DraftKings NBA Rising Stars Showdown: DFS Lineups, Top Picks

Luka Doncic injury mavericks starting lineup

Getty Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic

While NBA players get some time off from the day-to-day grind during the All-Star break, a number of the top names will be in Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend. The NBA All-Star action gets underway Friday night with the Celebrity Game and is followed up by the Rising Stars Challenge, which pits Team USA against Team World.

Both the Rising Stars Challenge and All-Star game provide high-scoring and fast-paced action for the most part. Last year’s game between Team USA and Team World resulted in the latter winning 155-124. Not surprisingly, these games can bring some exciting daily fantasy basketball options, and DraftKings will provide quite a few showdown games for Friday’s action.

Before we dive into the picks and optimal lineups, let’s first give some insight into how showdown games work, as they’re different than regular DFS.

  • $50,000 salary cap
  • Pick six total players (one captain)
  • Must include at least one player from both teams
  • Captain spot costs 1.5x for any player, but that score comes with a 1.5x bonus
  • Can use players from any position in any roster spot

It’s fairly straightforward, but choosing captains will be key. The prices of Rising Stars players range quite a bit, so let’s first look at the rosters and the cost of each player (broken down by team).

Team USA vs. Team World DraftKings Prices

*Note: These are non-captain prices, all roster info from NBA.com.

Team USA

  • Kyle Kuzma $9,000
  • Donovan Mitchell $8,800
  • Jayson Tatum $8,600
  • De’Aaron Fox $8,000
  • Trae Young $7,800
  • John Collins $6,800
  • Jarrett Allen $6,200
  • Marvin Bagley $5,200
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. $5,000
  • Kevin Knox $4,400

Team World

  • Luka Doncic $9,200
  • Lauri Markkanen $8,400
  • Ben Simmons $8,200
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic $7,600
  • Josh Okogie $6,000
  • DeAndre Ayton $5,800
  • Cedi Osman $4,800
  • OG Anunoby $4,600
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander $4,200
  • Rodions Kurucs $4,000

DraftKings Rising Stars Picks & Captain Targets

One thing that’s easy to notice is the number of inexpensive options on Team World as opposed to Team USA. Fortunately, building these lineups don’t require a massive number of value plays, but there are some intriguing plays.

The starting lineups for these teams have yet to be released, but typically starters have seen a few additional minutes (low-to-mid 20’s) while reserves played roughly 15-18 minutes in recent years. Both of the previous MVPs of this game came off the bench in Bogdan Bogdanovic and Jamal Murray, while some of the highest-scoring players are names who shoot often from beyond the arc.

I’ll be picking primarily players who can do a bit of everything, have something to play for (All-Star snub, potentially) or options who can fill up the stat sheet. Let’s break down the targets by tiers, with the favorites, secondary and then value plays.


  • Luka Doncic
  • Donovan Mitchell
  • Kyle Kuzma
  • Trae Young

*Interested in Jayson Tatum with Kyrie Irving coaching the Team USA side but will have less exposure to him than the above names.


  • De’Aaron Fox
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
  • Lauri Markkanen
  • Marvin Bagley
  • DeAndre Ayton


  • Jaren Jackson Jr.
  • Kevin Knox
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

When looking to the value range, it’s hard to find many outside shooters, so I turned to Jaren Jackson Jr. (if he gets in foul trouble in an All-Star Game then I have no words) and Kevin Knox. Both Jackson and Knox should be active and do a bit of everything from a statistical standpoint. The latter was added as a replacement for Lonzo Ball, so maybe there’s a chance he’ll look to prove he belonged in the first place.

I love each of the top four players and want to get them in as many lines as possible. There was interest in Ben Simmons, but he’s playing in the All-Star Game on Sunday so I could see him receiving very limited minutes. Luka Doncic is the guy to target most, but he’ll be high-owned. Doncic is an All-Star snub and I believe Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzma and Trae Young won’t be shy about shooting.

DraftKings Rising Stars Challenge Optimal Lineups

  • CAPTAIN: Trae Young $11,700
  • Luka Doncic $9,200
  • Kyle Kuzma $9,000
  • Donovan Mitchell $8,800
  • DeAndre Ayton $5,800
  • Marvin Bagley $5,200

I’m hoping that Trae Young in the captain spot will be a bit different here, while the addition of DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley together could create a low-owned, inexpensive duo. I expect Doncic, Kuzma and Mitchell to be in a large number of lineups together, so going with just two of them can be an alternative option.

  • CAPTAIN: Bogdan Bogdanovic $11,400
  • Luka Doncic $9,200
  • Donovan Mitchell $8,800
  • Lauri Markkanen $8,400
  • Trae Young $7,800
  • Kevin Knox $4,400

Although Bogdanovic won the MVP award last year, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s still fairly low-owned compared to the other top players. In turn, I’ll take a chance with him in the captain spot for 150-max and large-field tournaments as a way to try to differentiate lineups. There’s obviously some risk with Knox, but if he gets 16-18 minutes, he has the all-around skill set to put up a solid stat line and if he gets hot then he’ll destroy value.

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