Slate IQ Showdown

Slate Advice and General Strategy Powered by Data from Previous Showdown Slates
Brought to you by multi-time Live Finalist and Top Grinder, Chris Gimino @ChrisGimino

Chris Gimino

NFL DraftKings Showdown SlateIQ - Week 9: 49ers at Cardinals

Welcome to the beta version of a new product here at RotoGrinders, DraftKings Showdown SlateIQ. For those not familiar, we offer a SlateIQ product for NFL, NBA and MLB main slates that uses our very own ResultsDB data to match the upcoming main slate to the historical DFS slates on DraftKings that are most similar based on several different characteristics at the slate, game and player level. You can take a look at the NFL Week 9 SlateIQ here.

We are creating something a little bit different for NFL Showdown SlateIQ since, well, Showdown contests are quite a bit different than main slate contests. Instead of trying to match previous slates, we want to match previously similar games. So, in order to do that, we created Game Archetypes based on the total amount of scoring in a game, as well as the final point differential. That way if we think a game is going to be a close, low-scoring slugfest, we can see how we should be building our Showdown lineups based on what has been winning in Showdown lineups in other close, low-scoring slugfests.

Tonight the San Francisco 49ers travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football. The 49ers are 10.5 point road favorites, and the total sits at a low, but not totally minuscule, 43 points. The 49ers are sitting on an undefeated 7-0 record, and only 2 teams have come within 10 points of them with one of them being a 9-0 victory against the Redskins that really only remained that close because it was played in an absolute monsoon. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have been able to notch 3 close wins in the last 4 weeks, but the wins have come against 3 of the worst teams in the NFL – the Bengals, Falcons, and Giants. Based on the betting market, as well as some of the additional context about these two teams, the most logical guide in terms of game type that we can use for showdown is one where the 49ers handle the Cardinals and win by double digits with a moderate amount of total scoring.

Based on that game type, let’s take a look at where we can find leverage in both our Captain spot and our overall lineup construction on tonight’s showdown slate:

Favorite Cruises to a Win in Moderate Scoring Affair

Captain Usage

Couple of quick things jump out here. It’s relatively rare for one of the QB1, RB1 or WR1 to not jump out in terms of captain leverage, but that’s what we see on games like tonight. While the WR1 can provide some positive leverage, you actually can gain the most on the field with the TE1 (hello George Kittle!), the WR2, or the RB2. I think this actually makes a ton of sense in a game like tonight, where most will probably flock to Tevin Coleman (fresh off his 4 TD game) or Jimmy Garoppolo in captain, but you can get the same upside at lower ownership in guys like Kittle or Matt Breida (if he plays), while also being able to afford a little bit extra punch in your flex spots. Finally, I know how people love their DST in captain, and it may seem very tempting with how dominant the 49ers defense has been. Like Nancy Reagan, just say no.

On the right side, you can also see some interesting trends about ROI at different entry fee and field size levels. In general, the leverage spots for captain remain the same, but you can see how things change from an ROI perspective across different entry fees and field sizes where people are building slightly different lineups based on the contest.

Positional Usage

Here you can see the comparison between the entire field of lineups vs the top 0.1% of lineups and how they use each position. You can see how many lineups use 0, 1, or 2 of each position. A few different really notable items here. First, you see right away how the top lineups are quite a bit lower on the 2 QB build, 17% vs 26% of the field. Top lineups also basically never play both RB1s or TEs together, while the field is doing one of those things ~ 25% of the time, which is a pretty massive difference. Top lineups are also quite a bit lower on playing defenses or kickers at all than the field. People seem to always default to kickers and defenses when they can’t figure out which somewhat sketchy punt to play, which creates a big edge for us.

Team Allocation

Last, but certainly not least, we can see the leverage and ROI on how many players you play from each team. In terms of leverage, there really isn’t too much that jumps out in a big way, outside of the fact you really shouldn’t be playing 5 Cardinals and 1 49er no matter how contrarian it is. When we look at ROI though, things pop out immediately. While there’s no real leverage on the field in 5-1 lineups (13.3% of top lineups vs 13.3% of the field), the ROI with these lineups has been far and away the best for this game type. Across every buy-in level, every field size, or however you want to slice it, the 5-1 lineups have been wildly successful on games like tonight.

As you can see, depending upon how the game plays out, the optimal way to build your showdown lineups can drastically change. We are currently working on building this Showdown SlateIQ out even further with more flexibility for you to analyze different game types, so be on the lookout for that coming soon!

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images


  • MDunn89

    Good stuff. My only suggestion would be making the charts larger so I don’t have to zoom in with the browser settings

  • jcrescimanno

    Yeah, I had to turn down my music in order to see these :D

  • ebeimfohr

    • 151

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #88

      RG Tiered Ranking

    • x4

      2019 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    Thanks for the feedback!

  • tommyf1001

    These articles are awesome!! Please keep making these for the NFL showdown games, thank you!!

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