There’s one final NFL game this season, which means there’s also one final day to play NFL Daily Fantasy until we reach next preseason.
In these one-off, standalone games, DFS sites allow you to roster 5-6 players while choosing one play to be your team Captain. That Captain player is rewarded a 1.5x bonus to his fantasy output. On DraftKings, that Captain also costs 1.5x his regular salary (on FanDuel they do not). Choosing that Captain is the real unique part of building showdown lineups.
Sunday’s game is Super Bowl 54, which is fitting because we’ve had 54 showdown lineup opportunities so far this NFL season. Over those 54 previous 54 slates, the captain dispersal on the winning lineups has gone: RB (18), WR (18), QB (11), DST (4), TE (2), and K (1). The most popular picks to be captains by the public are typically quarterbacks since they inherently score so many points and have higher floors, but pivoting to the position player you believe will have the biggest fantasy impact is where you can gain your most leverage over the field.
These teams are no strangers to the format. The Chiefs have been involved in five different showdown slates this season. In three of those games, a Kansas City player was the best option at the captain spot. One of those came with Patrick Mahomes inactive versus the Packers (Aaron Jones was the most valuable captain) and another came when he suffered a dislocated kneecap against Denver after 20 snaps (Chiefs DST was MVC). In the three other full games, Mahomes was the captain of the winning roster twice and not even a part of the other winning roster in his other full game (Austin Ekeler).
San Francisco has been involved in seven different showdown games, with a member of their team being the best captain four times. In typical 49er fashion, they spread it around, with Matt Breida (vs CLE), George Kittle (vs GB), Deebo Samuel (vs SEA), and Raheem Mostert (vs GB) being the best fantasy assets on winning teams. In their three other games, opposing running backs (Kenyan Drake and Chris Carson) were the MVC twice while Tyler Higbee was the other. Kittle and Higbee were the only tight end MVC options on the season.
If thinking of dipping your toes in selecting a kicker or DST to be a part of your roster, DST options have had a stronger hit rate. DST have been on 52% (28-of-54) winning rosters. Kickers have been a part of 23-of-54 (43%) winning rosters.
If you check out our Super Bowl LIV hub, we’ve gone down the rabbit hole heavily on this game, so I won’t offer much individual player analysis here. Go and check out all the articles there to find out the specifics on each play. Here, I’ll offer a few bullet points on potential options to try and be as unique as possible in roster construction while offering projected ownerships at the tail end for DraftKings.
You don’t have to only play low-owned players and avoid highly owned ones. The important thing to remember is the way to gain an edge over the field in DFS is to leverage what you believe is going to happen versus what the field believes.
- Patrick Mahomes is going to be the most popular captain option. If you’re going to make a lineup with him in that slot, the potential to be unique is limited, but you can do so by rostering multiple non Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill Kansas City pass catchers, expecting the 49ers to throw everything at those players while the ancillary playmakers soak up the crux of the money plays. While it’s hard to make an objective case for using Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson on their own merit as game-changers, it’s likely being in on the lesser-popular Chiefs pass catchers are the path to gain an advantage if really leaning on Mahomes. All you need is a touchdown from one of those guys.
- I would rank non-Mahomes Chiefs primary captain options in the order of Travis Kelce, Damien Williams and Tyreek Hill with Williams providing the most leverage against ownership. With eight of the 20 touchdowns the Chiefs have scored in the postseason over the past two years, Williams offers scoring equity in the offense. He also has the second-most receiving touchdowns (three) in those games behind Kelce, still offering stacking correlation in lineups with Mahomes.
- George Kittle is projected to be the highest owned San Francisco player, allowing a leverage opportunity on Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo is the primary player between both teams that I plan to go overweight versus projected ownership on the most (primarily in FLEX spots). I believe the 49ers will pass more Sunday and will need to score points, even without being consistently in negative game script.
- If going overweight on the 49er passing game, the best leverage options to pair with their quarterback are Emmanuel Sanders and Kendrick Bourne outside of the more popular Kittle and Deebo Samuel. However, given the fairly flat target distribution for the 49ers, you can still mix and match their pass catchers. Bourne leads the team with five end zone targets since Week 10, when he became the regular WR3 option.