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 Thursday’s matchup that features the Rams at Seahawks, we have a 13-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 13 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
DST & KICKER STRATEGY
The analysis in this section will continue to evolve as we get more information about winning Showdown lineups. Now on 8-of-13 winning rosters, DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 13 slates DST’s are averaging 7.8 DraftKings points at a $4100 average salary and 19% ownership. If we break this down further by favorites versus underdogs, we see favorites priced up to $4700 and owned at a 27% clip as opposed to just $3400 and 11% 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 16% 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 7-of-13 winning rosters. Kickers are scoring 8 DraftKings points on average at $3400 and 25% 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 contest sets up as a good opportunity for us to build rosters around specific outcomes as both offenses have shown major differences in run/pass rates when trailing versus playing with a lead. Through four weeks, the Rams are 2nd in the NFL with a 79% pass rate when trailing while the Seahawks come in at 64%. When playing from ahead the Rams pass rate drops all the way to 45% and the Seahawks to 44%, both teams are extremely sensitive to game script meaning player’s fantasy outcomes may vary drastically based on the flow of the game. As of this writing, the Seahawks are 1.5-point home favorites in a game that features a healthy 49.5-point total.
Cooper Kupp ($9,600) has separated himself from the other two Rams receivers both in price and production in the early going. Kupp continues to see elite WR1 usage making him well worth his price tag as Goff’s #1 option. With a team high 25% target share in a pass-happy offense, Kupp’s PPR upside is tantalizing. Robert Woods ($8,000) checks in as the second highest priced Rams receiver one week after torching the Buccaneers defense for 13/164/0 on 15 targets. Woods is 2nd on the team in target share (21%) and tied with Kupp for 2nd in air yards (25%). Brandin Cooks ($7,800) gets a slight price discount from his week three Showdown price of $8,600 after posting the worst performance of the three Rams WR’s. While Cook’s didn’t appear on Josh Hermsmeyer’s buy-low model he is a candidate to outperform his current DraftKings production on the heels of his team leading 33% share of air yards. As noted in Silva’s matchups, Cooks benefits from seeing Tre Flowers coverage on a majority of his snaps. If we expect Cooks to be the lowest owned Rams WR it is a good opportunity to leverage the field by being overweight. Gerald Everett ($3,200) saw his snaps (56%) come back to earth after playing 88% in Tyler Higbee’s ($2,000) absence. Everett still out snapped Higbee 56% to 44% and ran a route on 54% of dropbacks compared to Higbee’s 30%. It’s possible Everett has played his way into the TE1 role in Los Angeles or that the Rams eased Higbee back into action after his injury. Either way, at their depressed price tags both are playable options. Todd Gurley ($8,800) played a season-high 75% of snaps in week four and is at 71% on the season but has handled just 51% of the Rams rushing attempts. Gurley proved once again he is the Rams unquestioned pass-down back, running a route on 49% of dropbacks and drawing 11 targets in week four. As Silva notes in matchups, Seattle has given up the NFL’s third most receiving yards to RB’s through four weeks. Malcom Brown ($3,800) remains a distant RB2 behind Gurley as he’s playing on just 29% of snaps and handling 26% of the team’s rushing work. While Brown’s median projection puts him below the kickers priced in the same range, if we project a run-heavy game script from the Rams he could see enough work on the ground to pay off. As noted in matchups, Jared Goff ($10,200) has finished as QB9 and QB4 at home versus QB29 and QB19 on the road this season. The Rams pass game volume and the probability that this game shoots out have us less concerned about Goff on the road.
Tyler Lockett ($9,400) gets a tremendous matchup against a Rams defense that has struggled to contain slot receivers. Lockett leads the team in target share (24%) and is 2nd in air yards (29%), after week four where the Seahawks only dropped back 32 times we should expect more attempts against the Rams. D.K. Metcalf ($6,400) unsurprisingly leads the team in air yards on his healthy 16.3 aDOT. Metcalf also leads the league with seven end-zone targets and found his way onto Josh Hermsmeyer’s buy-low model for week five. He is seeing the type of usage that will eventually show up in the box score. Jaron Brown ($1,400) is the Seahawks WR3 by default but as David Moore ($600) has worked his way back from injury he’s taken a bite out of Brown’s usage. It’s possible one of these receivers produces a viable fantasy performance while allowing us to roster the high priced options we like. Will Dissly ($7,600) did not disappoint as the chalk TE in week four. More important than his fantasy output was his usage, as he saw a season-high in snaps (79%) and routes (68%). While Dissly has displayed encouraging usage, his price has risen to a point where he’s considerably more expensive than Metcalf and comparably priced to Cooks and Woods. Chris Carson ($8,200) handled a season-high 81% of rushing attempts in a game where the Seahawks led comfortably throughout. With Rashaad Penny ($5,000) healthy we should expect to see Carson’s workload dip despite his strong week four performance. C.J. Prosise ($2,800) rounds out the Seahawks three-headed RBBC as the preferred pass down option. This situation is entirely game script dependant as Carson is the playable option in a back-and-forth game while Prosise becomes playable if we expect the Rams to get out to an early lead. As mentioned above the entire Seahawks passing game should be in line for a serious boost in volume if the Rams force Russell Wilson ($10,600) into more dropbacks. Wilson has only dropped back 36 times per game through four weeks. Playing from behind against the Saints in week three, Wilson dropped back 50 times as he and Lockett both put up monster DraftKings performances.
*Captain Tyler Lockett, Russell Wilson, 2 Rams pass catchers – All signs are pointing in the right direction for the Wilson/Lockett combo. As we saw in week four, the Rams offense can support ceiling games for multiple wide receivers if they are chasing.
*Captain Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff, Chris Carson – The appeal with Kupp is his ability to produce Captain worthy performances in a variety of ways. In this scenario if the Seahawks get out to a lead and lean on Carson, Kupp could get there on PPR points in a pass-heavy game script.
*Captain Jared Goff, Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf – If we roster Goff as our Captain without one of his receivers we’re assuming he spreads the ball around enough to limit a ceiling performance from one of the Rams pass catchers.
*Captain Brandin Cooks, Tyler Lockett, Russell Wilson – Cooks has yet to capitalize on his team leading 33% share of air yards. If he and Goff connect it could be enough to propel him to top overall scorer status and limit his fellow WR’s production.
*Captain D.K. Metcalf, Russell Wilson, Cooper Kupp – We’re not ready to overreact to Metcalf’s reduced snap count in a week four game where they lead throughout. As our Captain, we’re hoping Metcalf can haul in one or more of the many high value targets he is seeing.
*Captain Russell Wilson, 2 Rams pass catchers – Wilson offers upside through the air and on the ground as evidenced by his 19/88/2 rushing line in 2019 and he touched up the Rams for 92 yards in two meetings last year.
*Captain Todd Gurley, Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf – Gurley actually benefits from a back-and-forth or slightly negative game script as it will keep him on the field in passing situations over Malcom Brown.
*Captain Chris Carson, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods – Unlike Gurley, Carson would prefer to see this game gets lopsided early. If the Seahawks get out to a big lead, Carson becomes the main beneficiary as he should be counted on to grind the clock out.
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 total but they to 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 – Woods is interchangeable with the other Rams WR’s listed above.
Will Dissly – Dissly is coming off a strong week four performance, with the usage to back it up. His price is a bit prohibitive considering the other options priced directly above and below him.
Malcom Brown – Brown is handling 28% of the Rams rushing attempts but has seen spikes in week one (34%) and week four (45%). He presents a path at a cheap price to compete with kickers and DST’s.
Gerald Everett – Everett continued to operate as the TE1 with Tyler Higbee back in the lineup last week. Everett ran a route on 38-of-70 dropbacks and saw seven targets. If he’s played his way ahead of Higbee he becomes another player who can outscore the slate’s kickers.
C.J. Prosise – Prosise is a game script dependant cheap option. In week three Prosise ran a route on 34-of-54 Wilson dropbacks as the Seahawks trailed for most of the game.
Tyler Higbee – It’s possible the Rams were simply easing Higbee back in after he returned from injury. If he reclaims his week one role where he split routes more evenly with Everett he becomes a playable option.
Jaron Brown/David Moore – Brown has seen his usage drop in the two weeks since Moore returned from injury. Moore could continue to steal opportunities from Brown and to a lesser degree Metcalf, making him an intriguing punt option at $600.
Luke Wilson – Wilson came off the street and played on 25% of snaps. He is a touchdown-or-bust option at the stone minimum on DraftKings if we find ourselves needing the salary relief
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
* Cooper Kupp
* Tyler Lockett
* Robert Woods
* Greg Zuerlein
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Chris Carson
* Brandin Cooks
* D.K. Metcalf
* Malcom Brown
* Tyler Higbee