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DraftKings Showdown Primer: Breaking down the DFS strategies and approaches to DraftKings' single-game DFS contests for 2020

The changing DFS and fantasy football landscape is shifting toward single-game contests. At DraftKings, the biggest is the 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 1.5 times 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.

Last season, I published analyses with simulated optimal roster allocations for the CPT and FLEX spots, along with the commonly paired players for each CPT selection. Those will be part of the PFF Fantasy offerings this year, beginning with the kickoff Thursday Night Football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans — which you can find here.

In this article, I’m going to walk through contest and roster data collected from the largest contests in roughly 100 Showdown slates from 2019. In that data, we find exploitable trends to use this season, including which positions provide the most leverage in CPT and FLEX spots, and how to lower the probability of split prizes and duplicate lineups through total salary usage.


The CPT spot is the highest leverage decision in any Showdown roster, with 1.5 times the effect on scoring and salary. The data from roughly 100 contests last year show fairly rational positional allocations at CPT, with a few likely edges. The positional rankings in this study are based on the team salary ranking.


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