Showdown and Single Game NFL is the ultimate sweat, as no one ever truly knows who’s going to win until the last play. But it can also be a big challenge to build winning lineups.
In most fantasy formats, if you put together a “play the best plays” lineup — the ones most likely to perform well — you’ll be in a good spot. But in a one-game slate, everyone is able to identify who those players are for the most part because they have more time to think about the two teams playing and player pool is limited.
NFL DFS Showdown Tips: How to Win DraftKings & FanDuel
How to Gain an Edge in Showdown
So if everyone is able to put together a lineup with good plays, then how can we get an edge?
There are two ways that you can outsmart the field
- Game theory
On a typical one-game NFL slate, there are only about 10,000 lineups that have a decent shot at finishing as the optimal lineup. Since upwards of 100,000 lineups are in some contests, such as the Milly Makers on DraftKings, this is a significant factor in determining the upside of your lineup.
The lineups that most people gravitate towards end up being heavily duplicated and our simulations show that heavily duplicated lineups are less likely to succeed as an overall strategy.
The best way to improve your odds of a creating a profitable lineup is to try to get in the 5-20 lineup range as far as how many times you think a lineup will be entered.
In my experience, it’s very difficult to predict a lineup that will be duplicated less often than that, but still have a good enough shot to win. That being said, there are still good lineups in each of these ranges. That’s where correlations come into play.
In a single game, certain combinations of players are much more likely to appear in the optimal lineup than their individual chances combined. The most obvious example is that QB and receiver performances are heavily linked, which figures into the captain and flex choices heavily.
But pretty much every player is linked in some way in the NFL. My favorite correlations to shoot for are 5-1 stacks. In a fair number of games, one team just doesn’t put up much on the scoreboard — and then the other team ends up getting the lion’s share of the plays and production.
DST is a shoo-in for these kinds of lineups because the whole premise is one team is going to perform poorly.
What Positions Should I Target?
In showdown, my favorite position to target are kickers because no one else likes to play them. People tend to avoid kickers because they usually score in the 6- to 15-point range – solid but not exciting.
When you roster a kicker, you’re really betting against one of the low-salary players succeeding. In many slates, this ends up happening because players below the price of a kicker are usually longshots. What I’m hoping for is a boring game that ends up being exciting for my account balance.
How to Build Contrarian & Unique Lineups
Leaving money on the table is a great way to reduce your duplicates in large-field showdown contests. What I like to do is to build lineups using the top scorer % and top flex %’s on our Showdown Top Plays tool. If your lineup doesn’t spend most of the salary cap, you’re going to need to get the top scoring-players overall — which isn’t necessarily that unlikely in a single game.
Large-field showdown contests are some of the most fun contests to build for in my opinion. Why? Because the best strategy involves being pretty contrarian to be able to come up with a lineup that has a shot to win but that no one else has.
Make sure to take advantage of the tools at Stokastic to maximize your chances of success and let us know when you get a big takedown!
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