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 Sunday’s matchup that features the Colts at Saints, we have a 44-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 44 games are as follows:
Packers at Bears ($47700 Salary Used) (191.66% Total Ownership): Captain Allen Robinson, Aaron Rodgers, Tarik Cohen, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Jimmy Graham, Packers DST – Lineup entered (3) times
Steelers at Patriots ($46100) (223.0%): Captain Tom Brady, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Stephen Gostkowski, Rex Burkhead – (1)
Texans at Saints ($49900) (244.79%): Captain Deandre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson, Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., Kenny Stills, Will Lutz – (13)
Broncos at Raiders ($49000) (240.32%): Captain Josh Jacobs, Emmanuel Sanders, Cortland Sutton, Tyrell Williams, Darren Waller, Brandon McManus – (1)
Buccaneers at Panthers ($48500) (225.70%): Captain Chris Godwin, Cam Newton, Curtis Samuel, D.J. Moore, Greg Olsen, Joey Slye – (1)
Eagles at Falcons ($49300) (253.86%): Captain Julio Jones, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins
Browns at Jets ($48300) (237.27%): Captain Odell Beckham Jr., Nick Chubb, Le’Veon Bell, Browns DST, Austin Seibert, D’ernest Johnson – (4)
Titans at Jaguars ($48600) (258.3%): Captain Marcus Mariota, Leonard Fournette, Gardner Minshew, D.J. Chark Jr., Jaguars DST, Adam Humphries – (1)
Rams at Browns ($49700) (238.92%): Captain Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks, Nick Chubb, Browns DST, Greg Zuerlein –
Bears at Redskins ($50000) (235.64%): Captain Mitchell Trubisky, Case Keenum, Terry McLaurin, Bears DST, Paul Richardson Jr., Taylor Gabriel – (11)
Eagles at Packers ($47300) (245.93%): Captain Jordan Howard, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Carson Wentz, Jimmy Graham, Geronimo Allison – (4)
Cowboys at Saints ($47800) (231.88%): Captain Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliot, Cowboys DST, Will Lutz, Saints DST – (3)
Bengals at Steelers ($48700) (198.22%): Captain James Conner, Mason Rudolph, Joe Mixon, Diontae Johnson, Steelers DST, Jaylen Samuels – (1)
Rams at Seahawks ($50000) (273.06%): Captain Cooper Kupp, Chris Carson, Gerald Everett, Jared Goff, Russell Wilson, Greg Zuerlein – (748)
Colts at Chiefs ($47200) (241.73%): Captain Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Jacoby Brissett, Marlon Mack, Colts DST, Byron Pringle – (1)
Browns at 49ers ($46400) (239.74%): Captain Matt Breida, Jarvis Landry, Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Tevin Coleman, 49ers DST – (4)
Giants at Patriots ($46700) (322.95%): Captain Patriots DST, Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Golden Tate, James White, Brandon Bolden – (53)
Steelers at Chargers ($44700) (198.69%): Captain James Conner, Phillip Rivers, Hunter Henry, Mike Williams, Benny Snell Jr., Steelers DST – (1)
Lions at Packers ($49800) (265.43%): Captain Matt Prater, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Kerryon Johnson, Jamaal Williams – (23)
Chiefs at Broncos ($47000) (225.37%): Captain Chief DST, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman – (1)
Eagles at Cowboys ($46300) (231.89%): Captain Ezekiel Elliot, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Cowboys DST, Dallas Goedert, Brett Maher – (4)
Patriots at Jets ($48800) (242.5%): Captain Patriots DST, Julian Edelman, Sony Michel, James White, Phillip Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas – (73)
Redskins at Vikings ($49900) (262.92%): Captain Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, Vikings DST, Adrian Peterson, Dan Bailey, Dustin Hopkins – (343)
Packers at Chiefs ($49600) (244.78%): Captain Aaron Jones, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Moore, Jamaal Williams, Damien Williams, Mecole Hardman – (2)
Dolphins at Steelers ($49700) (259.67%): Captain JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Diontae Johnson, Allen Hurns, Chris Boswell – (8)
49ers at Cardinals ($48800) (252.12%): Captain Kenyan Drake, Jimmy Garappolo, Kyler Murray, George Kittle, Emmanuel Sanders, Andy Isabella – (2)
Patriots at Ravens ($49600) (236.43%): Captain Julian Edelman, Lamar Jackson, James White, Mark Ingram III, Mohamed Sanu, Nick Boyle – (1)
Cowboys at Giants ($48200) (215.3%): Captain Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Daniel Jones, Cowboys DST, Jason Witten, Brett Maher – (3)
Chargers at Raiders ($49600) (284.1%): Captain Melvin Gordon III, Phillip Rivers, Josh Jacobs, Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, Raiders DST – (12)
Vikings at Cowboys ($49600) (215.38%): Captain Randall Cobb, Dalvin Cook, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith Jr. – (3)
Seahawks at 49ers ($49900) (240.23%): Captain Chris Carson, Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers DST, Deebo Samuel, Jacob Hollister – (24)
Steelers at Browns ($49100) (219.24%): Captain Baker Mayfield, Jaylen Samuels, Mason Rudolph, Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt, Browns DST – (2)
Bears at Rams ($49800) (290.15%): Captain Todd Gurley II, Cooper Kupp, Mitchell Trubisky, Taylor Gabriel, Rams DST, Tarik Cohen – (59)
Chiefs at Chargers ($49500) (182.25%): Captain Austin Ekeler, Travis Kelce, Keenan Allen, Phillip Rivers, Hunter Henry, LeSean McCoy – (14)
Colts at Texans ($49900) (258.29%): Captain DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller, Jonathan Williams, Eric Ebron, Ka’imi Fairbairn – (144)
Packers at 49ers ($46200) (217.84%): Captain George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo, Davante Adams, Jamaal Williams, Raheem Mostert, Chase McLaughlin – (1)
Ravens at Rams ($49800) (196.98%): Captain Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram II, Marquise Brown, Robert Woods, Willie Snead IV, Tyler Higbee – (15)
Saints at Falcons: Captain Matt Ryan, Saints DST, Russell Gage, Alvin Kamara, Will Lutz, Calvin Ridley – (1)
Patriots at Texans ($49400) (256.39%): Captain Duke Johnson, Tom Brady, Deshaun Watson, Julian Edelman, James White, Kenny Stills – (74)
Vikings at Seahawks ($49700) (251.83%): Captain Rashaad Penny, Russell Wilson, Dalvin Cook, Chris Carson, Kirk Cousins, David Moore – (22)
Cowboys at Bears ($49400) (232.33%): Captain Mitchell Trubisky, Ezekiel Elliot, Allen Robinson II, Michael Gallup, Anthony Miller, J.P. Holtz – (2)
Giants at Eagles ($47000) (200.3%): Captain Darius Slayton, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Eli Manning, Sterling Shepard, Boston Scott – (1)
Jets at Ravens ($49300) (212.82%): Captain Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram II, Mark Andrews, Jamison Crowder, Seth Roberts, Miles Boykin – (15)
Bills at Steelers ($47100) (262.26%): Captain Bills DST, Josh Allen, James Conner, John Brown, James Washington, Nick Vannett – (4)
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 24-of-44 (55%) winning rosters, DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 42 slates DST’s are averaging 8.3 DraftKings points at a $4200 average salary and 21% ownership. If we break this down further by favorites versus underdogs, we see favorites priced up to $5100 and owned at a 29% clip as opposed to just $3300 and 13% 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 16% and maintained a 7.7 median DraftKings score.
Kickers have been slightly less productive than DST’s from a raw points perspective but have found their way onto 16-of-44 (36%) winning rosters. Kickers remain one of the best points per dollar plays, scoring an impressive 7.7 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
Monday night’s one-game Showdown slate features the Saints installed as 9-point home favorites over the visiting Colts in a 46.5-point total. The Colts have remained committed to Establishing The Run with a 48% situation-neutral rush rate that ranks third in the league. As near double-digit dogs we can comfortably project the Colts to be trailing early and often. However, that doesn’t exactly mean more pass volume as HC Frank Reich has not wavered when trailing, running on a league-leading 47% of plays. On the opposite side of the ball, the Saints eighth-ranked situation-neutral pass rate (62%) offers more fantasy appeal. The Saints maintained level of aggressiveness when playing with a lead allows us to lean on the usual suspects regardless of game script.
Difference maker, T.Y. Hilton ($8200) is a true GTD nursing a calf injury that has cost him the latter half of the season. For the purpose of this writing we’ll assume he’s active and won’t be limited. In games he’s played > 50% of the snaps he’s seen elite WR1 type usage with a 25% target share to go along with a massive 36% share of the team’s air yards. With plenty of P.J. Williams coverage on deck, fire up Hilton with confidence if he’s able to give it a go Monday night. The clear No. 2 with Hilton active, Zach Pascal ($8000) filled in admirably in his absence with an 18% target share and a 25% share of the team’s air yards en route to a handful of ceiling games. With Hilton back in the lineup Pascal’s volume projection takes a hit rendering him nothing more than a low-owned large field tournament option at an elevated price tag. In weeks 10-14, Marcus Johnson ($5200) played on 83% of snaps running a route on 86% of dropbacks while commanding a 13% target share. With Hilton running 49% of his routes from the slot, we can expect plenty of 3WR sets with Pascal and Johnson on the outside. In two weeks without Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle ($6600) has played on 86% of snaps and run a route on 83% of dropbacks with matching 22% shares of the team’s targets and air yards. Doyle’s five end zone targets along with the five vacated by Ebron, offer hope that he can find paydart. In his first game back from an ankle injury that cost him the previous two weeks, Marlon Mack ($7800) handled 59% of the team’s rushing attempts, just below his season average (65%). Now entirely removed from the injury report, we can expect Mack to return to form against a Saints rush defense that suddenly looks beatable sans Sheldon Rankins and Marcus Davenport. As Silva noted in matchups, a potential track meet with the Saints high powered offense serves to boost Jacoby Brissett’s ($9000) floor/ceiling combo as the Saints defense has allowed four straight QB1 performances.
Fantasy’s top overall receiver, Michael Thomas’ ($12600) league-leading 31% target share and 37% share of the team’s air yards give him the slate’s best floor/ceiling combo. With a matchup against Pierre Desir upcoming, Thomas is the slate’s top Captain option. Ted Ginn Jr. ($4200) has played on 63% of snaps and run a route on 78% of dropbacks while commanding a middling 12% target share but a huge 29% share of the team’s air yards. While the Colts zone defense is theoretically designed to limit the types of plays that Ginn is successful on, he needs to connect on just a couple targets to pay off a cheap price tag. Fully cleared from a concussion that forced him to miss most of week 14, Jared Cook ($6800) is set to maintain his role as the third mouth to feed in this explosive Saints offense. With a 15% target share, 21% share of the team’s air yards and a team leading nine end zone targets, Cook is a strong bet for a touchdown at reduced ownership as his mid-tier price can be tough to fit with the high-priced options. Priced nearly $900 below his season average, now is the time to buy Alvin Kamara ($9800) if we believe the talented back can finally find the end zone. With a 55% share of the team’s rushing attempts and a 21% target share, Kamara’s usage is strong enough to produce a Captain worthy performance. Unfortunately, expecting him to get in the box is more of a hunch than anything backed by usage as he has yet to see an end zone target and comes into week 15 with just five rushing attempts inside the 5-yard line. As noted in matchups, Drew Brees ($12000) is on the right side of his home/road splits where he’s average 8.1 yards-per-attempt in the Superdome. Now facing a Colts defense that is looking more and more like a pass funnel, Brees is a no-brainer flex play and Captain option in lineups where we want to roster multiple Saints pass catchers.
* Captain Michael Thoams, Drew Brees, Jack Doyle – Thomas is fully capable of exploiting the Colts zone defense in route to a patented 10/100/1 type game as the slate’s top overall scorer. He’s a no-brainer Captain option and will be owned as such, making off the board flex plays necessary to complete our rosters.
* Captain Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., Marcus Johnson – We noted above how many of the Saints pass catchers we like. In our Captain Brees stacks, we need to set a group to get at least two of Thomas, Kamara, Ginn, Cook and Tre’Quan Smith.
* Captain Alvin Kamara, Drew Brees, Marlon Mack – After scoring 18 touchdowns in 2018, regression has hit Kamara like a ton of bricks. Still he’s too talented to have just two touchdowns and the Colts are allowing the leauge’s fifth-most receptions to running backs. Monday night offers a chance for Kamara to hit a ceiling in a variety of ways.
* Captain Jacoby Brissett, T.Y. Hilton, Michael Thomas – Even in a run-first offense, the way the Colts offense interacts with the Saints high powered attack boosts Brissett’s ceiling. A reunion with top target Hilton further adds confidence to our Captain Brissett stacks.
* Captain T.Y. Hilton, Jacoby Brissett, Alvin Kamara – When Hilton’s been healthy, targets have been funneled his way. If Brees is able to spread the ball around on the opposite side, while Hilton soaks up all of the production for the Colts he can come away as the game’s top scorer.
* Captain Marlon Mack, Drew Brees, Two Saints Pass Catchers – Though Nyheim Hines will syphon a majority of the pass down work, we know the Colts still want to run the ball even when trailing. Mack’s status as the lead back in a run-first offense keeps 100-yards + a touchdown firmly within his range of outcomes.
* Captain Ted Ginn Jr., Drew Brees, Zach Pacal – If we’re finding it difficult to differentiate our more popular groups (Captain Thomas + Brees) we can get off the board and take a shot on an incredibly low owned Captain Ginn. With a 15.4 aDOT and six end zone targets, he’s the type of player we like to roster when we know they’ll be underowned.
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.
Zach Pascal – With Hilton active, Pascal figures to slide into the Colts WR2 role and command fewer targets. Working in his favor is the red zone rapport he’s built with Brissett as evidenced by his team-leading nine end zone targets.
Jared Cook – Even with two games missed, Cook has been Brees’ clear target in the red zone seeing nine end zone targets. With a serviceable target projection + touchdown upside, Cook is capable of breaking the slate with a big score.
Jack Doyle – Jacoby Brissett has targeted the TE position on a healthy 30% of pass attempts, with Ebron out of the picture, it leaves Doyle to soak up a majority of those targets. Though, Hilton’s presence will ding his volume projection, the overall increase in offensive efficiency should lead to more looks near the goalline.
Latavius Murray – Since Kamara returned from injury in week 10, Murray has played on 33% of snaps and maintained a 34% share of the team’s rushing attempts. Priced around other options with higher volume upside it’s difficult to consider being overweight on Murray.
Marcus Johnson – At the current price tag, with Hilton back in the lineup, Johnson makes our player pool as a touchdown-or-bust option who lacks the volume upside to warrant consideration without getting in the box.
Nyheim Hines – Hines superior pass game ability keeps him in play in builds where we think the Colts fall far enough behind where they have no choice but to abandon the run. Hines’ price tag finally reflects the fragility of his role as he’s priced below the kickers and Saints defense. With a 12% target share and 10% share of the team’s rushing attempts, he offers a path to outscoring both.
Tre’Quan Smith – Since the Saints bye, Smith has played on 73% of snaps and run a route on 77% of dropbacks. However, he trails Ginn in both target share (10% to 6%) and share of the team’s air yards (26% to 11%) over that same time frame, leaving him a tier below his teammate.
Josh Hill – In games that Cook has started and finished, Josh Hill has played on 53% of snaps and run a route on 30% of dropbacks giving him some touchdown-or-bust appeal at a $2200 price tag.
Taysom Hill – On the season Taysom Hill has played on 19% of snaps, handling 7% of the team’s rushing attempts and run a route on 17% of dropbacks. HC Sean Payton’s infatuation with him, keeps him in play as a touchdown-or-bust dart throw in large field tournaments.
Ashton Dulin – With Parris Campbell out, Dulin will operate as the Colts WR4. If Hilton were to be ruled out, he becomes the Colts primary slot receiver and gets the best matchup of the Colts pass catchers.
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:
* Michael Thomas
* Drew Brees
* Alvin Kamara
* Jacoby Brissett
* Jack Doyle
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Zach Pascal
* Latavius Murray
* Marcus Johnson
* Ted Ginn Jr.
* Tre’Quan Smith