NOTABLE INACTIVES (Will be updated after official inactives):
Editors Note: ETR is hosting a week 14 DFS contest at DraftKings. In addition to cash prizes, first prize receives a lineup review from Adam Levitan and 2nd-5th win a limited edition ETR T-shirt. There’s no rake, it’s only $3 to play and 890 spots pay out cash. This will fill before Sunday, sign up here! To see last week’s winners review video, click here.
Editor’s Note 2: 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 3: 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 Thursday’s matchup that features the Cowboys at Bears, we have a 39-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 39 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)
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 22-of-39 (56%) winning rosters, DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 39 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-39 (41%) 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
Thursday night’s one-game Showdown slate features a pair of underwhelming NFC teams with the Cowboys listed as 3-point road favorites over the Bears in an ugly 42.5-point total. The Bears own the league’s 4th-ranked situation neutral pass rate (64%), slightly ahead of the 12th-ranked, Jason Garrett led Cowboys (61%). When they fall behind, the Bears lean even heavier on the arm of Mitchell Trubisky, throwing on 70% of plays, while the Cowboys pass rate plummets to 49% as they consistently put the ball into Ezekiel Elliot’s belly when playing with a lead.
After drawing brutal defensive back matchups in back-to-back weeks, the friendly faces of Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara’s replacement should be a welcome sight for Amari Cooper ($9400). In games he’s started and finished, Cooper has seen a 22% target share to go along with a 29% share of the team’s air yards. As this week’s No. 6 player in the air yards buy-low model Cooper is a no-brainer Captain option. In games with both receivers healthy, Michael Gallup ($8200) and Cooper share an identical target share (22%) and Gallup leads in share of air yards (29% to 28%). Though the opportunity gap is narrower than salaries may indicate, Cooper’s eight end zone targets to Gallup’s two make the former the preferred Cowboys pass catcher. In the eight games where all three receivers have been healthy, Randall Cobb ($6400) has led the team in target share twice and has seen double the end zone targets of Gallup, offering a glimmer of hope that he’s able to outscore one, or both of his fellow receivers. Jason Witten ($5600) found the end zone after a nine game drought but once again failed to provide any semblance of a ceiling without scoring a touchdown. On a 14% target share and a 10% share of the team’s air yards, with little to no ability to produce in the YAC column, we need Witten to stumble into the box to sniff a fantasy viable performance. Following the week eight bye, Ezekiel Elliot ($11200) has handled a massive 76% share of the team’s rushing attempts. So long as game remains competitive, the Cowboys have made it a priority to feed Zeke. Elliot’s 39 red zone carries rank 3rd in the league, giving him a clear path to 100-yards and multiple touchdowns. As Silva noted in matchups, Dak Prescott ($10800) has struggled on the road where his yards per attempt has fallen from 9.2 at home versus 7.8 on the road. Along with stark home/road splits, the Bears’ defense is without two of its best run stuffers, further incentivizing the Cowboys to lean on the legs of Ezekiel Elliot.
Especially with Taylor Gabriel unlikely to receive clearance after suffering his second concussion this season, certified alpha receiver Allen Robinson ($9600) is locked into a massive workload. Carrying a 25% target share and 35% share of his team’s air yards through 12 games, Robinson projects for the slate’s best pass game opportunities. With multiple target share and air yard spikes over 30% and 40% respectively, he possesses a big ceiling in a game where we expect the Bears to be forced into more dropbacks. With the expectation that Gabriel would once again miss, Anthony Miller ($7000) was accordingly priced up, now $5000 more than he was in week 11. The increase in price has been accompanied by an equally substantial increase in usage as Miller has seen a 27% target share and a 30% share of the team’s air yards. While small sample usage rates can be misleading, Miller has been in on 75% of snaps and run a route on 87% of dropbacks further solidifying his WR2 role sans Gabriel. In the three games that Gabriel has been inactive, Javon Wims ($3200) has been a full-time player playing on 92% of snaps and running a route on 93% of dropbacks. In that same time frame, Wims managed a 12% target share and 16% share of the team’s air yards. At his price, he is a top value play on the slate. The Bears game script dependent backfield shared by David Montgomery ($7600) and Tarik Cohen ($6600) should be carefully considered based on how we project the game to be played. Montgomery leads in snaps (58% to 48%), share of rushing attempts (59% to 18%) and carries inside the 5-yard line (15 to 1) while Cohen leads in routes run per drop back (61% to 44%) and target share (17% to 8%). While we’re not specifically setting groups to prevent both RB’s from making their way into a single lineup, it is somewhat unlikely that a winning lineup will include one in the Captain slot and the other in the flex. However, it is possible for both to be among the top six overall scorers on the slate. As noted in matchups, Mitchell Trubisky ($8800) has a wide range of outcomes Thursday night as the Cowboys pass rush ranks 14th in sack rate and 8th in QB hit rate. Trubisky’s passer rating drops from 93.3 to 60.1 when facing pressure, if the Bears OL can keep him upright he has a path to a strong performance at a depressed QB salary.
*Captain Ezekiel Elliot, Tarik Cohen, Anthony Miller – The Cowboys limp in to week 14 somehow still battling for the NFC East. If they put the hammer down, get out to a lead and feed Elliot, PPR-specific scorers like Cohen and Miller could produce big numbers in a game script favoring their skill sets.
*Captain Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Anthony Miller – Ideally we want to pair Prescott with multiple Cowboys pass catchers but Cooper is the most obvious pairing given his unmatched usage near the goalline.
*Captain Allen Robinson, Mitchell Trubisky, Michael Gallup – Robinson is the most slate’s most likely pass catcher to see double digit targets. As the clear No. 1 in Chicago it stands to reason Trubisky could simply funnel targets to him in the absence of Taylor Gabriel.
*Captain Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott, Allen Robinson – As week 14’s No. 6 player in the buy-low model we can confidently Captain Cooper and wait for Hersmeyer to bless our twitter timelines with those glorious medals.
*Captain Mitchell Trubisky, Anthony Miller, Tarik Cohen – Because we like so many of the Bears pass catchers, it makes sense to Captain Trubisky and soak up the upside while pairing him with two or more of our favorites. Salary and ownership included we would rank them; Robinson, Wims, Miller, Cohen.
*Captain David Montgomery, Randall Cobb, Dak Prescott – Montgomery’s 15 carries inside the 5-yard line are SIX more than Elliot’s. His path to 100-yards and multiple scores is clear if we think the Bears cover as 3-point home underdogs.
*Captain Javon Wims, Mitchell Trubisky, Ezekiel Elliot – We don’t often get every down wide receivers at Wims’ price tag. With target share and air yard spikes of 15% and 29% respectively, Wims can put up a Captain worthy performance at a value price tag and allow us to fill out our roster with whoever else we want.
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.
Michael Gallup – The gap between Gallup and Cooper is narrower than some like to admit. However, Cooper’s superior high-value target volume and presence on the air yards buy-low model make him the preferred option.
Anthony Miller – Miller’s recent opportunities have neary put him in the same tier as Robinson. Still without a touchdown on 63 targets, he’s a strong candidate for positive regression in that category.
Tarik Cohen – With Gabriel once again out, Cohen’s role as the third pass catching option in the Bears offense is unquestioned. His lack of usage near the goal line indicates he’s best suited in builds where we think he can get peppered with low aDOT targets in a come from behind effort a la James White.
Randall Cobb – Cobb has been above a 15% target share in 7-of-11 games but has failed to exceed 24% in any one game, rendering him a high floor/low ceiling flex option.
Jason Witten – As has been the case on nearly every Cowboys Showdown slate, Witten’s price necessitates one or more touchdowns given his inability to produce a big game on receptions/yardage alone.
Blake Jarwin – Jarwin has played on 38% of snaps and run a route on 29% of dropbacks making him worth minimal large field GPP exposure.
Jesper Horsted – In the exact same situation in week 13, Horsted totaled just six snaps. On usage alone, Horsted should be priced closer to the minimum on DraftKings. We can comfortably avoid as others chase the touchdown.
Tavon Austin – Following the week eight bye, Austin has played on 24% of snaps and run a route on 21% dropbacks.
Cordarelle Patterson – Appeared to be the biggest playing time beneficiary with the injuries to Bears pass catchers playing on 46% of snaps in week 13 but failed to record a target. Patterson is a touchdown-or-bust GPP dart throw.
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:
* Ezekiel Elliot
* Dak Prescott
* Allen Robinson
* Amari Cooper
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* David Montgomery
* Randall Cobb
* Jason Witten
* Blake Jarwin