NOTABLE INACTIVES (Will be updated after official inactives):
UPDATE 7:00PM ET: Robert Woods is a surprise inactive. Woods’ absence boosts the target projection for Kupp and makes Reynolds one of the slate’s best values. Mike Thomas is the only other Rams WR to record an offensive snap, he can be expected to fill in as the third WR in 3WR sets.
It stands to reason the Rams would utilize more 2TE personnel packages, raising the floor/ceiling combo for Everett and bringing Tyler Higbee firmly into play.
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.
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 Monday’s matchup that features the Bears at Rams, we have a 32-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 32 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
49ers at Cardinals: Captain Kenyan Drake, Jimmy Garappolo, Kyler Murray, George Kittle, Emmanuel Sanders, Andy Isabella
Patriots at Ravens: Captain Julian Edelman, Lamar Jackson, James White, Mark Ingram III, Mohamed Sanu, Nick Boyle
Cowboys at Giants: Captain Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Daniel Jones, Cowboys DST, Jason Witten, Brett Maher
Chargers at Raiders: Captain Melvin Gordon III, Phillip Rivers, Josh Jacobs, Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, Raiders DST
Vikings at Cowboys: Captain Randall Cobb, Dalvin Cook, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith Jr.
Seahawks at 49ers: Captain Chris Carson, Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers DST, Deebo Samuel, Jacob Hollister
Steelers at Browns: Captain Baker Mayfield, Jaylen Samuels, Mason Rudolph, Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt, Browns DST
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 nine MNF matchup, we knew it would be contrarian to build a lineup assuming Dallas scored only through the air and fade Ezekiel Elliot, who projected to be the highest owned player on the slate. With Prescott at Captain and multiple Dallas pass catchers in the FLEX spots, it made sense to get a piece of the Giants pass game as there would be increased pass volume in a come from behind effort. After the core was locked in it was all about maximizing points. We had very little appealing value on this slate and we know as dropbacks increase so do the opportunities for defenses to produce fantasy points via strip sacks and interceptions making the Dallas DST an exceptional play. A flukey late game defensive touchdown was the icing on the cake for the winning lineup Monday night. 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 20-of-32 (63%) winning rosters , DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 32 slates DST’s are averaging 8.5 DraftKings points at a $4200 average salary and 20% ownership. If we break this down further by favorites versus underdogs, we see favorites priced up to $5200 and owned at a 29% clip as opposed to just $3200 and 11% ownership for underdogs. To this point, the highest owned DST’s (Bears, Patriots, Vikings and Steelers) 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 15% and maintained a 7.8 median DraftKings score.
Kickers have been slightly less productive than DST’s from a raw points perspective but have found their way onto 14-of-32 (44%) winning rosters. Kickers remain one of the best points per dollar plays, scoring an impressive 8.0 DraftKings points on average at $3500 and 24% 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
Sunday night’s one-game Showdown slate features an ugly 40-point total with the Rams listed as 6-point home favorites over the Bears. Salvaging the fantasy viability of many skill position players is that both the Bears (64%) and Rams (63%) rank in the top ten in situation neutral pass rate. The Bears should also benefit from a big pace up spot as the Rams rank 2nd in seconds per play when the game is within one score. Despite the low total and perceived ugly game environment, there are a plethora of options to build rosters around.
Alpha WR Allen Robinson II ($9400) leads the way for what has largely been a dreadful Bears pass attack. Based on usage alone, Robinson is underpriced for his role as he ranks 3rd in the league in target share (27%) and 5th in market share of air yards (39%). Rostering him in the Captain slot is a bet strictly on talent and opportunity given the concerns we have with his QB play and matchup against Jalen Ramsey. There is a significant drop off from Robinson to Bears WR2 Taylor Gabriel ($6600). Gabriel has handled a mediocre 13% target share to go along with a 22% share of the team’s air yards. At a less than ideal price tag there are certainly better options in this offense. Anthony Miller ($2000) has seen one-game highs in target share (23%) and share of air yards (33%) that make him the type of dirt cheap punt option we can take chances on in large field tournaments. With Adam Shaheen and Trey Burton ruled out ahead of Sunday’s game, Ben Braunecker ($800) becomes the best value option on the slate. Braunecker was used sparingly in their week ten game but should be forced into a near full-time role against the Rams. For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume RB1 David Montgomery ($9000) will be active following a limited practice on Friday. Over the past three weeks, Montgomery has been a true bell cow, toting 73% of the team’s rushing attempts but seeing virtually no involvement in the pass game. If active, Montgomery would slide right in as a top option if we project a positive game script for the Bears. Tarik Cohen’s ($5000) role is unchanged regardless of Montgomery’s status. While Cohen will only see a handful of rushing attempts, his 19% target share keeps him in play if the Bears fall behind and are forced into more pass attempts. If Montgomery were to miss, Ryan Nall ($200) would presumably slide into the Bears early down role and become another strong value option. As noted in matchups, Mitchell Trubisky ($8200) gets a tough matchup against a Rams defense that ranks ninth in yards per pass attempt.
Cooper Kupp ($10600) is Sunday night’s best talent + matchup + opportunity Captain option as he’s handled a 25% target share to go along with a 24% share of the team’s air yards and will benefit from a matchup against the very beatable Buster Skrine. For as long as Brandin Cooks remains out, Robert Woods ($8600) will operate as the Rams undisputed WR2. It stands to reason that Woods will see a slight uptick in target projection with Cooks on the sideline and the $2000 discount from Kupp is noteworthy. In Cooks’ absence, Josh Reynolds ($4800) played on 92% of snaps and ran a route on 95% of dropbacks. Reynolds usage should have him priced well above his current salary and he presents a clear path to a ceiling game. Gerald Everett ($8000) is expected to play through a questionable tag after practicing in a limited fashion all week. As Silva noted in matchups, Everett gets a juicy matchup against a Bears’ defense that has allowed the NFL’s seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends. With all three running backs healthy in week eight, Todd Gurley ($8800) handled 52% of the team’s rushing attempts and 42% of the team’s attempts inside the five yard line. Gurley offers 100-yard + 2TD upside everytime he touches the field in a Sean McVay led offense. As Silva touched on, Jared Goff ($10000) is one of the league’s most pressure-sensitive QB’s and is now down two offensive linemen. Fortunately, Goff is on the right side of his well-documented home/road splits and is capable of producing if he’s kept upright.
*Captain Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff, Anthony Miller – Kupp offers the safest source of volume in a plus matchup Sunday night. It makes sense to pair him with Goff and run it back with a lower owned Bears pass catcher.
*Captain Allen Robinson, Mitchell Trubisky, Todd Gurley – As a pure bet on talent and opportunity, Robinson can pay off as our Captain if he’s able to overcome matchup and QB concerns.
*Captain David Montgomery, Jared Goff, Robert Woods – In the unlikely scenario the Bears take control early, Montgomery stands to see increased touches as the bell cow.
*Captain Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp – When playing with a lead the Rams run rate jumps to a staggering 54%. If they get out to an early lead it will lead to 20-touch upside for Gurley.
*Captain Robert Woods, Jared Goff, Allen Robinson – Woods has shown the ability to put up big yardage games as evidenced by his 13/164/0 in week four and 7/95/0 in week 10. Now held without a receiving touchdown in 10 straight weeks, positive regression should be hitting soon.
*Captain Tarik Cohen, Todd Gurley, Taylor Gabriel – Cohen may see a few additional carries if Montgomery is ruled out or limited but his pass catching ability provides a massive ceiling if the Bears abandon the run early.
*Captain Josh Reynolds, Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp – Reynolds is the rare cheap Captain option with a clear path to a ceiling performance. Along with becoming an every down player in Cooks’ absence he led the team in air yards in the two weeks Cooks left early or was ruled out.
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.
Jared Goff/Mitchell Trubisky – Both QB’s offer a safe floor and median projection. However, they make for better flex options as accessing a Captain worthy ceiling may prove difficult Sunday night.
Gerald Everett – Players priced around Everett (Woods, Gurley, Montgomery) project better but if ownership comes in lower on Everett he’s an obvious price pivot off the more popular guys.
Taylor Gabriel – Gabriel is capable of producing a ceiling performance but feels a bit overpriced for the underlying usage coming into week 11.
Malcom Brown/Darrell Henderson – In week 10 with all three backs involved, Brown and Henderson cannibalized each others opportunities rendering Gurley the only fantasy viable RB.
Anthony Miller – Miller is playing on 54% of snaps and running a route on 62% of dropbacks. His occasional spikes in targets and air yards make him a great low owned dart throw.
Cordarrelle Patterson – Patterson could see an expanded ‘gadget’ role as a hyrbrid RB if Montgomery is ruled out.
Ben Braunecker – As the Bears TE1, Braunecker will be thrust into a role that far exceeds his $800 price tag.
Ryan Nall – If Montgomery is ruled out, Nall can be expected to handle 10-12 touches to go along with a few targets. At the stone minimum, he makes virtually any roster construction possible.
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:
* Cooper Kupp
* Jared Goff
* Allen Robinson
* Todd Gurley
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Tarik Cohen
* Josh Reynolds
* Anthony Miller
* Cordarrelle Patterson (viable if Montgomery is ruled out)
* Ben Braunecker