NOTABLE INACTIVES (Will be updated after official inactives):
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 Chargers at Raiders, we have a 28-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 28 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
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 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 17-of-28 (61%) winning rosters , DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 28 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 30% 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-28 (50%) winning rosters. Kickers remain one of the best points per dollar plays, scoring an impressive 8.0 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
Thursday night’s one-game Showdown slate features a healthy 49-point total with the Chargers listed as 1-point road favorites over the Raiders. After what feels like an unending stream of lopsided matchups, we finally get a game with a tight spread. Thursday night’s game presents contrasting offensive philosophies as the Raiders (51%) and the Chargers (65%) rank 29th and 3rd respectively in situation neutral pass rate. The Chargers (29th) and Raiders (30th) are both near the bottom of the league in pace when the game is within one score, setting us up for a slow paced slog which may limit overall fantasy production despite the favorable vegas data.
After starting the season red hot, Keenan Allen ($9000) has posted six consecutive uninspiring box score performances. While the production hasn’t followed, Allen still leads the team in target share (25%) and share of air yards (35%). It’s important to note that even with Hunter Henry and Melvin Gordon active, Allen has maintained a 23% target share and a 31% share of the team’s air yards. On top of strong underlying usage, he popped as the No. 7 player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s buy-low model and gets a season-best matchup against Raiders slot coverage that has been torched all year. We want to emphasize that expectations should be tempered for Allen compared to what appeared like would be a monster season with injuries and holdouts boosting his usage, but his future results should be better than the box score has shown. Mike Williams ($7400) handles the Chargers WR2 duties and has seen similarly strong usage with an 18% target share and 30% share of the team’s air yards. As Silva noted in matchups, the Raiders have surrendered a league-high 42 completions of 20-plus yards. The lack of a competent WR3 has thrust Hunter Henry ($8400) into one of the most fruitful fantasy opportunities for a tight end. Since returning to the lineup in week six, Henry has handled a 24% target share and a 25% share of the team’s air yards. The favorable matchups don’t end with the wide receivers as the Raiders are giving up the third-most fantasy points to tight ends this year. For those of you keeping track; Allen, Williams and Henry account for 65% of the team’s targets and 85% of the team’s air yards since week six. We have no problem rostering all three together and are more than willing to have two-of-three in an effort to capture as much passing game upside as possible. Melvin Gordon III ($7200) leads the way on the ground, toting 66% of the team’s rushing attempts to go along with an 11% target share since returning from his holdout in week five. Despite his inefficiency and a matchup against the stout Raiders run defense, Gordon remains in play if we think the Chargers do a majority of their scoring on the ground. Austin Ekeler ($7000) has maintained relevance since Gordon returned with superior efficiency but has predictably seen his opportunities fall off. His snap rate (70% to 51%) and market share of rushing attempts (57% to 27%) have both taken massive hits while his target share (17% to 18%) has remained relatively neutral with Gordon active. On a slate with a handful of great options it’s reasonable to bank on some regression from Ekeler. If we like all of the pass catching options, Phillip Rivers ($10000) is a no-brainer. As Silva noted, Rivers will benefit from an inept Raiders pass rush that ranks eighth-lowest in sack rate and second-lowest in QB hit rate. A clean pocket and plus matchups all over the secondary should lead to a ceiling game from Rivers Thursday night.
The Gazelle, Tyrell Williams ($8000) headlines a misfit group of Oakland receivers. Excluding the two games he missed, Williams is 2nd on the team in target share (19%) and leads in share of air yards (36%) by a wide margin. By default, Hunter Renfrow ($5000) is the WR2 behind Williams, playing on 56% of snaps, running a route on 60% of dropbacks and commanding a 15% target share. While Renfrow has popped in the box score on consecutive weeks the underlying usage is more indicative of a $4000-$4500 player. It’s Zay Jones ($2600) who makes the most sense if we’re trying to find a secondary Raiders pass catcher. After being traded on October 7th, Jones was inactive for the Raiders week seven game, played 40% of snaps in week eight and then 92% in week nine where he also led the team in routes run (91%). It’s possible the Raiders view him as the WR2 opposite Tyrell Williams and although he’s failed to produce to this point, the price is good here. Darren Waller’s ($8400) price tag is supported by his elite usage as he ranks 1st amongst TE’s in target share (27%) and 4th in share of air yards (24%). Waller gets a tough matchup Thursday night against a Chargers defense that has allowed the eighth-fewest receptions to tight ends. Playing Waller is a bet on usage and talent over matchup. Josh Jacobs ($9400) has quietly been one of the league’s most consistent bell cow running backs, handling 66% of the team’s rushing attempts and 35% of the team’s total touches. Both of those numbers are in line with the likes of Saquon Barkley, James Conner and Ezekiel Elliot yet Jacobs gets a steep discount from those workhorse RB’s making him a fine Captain option Thursday night. Due to Derek Carr’s ($9600) low aDOT and difficult overall matchup against a strong Chargers secondary it makes sense to either roll with Jacobs or pick and choose the Raiders pass catchers we think can produce on limited volume.
*Captain Keenan Allen, Phillip Rivers, Hunter Henry – Given price, opportunity, matchup and lack of recent production, and therefore reduced ownership, Allen is one of our favorite Captain options. We think its reasonable multiple members of this Chargers pass attack can produce ceiling games as they attack the Raiders glaring weakness.
*Captain Mike Williams, Phillip Rivers, Zay Jones – Mike Williams is incredibly good at running really far down the field (15.1 aDOT) and getting targeted by Phillip Rivers. Fortunately, the Raiders are incredibly bad at preventing completions when that happens. Every Williams + Rivers connection means less opportunities for fellow Chargers WR’s, keep that in mind when constructing groups.
*Captain Phillip Rivers, 2+ Chargers pass catchers, Josh Jacobs – Rivers can achieve his 300+ yard and 3 TD upside by spreading the ball around, making him the best Captain option while multiple receivers would be worthy FLEX options.
*Captain Hunter Henry, Phillip Rivers, Tyrell Williams – Priced between Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, Henry may go a bit underowned but offers similar upside in this matchup.
*Captain Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, Keenan Allen – The Raiders have been relatively unwilling to deviate from game script even when they fall behind as they continue to feed Jacobs at an above average rate even when trailing. Whether they fall behind or this game stays close we can expect a bell cow like workload from Jacobs.
*Captain Tyrell Williams, Phillip Rivers, 2 Chargers pass catchers – If the Raiders fall behind early they pass at a 61% rate on average when trailing. An increase in opportunities can buoy all Raiders pass catchers.
*Captain Darren Waller, Derek Carr, Keenan Allen – Waller is the clear No. 1 receiving option in the Raiders offense and his usage rivals any of the options on the Chargers side of the ball. Due to back-to-back down games we can count on reduced ownership.
*Captain Melvin Gordon, Hunter Renfrow, Phillip Rivers – We hesitated listing Gordon among the top Captain options due to his relative inefficiency and lack of involvement in the pass game but in a Chargers blow out, Gordon can do enough damage on the ground to support a ceiling performance.
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.
Derek Carr – As we’ve discussed in previous columns, the safe floor QB’s offer keep them in play regardless of matchup. It’s not unreasonable to assume the Raiders put up points through the air making Carr a fine play.
Austin Ekeler – The reduced underlying usage is concerning but Ekeler has consistently outproduced expectations.
Hunter Renfrow – Though he played fewer snaps and ran fewer routes than Zay Jones in week nine, Renfrow saw seven targets to Jones’ four and provides a safety blanket for low aDOT specialist Derek Carr.
Jalen Richard – If we expect the Raiders to fall behind and abandon the run, Richard is in play as the primary pass catching back. He’s run a route on 35% of dropbacks.
Zay Jones – Our opponents may not realize that Jones has taken over the WR2 role opposite Williams. We can take advantage while price and ownership is still low.
Foster Moreau – Moreau has played on 44% of snaps and is running a route on 30% of dropbacks. Due to Carr’s tendency to target the TE position he’s firmly in play at $2200.
DeAndre Washington – Washington is barely in play as an off the board boom-or-bust touchdown option.
Andre Patton – Has played on 82% of snaps with Geremy Davis (hamstring) out. At the stone minimum on DraftKings we just want players who are going to be on the field and can see flukey one-game usage.
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:
* Phillip Rivers
* Josh Jacobs
* Keenan Allen
* Darren Waller
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Tyrell Williams
* Austin Ekeler
* Foster Moreau
* Andre Patton