NOTABLE INACTIVES (Will be updated after official inactives): Adam Thielen has been ruled out.
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.
*EMBED SILVA AUDIO HERE*
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 Vikings at Seahawks, we have a 38-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 38 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)
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-38 (58%) winning rosters, DST’s continue to be deserving of roster consideration. Through 38 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-38 (42%) 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
Monday night’s one-game Showdown slate features a pair of NFC heavy hitters as the Seahawks host the Vikings as 3-point home favorites in a game with a healthy 50-point total. A marquee matchup for the team here at Establish The Run, the Seahawks (48%) and Vikings (46%) rank 3rd and 5th respectively in situation neutral rush rate. Neither team has shown a sensitivity to negative game script as both teams also rank well above league average in rush rate when trailing. Despite higher than average rushing attempts, Minnesota’s 4th ranked situation neutral pace may lead to slightly better play volume for the Seahawks offense.
With Adam Thielen already ruled out, Stefon Diggs ($9800) will operate as the Vikings WR1 for the sixth straight week. In Thielen’s extended absence, Diggs has managed a 19% target share and 34% share of the team’s air yards as opportunities have been widely distributed. We can take advantage of Diggs’ boom-or-bust style in this contest format as he’s seen over a 40% share of the team’s air yards in 4-of-11 games, giving him a clear path to massive usage. DraftKings priced Olabisi Johnson ($2600) as if Thielen would suit up, making him one of the slate’s most obvious values. Since week seven, Johnson has played on 76% of snaps and ran a route on 84% of dropbacks. In that same time frame he has commanded a 15% target share and ranks 2nd on the team with a 24% share of the air yards. He’s a no-brainer flex play with an outside shot of being one of slate’s top overall scorers. Kyle Rudolph ($6600) has quite possibly been the biggest beneficiary of the Thielen injury, catching a touchdown in 4-of-5 games en route to a handful of rare big box score performances. Rudolph’s pass game usage has skyrocketed over the past five weeks where he has handled a 15% target share and a 15% share of the team’s air yards as opposed to a mediocre 7% target share and 5% share of the team’s air yards in weeks 1-6 with Thielen healthy. The price has ultimately risen to match his new role meaning we’ll undoubtedly need at least one touchdown for him to end up in the optimal lineup. If we’re finding the $6600 price tag on Rudolph difficult to stomach, we can look to fellow TE Irv Smith Jr. ($3600) who’s price questionably dropped after scoring a touchdown in week 11. Since week seven, Smith has played on 67% of snaps and run a route on 70% of dropbacks. Like Rudolph he owns a 15% target share over that same time frame. As fantasy’s RB2 behind only Christain McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook ($11800) stands out as an obvious Captain option. We can safely expect Cook to be heavily involved in the Vikings offense whether it be on the ground or through the air as he ranks 2nd in the league in share of his team’s total touches (41.2%) to go along with a ridiculous 15 carries inside the 5-yard line. As Silva noted in matchups, the Seahawks banged up defense may present no match for Kirk Cousins ($9000) who has been on fire of late and comes in boasting a season-low price tag.
Tyler Lockett’s ($9600) pedestrian 22% target share and 26% share of the team air yards numbers don’t tell the full story, as he’s caught a highly efficient 81% of his targets and shown plenty of upside grabbing over a 30% target share in 4-of-11 games. D.K. Metcalf ($7600) checks in as week 13’s No. 2 ranked player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s buy-low model after dropping three passes in week 12. At a $2000 discount with a comparable 20% target share and 27% share of the team’s air yards to go along with twelve end zone targets, Metcalf is the preferred receiving option over Lockett in Seattle. Since Will Dissly and Luke Willson went down with injuries, Jacob Hollister ($4800) has filled in admirably, playing on 76% of snaps and running a route on 74% of dropbacks. In three weeks as a full-time player, Hollister has seen a 20% target share and two end zone targets, keeping him squarely in play as a flex option. Chris Carson ($8400) has now fumbled seven times including a disastrous week 12 performance where he fumbled twice. Nevertheless, the Seattle coaching staff is committed to Carson as their lead back and went as far as to say they won’t force touches to Rashaad Penny ($5400). Carson’s situation is one we generally like to take advantage of in Showdown formats if the market is going to be lower on him following a bad performance that may raise questions about his workload. Prior to the week 12 debacle, Carson had handled no fewer than 60% of the team’s rushing attempts since week four and led the team with five carries inside the 5-yard line. Now as a home favorite in a game with a 50-point total Carson is underpriced and is projected to be underowned given the ceiling that comes with his role. As Silva noted in matchups, the Vikings have shown pass-funnel tendencies after yielding three top-eight QB scores over their last six games. Russell Wilson ($10800) is primed to take advantage of the plus matchup at home and as always adds bonus upside with his legs as evidenced by his 53/271/3 rushing line on the season.
*Captain Dalvin Cook, Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf – As a running back not affected by game script, Cook fits as a Captain in a variety of builds. Whether we think the Vikings jump out to a lead and put the ball in his belly 25+ times or they fall behind and checkdown 7+ times. Cook has the clearest path to 100-yards and 2TD’s.
*Captain Russell Wilson, 2+ Seahawks pass catchers, Olabisi Johnson – In the three games Wilson has been forced into more than 40 dropbacks, he’s averaged 342 yards and 2.6 touchdowns. If the Vikings are capable of putting up points Wilson could access his massive ceiling in a shootout.
*Captain Stefon Diggs, Kirk Cousins, Tyler Lockett – Diggs has already shown he can soak up literally 75% of the Vikings air yards. In another game sans Thielen he is once again in line for huge opportunities against a Seattle pass defense that has been scorched for the league’s sixth-most receptions and tenth-most yards.
*Captain Tyler Lockett, Russell Wilson, Chris Carson – Lockett is a bet on talent and efficiency Captain play as the overall target share and air yards numbers are slightly below what we’d expect from a WR1, especially in a run-first offense. He’s certainly capable of dusting this Vikings secondary that has been absolutely pantsed in recent weeks.
*Captain Kirk Cousins, Irv Smith Jr., Stefon Diggs – Opportunities amongst the Vikings pass catchers have been relatively evenly split since Thielen’s injury with four players averaging at least a 15% target share. If that remains the case Monday night, Cousins could spread the ball around to multiple targets en route to a Captain worthy performance.
*Captain Chris Carson, Kirk Cousins, Olabisi Johnson – Carson is the ultimate fade recency bias and bank on the preceding six weeks worth of usage data Captain play. If he reclaims his weeks 4-10 role he, like Cook, offers a path to 100-yards and multiples TD’s.
*Captain D.K. Metcalf, Russell Wilson, Dalvin Cook – As the No. 2 overall player in the week 13 buy-low model, Metcalf screams positive regression. With a healthy 13.1 aDOT we just need he and Wilson to connect on a few targets to wind up in the optimal lineup. Metcalf also boasts a ridiculous, league leading twelve end zone targets making him a strong bet for a touchdown.
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.
Kyle Rudolph – Rudolph may be the only Vikings pass catcher who is now appropriately priced for their projected opportunities minus Thielen. He’s been able to separate himself from other secondary pass catchers with six end zone targets since week seven.
Rashaad Penny – The most likely outcome is Penny lands somewhere closer to the five rushing attempts he averaged in weeks 8-10 than the 14 he saw in week 12. We should set groups to limit our lineups to just one Seahawks RB and boost Penny’s projection if we think he’s carved out a bigger role in the offense.
Jacob Hollister – Hollister’s underlying usage and the Seahawks willingness to scheme plays to their tight ends make Hollister a strong flex option.
Josh Gordon – Admittedly there are very few data points indicating Gordon is worth rostering at a $4400 price tag. Playing on just 35% of snaps and running a route on 47% of dropbacks, the reason to consider Gordon is to be a week early, rather than a week late on one of the league’s most explosive receivers.
Irv Smith Jr. – As noted above, the usage between Rudolph and Smith is close enough that the $3000 price difference is notable. Smith’s 15% target share and near every down role opposite Rudolph create a path to outscoring the slate’s kickers and DST’s.
Olabisi Johnson – The last time a player was this mispriced for their role was when the Eagles visited the Falcons in week two. Nelson Agholor was a starting WR2 at $2800 and only caught 16% ownership in that contest, suggesting that Johnson may also go underowned despite a WR2 type role at a $2600 price tag.
Alexander Mattison – Mattison has averaged just over four rushing attempts and less than one target over the past three weeks, rendering him nothing more than a low owned dart throw.
Malik Turner – Turner has played on 37% of snaps and run a route on 36% of dropbacks since Josh Gordon was claimed, making him a low owned GPP dart throw.
David Moore – Moore has played on even fewer snaps and run fewer routes than Turner but miraculously is credited with six end zone targets.
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:
* Dalvin Cook
* Stefon Diggs
* Tyler Lockett
* Kirk Cousins
Lower projected ownership, in order of descending salary:
* Jacob Hollister
* Josh Gordon
* Irv Smith Jr.
* David Moore