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 Monday’s matchup that features the Lions at Packers, we have an 18-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 18 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
Eagles at Packers: Captain Jordan Howard, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Carson Wentz, Jimmy Graham, Geronimo Allison
Cowboys at Saints: Captain Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliot, Cowboys DST, Will Lutz, Saints DST
Bengals at Steelers: Captain James Conner, Mason Rudolph, Joe Mixon, Diontae Johnson, Steelers DST, Jaylen Samuels
Rams at Seahawks: Captain Cooper Kupp, Chris Carson, Gerald Everett, Jared Goff, Russell Wilson, Greg Zuerlein
Colts at Chiefs: Captain Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Jacoby Brissett, Marlon Mack, Colts DST, Byron Pringle
Browns at 49ers: Captain Matt Breida, Jarvis Landry, Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Tevin Coleman, 49ers DST
Giants at Patriots: Captain Patriots DST, Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Golden Tate, James White, Brandon Bolden
Steelers at Chargers: Captain James Conner, Phillip Rivers, Hunter Henry, Mike Williams, Benny Snell Jr., Steelers DST
When we review winning lineups we can think backwards and determine what game script ideas and correlations went into constructing each roster. In week five’s MNF game, we knew the 49ers were extremely run-heavy, rushing on 57% of their offensive plays, that with Jeff Wilson inactive there was little reason to doubt the health of Tevin Coleman and that the 49ers defensive line presented a huge mismatch for Cleveland. As 5-point home favorites if we expected the 49ers to steamroll Cleveland a 5-and-1 roster build with the two 49ers RB’s made perfect sense.
The TNF game that featured the Giants at Patriots seemed likely to be one-sided and we discussed how we could take advantage of that with another unique 5-and-1 build. While it took an outlier performance complete with two touchdowns to solidify their Captain status, the Patriots DST was in a great position to be among the slate’s top six overall scorers. The one big decision point was rostering Brady with two of his pass catchers over the very popular Sony Michel. If Michel was kept out of the endzone it was likely Brady and/or multiple Patriots receivers would have the opportunity to put up Captain worthy performances. 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 12-of-18 (67%) winning rosters, DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 18 slates DST’s are averaging 8.3 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 29% clip as opposed to just $3400 and 11% ownership for underdogs. To this point, the highest owned DST’s (Bears, Patriots) 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 7.5 median DraftKings score.
Kickers have been slightly less productive than DST’s to start the Showdown season but have still managed to find their way onto 8-of-18 (44%) winning rosters. Kickers are scoring an impressive 7.4 DraftKings points on average at just $3500 and 23% 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. 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 Showdown contest features middling 45.5-point total with the Packers listed as 3.5-point home favorites. Play volume may be hard to come by as the Packers (16th) and Lions (18th) are firmly in the middle of the pack in situation neutral pace. While the Packers own the 9th highest situation neutral pass rate the Lions are #EstablishingIt, running on 45% of plays when the game is within a touchdown, good for 24th in the league.
Kenny Golladay ($9,400) headlines a concentrated Lions passing attack, as only he and Marvin Jones Jr. ($6,800) can be considered full-time players. Golladay and Jones are each running a route on 94% of dropbacks but it has been Golladay who has dominated target share (26% to 17%), air yards (36% to 23%) and end zone targets (7 to 1). Golladay converted four week four end zone targets into two touchdowns and game log drafters will be much more likely to select him over Jones. This may be an opportunity to take advantage of reduced ownership + price and assume more opportunities head Jones’ way. The Lions are running 3+WR sets on just 47% of their offensive snaps making it difficult to find ancillary receivers to roster. Danny Amendola ($4,600) should handle a majority of the slot snaps in 3WR sets. He’s run a route on 64% of dropbacks and has handled a healthy 13% target share, good enough to keep him in play if he is active. If his chest injury keeps him out of Monday’s contest it would be Marvin Hall ($1,200) who would take over the slot receiver role for the Lions. T.J. Hockenson’s ($5,400) numbers remain inflated from his 6/131/1 line against the inept Cardinals defense in week one. Since then he’s managed a mediocre 5/35/1 in three games. Luckily for Hockenson, he’ll be facing his most favorable matchups since week one. As Silva noted, Packers have been beaten by TE’s to the tune of 22/182/1 and will be missing FS Darnell Savage. Since cutting ties with CJ Anderson, Kerryon Johnson ($8,600) has gotten near bell cow usage, seeing 74% of the team’s rushing attempts and running a route on 51% of dropbacks. He’s also handled five rushing attempts inside the five yard line with just one touchdown to show for it. If regression hits in week six, Johnson could produce a Captain worthy performance. Matthew Stafford ($9,600) maintains solid upside even in a low volume passing offense. As Silva noted in matchups, there is a flowchart like feel with Stafford ranking 2nd in percentage of passes attempted 20-plus yards downfield and the Packers defense surrendering the 5th-most completions of 20-plus yards.
Davante Adams will once again be sidelined with a toe injury, paving the way for Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($7,800) to be the lead dog. In week five without Adams, Valdes-Scantling dominated the opportunities for the Packers WR’s, seeing a massive 44% share of the team’s air yards. That’s why it’s no surprise he ranks No. 4 overall on the week six buy-low model. We can take advantage of Valdes-Scantlings WR1 role while he remains priced as a WR2. As expected, Geronimo Allison ($6,400) stepped right into the WR2 role behind Valdes-Scantling, running a route on 92% of dropbacks and actually commanding more targets (15% to 12%). Going into week five we weren’t positive who the third WR would be in 3WR sets. Jake Kumerow ($2,800) ran away with the job playing on 67% of snaps and running a route on 68% of dropbacks. The type of underlying usage Kumerow displayed in week five is typical of receivers priced in the $4,000-$4,500 range making him an incredibly strong value option if we find ourselves needing the salary relief. Despite what we think of his athletic ability in his advanced age, Jimmy Graham ($7,000) might actually be the biggest beneficiary of the Adams injury as he’s seen a decent increase in snaps (70%) and routes per drop back (75%) in the last two weeks. After Aaron Jones ($11,400) dominated in week five, he might be one of the most overpriced players in Showdown contests through six weeks. With Jamaal Williams ($5,200) back in the mix Jones would be more appropriately priced in the $8,000-$9,000 range. Even in a week where Tra Carson was his primary backup, he saw fewer snaps (67%), rushing attempts (66%) and routes per dropback (51%) than the running back on the other side of the ball. Jones clearly possesses slate breaking ability but given his increased salary there are better options. Aaron Rodgers ($11,600) checks in as the slate’s most expensive player. Rodgers has largely been a disappointment through five weeks but given the Packers willingness to abandon the run as evidenced by their league-leading 84% pass rate when trailing, if they fall behind early increased volume may lead to a ceiling performance from Rodgers.
*Captain Kerryon Johnson, 3 Members of Packers Pass Attack – If Johnson produces a captain worthy performances it’s likely the Lions are playing with a lead. As noted above the Packers completely abandon the run when trailing which would lead to top scores from multiple players in the Packers pass game.
*Captain Kenny Golladay, Kerryon Johnson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling – By rostering both Golladay and Johnson we lock up as much touchdown equity as possible. Johnson has handled 100% of attempts inside the five and Golladay has seen a ridiculous 47% of the team’s end zone targets.
*Captain Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. – As the No. 4 player in Hermsmeyer’s week six buy-low model, Valdes-Scantling is due for positive regression. If he achieves his ceiling, the concentrated Lions pass offense is the perfect group to run it back with. In any stack with multiple pass catchers we’ll want to consider including a QB.
*Captain Marvin Jones Jr., Matthew Stafford, Geronimo Allison – By rostering Jones Jr. as our Captain we can take advantage of his reduced salary and the relative unknown of a four-game sample size. If the target share evens out Jones may be in line for a big game.
*Captain Matthew Stafford, Aaron Jones, Kenny Golladay – While the Lions pass rate splits when trailing aren’t near as drastic as the Packers, any increase in pass volume could lead to a ceiling performance from Stafford.
*Captain Aaron Rodgers, Kerryon Johnson, 2+ Packers Pass Catchers – Without Davante Adams, Rodgers doesn’t have a true WR1 to funnel targets to. We can capture the upside of the Packers aerial attack by rostering Rodgers as our captain.
*Captain Aaron Jones, Matthew Stafford, Marvin Jones Jr. – Though he’s overpriced for his role in the offense with Jamaal Williams healthy, all we’re trying to do at Captain is roster the highest overall score and Jones possesses that ability.
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.
Jimmy Graham – Graham’s opportunities have trended up since the Adam’s injury and now he gets a Lions defense that surrendered 9/128/0 to Chief’s TE’s in week four.
Geronimo Allison – Allison saw an increase in usage across the board sans Adams, he’ll also largely avoid Darius Slay coverage as he’s run 71% of his routes from the slot.
TJ Hockenson – Hockenson will return from a concussion suffered in week three and should resume his role running a route on 58% of dropbacks.
Jamaal Williams – In games where both Williams and Jones where healthy, Williams handled 34% of the team’s rushing attempts and ran a route on 47% of drop backs. Prior to his injury, LaFleur made good on his word to get Williams more touches.
Danny Amendola/Marvin Hall – If Amendola is active he’ll hold down the Lions slot WR role running 84% of his routes from that position. If he’s out the cheaper Marvin Hall should slide in.
Jake Kumerow – Kumerow disappointed in the box score in week five but proved he is the clear cut WR3 in Green Bay while Adams is out. Given that he failed to produce he remains underpriced for week six.
Jesse James – A pure dart throw, touchdown-or-bust type play, James is on the field enough (53% snaps) to warrant consideration as a dart throw.
J.D. McKissic – McKissic will likely see a handful of rush attempts and run a handful of routes.
Marcedes Lewis – Lewis played 47% of snaps in week five and ran a route on 22% of dropbacks. He’s also seen multiple targets in 4-of-5 games making him a low owned flyer.
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:
* Both QB’s
* Aaron Jones
* Kenny Golladay
* Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Marvin Jones Jr.
* Geronimo Allison
* Jamaal Williams
* Danny Amendola (if active)