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Last updated: September 12th at 10:27am ET


Editor’s Note: For Evan Silva’s breakdown on every player in this game, click here. That is the best team and player analysis for the game you will find. This article’s focus is to highlight specific strategies for this Showdown slate, not provide a breakdown on the game itself.


Editor’s Note 2: To review our thoughts on general showdown strategy, review the top portion of this article.




By the 3rd week of the 2019 season we’ll have a large enough sample of games that we can transition to using more recent data as a baseline for constructing our rosters. Until then we’ll continue to use the 2018 charts below along with what we learned in Week 1 to inform our decisions.



Last season Tampa Bay’s wide receivers and quarterbacks collectively accounted for the top overall fantasy output in every single game. With Adam Humphries and Desean Jackson no longer in the picture, Chris Godwin has become the Bucs full time slot WR and as noted by Silva in Matchups he draws the same defensive back assignment that just saw Cooper Kupp haul in seven catches. Mike Evans flashed the most consistent upside of any Bucs receiver last year and while it’s possible he’s pushed by Godwin for targets his 15.8 aDOT from 2018 is a bonus in this contest format. As noted in Matchups, WR3 Breshad Perriman played on 62% of the snaps making him playable Thursday night. OJ Howard’s strong preseason usage continued into the regular season playing a career-high 80% snaps. The Bucs lined up in 12 personnel 48% in Week 1 as opposed to just 17% in 2018, further increasing Howard’s playing time floor and giving him a higher likelihood of reaching his ceiling.

The Panthers return a majority of their 2018 offense that saw Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey dominate the team in fantasy production. Notably, Devin Funchess who played roughly 70% of snaps across 14 games and Torrey Smith who played nearly 50% of snaps over 10 games are no longer in town, allowing DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel to become every-down receiving options. Both possess the type of skillset to make them worth rostering as our captain but it was Moore who flashed the upside in Week 1. As noted in Matchups, Moore commanded a 26% target share which dwarfed Samuel’s 11%. While it is entirely possible DJ Moore is the clear WR1 in Carolina, he is $1,000 more expensive and projects to be higher owned on this slate.

McCaffrey started the 2019 season where he left off last year, playing on 100% of snaps and handling 29 total touches, including 11 targets. McCaffrey accounted for 9 of the top-16 Panthers fantasy performances in 2018. He is clearly the player most likely to be the game’s top overall scorer and even at $12,400 on DraftKings we could argue he’s still one of the best points per dollar plays on the slate. Newton is primed for a bounceback Thursday night after an uninspiring week one performance. As Silva noted, the Bucs were only able to record a hit on 1-of-28 Garoppolo dropbacks in Week 1. 



With all of the above in mind, here are some examples of stacks we think make sense for GPPs based on correlations and game scripts. They are in no particular order.

*Captain Christan McCaffrey, Chris Godwin, Jameis Winston – What we believe to be the chalkiest build. Last year, McCaffrey accounted for the top fantasy performance in 8-of-17 contests, in those games both the opposing team’s QB and at least one WR consistently hit a ceiling. Two of the eight games last season came against the Bucs, in those games the next best fantasy producers were the primary slot receiver and Jameis Winston. If we start our builds with this group we’ll need to be contrarian in multiple other positions in order to avoid duplicating a lot of lineups. It’s worth noting that through three major Showdown slates, the highest owned captain was Phillip Lindsay at 17%. 


*Captain Curtis Samuel, Cam Newton, Mike Evans – Samuel found himself on the first edition of Josh Hermsmeyer’s 2019 Buy-Low Model. Moore and Samuel saw a nearly identical snap share and number of routes run. If week one wasn’t indicative of future target distribution we could lap the field if Samuel is the one on the receiving end of multiple Newton touchdowns.


*Captain Cam Newton, DJ Moore, Greg Olsen – By rostering Newton as our captain along with two pass catchers not named McCaffrey we’re assuming Newton can steal a rushing TD from CMC and throw one to each of the options listed. Note Olsen (back) was questionable during practice this week but is on track to play, ranked 6th in Hermsmeyer’s week two buy-low model.


*Captain Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, Christian McCaffrey – Evans is yet another one of the week two buy-low top targets. Because of Evans’ poor performance in week one and Chris Godwin being cheaper, he could be relatively underowned. McCaffrey could actually benefit in a pass-happy shootout as evident by his unmatched receiving role.


*Captain Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, Cam Newton, Panthers DST – In this stack, we’re capturing as much touchdown equity as possible if the game gets sideways in favor of the Panthers. The Panthers DST has a strong matchup against a Bucs OL that struggled mightily in week one.


*Captain Peyton Barber, DJ Moore, Cam Newton – There are virtually no data points to look at from week one that would make us feel comfortable about making Barber our captain. Barber (36%), Ronald Jones (32%) and Dare Ogunbowale (38%) split the backfield snaps evenly last week. Bruce Arians once again declared Barber the starter and said he would ride the hot hand. Assuming a quick start for Barber and the Bucs offense, we could see his snap count rise dramatically with a positive gamescript. The same combo can work with Ronald Jones at captain. 


Notable Players not listed above:


Past slates have given us a numerous cheap options, who projected to see enough usage that we could reasonably project them to outscore the kickers and DST’s on the slate. This game features two highly concentrated offenses and lacks obvious pricing errors. Below are players that we can comfortably incorporate into the stacks above. 


OJ Howard – As noted above, Howard projects to be a full-time player in 2019 for the first time in his career. Due to the OL problems in Tampa Bay he is being asked to block more often, running a route on only 55% of Jameis’ dropbacks in week 1 but like others in this game he is a Hermsmeyer buy-low candidate.

Ronald Jones – The second member of the Buccaneers three-headed backfield, he was the most productive in week one but is a tough sell with Barber getting another start and Dare Ogunbowale commanding a majority of the pass down work.

Breshad Perriman – Perriman’s usage as the clear WR3 is encouraging for this slate, he projects to play on nearly every snap that the Bucs line up in 11 personnel and if his 16.8 aDOT holds he could pay off his $4,600 salary assuming he and Winston are able to connect.

Jarius Wright – Wright saw just one target in week one but was on the field for 59% of the snaps and played mostly in the slot. 

Cameron Brate – Brate could potentially be a source of salary relief on a slate that lacks obvious value. He played on 48% of snaps in week one while seeing just two targets. 

Ian Thomas – Greg Olsen is expected to play Thursday night. If he were to be a surprise inactive Thomas vaults to one of the better plays on the slate at $3,800. As Silva noted on twitter, he is a 91st-percentile SPARQ athlete and ranked 6th among NFL TEs in yards last weeks 13-17. Thomas only played on 6% of snaps in week one, his viability is tied to the health of Olsen.

Dare Ogunbowale – Ogunbowale saw five targets in week one as the game script favored his skillset. Currently 6.5-point underdogs on the road, we’re seemingly headed for another game where the Bucs turn to Ogunbowale ahead of Jones and Barber. As noted above at $2,400 barring unexpected news, he is the cheapest rosterable player on this slate. 



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:

* Christian McCaffrey

* Cam Newton

* Chris Godwin

* DJ Moore

* Panthers DST

Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:

* Curtis Samuel

* Greg Olsen

* Peyton Barber

* Jarius Wright

* Buccaneers DST