NFL DFS Showdown Strategy for FanDuel and DraftKings

Aaron Rodgers
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Welcome everyone to NFL season! I have spent a lot of time analyzing some of the best players in DFS all offseason trying to improve my game and help pass that information on to you all as well. One of my main focuses in the offseason has been the Showdown/Single game formats as I truly believe this is the easiest way to win big right now as there is still somewhat of an edge. Yes, you will more then likely split the prize pool with a couple people but is anyone really going to complain about winning six figures? You can also see how much DK is valuing SD slates as Thursday has the same amount of entries as the week 1 Milly maker for the main slate. With all this said what can you expect reading this and the regular breakdowns on the games from me. First run on sentences, horrible use of grammar, and badly misspelled words. Secondly, I want to give you guys actionable information that you can use to help easily build your line ups. Lastly, My approach to the slate. I will not be commenting much on line ups this season unless there is a very glaring mistake, but on these single game slates really anything is in play and I don’t know what the players are going to do once the game starts. I will do my best to make sure we have all the information we need to make the best decisions possible.

Cash approach vs GPP approach. We will discuss both but think its important to find out what your goal is when playing SD slates. I didn’t play a lot of cash in SD last year because I believed it was crazy and no edge and variance will get you all the time, but after looking at everything this offseason I think there is a big edge in cash games if we are smart and stay within our bankroll. We wont cash every slate and may have multiple slates in a row that we don’t. It’s going to happen, but if you are smart and play the same amount each time or only progress as your bank roll grows, I am confident that we will cash more then we lose. If you are going to play GPP’s primarily I strongly recommend playing more then one line up if you can even if you max out the dime contest it will help you embrace the variance that comes with these one game slates.

Cash Games:

With cash games we are going to focus on safe floors for the most part and there are some obvious positions that stand out for cash games vs GPP plays and this is where we can gain an edge, we exploited it with the preseason and will improve in the regular season. What provides a safe floor for a single game? A team is only able to score so many ways, right? On Offense they can only score via Passing TDs, Rushing TDs, and Field goals. Its that simple so we need to focus on the positions that can do that the safest and make them a priority. That leads us to QB’s, RB’s and Kickers. Now only if it were that easy because we have things out of our control like split back fields and Pricing that will make it difficult to play both QB’s and RB’s. We just need to reduce the amount of variance we exposure our line ups to so WR’s will get the short end of the stick most of the time for cash game builds. It’s a highly violate position and if a WR does go off then we will have exposure to the QB that will get points for them. The building blocks of a good cash foundation is starting off with both QB’s and both Kickers. RB’s are the next priority unless it’s a team that will split touches evenly or something crazy that I would highlight in the game write up. The all-important Captain spots. For me I’m going to put the QB in most of the time unless pricing is very tight, and I need to drop down to a Kicker to make it work. The only exception to the QB exception in CPT spot would be like Seattle who has a big implied team total and we know they are going to be a big run heavy offense I would prioritize Carson in the CPT spot over Wilson.


First before you start building your GPP rosters its important to think about how the game is going to play out and think about a couple different ways it can go. Then build your line ups around those scenarios. For example, I mentions Seattle being a big home favorite so I would want to start with Carson in my CPT spot. I would follow that up with the home Kicker or defense maybe both. So, I’m projecting the home team (Seattle) playing with a big lead I would want a QB in the line up and would go with the away team as they are going to throw a ton playing from behind and pair him with a WR so Dalton to Boyd. Really either QB is fine in this situation but the Opposing QB correlates a little better in this game script. You wouldn’t want the Cincy Kicker in this case because playing from a couple TD deficit they probably wont kick many FGs. Play the game out in your head a couple times to get a good feel for the way you see it going. There is a lot of value in picking against Vegas in SD’s will have that data at the end of this article.

The captain spot and what to do with it. Unlike cash games we don’t want to punt the captain spot it doesn’t work out well for being an optimal build. Will have stats at the end. The average price for the captain last season was 13.5K and the captain was the highest scoring player in the optimal line ups just over 80% of the time last year. So, when does a cheap captain play work? When teams with a lot of depth and players that are all expensive come into play for example the Kansas City Chiefs have Mahomes, Hill, Kelce which are all capable of putting up 20 points and all very expensive. Say one of them didn’t dominate and scoring was spread out playing a cheap captain would be optimal in this situation, but for the most part we are going to need the player that score the most points in the captain position. Let’s look at some simple rules for stacking/correlation in SD based on the optimal line ups I looked at. I will have the stats below as well:

  • At most one Kicker and one Defense.
  • Pair a captain WR with their QB
  • Pair captain QB’s with at least two WRs unless they are a rushing QB (L. Jackson – BAL)
  • At least 1 QB
  • Limit backups/Dart throws to 1 (Back up RBs/WR4,5, or 6 plays, ETC)

The stats:

This is all based on the optimal line up not the actual winning line up. DK ran 112 showdown contests from week 1 to the super bowl. Below is the break down of the Captain position in the optimal line up for the 112 contests:

WR’s 38

TE 6

RB 44

QB 17


K 2

Roster construction break down. When upsets occurred ()

Stacks: (upset)

CPT 4:2 – 42 (13 times)

CPT 5:1 – 16 times (4 times)

4:2 CPT 14 times (4 times) CPT was on the 2 side

5:1 CPT 2 times (1 time) CPT was on the 1 side

3:3 38 times (12 times Upsets)

There was an upset on 34 of the 112 showdown slates.

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