Picking up where we left off last season, I’ll continue exploring data-backed, Showdown GPP strategies to gain leverage on the field and increase our chances of winning. Much of the field still plays far from optimally, and Showdown offers significantly more slates than full-slate DFS, giving us increased opportunities to profit. The goal with these write-ups will be to find methods for creating high-quality lineups that are contrarian enough to take down a coveted solo-win.

Each week I’ll cover the Thursday, Sunday, and Monday Night Football games with a heavy focus on DraftKings. With six-man rosters and the Captain (CPT) slot increasing both your players points and salary by 1.5x, as well as a wider pricing range than that of FanDuel, DK has more options for roster construction and less duplicated lineups.

Not all Showdown games were created equal and one of the main concerns is prevalent at FanDuel. With a limited player pool, duplicated lineups are rampant. It’s a known issue with FD especially, where rosters consist of only five players and the MVP does not increase a player’s salary cost.

Winning a GPP is sweet, but sharing that cash with a bunch of identical lineups is an all-too-common occurrence in Showdown. People tend to jam in the most expensive and highest projected players at MVP for the 1.5x score boost, encouraging duplicates. But with GPP’s having such top-heavy payouts, we should be aiming to finish in the top 0.1%. If you end up splitting the prize money at the top, you can have the highest score and still lose money from your entry fees. While I prefer the more complex version of Showdown that DK offers, I will touch on FD each week as well.

This season begins with a Thursday Night Football matchup with Dallas at Tampa Bay. The total sits at 51.5 with the Buccaneers as 8-point favorites. First I’ll go over some basic strategies for each site, followed by analysis for the matchup.

General guidelines for gaining leverage in DK Showdown GPPs:

These are concepts learned from Drewby at Daily Roto, Cody Main at ETR , and Xandamere from One Week Season.

  • Use a customizable lineup generator to create rules or boosts.
  • When limiting cumulative exposure, multiply rather than adding together. This gives you rostership, which is far more useful. In other words, a combo of players rostered 59% and 1% is significantly better (for avoiding duplicate lineups) than two at 30%, even though they both equal 60% when added to calculate cumulative rostership.
  • Max 1 DST: 0 wins >(20%) more than 1 DST. 2 DST only won (1.75%).
  • Max 1 K. 0 wins twice as often as 1. 2 K only won (3.5%).
  • Max 2 Total DST/K.
  • Stacking CPT WR/TE w/ Flex QB is good, but not required.
  • CPT should not be the only player from his team on the roster (1-5 construction).
  • Don’t force the max salary. Over (93% of wins used between $42,000 and $49,900)
  • Highest-to-lowest average points-per-$ plays: K, DST, RB2, QB, RB1, TE1, WR2, WR1
  • Beware DST chalk. Hit unsustainably high last season and tough to predict.
  • Optimal CPT frequency out of (52): RB(20), WR(17), QB(10), DST(4), TE(2), K(1).
  • Don’t get too cute at CPT. No need to go ultra-contrarian here.
  • Lean towards favored CPT. Top 1% lineups use a Vegas favorite CPT nearly (75%).
  • Keep cumulative roster exposure between 150-225% to minimize duplicates without sacrificing projected points.
  • 5-1 lineup build (onslaught) is very viable as (39%) of top 1% lineups use it.
  • Stack CPT QB with opposing RB, WR, or TE. Nearly (89%) of winning lineups did.
  • Don’t force too many stacks. Using boost, group, key, and other lineup builder features allows you to encourage correlated stacks while keeping contrarian options open.
  • Stars and scrubs roster construction works fine, but stick to two or fewer scrubs per lineup.
  • Keep negative correlation in mind when using build rules to discourage less successful stacks like RB1+RB2, or block the worst kinds such as QB+Opposing DST.

DK Values

  • Giovani Bernard ($2,000)
  • Ronald Jones ($5,000)
  • Antonio Brown ($5,600)

DK Leverage

  • Mike Evans ($9,200)

(Updated) Tom Brady will be the most popular captain and player overall, and the field will lean towards Tampa heavy builds. One way to differentiate will be to create lineups as if Dallas will either win or play from ahead and use more Cowboys in lineups than Buccaneers. The 4-2 build with four players from the underdog team has the most leverage historically. Using any non-QB at CPT will separate you from 30-40% of other lineups. Using a DST and/or WR4 looks to be a solid contrarian option. If you do want to use Brady, consider mixing in one of his lesser utilized pass options like OJ Howard, Cameron Brate or Scotty Miller.

General guidelines for gaining leverage in FD Showdown GPPs:

Below are just some of the insights that can be found from Brandon Gdula’s analysis of FD Showdown at numberFire.

  • Use a 3-2 lineup split rather than a 4-1. 3-2 wins (64%).
  • CPT RBs are underutilized. It wins most (37%) but only used (31%).
  • CPT QBs are overused. Wins only (34%) but used in nearly half of lineups.
  • WRs are also underutilized in CPT slot. They win (24%) but only used (16%).
  • No need for TE or K in CPT. Could consider an elite TE, but only 5% of wins w/ TE CPT.
  • Don’t stack three pass catchers from the same team.
  • Don’t force both teams’ starting QBs. Lineups with both only win (30%)
  • Don’t force the max salary. Less than 6% of optimals used the full $60,000.
  • RB CPT do best in close, lower scoring games compared QB CPT.
  • Favor players from the team you think can win. Extra leverage when underdogs win. 

FD Best Points/$:

  • Tom Brady ($16,000)
  • Antonio Brown ($9,000)

FD Leverage:

  • Ezekiel Elliott ($14,000) – Big road underdog RB
  • Build lineups as if Dallas will either win or play from ahead.
  • Use more Cowboys in lineups than Buccaneers.

Multi-entry can require a ton of refining when using a lineup optimizer. I’ll review lineups and make sure what I’m left with at the end makes sense. I want to avoid making lineups that are only unique because they are dead with no chance of winning. I intend to update this once ownership projections are available. I’ll be back with analysis for Sunday Night Football’s Showdown games for both DraftKings and FanDuel.