and for that, Giannis is usually a solid solo play unless the Bucks are playing a well-known weak perimeter team favoring Middleton’s game.

The Bucks are in sole possession of the best record in the NBA and No. 1 seed in the East heading into the restart. The possibility the Bucks may rest their stars increases as the eight-game schedule gets closer to finishing, but for a start, grab at least Antetokounmpo in DFS.

Bucks’ remaining schedule: BOS, HOU, BKN, MIA, DAL, TOR, WAS, MEM

Players Worth Drafting with Antetokounmpo and Middleton: Zach Collins (POR) $4,000, Duncan Robinson (MIA) $4,900, and Cam Johnson (PHX) $3,600
Collins and Johnson are expected to see their roles increase slightly in their offenses, with numerous players opting to sit due to injury or COVID. Robinson is a pure scorer and can heat up any given game, no pun intended. All three are reliable streaming options alongside Antetokounmpo.

4. Mavericks’ Luka Doncic ($10,800) + Kristaps Porzingis ($9,300)

Total Fantasy Points Per Game: 92.4
Not surprising, the Mavs duo pops up at No. 4 as these two have lived up to expectations in their first season together. Doncic is having an MVP-like season on 52.5 fantasy points per game and Porzingis trails with 39.9 per contest. Doncic is the only player in the league averaging 28-8-8, and he ranks top-six in points (28.7), assists (8.7), and PER (27.75).

Porzingis has fit in with the Mavs well, averaging a career-high 9.5 rebounds and his second-most points per game (19.2). As time goes on, this pair will only get better, and as they attempt to climb from the seventh seed, they’re both worth stashing in DFS formats. Dallas faces three teams ahead of them in the standings and seven Western Conference teams so that you can expect minutes out of Doncic and KP.

Mavericks’ remaining schedule: HOU, PHX, SAC, LAC, MIL, UTA, POR, PHX

Players Worth Drafting with Doncic and Porzingis: Carmelo Anthony (POR) $5,000, Mo Bamba (ORL) $3,600, and Goran Dragic (MIA) $5,100
Anthony will be playing his natural small forward position and now can be a mismatch on the boards for the Blazers, as well as a three-point specialist. Some of his matchups will be worth throwing him in, and the same can be said for Bamba. He may see his role increase with Johnathan Issac’s short-term health in question. Dragic can see a boost of minutes with Nunn joining the team late, and he has enough postseason experience to have a few breakout performances.

5. 76ers’ Joel Embiid ($9,000) + Ben Simmons ($8,900)

Total Fantasy Points Per Game: 88.8
The 76ers pair of Embiid and Simmons has continued to impress combining for the fifth-most fantasy points per game. There were plenty of other duos cutting it close, but their all-around game makes them both candidates for a nightly double-double. Embiid edge Simmons out 45.8-43.0 per game, but both have been essential players in DFS leagues.

Embiid has played 10 fewer games than Simmons but averages a team-high 23.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game to Simmons team-high and fifth-best overall 8.2 assists per game. Simmons is sliding to the power forward position for the 76ers, so how that affects his passing and assist numbers is unknown, but Embiid should still seek the bulk of his usage, if not more.

76ers’ remaining schedule: IND, SAS, WAS, ORL, POR, PHX, TOR, HOU

Players Worth Drafting with Embiid and Simmons: Steven Adams (OKC) $5,900, Jakob Poeltl (SAS) $4,200, and Derrick White (SAS) $5,200
Adams is a glass-cleaner and can earn himself a double-double any game as a cheap option. The Spurs duo of Poeltl and White both step into potential starting roles or increased minutes with LaMarcus Aldridge out and DeMar DeRozan in his final contract year. The Spurs’ younger players will play the majority of the minutes in the bubble, and it only takes a few losses for them to be disqualified from postseason contention.

Best of the Rest

Leonard and George established load management this season, but are expected to play every day as the Clippers contend for the two seed. Their fantasy points per game should increase, and with sixth-man Lou Williams out after breaking bubble protocol, expect both player’s usage rates to rise. The Blazers and Pelicans are scraping by for the final seed in the Western Conference. Rookie Zion Williamson (34.4) came in close to contending for the Pelicans duo, but he makes for a daily trio stack at $7,100. 

The Blazers duo of Lillard and McCollum will be worth playing until they’re eliminated, then they’re candidates to sit the remaining schedule. Both the Blazers and Pelicans are 3.5-half games back of the Grizzlies for the eighth-seed, so their youth movements can play earlier then we expect. The Heat and Raptors both have star power and are currently submerged in the middle to top-tier of the Eastern Conference.

The Heat acquired Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo is the favorite for the league’s Most Improved Player award after a 16-10-5 stat line in his first season as a starter. The Raptors have last season’s MIP in Pascal Siakam and his running mate Kyle Lowry beside him. Toronto is fully healthy for the first time since the beginning of the 2019-20 season so that they may see a dip in production, but for the Heat’s duo, their’s should increase.

Selecting any of these top-10 stack duos can be the quickest way to winning some cash. Just make sure you’re up to date with the lineups by checking FantasyPros before sending in your DFS lineups. With COVID and postseason seed opportunities changing daily, a lot can happen before the game takes place.

Create FanDuel lineups using our DFS Lineup Optimizer tool >>

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Vaughn Dalzell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Vaughn, check out his archive or follow him @VaughnDalzell.

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