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DraftKings Showdown: Seahawks vs. Rams

Jan 5, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in action during an NFC Wild Card playoff football game between the Cowboys and the Seahawks at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The changing DFS and fantasy football landscape is shifting toward single-game contests. At DraftKings, the biggest is their Showdown Captain Mode format. The format blends the ease of focusing on a single game with the ability to differentiate yourself from the competition by choosing a total of six players.

The biggest wrinkle of the format is the ability to choose one captain, who costs and is scored at 1.5x the standard values. The CPT designation opens up another layer of strategy while exponentially increasing the number of possible lineup combinations, which is important for reducing duplicate winners and split prizes.

This season I’m going to analyze some of the NFL’s “island” games (TNF, SNF, and MNF), utilizing PFF’s weekly projections, current betting lines and millions of simulated historical combinations to identify who are the best and worst values for an upcoming matchup.

There are three main components to each Showdown slate analysis that you’ll find below:

  • A breakdown of methodology and the most similar historical matchup to Seahawks-Rams as an illustration of the matching process: Colts-Ravens, 2014 Week 5, featuring Andrew Luck as Russell WIlson and Joe Flacco as Jared Goff..
  • Optimal lineup allocations (CPT and total roster) for both teams 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.

METHODOLOGY

To analyze this specific Showdown slate, I looked through thousands of NFL matchups 2008-2018 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).

For this week’s MNF game, I won’t detail every matchup that falls into the top 100, but for illustration let’s look at the most similar matchup: Colts-Ravens, 2014 Week 5.

Historical

Current

Player Pos Team Player Pos Team
Andrew Luck QB IND Russell Wilson SEA QB
Ahmad Bradshaw RB IND Chris Carson SEA RB
Reggie Wayne WR IND Tyler Lockett SEA WR
Dwayne Allen TE IND Will Dissly SEA TE
Joe Flacco QB BAL Jared Goff LAR QB
Justin Forsett RB BAL Todd Gurley II LAR RB
Steve Smith WR BAL Cooper Kupp LAR WR
Owen Daniels TE BAL Gerald Everett LAR TE

The spread and over/under are similar as this matchup (Colts -3.5, 49 O/U versus Seahawks -1.5, 49 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.

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