NOTABLE INACTIVES (Will be updated after official inactives): Evan Engram (foot), Rhett Ellison (concussion) and Daniel Jones (ankle) have been ruled out. Jordan Howard (shoulder) and Nelson Agholor (knee) remain questionable.
UPDATE 6:00PM ET: Nelson Agholor (knee) and Jordan Howard (shoulder) have been ruled out. Greg Ward, who was already in line to work as the Eagles slot man, now has a secure role as the Eagles WR3. JJ Arcega-Whiteside operates as Agholor’s direct backup and becomes a full-time player who can be expected to play upwards of 75% of snaps and run a route on a similar number of dropbacks. Ward and Arcega-Whiteside become two of the slate’s top value plays, while the duo of Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz could soak up a few additional targets. We didn’t expect Howard to play but his absence solidifies Miles Sanders floor/ceiling combo and brings Jay Ajayi into play as a low owned dart throw.
Forecasts are calling for rain throughout the game to go along with 10 to 14 mph sustained winds and gusts as high as 26 mph. We’re not making any major adjustments to either of the QB’s or pass catchers, as any reduction in median projection will be made up for by reduced ownership.
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 Giants at Eagles, we have a 41-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 40 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)
Seahawks at Rams ($48500) (223.6%): Captain Robert Woods, Todd Gurley II, Jared Goff, DK Metcalf, Tyler Higbee, Rams DST – (15)
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 23-of-41 (56%) winning rosters, DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 41 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-41 (39%) 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 a matchup of underwhelming NFC East division rivals with the Eagles listed as 9.5-point home favorites over the visiting Giants in a middling 45-point total. With Daniel Jones on ice, Eli Manning takes over a Giants offense that ranks 4th in situation-neutral pass rate (63%). As heavy road underdogs we can reasonably project the Giants to be playing from behind where their pass rate jumps to 70%. The Eagles have shown less sensitivity to game script passing on 57% of plays in neutral situations as opposed to 53% when ahead and 63% when trailing.
Just as the Giants skill position groups near full strength, Daniel Jones is sidelined with an ankle injury. Golden Tate ($8000) returns from a concussion that forced him to miss week 13 and will reclaim his role as the Giants primary slot receiver. Tate has managed a 22% target share to go along with a 24% share of the team’s air yards. Tate’s return will force Sterling Shepard ($7200) outside where he’s been less effective to this point of his career. Fortunately, that inefficiency may not matter Monday night as the Eagles have generously allowed .43 PPR-points per route to outside receivers. Owning a 22% target share and seeing 27% of the team’s air yards, Shepard offers upside at his price in a juicy matchup. Darius Slayton ($6800) is the cheapest of the Giants receivers and benefits from the same soft matchup as Shepard. With a team-leading 30% share of the air yards, Slayton popped as the No. 4 overall player in the week 14 buy-low model. With plenty of Jalen Mills coverage on-deck, he has a clear path to a ceiling game. Evan Engram has already been ruled out, meaning Kaden Smith ($2200) will once again serve as the Giants primary tight end. Over the past two weeks, Smith has played on 95% of snaps and run a route on 88% of dropbacks. More than just a warm body, he has seen a 19% target share and an 18% share of the team’s air yards en route to an 11/87/1 line in two games. The Eagles set up as a clear pass funnel, making it difficult to project Saquon Barkley ($10600) to bust out of his season-long slump Monday night. Expecting Barkley to finally break through is a bet on volume + talent as he’s continued to handle over 70% of the teams rushing attempts even in a lost season. As Silva noted in matchups, Eli Manning ($8200) will have his hands behind an OL that has allowed pressure at the league’s second-highest rate against an Eagles OL that leads the league in QB hits.
Alshon Jeffery ($9200) returned from a two-week absence and scorched the Dolphins for 9/137/1 on 16 targets. Jeffery catches an equally soft matchup against Janoris Jenkins who has allowed .43 PPR-points per route this season. As the team leader in target share (26%) and share of the team’s air yards (33%), he feels $1000 underpriced for his matchup + usage. After failing to practice all week, Nelson Agholor ($5400) is looking like a true game-time decision. As evidenced by an appearance on the week 14 buy-low model, Agholor has left plenty of opportunities on the field over his last three games including five end zone targets with no touchdowns to show for them. He benefits from the same plus matchup as Jeffery and could get behind this inept Giants secondary at nearly half the price. Zach Ertz ($9400) managed to escape week 13 without reaggravating a nagging hamstring injury and now appears fully healthy. Ertz ranks just behind Jeffery in target share (24%), is a distant 2nd in share of air yards (23%) but does benefit from what might be the best matchup for an Eagles pass catcher. Ertz runs 65% of his routes from the slot where the Giants have been torched for a league-leading .48 PPR-points per route. With Jordan Howard not yet cleared for contact, Miles Sanders ($8600) is in line to once again handle a majority of the Eagles backfield touches. Since week 11, Sanders has carried 64% of the team’s rushing attempts to go along with a modest 11% target share. As a big home favorite with plus matchups across the board, Carson Wentz ($11800) is a natural Captain option that can be paired with at least two of the aforementioned pass catchers. As noted in matchups, Wentz should be working from mostly a clean pocket against a Giants defense that ranks 21st in sack rate and 18th in QB hit rate.
*Captain Carson Wentz, 2-3 Eagles pass catchers, Darius Slayton – The spot for Wentz might be even better than last weeks matchup against the Dolphins. Wentz’s popularity means we need to include lower owned pass catchers – Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward – to differentiate our groups.
*Captain Zach Ertz, Carson Wentz, Darius Slayton – Ertz is a bet on talent and matchup Captain play given the similarly priced options who have shown higher usage ceilings this season.
*Captain Alshon Jeffery, Carson Wentz, Saquon Barkley – Jeffery’s 33% share of the air yards leads the team by a wide margin. If opportunities funnel his way it would make him a necessary Captain and leave fellow Eagles pass catchers viable only as flex options.
*Captain Miles Sanders + Eagles Onslaught – Sanders saw a Christian McCaffrey-esque 90% of the team’s rushing attempts in week 13. With a general unwillingness to give Jay Ajayi and Boston Scott reps, Sanders is once again in line for a massive workload as a huge home favorite. This matchup could be incredibly one-sided, with 4-5 Eagles in the optimal lineup.
*Captain Sterling Shepard, Eli Manning, Miles Sanders – It’s difficult to project a path for any Giant to outscore all of the Eagles. If we go this route we’re opting for lower owned options like Shepard and Darius Slayton as opposed to Saquon Barkley and Golden Tate. Despite only playing six games, Shepard leads the team with six end zone targets.
*Captain Darius Slayton, Eli Manning, Zach Ertz – Slayton’s appearance on the air yards buy-low model props him up as an intriguing low owned Captain option, worthy of consideration if we think he can capitalize on his strong 13.1 aDOT.
*Captain Nelson Agholor, Carson Wentz, Sterling Shepard – Factoring in price and expected ownership, Agholor is our favorite Eagles pass catcher of the cheap options. Note that he is a true game-time decision.
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.
Saquon Barkley – We couldn’t fault anyone for considering Barkley at Captain. However, as a road underdog with a lowly 18-point team total, facing the Eagles stout run defense the most likely path to a ceiling game for Barkley is by catching double-digit passes. Because the format forces us to select at least one Giant, Barkley is going to catch plenty of ownership.
Eli Manning – As always, QB’s offer one of the safest floors in this format and DraftKings did us a favor pricing Manning just $200 above the QB salary floor. His success will be tied directly to whether or not his OL can keep him upright long enough to take advantage of a weak Eagles secondary.
Golden Tate – For the same reasons noted above, we believe we can access similar upside from Shepard and Slayton at a price and ownership discount from Tate.
Dallas Goedert – Even with Ertz banged up in week 13, Goedert played on just 57% of snaps and ran a route on 43% of dropbacks, his lowest totals since week three.
Kaden Smith – Absent news on Nelson Agholor, Smith stands out as the slate’s top value. He was actually priced down following a 6/70/0 line on eight targets against Green Bay. His snap rate (95%), routes run per drop back (88%) and target share (20%) since week 12 are more in line with what we expect from a $4500-$5000 player.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside – Arcega-Whiteside played on 39% of snaps and ran a route on 37% of dropbacks in week 13. With Agholor in, he warrants consideration as a low owned touchdown-or-bust dart throw. If Agholor is out, he becomes a top value play.
Jay Ajayi – His 25% of the team’s rushing attempts in week 12 offer a glimmer of hope that the backfield touches could approach a 65/35 split given the proper game script, keep Ajayi barely in play.
Greg Ward – Ward is priced at the stone minimum on DraftKings and played 42% of snaps and ran a route on 53% of dropbacks while commanding three targets. Like Arcega-Whiteside,
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:
* Carson Wentz
* Saquon Barkley
* Alshon Jeffery
* Miles Sanders
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Eli Manning – relative to Showdown slate QB ownership
* Darius Slayton
* Nelson Agholor
* Dallas Goedert
* JJ Arcega Whiteside/Greg Ward