NOTABLE INACTIVES (Will be updated after official inactives): Desean Jackson (inactive), Jake Kumerow (inactive), Corey Clement (active)
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 Eagles at Packers, we have a 10-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 ten 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
DST & KICKER STRATEGY
The analysis in this section will continue to evolve as we get more information about winning Showdown lineups. Now on 5-of-10 winning rosters, DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through ten slates DST’s are averaging 7.8 DraftKings points at a $4100 average salary and 20% ownership. If we break this down further by favorites versus underdogs, we see favorites priced up to $4800 and owned at a 28% clip as opposed to just $3400 and 12% ownership for underdogs. 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 7.7 median DraftKings score.
Kickers have been slightly more productive than DST’s to start the Showdown season and have found their way onto 6-of-10 winning rosters. Like DST’s, kickers are scoring 7.8 DraftKings points on average at $3300 and 24% ownership. If we look at all fantasy performances through three 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, defenses and 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. Whether we’re MME players or building just a single lineup, the ability of cheap players to outscore both kickers and DST’s will determine how often we need to roster either position.
TEAM-SPECIFIC ANALYSIS & NOTABLE PRICE CONSIDERATIONS
Thursday night’s Showdown slate is one that offers up a lot of interesting decision points complete with studs who have underperformed early in the season and some questionably priced options thrust into full-time roles due to injury. As of this writing, the total is set at 45.5 and has the Packers as 4.5-point favorites.
The Packers offense has been an early season disappointment and no one player more so than Davante Adams ($11.000) who is averaging just 12.6 DraftKings points through three games. There is little reason to worry at this point as Adams continues to operate as the Packers undoubted WR1 with elite usage running a route on 95% of dropbacks and leading the team in air yards. Adams lands at #4 on Josh Hermsmeyer’s week 4 buy-low model and benefits from seeing his Showdown salary slashed $1,600 since his week one debut. Fire up Adams without fear. Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($7,600) checks in as the clear WR2 in Green Bay. After showing up in Hermsmeyer’s buy-low model for week three, Valdes-Scantling erupted for a 6/99/1 line against Denver. He is pushing Adams for targets and air yards and offers a nice price discount. Geronimo Allison ($4,200) is the only other playable Packers WR. His price suggests he is a true WR3 but because the Packers continue to run 2TE sets on over 50% of their plays, Allison has been relegated to a part-time role, seeing the field on just 47% of snaps and running a route on 55% of drop backs. He is priced in the same range as guys like Taylor Gabriel ($4,400), Phillip Dorsett ($3,800) and Trey Quinn ($3,800) were on previous Showdown slates but does not carry the same opportunity upside. After looking decent in week one, Jimmy Graham ($4,400) has fallen off a cliff. Currently questionable with groin/quad injuries, Graham saw his opportunities drop drastically in week three and hasn’t seen a target since week one. It looks like he’ll play Thursday but without a touchdown it’s difficult to count on the volume to outproduce either DST’s or kickers. If we find it necessary to consider stone minimum type players, #TeamPreseason member Robert Tonyan ($200) is a viable option and benefits in the event Graham is limited. Tonyan ran a route on 31% of dropbacks in week three and saw three targets. Week three saw coach speak become reality for Aaron Jones ($9,000) as he saw his opportunities dip across the board, seeing fewer snaps, attempts and targets. There are no data points to suggest he and Jamaal Williams ($5,000) should be separated by $4,000. One week after LaFleur suggested he’d like to even out touches between the two backs, Williams saw a season high in attempts. As Silva notes in matchups, this is a tough matchup against a good Eagles run defense but the opportunities for Williams make him worthy of a spot on our rosters. Like Mitchell Trubisky before him, Aaaron Rodgers ($10,800) gets a nice bounce back spot against a soft Eagles secondary. Even more important is Rodgers gets the benefit of playing an Eagles team that ranks 10th in situation neutral pace after facing the Bears (24th) and Broncos (26th).
Things get even more interesting as we move to the Eagles. After a week where they were dealing with injuries to multiple skill positions it looks like they’re going to get Alshon Jeffery ($8,200) back without limitation. Jeffery was listed as a full participant in Tuesday’s practice and should return to his week one role that saw him run a route on 85% of dropbacks and six targets. Nelson Agholor ($7,800) was one of the most underpriced players of the young Showdown season when he faced the Falcons in week two. Agholor should continue to see an every down role as long as Desean Jackson is out and as evident by his team leading 23% target share and 271 air yards he has not yet lost the trust of his QB. Mack Hollins ($2,400) presents us with an opportunity to take advantage of anyone who has not been paying attention to the Eagles backup WR situation. As Silva and Levitan noted, Hollins is the direct backup to Jackson and should see a vast majority of those opportunities for as long as he’s out. In week three, Hollins played on 99% of snaps and accounted for 97 air yards on seven targets. As if that wasn’t enough, Hollins actually ended up as Hermsmeyer’s #7 buy-low receiver for week four. As noted in matchups, the Packers perimeter defense shouldn’t scare us away from rostering any of these Eagles WR’s. Zach Ertz ($9,200) is another Hermsmeyer buy-low darling, checking in at #3 in the week four model. Ertz is 1st on the team with a 24% target share and is 2nd in air yards. Touchdown regression should be coming as he’s the only one among the big four who has yet to get in the endzone. For those of us who followed the preseason we know that Dallas Goedert ($1,000) has been dealing with a calf injury for six weeks. After playing just nine snaps in week three, Goedert was listed as a full participant in Tuesday’s practice. Goedert’s status has the ability to affect the slate in a number of ways. If fully healthy, he should return to his week one role where he was on the field for 55% of the snaps and saw three targets. Along with Goedert being viable assuming he’s fully healthy, the Eagles prefer to run 12 personnel. Hollins would see a slight dip in opportunity if Goedert can allow the Eagles to run more 12 personnel than they could in week three. If the first three weeks were any indication this RB situation is going to be difficult to project all season. As pointed out in Dwain McFarland’s utilization trends, Miles Sanders ($6,200) has seen his snap share and routes run per drop back rate decrease in the last two weeks. While it appears his usage is trending in the wrong direction he continues to see the largest share of the teams rushing attempts at 42% versus Jordan Howard ($4,600) 31% and Darren Sproles ($2,800) 12%. In a three-headed RBBC, it’s difficult to imagine a path where Howard or Sproles are able to outscore the DST’s or kickers on volume alone. Sproles is a game script specific dart as he’ll continue to dominate the Eagles pass down work. The return of Jeffery and Goedert should improve the outlook for Carson Wentz ($10,000). As noted in matchups, Wentz was still able to put up a top ten performance in week three despite seven dropped passes.
*Captain Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers, Mack Hollins – Adams is in nearly as good a spot as Mike Evans was last week, checking in at #4 on the buy-low model. We hope to see the Adams/Rodgers connection on full display Thursday night. Hollins’ cheap salary allows us to fit this high priced combination.
*Captain Zach Ertz, Carson Wentz, Davante Adams – Another buy-low candidate, Ertz has underperformed relative to his opportunity and has failed to score a touchdown through three weeks.
*Captain Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling – Adams and Valdes-Scantling account for a staggering 67% of Green Bay’s air yards, if Rodgers produced a captain-worthy score it’s like both of his top options will be involved.
*Captain Mack Hollins, Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers – Although his opportunities are sure to dip with Jeffery and Goedert healthy, Hollins current price does not reflect the role he has in the Eagles offense while Desean Jackson is out.
*Captain Carson Wentz, 2+ Eagles pass catchers – Wentz and the Eagles offense is set up to spread the ball around, even with Jackson out Wentz could throw multiple touchdowns to different receivers.
*Captain Alshon Jeffery, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz – Wentz clearly missed Jeffery last week as the Eagles struggled mightily with drops. Jeffery has a beatable matchup against the Packers perimeter defense.
*Captain Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Carson Wentz, 2+ Eagles pass catchers – Tied for targets and leading the team in air yards, Valdes-Scantling offers a nice discount from Adams. If you do captain MVS without Rodgers, you will have a contrarian build. For this scenario to work, you will need a big game from MVS, Wentz to outscore Rodgers, with two Eagles pass catchers being top performers.
*Captain Nelson Agholor, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Davante Adams – Agholor’s price finally reflects his every down role with the Jackson injury. He’ll continue to play outside in 12 personnel and will move into the slot in 3-wide receiver sets. He leads the team in air yards through three weeks.
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. As noted in the team analysis section, this slate offers a few cheaper players who can access a ceiling on volume alone or by finding themselves in the endzone. While constructing rosters consider the game environment/outcome necessary for these cheap players to beat the kickers and/or DST’s.
Aaron Jones – As noted in the team analysis, it’s difficult to afford Jones who is in roughly a 50/50 timeshare with Jamaal Williams but costs $4,000 more.
Miles Sanders – As Silva has noted in matchups and on Twitter, Green Bay is surrendering yards on the ground in an attempt to avoid chunk plays through the air. If this continues, Sanders could chew up yardage even on less than ideal volume.
Jamaal Williams – In week three Williams handled 52% of the teams rushing attempts to Jones’ 43%. LaFleur wants to split the reps evenly and as long as he does that, Williams should not be priced $4,000 below Jones.
Jordan Howard – Howard benefits from the same positive matchup as Sanders. If his opportunities trend up there could be value in the $1,600 discount.
Jimmy Graham – Graham is dealing with multiple lower body injuries and hasn’t drawn a target in two weeks.
Geronimo Allison – At his price, more of a boom-or-bust, touchdown dependent play. He doesn’t see the volume we normally like to roster in this price range.
Darren Sproles – As a pass game specialist, Sproles benefits from negative game script that would force the Eagles into a more pass-happy situation.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside – As Jeffery’s direct backup Arcega-Whiteside’s opportunities are going to be cut drastically against the Packers. He will mop up Jeffery’s leftover snaps and should syphon a few away from Mack Hollins in 11 personnel.
Dallas Goedert – Though Goedert has been dealing with a nagging calf injury, we should assume the full practices in advance of Thursday’s game means he won’t be limited. The Eagles ran 12 personnel on a league-high 36% of plays last year and Goedert was in on 55% of snaps in week one. Priced all the way down to $1,000 he offers roster flexibility to fit high priced players while still having a reasonable chance to achieve his ceiling.
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:
* Davante Adams
* Aaron Rodgers
* Carson Wentz
* Nelson Agholor
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Alshon Jeffery
* Jamaal Williams
* Darren Sproles
* Mack Hollins