NOTABLE INACTIVES (Will be updated after official inactives): Chase Edmonds has been ruled out. David Johnson has been reported as unlikely to play per Adam Schefter.
UPDATE 2:36 PM EST: Per Jeremy Fowler, Matt Breida (ankle) is playing tonight. Breida is averaging over 13 touches through seven games and should be in line for a similar workload behind Coleman.
UPDATE 3:16 PM EST: Raheem Mostert (knee) is also expected to play. The 49ers will have their full compliment of backfield weapons available, assuming Wilson is not a healthy scratch.
UPDATE: 7:03 EST: Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd are INACTIVE. Breida and Mostert are active. This improves the case for Dante Pettis and/or Kendrick Bourne, and elevates secondary ARZ WR’s. Due to the style of play of both teams, all of these players are very much secondary options in their team’s offenses, but more viable now in GPP nonetheless.
Editor’s Note: For Evan Silva’s breakdown on every player in this game, click here. That is the best analysis on the game you will find. This article’s focus is to highlight specific strategies for this Showdown slate, not the game itself.
Editor’s Note 2: To review our thoughts on general Showdown strategy, review the top portion of this article.
*EMBED SILVA AUDIO HERE*
SHOWDOWN STRATEGY & 2019 TRENDS
The most important part to being successful in one-game Showdown contests is constructing a highly correlated lineup built around how we think the game will be played. As we head into Thursday’s matchup that features the 49ers at Cardinals, we have a 25-game sample that we can analyze for winning roster construction and look at any meaningful trends to apply moving forward. The winning lineups for the first 25 games are as follows:
Packers at Bears: Captain Allen Robinson, Aaron Rodgers, Tarik Cohen, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Jimmy Graham, Packers DST
Steelers at Patriots: Captain Tom Brady, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Stephen Gostkowski, Rex Burkhead
Texans at Saints: Captain Deandre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson, Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., Kenny Stills, Will Lutz
Broncos at Raiders: Captain Josh Jacobs, Emmanuel Sanders, Cortland Sutton, Tyrell Williams, Darren Waller, Brandon McManus
Buccaneers at Panthers: Captain Chris Godwin, Cam Newton, Curtis Samuel, D.J. Moore, Greg Olsen, Joey Slye
Eagles at Falcons: Captain Julio Jones, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins
Browns at Jets: Captain Odell Beckham Jr., Nick Chubb, Le’Veon Bell, Browns DST, Austin Seibert, D’ernest Johnson
Titans at Jaguars: Captain Marcus Mariota, Leonard Fournette, Gardner Minshew, D.J. Chark Jr., Jaguars DST, Adam Humphries
Rams at Browns: Captain Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks, Nick Chubb, Browns DST, Greg Zuerlein
Bears at Redskins: Captain Mitchell Trubisky, Case Keenum, Terry McLaurin, Bears DST, Paul Richardson Jr., Taylor Gabriel
Eagles at Packers: Captain Jordan Howard, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Carson Wentz, Jimmy Graham, Geronimo Allison
Cowboys at Saints: Captain Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliot, Cowboys DST, Will Lutz, Saints DST
Bengals at Steelers: Captain James Conner, Mason Rudolph, Joe Mixon, Diontae Johnson, Steelers DST, Jaylen Samuels
Rams at Seahawks: Captain Cooper Kupp, Chris Carson, Gerald Everett, Jared Goff, Russell Wilson, Greg Zuerlein
Colts at Chiefs: Captain Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Jacoby Brissett, Marlon Mack, Colts DST, Byron Pringle
Browns at 49ers: Captain Matt Breida, Jarvis Landry, Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Tevin Coleman, 49ers DST
Giants at Patriots: Captain Patriots DST, Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Golden Tate, James White, Brandon Bolden
Steelers at Chargers: Captain James Conner, Phillip Rivers, Hunter Henry, Mike Williams, Benny Snell Jr., Steelers DST
Lions at Packers: Captain Matt Prater, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Kerryon Johnson, Jamaal Williams
Chiefs at Broncos: Captain Chief DST, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman
Eagles at Cowboys: Captain Ezekiel Elliot, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Cowboys DST, Dallas Goedert, Brett Maher
Patriots at Jets: Captain Patriots DST, Julian Edelman, Sony Michel, James White, Phillip Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas
Redskins at Vikings: Captain Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, Vikings DST, Adrian Peterson, Dan Bailey, Dustin Hopkins
Packers at Chiefs: Captain Aaron Jones, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Moore, Jamaal Williams, Damien Williams, Mecole Hardman
Dolphins at Steelers: Captain JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Diontae Johnson, Allen Hurns, Chris Boswell
When we review winning lineups we can think backwards and determine what game script ideas and correlations went into constructing each roster. In the week six SNF matchup we knew James Conner would be in line for bell cow type usage with Jaylen Samuels injured. With the Chargers as 6-point home favorites we knew it would be contrarian to assume the Steelers control the game and Captain Conner, paired with the Steelers DST. The winning lineup was filled out by fading the more popular members of the Chargers pass attack and instead taking advantage of the reduced ownership on Mike Williams and Hunter Henry. While it’s impossible to do on full-slates, building rosters or setting groups around an expected outcome is often the optimal strategy on one-game Showdown slates. We encourage you to look through the other winning rosters listed above and think through the process that would lead to each construction.
DST & KICKER STRATEGY
Now on 16-of-25 (64%) winning rosters , DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 25 slates DST’s are averaging 8.4 DraftKings points at a $4100 average salary and 20% ownership. If we break this down further by favorites versus underdogs, we see favorites priced up to $5000 and owned at a 30% clip as opposed to just $3200 and 11% ownership for underdogs. To this point, the highest owned DST’s (Bears, Patriots and Vikings) have paid off by finding their way onto the winning roster but because DST scoring is extremely high variance and scoring events like turnovers and defensive touchdowns are largely unpredictable, we may be able to leverage the field by rostering the cheaper, lesser owned option. It’s worth further noting that DST’s in higher total games are underowned relative to their probability of ending up on winning lineups. DST’s on Showdown slates featuring a total greater than 45 have been owned on average 16% and maintained a 7.6 median DraftKings score.
Kickers have been slightly less productive than DST’s from a raw points perspective but have found their way onto 13-of-25 (52%) winning rosters. Kickers remain one of the best points per dollar plays, scoring an impressive 7.8 DraftKings points on average at $3500 and 23% ownership. If we look at all fantasy performances through seven weeks we see that DST’s offer a wider range of outcomes and a higher ceiling than kickers due to the ability to score points via touchdowns. Thus far kickers have been priced “reasonably” by DraftKings, resulting in adequate or better point per dollar median projections. If prices start to rise, or if ownerships rise, these options become less viable GPP picks. Conversely, DraftKings has shown a willingness to aggressively change pricing based on matchup and opposing team total for DST’s. Whether we’re MME players or building just a single lineup, the ability of similarly priced players to outscore both kickers and DST’s will determine how often we need to roster either position. Read through our ‘notable players’ section for more slate specific thoughts on kickers and DST’s.
TEAM-SPECIFIC ANALYSIS & NOTABLE PRICE CONSIDERATIONS
In what feels like an unending trend, we have yet another double digit spread as the 49ers head to Arizona as 10-point favorites over the Cardinals in another lowly 43-point total. The 49ers are 2nd in the NFL in situation neutral run rate (53%), while the Cardinals, after a fundamental change in approach are now right at league average in the same category (42%). Despite both teams leaning toward Establishing The Run, they both rank in the top 10 in situation neutral pace. With the projected play volume and preference to lean on the ground game we can expect enough opportunities to keep multiple RB’s on both teams in play.
We’ll first take a look at the 49ers passing attack led by recently acquired Emmanuel Sanders ($8600). Sanders hit the ground running in San Francisco, playing on 82% of snaps, running a route on 100% of dropbacks, commanding a 23% target share and a 39% share of the team’s air yards. It’s no secret WR’s tend to struggle in new schemes and with new QB’s but Sanders looked right at home Sunday afternoon. We can take advantage while the price is still reduced. The WR situation behind Sanders continues to be a mess as the 49ers insist on rotating between the remaining four healthy bodies on the roster. Deebo Samuel ($5200) checks in as the WR2 behind Sanders and of the remaining options has seen the most consistent opportunities, playing on 60% of snaps and running a route on 67% of dropbacks. Excluding the week seven game where he left early with an injury, Marquise Goodwin ($3400) has played on 62% of snaps and run a route on 68% of dropbacks. Even if we assume he sees a slight downtick in opportunities with Sanders in town, he’s still underpriced given his role in the offense. For now, it appears the Dante Pettis ($3200) experiment is over as he was benched in favor of Deebo Samuel for week eight. Priced just $200 cheaper than Goodwin he’s only in play as a low owned touchdown-or-bust dart throw. Boasting a 26% target share and 27% share of the team’s air yards, George Kittle ($9200) laughs at the notion of us trying to figure out which WR to play. If we like the 49ers passing attack we can avoid the mess and bank on Kittle’s volume and eventual touchdown regression. Tevin Coleman’s ($9000) price tag is mouth-watering as the lead man in one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks. Since returning from injury, Coleman has handled 53% of the team’s rushing attempts and ran a route on 53% of dropbacks. With Matt Breida ($6600) banged up, 20 touches is in play for Coleman and he is one of the most likely candidates to be the slate’s top scorer. It has been profitable to roster multiple RB’s from the team listed as heavy favorites on previous slates and Thursday night is no exception. Whether it’s Breida, Raheem Mostert ($4800) or Jeff Wilson ($2000) they each offer appeal on 25-30% of the team’s rushing attempts on what would average out to 8-10 touches. While Jimmy Garoppolo ($10400) gets a seasons best matchup against the Cardinals defense, if we expect him to put up a ceiling performance, we’ll need him to do so on incredibly low volume. As Silva noted in matchups, Garoppolo has yet to exceed 33 pass attempts through seven games. He fits most roster constructions as a safe floor, low upside FLEX play or as a Captain in a build where we project for more pass volume.
Christian Kirk ($7200) was not limited in his week eight return, playing on 86% of snaps and running a route on a team high 89% of dropbacks. His slot role in HC Kliff Kingsbury’s offense gives him one of the safest target floors in the game. Old man Larry Fitzgerald ($7000) has managed just 3/20/0 on 7 targets in the previous two games despite playing on 77% of snaps and running a route on 81% of dropbacks. The reduced ownership on Fitzgerald makes him an intriguing pivot off the more popular Kirk. It appears Damiere Byrd ($1600) has separated himself from the remaining Cardinals receivers playing on over 80% of snaps and running a route on 80% of dropbacks in consecutive weeks. Quite simply, Byrd is mispriced given his current role in this offense. Trent Sherfield ($800) rounds out the playable Cardinals’ receiver group as he’s on the field for 44% of snaps and running a route on 40% of dropbacks. His salary opens up virtually every roster construction on Thursday’s slate. Charles Clay ($2800) and Maxx Williams ($400) have seen near identical snap rates (36% to 38%), routes run (26% and 22%) and target share (5% to 3%). If we’re looking toward the TE position as a dart throw, we can confidently roster the cheaper of the two options and get up to the more expensive pieces on the other side of the ball. The Cardinals made a move prior to the deadline, bringing in Kenyan Drake ($6800) who figures to see enough snaps to make him worth considering Thursday night. With David Johnson and Chase Edmonds out it leaves just Zach Zenner ($3000) and Alfred Morris ($2200) as the only healthy backs to steal touches. We have no idea what the Cardinals plan to do with Drake in his first game with the team but reading between the lines it appears they’ll ease him into action leaving both Zenner and Morris more than capable of capitalizing on the opportunities left on the table. Kyler Murray’s ($9800) dual-threat ability keeps him in play as he’s averaged over eight rushing attempts since the week five game where he broke out for 10/93/1 against the Bengals defense.
*Captain Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders – The chalk build will be to Captain Tevin Coleman + 49ers DST, if we expect the 49ers to score through the air it would limit Coleman’s production and make the top pass catchers viable.
*Captain George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tevin Coleman – Even if the 49ers ground game dominates and Coleman does his damage between the 20s, Kittle + Garoppolo could account for multiple touchdowns as evidenced by his team leading 44% endzone target share. A flowchart game may be just what the doctor ordered for Kittle’s TD regression.
*Captain Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert/Matt Breida, Christian Kirk – There will likely be 30-35 touches to go around the 49ers backfield if game goes according to script. If Breida is active he’ll likely soak up a majority of the carries behind Coleman. (Look for updates after inactives are announced for clarity on the RB situation behind Coleman).
*Captain Emmanuel Sanders/Deebo Samuel, Larry Fitzgerald, Kyler Murray – Getting different pieces of the passing attacks in both offenses will be contrarian ways to access a ceiling if the game goes off script.
*Captain Christian Kirk, Kyler Murray, Tevin Coleman – The inherent nature of Kirk’s PPR friendly skill set + his role in Kingsbury’s offense makes him a viable Captain option as someone who can ‘get there’ in a close game or by racking up points in garbage time.
*Captain Kyler Murray, Damiere Byrd, Deebo Samuel – Murray has the ability to produce a Captain worthy performance with or without stacking him with his receivers.
*Captain Kenyan Drake, Tevin Coleman, George Kittle – If we want to get off the board at the Captain position Drake makes sense as someone who could potentially be in line for the most work in the Cardinals backfield Thursday night and will come in with minimal Captain ownership.
Notable Players not already listed as Captain above:
If a player is listed above as a Captain option or as part of a stack they are worth rostering as a stand alone flex as well. As discussed above the need to roster kickers and DST’s is tied to how many rosterable players we have in the same salary range. Because DraftKings is unwilling to price up kickers to a level that would reflect their median projections, we’re left with very few players who are priced around them that present the opportunity to outscore them. Pricing on DST’s has been slightly more fluid based on the matchup and opposing team’s total but they too remain underpriced relative to their median projections. While constructing rosters, consider the game environment/outcome necessary for these cheap players to beat the kickers and/or DST’s.
Larry Fitzgerald – The underlying usage for Fitzgerald is strong. He might be total dust but that should also be reflected in reduced ownership. We have to believe he’s still capable of fending off father time and producing over a one-game sample.
Kenyan Drake – Initially it seemed Drake would 100% be thrown into a big role right away. However, Kingsbury said, “We’re going to get him in the game in some packages.” Which is of course concerning given his elevated price tag. With that said, we think it’s more likely than not that Drake is the lead guy, but we can’t project workhorse-level volume here, more likely 60-65% of the touches, which still brings him well into play.
Matt Breida – Breida suffered an ankle sprain on the last play of the game in week eight. It appears he’s trending toward playing Thursday night per Shanahan’s Wednesday comments. If Breida and Mostert are active, we should still monitor Jeff Wilson Jr’s status, as he could be a deep GPP sleeper if still active.
Raheem Mostert – As of this writing we’re unsure who will be healthy in the 49ers backfield. If Breida is ruled out and Mostert is healthy he’ll be in line for RB2 duties behind Coleman.
Marquise Goodwin – Goodwin is a bit underpriced given his current role. If he doesn’t lose too many opportunities with Sanders in town he’ll be a contrarian way to get access to the 49ers passing game.
Charles Clay/Maxx Williams – With near identical usage, both TE’s are in play. We prefer the discount on Williams.
Alfred Morris – Morris was inactive in week eight but will be forced to play in week nine. He appears to be firmly behind Zenner in the RB pecking order.
Jeff Wilson Jr. – Wilson would become one of the slates best values if one or both of Mostert/Breida are ruled out.
Damiere Byrd – Byrd’s price simply doesn’t account for the role he’s played in the Cardinals offense over the last two weeks. The underlying usage he’s seen in recent weeks is more in line with a $4000-$4500 receiver.
Kendrick Bourne – Albeit with Goodwin out, Bourne was on the field for 46% of snaps in week eight. If we think Bourne supplants Goodwin on the depth chart he is a strong dirt cheap value play.
Trent Sherfield – Just above the stone minimum on DraftKings, Sherfield is a top touchdown-or-bust option.
Again, roster construction and correlation are the most important factors for GPP success in the Showdown format. But understanding who will be popular helps. A rough guide to who we think will be the most owned:
Higher projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Jimmy Garoppolo/Kyler Murray
* Tevin Coleman
* George Kittle
* Emmanuel Sanders
* 49ers DST
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Larry Fitzgerald
* Marquise Goodwin
* Zach Zenner
* Alfred Morris
* Jeff Wilson Jr. (Top value play if Breida/Mostert are inactive)
* Damiere Byrd