DraftKings SlateIQ Showdown: Conference Championship (Saints/Rams)
There are three main components to each Showdown slate analysis that you’ll find below:
- Optimal lineup allocations (CPT and total roster) for both team based on the results of similar historical matchups.
- Comparison of player ownership projections for FLEX and CPT produced by a model trained on 2018 Showdown contest results to optimal allocations.
- Year-to-date Showdown contest positional allocations for winning (top 0.1%) entries and the field.
Before you dig into this writeup specifically geared towards this week’s Conference Championship matchup between the Saints and Rams, you may want to take a look at a few articles that serve as primers for Showdown strategy:
1) Walking through a Showdown slate that gives a specific plan for comparing optimal allocation and ownership projections to find high leverage plays
2) A synopsis of the Showdown format and early season results
3) Optimal total roster construction based on historical matchups in different game scripts
4) Optimal Captain (CPT) selections based on historical matchups in different game scripts
To analyze this specific Showdown slate, I looked through thousands of NFL matchups from 2008-2017 and found the closest analogies to this 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: 2014 Week 2, Colts-Eagles.
The spread and over/under are exactly the same as this matchup (Colts -3, 54 O/U versus Saints -3, 56.5 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.
Optimal lineups based on similar historical matchups
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.
Here are how the team stacking composition worked out for the 100 most similar matchups.
Projected ownership versus optimal
This is where the analysis comes together and becomes actionable.
What’s most important when viewing these numbers is to contrast them to the optimal numbers taken from the analysis above for different positions and see where the leverage may exist.
The two tables below compare the optimal allocations above, with adjustments for the personnel of this particular matchup, to our ownership projections for CPT and FLEX.
The tables below have the YTD results for more than 100 Showdown slates broken down by the top-0.1% entries (“Winners”) and the field in the biggest contests from 2018 NFL Showdown slates.
Columns with “Two” include entries that had that position from both teams in the lineup. “One” columns include entries that only had that position from one team in the lineup.