Slate IQ Showdown

Slate Advice and General Strategy Powered by Data from Previous Showdown Slates
Brought to you by Director of Data and Analytics @cole_kev


DraftKings Showdown Analysis: Week 9 MNF (Cowboys/Titans)

Before you dig into this writeup specifically geared towards this week’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Cowboys and Titans, you may want to take a look at a few articles that serve as primers for Showdown strategy:

1) A synopsis of the Showdown format and early season results

2) Optimal total roster construction based on historical matchups in different game scripts

3) Optimal Captain (CPT) selections based on historical matchups in different game scripts

Editor’s Note: Be sure to watch Chop and BigT’s video and then use LineupHQ to build optimal lineups for the prime-time game!


To analyze this specific Showdown slate, I looked through thousands of NFL matchups from 2008-2017 and found the closest analogies to the DAL-TEN matchup according to the following parameters: Betting spread, over/under, average fantasy points scoring for the top-ranked positional players of both rosters (QB1, RB1, WR1, TE1).

I won’t detail every matchup that falls into the top-100, but for illustration let’s look at the most similar matchup: 2011 Week 1, Broncos-Raiders.

The spread and over/under are exactly the same as this matchup (Broncos -3, 40 O/U versus Cowboys -4.5, 40 O/U).

All the players aren’t perfect matches, but that’s why we use 100 similar matchups and not just the single most similar.

For this game and 99 other similar matchups, I calculated every possible combination that fits with Showdown rules (one CPT, at least one offensive player from each team) and would fall under the $50K salary threshold assuming the salaries for the historical similar matchups are the same as those for this contest.

Choosing the right captain

The most unique part of the format, and therefore the biggest opportunity for competitive advantage, is choosing your CPT. Should you always choose a QB who typically has the highest absolute fantasy scoring? Are defenses and kickers viable options? RB vs WR?

I went through the millions of possible lineup combinations for the 100 most similar matchups and found who the CPT selections were on the top-5 scoring lineups for each matchup. Here are the 500 CPT from those matchups by position rank according to salary.

Breaking down total optimal rosters

This graph illustrates the full range of allocations for the different positions to measure how many of the 500 optimal rosters had exactly zero, one or two of the given positions.

Optimal CPT and total rosters side-by-side

The key when looking through this table is to remember that the total roster numbers are much higher than the CPT numbers because the former only means filling one of six slots, and the latter is only one of one CPT slot.

Beyond taking in the number in themselves, what’s also important is comparing these to the historical numbers in the primer articles that give the equivalent figures total roster construction and CPT selections for games in different game scripts.

Optimal stacks

Here are how the team stacking composition worked out for the 100 most similar matchups.


  • Volkster6

    Kevin I’ve been wondering this all year – great articles by the way I can’t wait to read them – when you choose a game to base your research off, are you simply using the total and line or do you look at the games stats as well to make your data?

    In addition, I believe you mentioned at the start of the season you would use historical match ups until you had enough data on Showdown trends. Is it possible to look at who the top 10 (including ties of course) of cashing rosters to pool together data similar to what you do in the match up matrix for the main slate? Or do you need much more data???

    Again great article! Good luck

  • Maddad2020

    Paralysis through analysis. Too easy to lose sight of critical information when its buried in a sea of noise.

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