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 Sunday’s matchup that features the Seahawks at Rams, we have a 40-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)
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 22-of-40 (55%) winning rosters, DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 40 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-40 (40%) 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
Sunday night’s one-game Showdown slate between NFC West rivals is currently listed as a pick-’em after the Seahawks opened as 3-point road favorites over the Rams in a middling 47-point total. This contest figures to see contrasting offensive styles as the Seahawks rank 30th in situation-neutral pass rate (51%) versus the 10th ranked Rams (62%). HC Sean McVay has been quick to abandon the run when his team falls behind as the Rams pass rate sky’s to 78% when trailing. McVay’s play calling tendencies are as affected when they’re playing with a lead as they are in games they fall behind. Over a 318-play sample, the Rams pass rate has plummeted to just 47% while playing from ahead. The obvious game script sensitivity makes it all the more important to build lineups that correlate with our Captain and also with the outcome we’re projecting.
Naturally, it feels like the perfect time to buy Tyler Lockett ($8800) as his price has fallen $2400 from a week nine peak of $11200. However, Lockett holds just a slight lead over DK Metcalf ($8000) in target share (21% to 20%) while Metcalf leads the team in share of air yards (30% to 28%) and end zone targets (14 to 10). With the expectation that the Rams let top corner Jalen Ramsey shadow Lockett, Metcalf becomes our preferred option in Seattle. Following the injury to Luke Willson, Jacob Hollister ($4800) has filled in as an every down player, in on 76% of snaps and running a route on 77% of dropbacks. He’s shown a safe floor, averaging a 20% target share on the season and upside as evidenced by his team-leading 30% target share in week ten. It appears that Chris Carson’s ($8400) ball security issues has finally forced the Seahawks into a two-man committee between he and Rashaad Penny ($7000). With just a two game sample, it’s difficult to project the Seahawks backfield with any level of confidence. We believe it settles in to a 55/45 or 60/40 split favoring Carson with receiving opportunities split similarly. As noted in matchups, Russell Wilson ($10600) will be forced to overcome the presence of Aaron Donald who benefits from a matchup against the Seahawks backup center. If the game mirrors the most recent three meetings between these teams, Donald’s ability to generate pressure may not matter as Wilson will be heavily involved in any high scoring affair.
Cooper Kupp ($9200) finally popped in the box score last week against the slump-busting Cardinals defense. After failing to do much of anything for three consecutive weeks, Kupp went for 6/65/1 on 10 targets and looked like his old self in the process. Still leading the team with a 25% target share, Kupp gets a beatable matchup against the Seahawks soft slot defense. Speaking of popping in the box score, Robert Woods ($8600) went berserk in the week 13 matchup against the Cardinals for 13/172/0 on 18 targets. Woods now leads all Rams receivers in share of air yards (24%) and is just behind Kupp in target share (23%). As one of the league’s top candidates for positive touchdown regression with zero TD’s on 98 targets, Woods is a plug and play option as our favorite WR in Los Angeles. In the two games since his return from a concussion that cost him the better part of three games, Brandin Cooks ($6000) has played on 77% of snaps and run a route on 81% of dropbacks. Though the opportunities have not been there, Cooks is a bet on talent play at a $2000 discount from his average Showdown salary. With Gerald Everett already ruled out, Tyler Higbee ($6600) will once again be the Rams feature tight end. After not disappointing as week 13 chalk, Higbee got a $3800 price increase but the usage is strong enough to support the elevated salary. The Rams have targeted the tight end position on 23% of pass attempts this season and with fellow TE Johnny Mundt ($400) offering next to nothing in the pass game its not unreasonable to project Higbee for opportunities that would rival the likes of Kupp and Woods. The sticker shock of a near $4k price increase may keep ownership levels low. Todd Gurley ($8200) has quietly regained lead back type duties handling 64% of the team’s rushing attempts following the week nine bye. This year Gurley has failed to flash the pass game upside we grew so accustomed to last season rendering him a game script specific option. As Silva noted in matchups, Jared Goff ($9600) is on the right side of his home/road splits where he’s averaged 7.96 yards per pass attempt. With a home matchup against an unimposing Seahawks defense, Goff presents clear 300-yards multiple touchdown upside.
*Captain Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf & Jacob Hollister, Robert Woods – If the Rams jump out to a lead we could see the Seahawks approach a 60% pass rate, Wilson’s efficiency coupled with more volume is a recipe for a ceiling game. We like Wilson + Metcalf along with a low owned/cheaper Seattle pass catcher.
*Captain Jared Goff, 2-3 Rams pass catchers, Chris Carson – Goff can hit the bonus and throw for three touchdowns in a potential shootout at home. The Rams easy-to-project pass catching corp makes stacking with Goff easier.
*Captain Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff, DK Metcalf – As Goff’s most heavily targeted receiver, Kupp presents a variety of paths to paying off as our Captain. His high efficiency, low aDOT targets and team-leading 25 red zone targets make him a candidate for double digit receptions and a touchdown.
*Captain Tyler Lockett, Russell Wilson, Tyler Higbee – Metcalf over Lockett is a sentiment that many across the industry may share Sunday night. We know the upside that the Wilson to Lockett combo possesses, meaning if we’re building more than one lineup, we should have exposure to this stack.
*Captain Robert Woods, Jared Goff, DK Metcalf – Woods has 98 total targets, 13 red zone targets, 1 end zone target and zero touchdowns to show for them. Woods at Captain is a bet on positive touchdown regression hitting him like a ton of bricks in week 14.
*Captain Chris Carson, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods – The likely shared workload with Penny is concerning enough that we can expect reduced Captain ownership on Carson. While the most likely outcome is somewhere around a near even split, Carson has shown the ability to handle over 60% of the team’s carries in 7-of-12 games, giving him access to a big ceiling.
*Captain DK Metcalf, Russell Wilson, Brandin Cooks – From usage and matchup to price and ownership, Metcalf is the preferred Seahawks pass catcher across the board. Praise be to the buy-low model.
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.
Todd Gurley – Gurley was our first man out of Captain consideration, though he makes sense in that spot in certain builds. If we think the Rams jump out to a lead we can comfortably project more rushing attempts for the Rams lead man. Always a candidate for multiple touchdowns, Gurley’s 11 carries inside the 5-yard line rank 9th in the league.
Rashaad Penny – On one of the league’s run-heaviest teams, projecting 40-50% of the carries for Penny keeps him in play as a flex option. Given the wide range of outcomes it makes sense to be underweight on Penny if he’s going to be highly owned. It’s far likelier he finishes with 30% of the team’s carries than 70%.
Tyler Higbee – Higbee has managed to lead the team in end zone targets (5) as primarily a part-time player. Playing on 91% of snaps and running a route on 70% of dropbacks, Higbee’s underlying usage supports the increased price tag
Brandin Cooks – Seeing just a 7% target share and 14% share of the team’s air yards in the two weeks since he returned. With better options priced around him, Cooks is strictly a bet on talent option.
Jacob Hollister – Hollister has quietly been the Seahawks second most utilized pass catcher since week ten with a 28% target share and 17% share of the team’s air yards. The usage feels legit as the Seahawks have made it a point to scheme plays for their tight ends all season.
Josh Gordon – Gordon played on 36% of snaps and ran a route on 50% of dropbacks. His price dropped another $1000 heading into week 14 and if we expect him to take another step forward as the Seahawks WR3 we want to buy Gordon now rather than one week too late.
David Moore – Moore continues to produce on limited action. He’s third on the team in end zone targets (8) and makes sense as a touchdown-or-bust dart throw in large field tournaments.
Josh Reynolds – Since Cooks’ return Reynolds has played on 47% of snaps and run a route on 41% of dropbacks as he continues to rotate in with Woods and Cooks. He stands out as a couple hundred dollars underpriced for his current role.
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:
* Russell Wilson
* Jared Goff
* Robert Woods
* DK Metcalf
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Brandin Cooks
* Jacob Hollister
* Josh Gordon
* Josh Reynolds