Find Your Edge: Week 13 - How to Breakdown a Showdown Slate

Director of Data and Analytics, Kevin Cole, returns with a look at how past DFS slates can yield valuable insights to roster construction, decision making, and winning strategies for the coming slate of games. This is a big deal. We’ve collected a massive amount of data on past DFS slates, and Kevin is going to help you “find the edge” buried deep within them.

Week 13

This week we’re going to jump back into Showdown analysis, but focus instead on how to bring together all the information we have in our Showdown Hub to find potential +EV plays.

In this article I’m going to walk through the Week 13 TNF Showdown numbers that include three main elements we can bring together:

  • Optimal lineup allocations (CPT and total roster) for both team based on the results of similar historical matchups.
  • Player ownership projections for FLEX and CPT produced by a model trained on 2018 Showdown contest results.
  • Year-to-date Showdown contest positional allocations for winning (top 0.1%) entries and the field.

The numbers in our Showdown Hub focus on Captain (CPT) and total roster allocations (CPT plus FLEX). In this article, we’ll focus on CPT selection, but the same process can be applied to FLEX allocation.

The overarching key is to compare optimal allocations from historical similar matchups and see what options give you leverage over the field according to ownership projections.

Looking into historical results

Below is an example of the CPT optimal allocation charts available in the Showdown Hub. This specifically looks at 100 historical matchups are most similar to the Week 13 TNF game between the Saints and Cowboys.

The specific numbers that you can use to find leverage are in the table below. It isn’t organized by name, but instead labeled by favorite or underdog and the positional rank.

We shouldn’t take the numbers above as the gospel for what the optimal allocations are, but instead as a guide for how you should think about the possible outcomes for different players.

Matching historical matchups to the current one can’t be exact, so using you own knowledge about the teams’ lineups and trends is necessary to add an extra edge.

Bringing in ownership projections

What’s new to the Showdown Hub analyses is ownership protections for CPT and FLEX for every player with projected fantasy points.

The ownership projections are based on a model trained by the actual YTD ownership numbers for the 60ish Showdown slates in 2018.

What we’re providing has a key difference to the ownership numbers you’ll see on DraftKings: we break out the ownership by CPT and FLEX, not only give total ownership.

We’re able to break the ownership numbers into CPT and FLEX by digging through all the entries in our ResultsDB and find the exact allocations for the field by CPT and FLEX.

Here are the ownership projections for Week 13 TNF.

Bringing the optimal and ownership projections together

The table below looks specifically at CPT leverage by comparing all players with at least a 1% allocation for optimal CPT based on historical similar matchups.

The numbers being compared are the optimal allocations to projected ownership, with the assumption that overallocation to those players will give you positive leverage on the field. Players with less than 1% optimal allocation can provide leverage if ownership assumptions are tiny, but they will hit so infrequently that making them a core allocation will require inordinate patience to see results.

Looking through the numbers provides a few easy, big-picture takeaways.

  • Ezekiel Elliott has one of the highest ownership projects, but the optimal allocation is smaller based on underdogs RBs typically struggling.
  • The flipside of Elliott giving lower leverage is Alvin Kamara providing value as the RB of the the substantial favorite. This could be a situation where Mark Ingram, who is seen as having lower leverage, will steal some of the share from Kamara and lower his ceiling.
  • Drew Brees and Dak Prescott are both seen as CPT fades, through their FLEX numbers are strong.
  • Amari Cooper has the most leverage of top players, but this could be a case where his ownership projection isn’t strong enough. The ownership model might not capture the excitement surrounding Cooper after a couple strong performances.
  • Secondary and tertiary receiving options for both team look to be under-owned versus optimal projections, as receivers provide the most variance and their lower salaries can help you fit more top options into FLEX spots.

Checking against YTD actual CPT and FLEX allocation for winners

The last thing that’s provided in the Showdown Hub that you can use to help decision-making is the actual results this year for Showdown contests and how winners have positioned their lineups versus the field.

There are some points of leverage that we see above. WR1 has provided value, and we have Cooper looking to do the same tonight. WR2-4 in total provide value, again pointing to some of the non-WR1 options for the Saints giving positive leverage.

About the Author

  • Kevin Cole (colekev)

  • Kevin Cole previously worked on Wall Street as an equity and credit analyst before transitioning to data-related sports analysis. For a number of years, Kevin has specialized in creating predictive sports models that includes published work at Pro Football Focus, Rotoworld, numberFire, and RotoViz. He is now the Director of Data and Analytics at RotoGrinders.


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