Showdown Strategy Tips

Hello all, tonight I see a very straight-forward matchup between two division rivals.

It’s a wonderful thing when two teams with very condensed target trees face off, it makes it much easier to feel good about your plays. With that being said, I want to leave a few strategy notes that help me attack every showdown slate, that way this article can be used as a reference in the future.

Here are the three questions I think you should always ask yourself every single time you put in a showdown lineup:

1. Who are the mispriced players, if any?

2. How can I position my lineup to be duplicated as LITTLE as possible?

3. Does my lineup make sense?

The first question helps you look for the relative value in individual players in this matchup. Of course, you can use the projections to identify strong point per dollar options from a median perspective, but don’t be afraid to manually change a player’s projection if you feel they are overpriced or vice versa.

The second question refers to lineup construction and what you believe the field will do. This could arguably be the most important question you ask when making a showdown lineup. Avoiding duplication is arguably just as important, if not more so, than the plays themselves.

The reason is fairly simple, it is -EV (Negative Expected Value) over the long term to split first place several ways. Basically, your probability * payoff isn’t high enough to justify playing those types of lineups and over a long sample size you are more likely to lose money.

Anyways, the best way to avoid duplication is to run 150 lineups without changing anything in the lineup building settings to see what the optimal median projection builds are. After you see what the optimizer spits out, build player groups to avoid those types of lineup constructions. For example, if you see two QB’s appear in the same lineup in every single optimal build, just make a group saying, “play at most one QB” and you’ve already drastically changed how your lineups will look.

Lastly, the third question seems relatively intuitive, but I believe a lot of people ignore it and just try to galaxy brain their entire lineup in efforts to be different from the field. The most obvious example would be placing a running back who doesn’t catch balls in the Captain spot and then using the QB from that team then playing four players from the other team.

The reason this is wrong is because you want your player in the Captain spot to hit their ceiling. So, for a RB who doesn’t catch passes to hit their ceiling, you probably want three rushing touchdowns which is not only bad for that same team’s QB, it also takes points away from that QB making them negatively correlated.

Okay, hopefully those three questions make sense and the explanation didn’t bore you to death. Let’s ask those same three questions in relation to tonight’s slate and see if it helps us bink a GPP.

Who are the mispriced players, if any?

Yes, Brian Hill. Gross I know.

At $2,200 on DraftKings I think he is the best value on the slate. While I won’t be playing in him in the Captain spot, his salary opens things up quite nicely even in the flex spot. There are a few reasons I believe he is a value.

Brian Hill has had at least 2 targets in every single game this season. Todd Gurley had his largest workload all season just 4 days ago with 23 rushes and 2 catches. If we know anything about Gurley, especially this season, is that he isn’t the most durable back in the league. This is also evidenced by earlier in the season when he was averaging just 55% of snaps weeks 1-6.

Brian Hill has also established himself as the clear back-up running back on the Atlanta team, usurping Ito Smith. I’m not going to guarantee a touchdown or anything, but if somehow variance allows Brian Hill to be the one scoring the rushing touchdown and not Gurley, we have significant leverage on Todd Gurley and the chalky Atlanta passing attack.


Ito Smith has been declared inactive for tonight against Carolina. While it isn’t a massive bump in projection for Brian Hill, you can at least be more confident that Brian Hill will handle all of the back-up running back snaps.

How can I position my lineup to be duplicated as LITTLE as possible?

Teddy Bridgewater shows up as the most popular flex option in the 150 optimal median projection builds. He also shows up in about half of those lineups with Matt Ryan in the same lineup. A player group that could help limit duplication would be to limit your lineups to have a max of 1 QB per lineup.

Look we already know Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t have the ceiling like some of other QB’s in this league. He has not thrown over 2 passing touchdowns in a single game this year and has only thrown over 300 passing yards in a game twice this season. Both teams have struggled in the Red Zone as well, Carolina is converting TD’s at a 52% clip (27th overall) and Atlanta at 58.33% clip (23rd overall).

Does my lineup make sense?

This probably goes without saying, but if you are playing Julio Jones or Calvin Ridley in the Captain spot, just play Matt Ryan in the flex spot and don’t get cute with it. Both these receivers are highly correlated with their QB and you are trying to be too different if you aren’t playing Ryan in those lineups. Get different elsewhere and take the positive correlation where you can get it.

A last note I should mention is that it’s difficult to know which receiver for both teams is going to be the one who goes off in any given game. Instead of trying to convince yourself Julio is way better than Ridley or Anderson is a must play over Moore, I don’t mind just targeting the lower owned receiver but also just playing all of them across different lineups.

Hopefully this article helps someone! Try to ask yourself these three questions whenever you put a lineup together and may the football gods have mercy on your soul.

About the Author


  • FitFantasyGod

    Leave a comment if you think I should add a different question to the strategy questions!

  • easternmh

    • 2019 Blogger of the Month

    Good stuff!

  • FitFantasyGod

    @easternmh said...

    Good stuff!

    Appreciate it boss!

  • FitFantasyGod

    Ito Smith has been declared inactive for tonight against Carolina. While it isn’t a massive bump in projection for Brian Hill, you can at least be more confident that Brian Hill will handle all of the back-up running back snaps. Good luck everyone!

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