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Week 8 DraftKings Thursday Night Football Showdown: Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman (7) runs with the ball in front of New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones (31) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Rashod Bateman has the most positive leverage for the CPT spot, with Leonard Fournette and Kenyan Drake the most optimal options in the FLEX spots.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


This season, we'll analyze all of the NFL’s “island” games (TNF, SNF and MNF) and playoff matchups, 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 DraftKings Showdown slate analysis that you’ll find below:

A breakdown of methodology and the most similar historical matchup to this game: 2017 Week 15: Seattle SeahawksLos Angeles Rams, with Jared Goff as Tom Brady and Russell Wilson playing the role of Lamar Jackson.

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 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
Russell Wilson QB SEA Lamar Jackson QB BAL
J.D. McKissic RB SEA Gus Edwards RB BAL
Doug Baldwin WR SEA Rashod Bateman WR BAL
Jimmy Graham TE SEA Mark Andrews TE BAL
Jared Goff QB LA Tom Brady QB TB
Todd Gurley II RB LA Leonard Fournette RB TB
Robert Woods WR LA Mike Evans WR TB
Tyler Higbee TE LA Cade Otton TE TB

The spread and over/under are similar in these matchups (Seattle PK, 47.5 O/U versus this matchup at Ravens -1, 45.5 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
Todd Gurley II LAR RB CPT 48.0
Robert Woods LAR WR FLEX 16.5
Rams LAR DST FLEX 15.0
Russell Wilson SEA QB FLEX 12.6
Greg Zuerlein LAR K FLEX 11.0
Luke Willson SEA TE FLEX 9.6

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. What’s most important when viewing these numbers is to contrast them to 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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