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 Saturday’s matchup that features the Rams at 49ers, we have a 45-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 45 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)
Jets at Ravens ($49300) (212.82%): Captain Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram II, Mark Andrews, Jamison Crowder, Seth Roberts, Miles Boykin – (15)
Bills at Steelers ($47100) (262.26%): Captain Bills DST, Josh Allen, James Conner, John Brown, James Washington, Nick Vannett – (4)
Colts at Saints ($47500) (248.77%): Captain Michael Thomas, Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Will Lutz, Taysom Hill, Jordan Wilkins – (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 24-of-45 (53%) winning rosters, DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 45 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 17-of-45 (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
Saturday’s one-game Showdown night cap features an NFC West battle with the 49ers installed as 6.5-point home favorites over the Rams in a 45-point total. The Rams rank ninth in situation-neutral pass rate (62%) while Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers #EstablishIt ranking 27th (54%) in the same category. As touchdown dogs on the road, we can reasonably project a negative game script for HC Sean McVay’s offense. When trailing the Rams pass rate skyrockets to a league-leading 78%. On the other side of the ball, San Francisco leans on their stable of running backs when playing with a lead, rushing at a 56% clip. With glaring play calling splits based on game flow, creating correlated stacks around a projected outcome will lead to competitive lineup builds.
Following a one-game hiatus as the Rams highest-priced receiver, Cooper Kupp ($9000) reclaims the top spot over Robert Woods ($8200). After playing just 28% of the snaps in week in week 14 for what McVay referred to as schematic reasons, Kupp returned to his normal role playing on 92% of snaps and running a route on 94% of dropbacks in week 15. On the season Kupp and Woods share identical target shares (22%) and similar shares of the team’s air yards (21% to 23%). With a team-leading 29 red zone targets and a softer matchup against slot CB D.J. Reed Jr., Kupp is our preferred option at what we project to be lower ownership. A now distant third option, Brandin Cooks ($5000) is priced $2600 below his season average. In games he’s started and finished, he still leads in share of air yards (25%) making him an intriguing bet on talent boom-or-bust option at significantly reduced ownership. With Gerald Everett ($6200) slated to return, it appears Tyler Higbee ($6800) may have some competition for opportunities. In his three games as an every down player, Higbee saw massive opportunities with a 26% target share and a team-leading 29% share of the air yards. While Everett’s return theoretically dings his median projection, it’s likely Higbee played himself into a TE1 role moving forward, keeping him firmly in play Saturday night. Following the week nine bye, Todd Gurley ($8800) has been a true bell cow, playing on 81% of snaps and handling 67% of the teams rushing attempts to go along with 10% target share. Even in week 14’s blowout Gurley stayed in late racking up 11 carries and seven targets. As Silva noted in matchups, Jared Goff ($9600) has struggled when facing pressure as his passer rating plummets to 56.8 versus 99.1 when kept clean. If the Rams OL struggles to keep Goff upright Saturday night, the entire offense could stall as a result. On the wrong side of his stark home/road he’s a tough sell.
Coming off a week 14 dud, Emmanuel Sanders ($7800) looks to bounce back against Jalen Ramsey shadow coverage. In games Sanders has played over 50% of the snaps, he owns a 20% target share to go along with a 34% share of the team’s air yards. As our opponents overrate the matchup and recent lack of boxscore production, outside of week 13’s track meet, we can take advantage of Sanders reduced salary and include him in stacks where we expect more San Francisco pass volume. Deebo Samuel ($7400) made the most of his weeks 10-11 opportunities with the 49ers pass catchers banged up going for 16/246/0 in two games. Since their return to full health, Samuel’s target share (15%) and share of the team’s air yards (17%) have normalized, leaving him slightly overpriced for his role as the team’s third receiving option. George Kittle ($9200) leads the team by a wide margin with a 27% target share and is second with a 26% share of the air yards. With a matchup against a Rams secondary he has consistently torched on deck, Kittle is one of the slate’s top Captain options. Heading into his fourth week as the lead back of one of the league’s run heaviest offenses, Raheem Mostert’s ($8600) price has finally caught up to his new role. Over the past three weeks, Mostert has played on 62% of snaps and run a route on 43% of dropbacks en route to a 53% share of the team’s rushing attempts and a modest 7% target share. The 49ers run first offense has led to plenty of low volume games for Jimmy Garoppolo ($9400) and the San Francisco passing attack. Though Kyle Shanahan’s play calling lowers Garoppolo’s floor, it has not affected his ceiling as he’s shown consistent 300-yard + 3TD upside when forced into more dropbacks. If this game turns into a shootout, he has a chance to achieve a ceiling performance.
* Captain Jared Goff, Two Rams Pass Catchers, Raheem Mostert – There’s no denying Goff is in a tough spot as one of the league’s most pressure-sensitive QB’s facing a 49ers defense that ranks second in sacks (47). Working in his favor is the Rams tendency to abandon the run when falling behind, passing at a 78% clip, giving Goff a direct path to 40+ dropbacks.
* Captain Jimmy Garoppolo, Two 49ers Pass Catchers, Todd Gurley – In the weeks 9, 11 and 14 shootouts where Garoppolo reached a 30+ point ceiling, he dropped back 42 times on average. If the Rams can turn this game into a track meet, Garoppolo can turn in a Captain worthy performance.
* Captain George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo, Cooper Kupp – Kittle has led the team in targets in 8-of-12 games played and air yards in 6-of-12. In a favorable matchup as Garoppolo’s clear No. 1 target, Kittle is the slate’s top overall pass catcher.
* Captain Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff, Raheem Mostert – With Kupp and Robert Woods virtually dead even in targets and air yards, we’re using ownership as a tiebreaker. As many will find value in saving the $800 from Kupp to Woods, he should come in lower owned. Kupp should also draw slightly softer slot coverage and is utilized more than Woods near the end zone.
* Captain Todd Gurley, Raheem Mostert, George Kittle – As the Rams are still not mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, their best chance to win this game may be to Establish The Run against the 49ers defense that has allowed 4.6 YPC this season. Gurley’s every down role and usage near the goalline gives him a clear path to 100-yards + 2TD upside.
* Captain Raheem Mostert, Jared Goff, Robert Woods – As a 6.5-point home favorite, the spot couldn’t get much better for Mostert. Though his snaps have trended down since week 13 (74% > 59% > 53%) his share of the team’s rushing attempts have not followed the same pattern (65% > 42% > 52%). The concerns surrounding his reduced snap count may keep his Captain ownership depressed, though he still offers 20-touch upside.
* Captain Emmanuel Sanders, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tyler Higbee – Though he’s a clear No. 2 option behind Kittle, Sanders has flashed the opportunity upside in his limited time with San Francisco to warrant Captain consideration. Whether the 49ers find themselves chasing or the beast that is George Kittle draws more attention from the Rams defense, Sanders could find himself in line for additional targets.
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.
Robert Woods – The decision between Kupp and Woods when factoring in price and ownership is a coin flip. With a 27% target share and a 28% share of the team’s air yards over the previous four games, it’s possible Woods has permanently leapfrogged Kupp as the Rams undisputed WR1.
Deebo Samuel – Samuel is a casualty of a price point that has more appealing options below him (Tyler Higbee) and above him (Sanders, Woods). His big play ability makes him an intriguing contrarian option in large field tournaments.
Tyler Higbee – In Everett’s first game back following a three week absence as he nursed a knee injury, we’re expecting similar playing time for Higbee. As our opponents overreact to the news that Everett will be active, we should collect a healthy ownership discount.
Gerald Everett – Even prior to his knee injury, Higbee had started to play ahead of Everett. At his current price tag, with so many unknowns surrounding his playing time we can comfortably look elsewhere.
Brandin Cooks – Cooks’ price has finally reached a point where he’s worth GPP consideration. After a week 14 dip in playing time, Cooks returned to playing on 71% of snaps and ran a route on 72% of dropbacks. With a strong 14.1 aDOT, we need Cooks and Goff to connect on just a couple passes to pay off his salary.
Matt Breida/Tevin Coleman – Since Mostert took over as the lead back in week 13, Breida and Coleman have split snaps (19% to 21%) and share of rushing attempts (20% to 15%). They both offer the ability to pay off their respective price tags if either one is able to take over as a clear RB2 or if Mostert’s touches regress enough that it’s an even three-way touch split. Ultimately it makes sense to set a group to roster no more than one 49ers RB.
Kendrick Bourne – Since week 10, Bourne is the only other 49ers receiver to see meaningful opportunities, playing on 55% of snaps and running a route on 67% of dropbacks. During that same time frame he’s managed a 12% target share to go along with a 14% share of the team’s air yards.
Josh Reynolds – Reynolds week 15 36% snap share coincides with playing time increases for both Kupp and Cooks. We expect that to be the case moving forward but Reynolds does offer some appeal as a touchdown-or-bust dart throw. For Reynolds to end up in the optimal lineup it likely means he stole opportunities from Kupp and/or Cooks, it makes sense to create a group limiting our lineups to no more than one of those three receivers.
Malcom Brown – Brown barely makes our player pool as a guy who was shown the ability to vulture touchdowns from Gurley.
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:
* Jimmy Garoppolo
* George Kittle
* Todd Gurley
* Robert Woods
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Deebo Samuel
* Tyler Higbee
* Brandin Cooks
* Matt Breida/Tevin Coleman
* Kendrick Bourne