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. Closing out the first day of Divisional Round action with a matchup that features the Titans and Ravens, we have a 49-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 49 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)
Rams at 49ers ($49600) (241.43%): Captain Tyler Higbee, Jared Goff, George Kittle, Robert Woods, Deebo Samuel, Brandin Cooks – (4)
Chiefs at Bears ($49400) (252.12%): Captain Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Allen Robinson, Damien Williams, Harrison Butker, Javon Wims – (7)
Packers at Vikings ($47600) (202.83%): Captain Aaron Jones, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, Packers DST, Mason Crosby, Ameer Abdullah
49ers at Seahawks ($49900) (198.36%): Captain Deebo Samuel, Russell Wilson, Raheem Mostert, DK Metcalf, Travis Homer, Kyle Juszczyk
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 25-of-49 (51%) winning rosters, DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 49 slates DST’s are averaging 7.8 DraftKings points at a $4200 average salary and 20.8% ownership. If we break this down further by favorites versus underdogs, we see favorites priced up to $5000 and owned at a 28.9% clip as opposed to just $3400 and 12.7% 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 16.3% and maintained a 7.3 median DraftKings score.
Kickers have been just slightly less productive than DST’s from a raw points perspective and have found their way onto 19-of-49 (39%) winning rosters. Kickers remain one of the best points per dollar plays, scoring an impressive 7.5 DraftKings points on average at $3600 and 22.4% 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
Day one of Divisional Round action is capped off with an on-paper mismatch between the Titans and Ravens, with Baltimore listed as 10-point home favorites over Tennessee in a game with a healthy 47-point total. In back-to-back must-win games, the Titans boast an otherworldly 64% situation-neutral rush rate, attempting a pass on just 37-of-104 offensive plays. For OC Arthur Smith, as long as this game is within reach, the plan is to feed The Big Dog. Smith has shown a tendency to abandon the run when the game gets out of hand as evidenced by a 67% pass rate when trailing by at least 10 points. The Ravens are equally comfortable keeping the ball on the ground with a season-long average 55% situation-neutral rush rate that jumps even higher (59%) when playing with a lead. Both team’s ability to sustain drives by leaning on their ground game and the opposing defenses inability to stop it should lead to fewer overall opportunities for fantasy production and put a premium on capturing as much touchdown equity in our lineups as possible.
We’re willing to overlook AJ Brown’s ($8600) 1/4/0 on one target dud in the Wild Card round knowing the Titans only attempted 15 passes. Brown’s post-bye-week target share (26%) and share of the team’s air yards (38%) give him a direct path to a ceiling performance despite constant coverage from the trio of talented Ravens CB’s. He makes for a viable Captain pivot, where if he hits the top end of his wide range of outcomes we benefit most. Corey Davis ($4800) also fell victim to a non-existent passing game in the Wild Card round but has maintained a 73% snap rate, run a route on 79% of dropbacks and earned a 16% target share to go along with a 20% share of the teams air yards since the bye week. Davis lacks a realistic chance of being the slate’s top overall scorer thus removing him from Captain consideration but he remains firmly in play in scripts where we expect more pass attempts. It’s worth noting he should draw primary coverage from Marcus Peters who has been slightly worse from a fantasy perspective, allowing .31 fantasy points/target this season. With Adam Humphries once again ruled out, Tajae Sharpe ($3000) will man the slot for the Titans. Since taking over for Humphries in week 14 Sharpe has played on just 45% of snaps but run a route on 60% of dropbacks. With a 15% target share, Sharpe actually projects favorably to the similarly thin options on the opposite side of the ball. Jonnu Smith ($3600) continues to lead the Titans tight end committee playing on 84% of snaps, being used as a road grader for the rushing attack, running a route on just 59% of dropbacks en route to an underwhelming 10% target share. The Big Dog Derrick Henry ($12200) has handled 96% of the team’s rushing attempts over the past two weeks on his way to a ridiculous 66/393/4 line. Almost as impressive was seeing Henry scamper for 22-yards on a screen pass in last week’s win. Though a 1/22/0 receiving line doesn’t jump off the page, it was encouraging to see a successful catch-and-run that offers a glimmer of hope for more pass game usage if a negative game script prevails. As Silva noted in matchups, Ryan Tannehill ($10200) has major volume and efficiency concerns, facing a Baltimore defense that has allowed the league’s fourth-fewest yards per attempt, second-lowest passer rating and second-fewest touchdown passes. While we expect more than the 15 pass attempts he mustered against New England in the Wild Card round, he once again lacks Captain upside given the unlikelihood that more than one of his receivers gets behind this Ravens secondary or he’s able to outscore Henry + the MVP on the other side of the ball.
Removed from the injury report and fully rested, Marquise Brown ($7600) looks to finally add to his week one 4/147/2 line that made him an instant fantasy football legend. Battling through an ankle injury for a vast majority of the season, Brown managed an 18% target share to go along with a 23% share of the team’s air yards, far from elite WR1 usage. A bet on Brown is a bet on his game-breaking speed and soft matchup against the Titans perimeter corners, as he’s failed to crest 20 DraftKings points in 12-of-14 games played. Behind Brown, the Ravens receiving corps is wholly unappealing yet entirely necessary given the context of the slate. Between Willie Snead IV ($5200), Seth Roberts ($2600) and Miles Boykin ($2000) Snead holds an edge in snaps (61% to 49% to 39%), routes run per dropback (63%, 58%, 36%) and target share (10%, 9%, 6%). Price included we rank this trio; Roberts > Snead > Boykin. A lack of volume for the Ravens secondary receivers is caused by their league-leading 42% target rate to the tight end position. Mark Andrews ($9200) leads the team in target share (23%), share of the air yards (28%) and end zone targets (11) making him the obvious candidate to lead all pass catchers in fantasy points Saturday night. The spot sets up well for Andrews against a Titans defense that allowed 83/955/9 to opposing tight ends on 122 targets this season and is now without coverage LB Jayon Brown. Andrews’ projected ownership relative to his probability of being the slate’s top overall scorer warrants an overweight position. The Ravens backfield situation got murky upon receiving word that Mark Ingram’s ($9800) already injured calf tightened up in practice this week. Ingram is expected to play Saturday night, though it’s unknown what type of workload his bum leg can handle. Ideally, we’ll get news prior to lock on whether or not there will be any limitations in place for Ingram, it’s likely we don’t get that news so we can either a) dock his projection on the assumption he’ll be scaled back and boost the projections of Gus Edwards ($4200) and Justice Hill ($1600) bringing them both firmly into play or b) assume Ingram is capable of handling a normal workload, in which case both Edwards and Hill are slightly overpriced for their backup roles while Ingram becomes the best leverage over the slate’s highest owned Captain. There’s very little left to say about the league’s MVP, Lamar Jackson ($13600), who’s median projection clears the next closest player in this game by nearly 10 points. Scoring over 30 DraftKings points in over half his games, Jackson is the obvious Captain option and because the field has already shown on multiple occassions that he’ll be underowned relative to the likelihood he’s the top scorer we’ll once again suggest being overweight in an effort to maximize the number of Captain Lamar pairings we can create.
*Captain Lamar Jackson, Two Ravens Pass Catchers, Tajae Sharpe – While in this section you’ll find all of the Captain options we believe are at least capable of outscoring Jackson, we believe the best way to approach this slate is to be substantially overweight on Captain Jackson, which will inherently lower your exposure to the players listed below. We’re setting very few rules in these lineups as he’s capable of achieving his ceiling in a variety of ways where correlations with teammates and opposing players are less important.
*Captain Derrick Henry, Lamar Jackson, Seth Roberts – The path to a ceiling game from Henry revolves around the Titans sustaining drives and assumes that much like the Patriots did in the Wild Card game, Ravens DC Wink Martindale is comfortable ceding yards on the ground to Henry and the Titans in an effort to prevent play-action shots behind their secondary.
*Captain Mark Ingram, A.J. Brown, Mark Andrews – Unlikely given the calf injury but Ingram is the best direct leverage off of Jackson every time the Ravens take the field. Ingram has 16 carries inside the five yard line to Jackson’s seven and if he vultures two rushing touchdowns it could catapult him to top scorer status.
*Captain Mark Andrews, Lamar Jackson, Corey Davis – Andrews’ stranglehold on the Ravens receiving production makes him the best pass catching option on the slate. His opportunities coupled with a plus matchup against the Titans defense make a ceiling game more likely.
*Captain A.J. Brown, Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Jackson – A path for A.J. Brown most likely includes the Ravens jumping out to a quick 10-17 point lead forcing the Titans to approach the 67% pass rate we’ve seen from them in situations where they trail by at least double-digits. Captain Brown + Ravens onslaught is a contrarian approach to capture as much Baltimore touchdown equity while accessing the Titans pass production in a come from behind effort.
*Captain Marquise Brown, Lamar Jackson, Derrick Henry – In weeks 14-15 Marquise Brown played on 73% of snaps and ran a route on 76% of dropbacks, showing signs of putting the nagging ankle injury behind him. Now with an extra week of rest and rehab we may see close to a full game from the electrifying rookie, putting him on our Captain radar.
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.
Ryan Tannehill – Copy and paste from last week’s Wild Card game where Tannehill projects well in the context of the slate from a median standpoint but in a ceiling performance it’s likely that the pass catcher on the receiving end still outscores him. As always the safe floor makes him a flex option where the bloated salary fits into builds
Willie Snead IV – With similarly projected options who are priced well below Snead, he ends up being the odd man out in most constructions.
Corey Davis – If we project more dropbacks for Tannehill, Davis once again becomes a strong value at his price tag with a 16% target share.
Gus Edwards – Since week 11, Edwards has played on 37% of snaps and handled 21% of the team’s rushing attempts. Despite being priced $1100 above his season average salary, he remains a viable flex option even if Ingram is fully healthy, a top value if we get word he’ll be limited and a near lock if he’s a surprise scratch.
Jonnu Smith – In a three-headed TE committee against one of the league’s stingiest defenses against tight ends there are higher upside options.
Dion Lewis – Recent game scripts haven’t allowed us a chance to analyze what the Titans will do with Henry assuming they fall behind big. Since the bye week, excluding week 16 when Henry sat, Henry has run 68 routes to just 42 for Lewis. Now showing more commitment to Henry than ever, it’s possible they roll with him til the end.
Tajae Sharpe – Sharpe’s underlying usage is strong enough for him to outscore the $3000 price tag and is the best of the three Titans priced between $3000-$3600.
Seth Roberts – With a 9% target share and 10% share of the team’s air yards and three end zone targets, Roberts is worth exposure in Captain Jackson lineups in an effort to capture touchdowns scored by secondary receivers.
Hayden Hurst/Nick Boyle – Jackson’s tendency to target the tight end position brings both Hurst and Boyle in play. Boyle, the cheaper of the two, leads in snap share (70% to 40%), routes run per dropback (44% to 40%) and target share (10% to 9%).
Anthony Firkser – Playing on just 26% of snaps and running a route on 34% of dropbacks, Firkser is an easy fade after scoring a touchdown last week and earning a $2000 price increase.
Miles Boykin – The biggest dart throw amongst the Ravens receiving corps projects for 1-3 targets but is capable of capitalizing on his massive 17.2 aDOT with just one completion.
Justice Hill – Hill is a boom-or-bust dart throw who’s boom probability naturally increases as Ingram’s workload decreases. The Titans allowed the league’s third-most receptions to running backs in the regular season making Hill an intriguing option if his pass catching skill set is called upon. Set a group to limit lineups to no more than one of Ingram, Edwards and Hill.
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
* Derrick Henry
* Mark Andrews
* Justin Tucker
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Mark Ingram
* Corey Davis
* Tajae Sharpe
* Seth Roberts