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Week 6 DraftKings Sunday Night Football Showdown: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys

Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

We'll analyze all of the NFL’s “island” games (TNF, SNF and MNF) and playoff matchups this season for DFS purposes, utilizing PFF’s weekly projections, current betting lines and millions of simulated historical combinations to identify the best and worst values for an upcoming matchup.

There are five main components to this Showdown slate analysis that you’ll find below:

  • A breakdown of methodology and the most similar historical matchup to this game: 2014 Week 16: Carolina PanthersCleveland Browns, with Cam Newton as Jalen Hurts and Josh Gordon playing CeeDee Lamb‘s role.
  • 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 2018-2022 Showdown contest results to optimal allocations.
  • Recent CPT ownership trends are illustrated for both starting lineups.
  • A table showing the most common players on optimal lineups for each player. This allows you to see which other players are commonly found on the same optimal lineups as a player you’re interested in rostering.

Methodology

To analyze this specific Showdown slate, I looked through thousands of NFL matchups from 2014 to 2022 and found the closest analogies to this contest according to the following parameters: betting spread, over/under and average fantasy points scoring for the top-ranked positional players of both rosters (QB1, RB1, WR1, TE1).

I won’t detail every matchup that falls into the top 100 for this game, but for illustration purposes, let’s look at the most similar matchup:

Historical Current
Player Pos Team Player Pos Team
Cam Newton QB CAR Jalen Hurts QB PHI
Jonathan Stewart RB CAR Miles Sanders RB PHI
Kelvin Benjamin WR CAR A.J. Brown WR PHI
Greg Olsen TE CAR Dallas Goedert TE PHI
Brian Hoyer QB CLV Cooper Rush QB DAL
Isaiah Crowell RB CLV Ezekiel Elliott RB DAL
Josh Gordon WR CLV CeeDee Lamb WR DAL
Jordan Cameron TE CLV Dalton Schultz TE DAL

The spread and over/under are similar in these matchups (Panthers -6, 40 O/U versus this matchup at Eagles -6.5, 42 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.

The optimal roster for that historical matchup, assuming positional salaries equaled what they are for this showdown slate, would have been:

Player Team Position Roster Position Fantasy Pts
Jonathan Stewart CAR RB CPT 23.9
Cam Newton CAR QB FLEX 23.3
Jordan Cameron CLV TE FLEX 17.8
Brian Hoyer CLV QB FLEX 10.3
Jerricho Cotchery CAR WR FLEX 9.6
Panthers CAR DST FLEX 9.0

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.

Choosing the right captain

The most unique part of the format, and therefore the biggest opportunity for a competitive advantage, is choosing your CPT. Should you always choose a QB who typically has the highest absolute fantasy scoring? Are defenses and kickers viable options? RB versus WR?

I went through the millions of possible lineup combinations for the 100 most similar matchups and found who the CPT selections were on the top-five scoring lineups for each matchup. Here are the 500 CPT choices from those matchups by position rank according to salary.

Breaking down total optimal rosters

This graph illustrates the full range of allocations for the different positions to measure how many of the 500 optimal rosters had exactly zero, one or two of the given positions.

Historical ownership

The boxplot above shows the ranges for CPT ownership for each starting player in contests since 2019.

Projected ownership versus optimal

This is where the analysis comes together and becomes actionable. The most important thing when viewing these numbers is to contrast them with the optimal numbers taken from the analysis above for different positions. Then, we see where the leverage may exist.

The two tables below compare the optimal allocations above, with adjustments for the personnel of this particular matchup, to our ownership projections for CPT and FLEX.

DraftKings showdown captain

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