The Three Question Showdown Breakdown Series: (LAC @ LV) NFL 12/17

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 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 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 same 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.

The Showdown Breakdown

Good afternoon DFS people of the world. We are nearing the end of the calendar year and the start of other DFS sports. However, NFL DFS is still fully alive as we have another week of action after this. Tonight we have the Chargers on the road against the Raiders -3.5 with a 51.5 total.

There will certainly be some fantasy goodness in this game as we have two below average defenses and solid offenses.

Here are a few interesting stats before we get into the questions!

1.) Josh Jacobs has recorded 89+ rushing yards in each of the Raiders’ last four games as a home favorite.

2.) Justin Herbert has thrown two or more touchdowns in eight of the Chargers’ last 10 games.

3.) Darren Waller has recorded 72+ receiving yards in seven of the Raiders’ last nine home games.

4.) Austin Ekeler has 34 targets since returning from injury and is averaging 19.4 DK Points in that span.

5.) Nelson Agholor has 35 targets in the past four games and is averaging 15.75 DK Points in that span.

Let’s get into the questions and find out what to do with this showdown slate!

Who are the mispriced players, if any?

Okay, Austin Ekeler has an insane role right now. I mentioned above that he has 34 targets since returning from injury (3 games) but I didn’t mention he also has 37 total rushing attempts in those same three games. Let me pull out my calculator real quick. Oh yeah, that’s only 71 TOUCHES OVER THE PAST THREE GAMES. Frankly, his price on DK doesn’t reflect this workhorse role.

My hope is that people will see Ekeler priced above Derek Carr and maybe this will slightly decrease his ownership. Either way this guy will be in 100% of my lineups and most likely my highest owned CPT as well. I mean, you’re getting 20+ touches automatically when you roster him, throw in the fact that the Raiders are ranked dead last in DVOA against the run, allowing the third most fantasy points to running backs, and rank 7th most in receiving yards allowed to running backs and we have a SMASH spot for Ekeler.

I try not to allow myself any biases when it comes to DFS but Ekeler is simply someone that feels great rostering in DFS. He just touches the ball so much and is so explosive when he gets it. He is absolutely essential to this offense and I expect him to be heavily involved tonight. There’s really not an ownership number that’s gonna scare me off this play and I cannot wait to watch him obliterate the Raiders’ defense tonight. Let other people make the mistake of not playing Ekeler tonight and fire him up in ALL formats.

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

Since my highest owned player will be Austin Ekeler tonight I’m going to have to make some tough decisions up top. This will leave me to be naturally very underweight on Keenan Allen. I understand if you disagree with this play because he has been simply phenomenal this season. The reasons are simple for me: he is dealing with a soft tissue injury (hamstring) which is never good for a receiver who needs to be explosive, Keenan has a history of injuries which worries me that even if he does play he could be limited, lastly he is priced very similarly to Ekeler and I expect him to come with very similar ownership as well.

Sometimes you have to make sacrifices in DFS because you can’t play everyone. More targets for Ekeler means decreased target share for Keenan and there are enough red flags above that I mentioned that will probably make me end up “X’ing” out Keenan Allen tonight.

Another way you can get different tonight is finding the Raiders’ receiver that will step up tonight with Henry Ruggs out tonight. While this is probably good for Agholor, it may actually end up benefiting Hunter Renfrow a lot more as he is able to catch some deep balls. Most people will go down to Zay Jones or Bryan Edwards and it could leave Renfrow a little less owned that he probably should be.

Does my lineup make sense?

The reason I put Josh Jacobs in the image above is because I feel a lot of people will put Jacobs and Carr into the same lineup tonight. I know he has had somewhat of a decent role in the passing game this season and got 5 targets last game, but really they would rather just force-feed rushing attempts to Jacobs and not have to worry about anything else tonight. I feel they will find success on the ground tonight too since the Chargers are allowing an average of 120 rushing yards per game.

So, my suggestion would be to limit Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs to “at most 1” per lineup. It will feel uncomfortable since you want to capture all of the Raiders’ offense but my opinion is that if Jacobs is having a smash game then Derek Carr is likely not doing so hot and vice versa.

Since I’ll be playing a ton of Ekeler at CPT tonight I’ll let you know what that means for most of my lineups. I will personally still have a ton of Justin Herbert because there is still a very reasonable chance that Ekeler could score a receiving touchdown and get enough work in the passing game to justify both in the same lineup. As I mentioned before this will lead to almost no Keenan Allen so I will likely play one more cheap pass catcher from the Chargers like Mike Williams or Hunter Henry.

A lot of my lineups will be very balanced builds as I don’t really see either team blowing the other one out. If you have a strong take on a Chargers or Raiders onslaught then build for that! Anything can happen and you can build for whatever game script makes the most sense to you.

If you are enjoying this series feel free to leave a comment or hit the thumbs-up at the top of the article. You can also follow me on twitter. Or you can do neither of those three things and do whatever you want, just like in showdown. Let’s fire up these leverage plays and take down some tourneys and as always, may the football gods have mercy on your souls.

About the Author


  • FitFantasyGod

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