Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Showdown: Godwin Leads the Way for Buccaneers-Ravens Picks on TNF (October 27)

For nearly a year now, I’ve been hosting the High Stakes podcast for Stokastic, interviewing DFS pros on a range of topics. There have been a lot of recurring themes on the show, but the most relevant for this article: DFS pros love NFL DFS Showdown.

That’s because a lot of casual NFL fans enter the Showdown fray as a way to have some action on island games. As a result, DraftKings and FanDuel offer enormous contests with generous prize pools. The contests become more difficult to win, too, when there are hundreds of thousands of entrants, but with a large portion of the new players being casual, the increase in difficulty pales in comparison to the increase in prize pools. It’s a tradeoff DFS pros will gladly make.

My goal with these Showdown articles — which I’ll be writing for each Thursday Night Football and Monday Night Football NFL DFS slate this season — is to help you attack the largest-field DraftKings GPP like a pro. There are three main components to discuss when it comes to Showdown, and I’ll break them down accordingly: Projection, Correlation and Differentiation.

Before reading this piece, you may find it helpful to read my evergreen piece about how to attack NFL Showdown GPPs more generally:

Week 8 NFL DFS Showdown: Buccaneers-Ravens Picks TNF


The goal in DFS is to make the lineup that puts up the most points and a natural starting point is looking at individual players who are likely to put up high scores or high point-per-dollar scores. Some pros run simulations or create their own projections to achieve this. Many others, like myself, rely on the Stokastic projections and tools to determine which players should be core pieces of our lineups. I primarily look at the base projections and the “Top Showdown Plays” Tool, which publishes results of 10,000 advanced simulations run by the Stokastic team.


These are simply the top projected players on the slate. I’d recommend having at least three of these players in just about every lineup you make tonight, either as captain or in a flex spot.

  • Lamar Jackson ($11,800) has the highest projection and highest salary on the slate.
  • Tom Brady ($10,000) is projected only about a point worse than Jackson but comes in at a nice salary discount.
  • Chris Godwin ($9,000) projects a few points worse than the quarterbacks but has the top projection of all position players.
  • Leonard Fournette ($8,800) had just eight carries and three targets in the loss to the Panthers in Week 7 but was likely just a victim of game script. The week prior, in a close game with the Steelers, Fournette carried the ball 21 times and saw six targets.
  • Mike Evans ($11,000) has the fifth-highest projection on the slate at the second-highest salary. Still, Evans always has the upside for over 100 yards and multiple touchdowns.
  • Mark Andrews ($9,200) did not record a reception and had just one carry for four yards in Week 7. Prior to that he had been a stud all season for the Ravens. Andrews has been limited recently with a knee injury but is “hopeful” to play in this game.
  • There is a wide projection gap after Andrews. He is probably the last player who can be listed as a true stud. But the next four position players in terms of projection deserve a mention somewhere, and they don’t fit as great point-per-dollar plays or low-owned plays. Rashod Bateman ($7,000), Gus Edwards ($7,600), Cade Otton ($5,000), and Devin Duvernay ($6,400) all have clear paths to the optimal lineup but are unlikely to make it into many lineups in an optimizer without making adjustments to their projections.

Top Point-Per-Dollar Bucs-Ravens Picks

These are just a few players who will be featured throughout my lineups due to their high projected points per dollar. At the same time, because I’ll typically have at least three studs in each lineup, the top points-per-dollar plays are often players I’ll be pivoting away from in some spots in favor of players who project a bit worse but will also garner lower ownership. I’m also excluding any player with a projection below three fantasy points from this list.

  • Isaiah Likely ($1,600) appears to have been passed by Josh Oliver on the tight end depth chart for the Ravens but is a solid boom-bust option at his low price tag. Likely was targeted just once in Week 7 after seeing four targets in Week 6. If Andrews end up sitting this game, Likely will be a great point-per-dollar value.
  • Rachaad White ($4,800) has carried the ball 18 total times and seen 15 targets over the last four games. The rookie third-rounder could continue to carve out a bigger workload in this Bucs backfield.
  • As usual, kickers and defenses are solid point-per-dollar options on this slate. From a value perspective, the Buccaneers Defense ($3,400), Justin Tucker ($4,000), and Ryan Succop ($3,800) all rate out far better than the Ravens Defense ($4,400). Brady has thrown the ball 296 times and been intercepted just once this season, while Jackson has been intercepted six times on 197 pass attempts.


In NFL DFS, correlations are endless, both positive and negative. Most are minor enough that they don’t necessarily need to be factored into lineups. If you want to give a boost to your running back’s defense, for example, that’s great; but running backs will frequently be optimal without the defense also being optimal, even in Showdown.

The only correlations that are almost mandatory to consider on Showdown slates involve quarterbacks. Particularly, non-rushing quarterbacks. That’s because of the scoring dynamics on DraftKings. On each passing play, the pass catcher scores more fantasy points than the quarterback. For example, if a quarterback throws a pass for 5 yards, he’ll get 0.2 fantasy points — 1 fantasy point per 25 yards passing, divided by five. The receiver will get 1.5 fantasy points — 1 point per reception, plus half a point for 5 yards receiving . The quarterback also only gets 4 points per passing touchdown, while the receiver gets 6 points for a receiving touchdown.

The quarterback is also generally one of the most expensive players on his team. Thus, more often than not he will need to be his team’s highest fantasy point scorer to be the optimal captain. Outside of rare occasions where the quarterback scores fantasy points by passing to a player who is not in the DraftKings player pool or gets points as a receiver on a trick play, there are essentially just two ways for the quarterback to be the highest-scoring player on his team: adding fantasy points via rushing or spreading the ball around to multiple pass catchers.

Some general thoughts:

  • If you play a quarterback at captain, and he does not have rushing upside, and he is the most expensive player on his team, you will almost always want to have multiple of his team’s pass catchers in the flex. This is also largely true if the quarterback is only slightly less expensive than the most expensive pass catcher on his team.
  • If you play a quarterback at captain, and he has moderate rushing upside, you can consider playing just one of his pass catchers in the flex — but multiple may still be preferred, depending on the extent of that rushing upside. The quarterback’s price may also come into play here; the more expensive he is, the more likely you’ll need to have multiple pass catchers in the flex.
  • If you play a quarterback at captain, and he has major rushing upside, you don’t necessarily need to play any pass catchers in the flex. This is relatively uncommon, and only applies to a few quarterbacks.
  • If you play a quarterback in the flex, and he does not have rushing upside, you will generally want to have at least one of his pass catchers elsewhere in the lineup, either at captain or in another flex spot.
  • If you play a quarterback in the flex, and he has moderate to high rushing upside, you don’t necessarily need to include one of his pass catchers elsewhere in the lineup. But there will always be positive correlation there between a quarterback and his pass catchers.

Some game-specific thoughts:

  • IF you play Jackson: Jackson has already rushed for 510 yards and two touchdowns this season. He clearly has the ability for rushing spike weeks, and thus does not necessarily need to be paired with any pass catchers. Still, he is more likely to be optimal with at least one Ravens pass catcher elsewhere in the lineup, particularly if he is optimal in the captain spot. Ravens running backs have not been very involved in the passing game and should not necessarily be included among pass catchers with Jackson.
  • IF you play Brady: Brady is more expensive than all of his pass catchers other than Evans. He has rushed for negative yardage on eleven carries this season. Thus, generally, Brady will need to be paired with at least one Buccaneers pass catcher somewhere else in the lineup, and multiple if used at captain. Both Fournette and White can be included as pass catchers with Brady.


Making highly projected lineups with smart correlations will separate you from the lowest level Showdown players, but there are many very smart casual players as well. Differentiation is the last step to separating pros from Joes.

In just about any DFS GPP, finding low-owned gems is key because lower ownership reduces the field of lineups you’re competing against when the player has a 99th-percentile outcome. Taking it to the extreme, just as a thought exercise, let’s say that Fournette scores 100 fantasy points tonight. You’re not just going to need him; you’ll need him in the captain spot (150 fantasy points). If 20,000 lineups in your contest have Fournette in the captain spot, you’ve essentially reduced the field of lineups you’re competing with to 20,000. If only 200 lineups have Fournette at captain? Now we’re talking.

On NFL Showdown slates there is an additional factor for large-field GPPs. We don’t just want to find seldomly used players; we want to find seldomly used LINEUPS. Why? Well, I’ll give you two examples from last year:

  • On Sept. 20, 2021, DraftKings had a Milly Maker for the Packers vs. Lions tilt, but the top lineup was duplicated 231 times. Rather than winning a million dollars, the users who entered those 231 lineups had to split the top 231 prizes, for just a bit over $6,000 each. That’s despite having everything go their way, which requires an extreme amount of luck.
  • On Oct. 11, 2021, we saw the other end of the spectrum: user rcoho1984 played a unique lineup in the Ravens vs. Colts Milly Maker, taking home not just a million dollars but a ticket to the Tournament of Champions.

If you’re going to win — which takes a lot of luck, regardless of how well your lineup projects — I’d suggest making it count. I’m not necessarily concerned with making an entirely unique lineup like rcoho1984 did every single time, but I aim to be a lot closer to their unique lineup than those that were duplicated 231 times.

Some Easy Tricks

Low-owned players. Yup, even if you’re using other tricks to get unique, it’s still a good idea to play a few players who won’t be getting much ownership. Some low-owned players to consider:

  • Josh Oliver ($200) has played more snaps than Likely each of the past three weeks and has also seen five targets over that span. He is a fine boom-bust play if Andrews is in and could make for a very interesting pivot if Andrews misses the game.
  • Kenyan Drake ($4,600) and Justice Hill ($2,400) are both expected to be under 10% owned in this game. Drake rushed 11 times and saw one target in Week 7 with J.K. Dobbins sidelined. Hill also had five carries.
  • Scotty Miller ($3,200) and Breshad Perriman ($1,200) are strong low-owned dart throws with Russell Gage ruled out and Julio Jones questionable. Not exactly the same situation, but with Godwin, Evans, and Jones all sidelined in Week 3 Miller stepped in to play 80% of snaps and Perriman played 72%. Jaelon Darden ($200) also played 28% of snaps in that game and is a viable option, particularly if Jones sits.
  • Demarcus Robinson ($2,800) and James Proche ($600) played 23% of snaps and 12% of snaps, respectively, in Week 7 after Bateman returned. Both are viable low-owned dart throws.

Embrace lineups missing some correlation pieces or even with some negative correlation. Generally, highly correlated lineups will be over-owned, whereas the field will avoid negative correlation at all costs. If you want to read my reasoning, check out the evergreen piece I linked near the top of this page. In some of my lineups, I like to see the following:

  • Quarterback against opposing Defense.
  • Pass Catcher at Captain without including the QB at Flex.
  • Multiple Running Backs from the same team in a lineup.

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Leave salary on the table. This is the easiest way to lower your duplicates. Casual players assume that if they have salary left over, they should upgrade. The problem with this approach is that it almost inevitably leads to highly duplicated lineups. How much salary should you leave on the table? That’s up to you. If it’s less than $600 and you haven’t gotten extremely unique with player selections and weird correlations, it’s likely you’ll have to split any winnings with many other entries.

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Neil Orfield
Neil Orfield has been playing DFS regularly since 2013, but his success really started taking off in 2019 when he had a six figure payday with a hand built NFL lineup. The next day, he signed up for a Stokastic+ subscription with FantasyCruncher. Since then he has won an NFL milly and added six figure wins in XFL, MLB, and NBA. He has recently excelled at NFL Showdown, with many five- and six-figure wins since 2021.

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