Editors Note 1: ETR is hosting a week 15 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 with $1,000 to first place, and 500 spots pay out cash. This will fill before Sunday, sign up here! To see last week’s winners review video, click here.
NOTABLE INACTIVES (Will be updated after official inactives): Bilal Powell (ankle/illness) and Ryan Griffin (ankle) have been ruled out. Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) is doubtful.
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 Jets at Ravens, we have a 42-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 42 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)
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-42 (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-42 (38%) 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
After barely holding off the Dolphins at home, the Jets travel to The Bank to take on the Ravens as 15-point road underdogs in a game with a middling 45-point total. The run-heavy nature of both offenses will serve to shorten the game and reduce overall play volume as the Jets rank 18th in situation-neutral pass rate (57%) while the Ravens are dead last, by a wide margin, in the same category (44%). When the Jets trail, as we’re expecting to happen Thursday night, their pass rate jumps to a modest 67%, bringing more receiving options in to play.
After back-to-back games with seven catches and at least 100 yards, Mr. December, Robby Anderson ($9000) runs into a difficult matchup against an elite Ravens secondary that has limited outside receivers to just .27 PPR-points per route. Anderson is a bit of a conundrum Thursday night with a ho-hum 19% target share but a massive 36% share of the team’s air yards. Anderson’s skill set and 15.4 aDOT is something we like to take advantage of, especially if the ownership is going to be reduced given the difficult matchup. Coming off three consecutive duds, Jamison Crowder’s ($7800) week 14 matchup doesn’t get any easier. However, as Silva noted in matchups, low aDOT specialists have put up strong performances in recent weeks, offering a glimmer of hope for Crowder. His 22% target share and high catch rate on his 7.8 aDOT makes Crowder the safest bet for sites like DraftKings that favor his PPR-specific style. Demaryius Thomas ($5200) has been questionable virtually all year but with the short turn around there is some cause for concern. With just a 16% target share, 19% share of the teams air yards and a matchup with Marcus Peters on deck Thomas is nothing more than a touchdown-or-bust dart throw if he’s ultimately active. Ryan Griffin ($2200) played just three snaps in week 13 before exiting with an ankle injury. In his absence, Daniel Brown ($2000) played on 87% of snaps and ran a route on 54% of dropbacks. Projecting a 10% target share for Brown is just enough to keep him in play assuming he draws the start. After a bout with the flu, Le’Veon Bell ($9400) was declared 100% by HC Adam Gase. Bell has been a true work horse, handling 70% of the team’s rushing attempts to go along with a 17% target share. He ranks third in the league in market share of his team’s touches behind just Chirstian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette. On volume alone, Bell is $1000 underpriced and checks in as our favorite overall option on the Jets. As noted in matchups, the Ravens lockdown secondary should have no issue limiting Sam Darnold’s ($9800) production. Priced right around his season average, DraftKings did us no favors in discounting Darnold for the difficult matchup. His Thursday night appeal is limited to flex consideration in lineups where we decide to Captain a Jets pass catcher.
Over the past two weeks you and I have one more receiving yard than does Ravens top wide receiver, Marquise Brown ($8200). Jokes aside, Brown managed to play on 70% of snaps and run a route on 81% of dropbacks. Albeit in a low pass volume offense, Brown’s slate-breaking ability is worth considering as we fade the recent box scores and trust the improving underlying usage. The trio of receivers behind Brown deserve mention, if for no other reason than to provide differentiating options on a fairly straightforward slate. Willie Snead IV ($5000), Seth Roberts ($1800) and Miles Boykin ($200) have played on 61%, 50% and 38% of snaps and run a route on 66%, 60% and 38% of dropbacks, respectively. All offer varying levels of viability depending on our roster construction and need for value. As of this writing, we’re expecting Mark Andrews ($8400) to be active for Thursday’s contest. If he’s able to suit up, Andrews is, as always, the Ravens best pass catching option leading the team in target share (25%), share of air yards (28%) and end zone targets (9). He’s a no-brainer flex play and easy Captain option as the most likely recipient of a Lamar Jackson touchdown pass. If he’s ultimately ruled out, DraftKings was quick to price up both Nick Boyle ($4400) and Hayden Hurst ($4200). In week 14, with Andrews’ early exit, Boyle’s and Hurst’s snaps (90% to 47%), routes run per dropback (69% to 62%) and target share (12% each) were strong enough to keep them both in play. Baltimore targets the tight end position on a league-leading 43% of pass attempts, we will want to have one of these guys in our lineup. Mark Ingram’s ($10400) 39% share of the rushing attempts in the league’s run-heaviest offense gives him one of the slate’s highest floors. His 16 attempts inside the 5-yard line also give him access to a big ceiling. Ingram is always a threat for 100-yards + 2 TD’s and with a 30-point team total as a massive home favorite, there’s reason to think he can get there. As Silva noted in matchups, the Jets defense is without key pieces who would have been tasked with trying to contain Lamar Jackson ($13800). With Jackson’s slate-breaking ability, there’s very little to say other than that the Captain ownership projection on Jackson would need to approach 50% before we’d consider a fade.
*Captain Lamar Jackson, 1-2 Ravens pass catchers, Jamison Crowder – Jackson is unique in that for virtually every other QB in the league, we would make a rule to include no less than two pass catchers in this stack but his rushing upside makes it so that we can Captain him with just one receiver.
*Captain Mark Ingram, Sam Darnold, Robby Anderson – Ingram is the most obvious direct leverage off of Jackson. His 16 carries inside the 5-yard line already doubles Jackson’s and there’s an outside chance the Ravens limit their franchise QB who is fresh off a week 13 quad injury.
*Captain Le’Veon Bell, Lamar Jackson, Hayden Hurst – We can try and talk ourselves into Captain Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder exposure given the likely game script but Bell is the only Jet with the matchup + usage upside combination who could routinely outscore the preferred Ravens options.
*Captain Mark Andrews, Lamar Jackson, Le’Veon Bell – Jackson’s safety blanket and top overall target is the slate’s most likely candidate for a receiving touchdown. An appearance on the week 15 buy-low model raises our confidence in his ability to outperform expectation.
*Captain Marquise Brown, Lamar Jackson, Jamison Crowder – After bursting onto the fantasy football scene with a ridiculous 4/147/2 line in his first ever game, we’ve been merely teased by his game-breaking ability since. Brown’s underlying usage is now on the rise as his box score results have tanked.
*Captain Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Le’Veon Bell – We think naked Lamar or Lamar + Ingram is going to go underowned as the field looks like to pair Jackson with one of his receivers. If all of the touchdowns come on the ground it could render the Ravens pass catchers useless and boost the ceilings for both Jackson and Ingram.
*Ravens Onslaught – Structured around Jackson at Captain, setting a group to use at least four or exactly five Ravens will give us access to a wide variety of primary and secondary options in the preferred offense.
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.
Sam Darnold – Darnold goes on the road with a 15-point team total to face an aggressive Baltimore defense with a supremely talented secondary. Priced well above the QB floor on DraftKings it’s difficult to justify spending up for him.
Robby Anderson – We like to roster players like Anderson, who have an incredibly wide range of outcomes when we project them to be lower owned. At 30-35% projected ownership we can take shots on his 36% share of the team’s air yards.
Jamison Crowder – Crowder’s low aDOT and more favorable matchup in the slot make him the preferred receiving option over Anderson. With a team-leading 22% target share he can soak up Darnold checkdowns en route to a viable fantasy performance on PPR-specific sites.
Willie Snead IV – Snead’s 11% target share and 12% share of the team’s air yards hint at a low floor/low ceiling combo. However, he’s seen over a 15% share of air yards in 6-of-14 games. With so much ownership going to Captain Lamar Jackson, it makes sense to differentiate with low owned Ravens receivers.
Gus Edwards – Edwards owns a 19% share of the team’s rushing attempts with seven carries inside the 5-yard line. He’s priced well above his season average but would likely be called upon, along with Justice Hill, to grind the clock in a blowout scenario.
Nick Boyle/Hayden Hurst – Given the Ravens tendency to scheme plays for their skilled tight ends, both Boyle and Hurst are in play regardless of Andrews’ status. If Andrews is ruled out they collectively become two of the best value plays on the slate.
Ty Montgomery – With Bilal Powell already ruled out, we can expect the roughly 20% share of the team’s rushing attempts he normally handled to be passed on to Montgomery. 5-7 carries and 2-3 targets is enough to keep Montgomery in play, though the $3000 salary is less than ideal.
Daniel Brown – Brown will be the Jets primary tight end in the absence of Ryan Griffin. Griffin leaves behind a 12% target share and an every down role.
Seth Roberts – Roberts has a 9% target share and a 10% share of the team’s air yards. He remains in play as a low floor, large field tournament dart throw.
Vyncint Smith – Demaryius Thomas is currently doubtful. If he’s unable to go, Vyncint Smith should slide into a full-time role as the Jets WR3. At just $400 above the minimum on DraftKings he makes it possible to Captain Jackson and fit other high priced options around him.
Miles Boykin – Credited with a 17.8 aDOT, three end zone targets and priced at the stone minimum, Boykin is the epitome of boom-or-bust as he’s the most likely of the fringe Baltimore receivers to end with zero DraftKings points but also the most likely of them to catch a long touchdown.
Justice Hill – In the six games the Ravens have won by at least 15 points, Hill has averaged nearly five rushing attempts and one target. 5-7 potential touches in a likely blowout is good enough to keep Hill in our player pool at $200.
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:
* Lamar Jackson
* Mark Ingram
* Le’Veon Bell
* Ravens DST
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Jamison Crowder
* Willie Snead
* Gus Edwards
* Daniel Brown
* Seth Roberts
* Vyncint Smith