NOTABLE INACTIVES (Will be updated after official inactives):
UPDATE 7:00PM ET: LeSean McCoy is active after sitting out last week for ‘load management’. This remains Damien Williams backfield but McCoy should figure to spell him Monday night.
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 Monday’s matchup that features the Chiefs at Chargers, we have a 33-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 33 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
Bears at Rams: Captain Todd Gurley II, Cooper Kupp, Mitchell Trubisky, Taylor Gabriel, Rams DST, Tarik Cohen
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 21-of-33 (64%) winning rosters , DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 33 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 $3300 and 12% 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 8.0 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-33 (42%) 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
The Chiefs and Chargers head south of the border for a Mexico City edition of this AFC West battle. Coming off a 40-point total in the Sunday night installment of this article, we’re blessed with a 53-point total Monday night, with the Chiefs listed as 5-point favorites. We get a dream game environment as the Chiefs (68%) and Chargers (65%) rank 1st and 3rd in situation neutral pass rate respectively. Regardless of script both teams have shown a strong tendency to keep the ball in the air, ranking well above league average in pass rate when playing with a lead.
What Tyreek Hill ($10600) has done since returning from injury is nothing short of ridiculous. In weeks 6-10, Hill has seen a massive 54% share of the team’s air yards to go along with a 28% target share. Hill’s role in the pass heaviest offense in the league vaults him to clear top Captain status. We now have a three game sample with all Chiefs receivers healthy and Sammy Watkins ($6000) checks in as the undisputed WR2 opposite Hill playing on 84% of snaps and running a route on 86% of dropbacks. Watkins popped as the No. 3 receiver on the Hersmeyer buy-low model and is almost certainly due for some positive touchdown regression after failing to find the end zone since he did so three times in week one. Even in a contest format that welcomes high variance type players like Mecole Hardman ($4800), there is very little reason to consider him if building a handful of lineups and we should almost certainly be underweight if max entering. Since Watkins returned, Hardman has played on just 19% of snaps and run a route on 21% of dropbacks. After another mediocre showing in the box score, Demarcus Robinson ($4400) was questionably priced cheaper than Hardman. As the Chiefs WR3, Robinson has played on 57% of snaps and run a route on 60% of dropbacks to go along with a modest 9% target share. A model of consistency, Travis Kelce ($9000) has now seen at least six targets in every game this year. With so many playable options from this Chiefs offense we’ll be forced into making some uncomfortable stands, one of which may be fading Kelce in favor of Hill or Watkins. In the two games following LeSean McCoy’s ($5200) fumble, Damien Williams ($7400) has dominated the backfield opportunities for the Chiefs carrying 71% of the team’s rushing attempts complimented nicely by a 7% target share. As Silva noted in matchups, Patrick Mahomes ($12000) has had no issue with Chargers DC Gus Bradley defenses torching them 499/6/0 in two meetings. Mahomes has legit 400-yard + three touchdown upside making him another one of the top Captain options.
Keenan Allen’s ($8400) Showdown salary continues to tumble following a string of subpar games that date all the way back to week four. Despite less than ideal performances, Allen still leads the team in target share (26%) and share of the team’s air yards (34%). He checks in as the No. 2 receiver on Hermsmeyer’s buy-low model as yet another candidate for positive touchdown regression. Another week came and went without a Mike Williams ($5800) touchdown to speak of. With a high variance skill set and a recent dip in opportunity, ownership projections will be key to determining Williams’ viability on Monday. If he projects to garner above average ownership it makes sense to fade in favor of any number of other Chargers pass catchers. Andre Patton ($200) is the stone minimum on DraftKings and will continue to operate as the Chargers WR3 with Geramy Davis sidelined. In three games without Davis, Patton has played on 82% of snaps and run a route on 82% of dropbacks. He was targeted four times in week 10 but failed to record a catch. Hunter Henry ($8200) has arguably been the Chargers best receiving threat since returning from injury in week six. He’s handled a 24% target share and a 25% share of the team’s air yards. Along with top-tier usage, Henry gets a matchup against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the second-most catches and sixth-most yards to tight ends, as Silva noted. The Chargers best chance to knock of the Chiefs may be to follow the Titans blueprint and ride bellcow running back Melvin Gordon ($8600). Since ending his holdout and returning to action in week five, Gordon has commanded 67% of the team’s rushing attempts and a 10% target share. Per Silva’s matchup column, the Chiefs have been gashed for 246/1,245/8 by opposing RB’s. At this point, it’s difficult to deny that Austin Ekeler ($6600) is more talented than the plodding Gordon but his opportunities have suffered with Gordon in the lineup. Ekeler is down to a 26% share of the team’s rushing attempts and a modest 16% target share. He stands to benefit when the Chargers are trailing but will need to maintain otherworldly efficiency to pay off his price tag. Phillip Rivers ($8800) ranks 8th in the NFL in dropbacks per game (39) and presents an obvious correlation with Mahomes if this game shoots out. Rivers has shown 300-yard + multiple touchdown upside, reaching both milestones in 5-of-10 games this season, at an appetizing salary.
*Captain Patrick Mahomes, 2+ Chiefs Pass Catchers, Melvin Gordon – Mahomes is capable of spreading the ball around to his numerous pass catching options en route to being the top overall scorer. We assume the Chargers can keep the game close enough to lean on Gordon as the best way to attack this Chiefs defense.
*Captain Tyreek Hill, Patrick Mahomes, Andre Patton – Hill turns his ridiculous usage into 100-yards and multiple touchdowns. We can bring it back with any number of Chargers pass catchers but Patton’s salary and low ownership fits in this type of construction.
*Captain Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, Mike Williams – Kelce has been targeted 81 times this season and managed only three touchdowns. He’s been dangerously close to multiple 100-yard + TD games and is capable of getting there Monday night.
*Captain Melvin Gordon, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill – Under new OC Shane Steichen the Chargers have shown a willingness to ride Gordon. If they continue to do so Monday night Gordon could lead all scorers.
*Captain Keenan Allen, Phillip Rivers, Demarcus Robinson – As the No. 2 receiver in the buy-low model there is hope Allen can finally turn strong usage into a monster fantasy performance.
*Captain Hunter Henry, Phillip Rivers, Sammy Watkins – Arguably the Charges best pass catcher since six, Henry should see plenty of opportunities to dust this Chiefs secondary that has struggled to contain opposing tight ends.
*Captain Damien Williams, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill – If the Chiefs easily cover the 5-point spread and dominate the inferior Chargers Mahomes and Hill could do the damage early and Williams could mop up with increased late game opportunities.
*Captain Sammy Watkins, Patrick Mahomes, Austin Ekeler – As the No. 3 receiver in the buy-low model, Watkins stands out as a top contrarian Captain option as ownership flows to Mahomes and Hill.
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.
Phillip Rivers – We had to draw a line somewhere otherwise Rivers would be listed with the options above. With obvious 300-yard + multiple touchdown upside, Rivers fits roster construction in either the Captain or Flex slot.
Austin Ekeler – Despite an undeniable dropoff in usage since Gordon’s return, Ekeler continues to score touchdowns, we have to assume at some point his production will reflect his opportunity.
Mike Williams – There are simply too many top end options to list Williams amongst the other Captains but he presents big upside on his 16.0 aDOT.
Mecole Hardman – There are no data points to suggest playing Hardman at this price with his overall lack of involvement in the offense.
Demarcus Robinson – Robinson is going to go overlooked as the WR3 in the Patrick Mahomes led offense. He’s capable of getting on top of his $4400 price tag running a route on 69% of dropbacks since week six.
Darrel Williams – Even with McCoy inactive in week 10, Williams only saw two rushing attempts and one target. He’s nothing more than a low owned extreme GPP dart throw.
Chiefs DST – Both defenses in this game are better from a raw points projection than many of the other options in the same price range. As noted above, games that shootout have little overall impact on DST scoring due to increased dropbacks which leads to the potential for more scoring opportunities (sacks, fumbles, INTs). The Chiefs DL owns Brandon Thorn’s 3rd best matchup over the Chargers OL with Frank Clark and Chris Jones figuring to create plenty of pressure.
Chargers DST – Eric Fisher’s return to the lineup certainly hurts their chance of getting to Mahomes but the Chargers DL ranks a modest 13th in Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate (7.5%) while the Chiefs OL ranks 5th worst in the same category (8.5%).
Andre Patton – Playing on 82% of snaps, running a route on 82% of dropbacks and seeing four targets in week 10, Patton is one of the better $200 plays we’ve had on DraftKings all season.
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:
* Patrick Mahomes
* Tyreek Hill
* Travis Kelce
* Phillip Rivers
* Melvin Gordon
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Sammy Watkins
* Mike Williams
* Demarcus Robinson