Fantasy News & Analysis

Week 9 DraftKings Thursday Night Football Showdown: Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) runs with the football against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Miles Sanders has the most positive leverage for the CPT spot, with Jalen Hurts and the Eagles DST looking like the best values in the FLEX position among the highest-salaried options.

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 upcoming Showdown contests.

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: 2020 Week 15, Baltimore RavensNew York Giants, with Lamar Jackson as Jalen Hurts and Daniel Jones playing the role of Davis Mills.

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
Lamar Jackson QB BLT Jalen Hurts QB PHI
J.K. Dobbins RB BLT Miles Sanders RB PHI
Marquise Brown WR BLT A.J. Brown WR PHI
Mark Andrews TE BLT Dallas Goedert TE PHI
Daniel Jones QB NYG Davis Mills QB HOU
Wayne Gallman RB NYG Dameon Pierce RB HOU
Sterling Shepard WR NYG Brandin Cooks WR HOU
Evan Engram TE NYG O.J. Howard TE HOU

The spread and over/under are similar in these matchups (Ravens -11, 45 O/U versus this matchup at Eagles -14, 45 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
Sterling Shepard NYG WR CPT 22.7
Lamar Jackson BLT QB FLEX 22.3
Daniel Jones NYG QB FLEX 14.4
Gus Edwards BLT RB FLEX 14.2
Evan Engram NYG TE FLEX 14.0
J.K. Dobbins BLT RB FLEX 13.7

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

Player Team Pos Salary Optimal Ownership Diff Leverage
Jalen Hurts PHI QB $17,700 30.7% 31.0% -0.3% 99%
A.J. Brown PHI WR $16,800 12.2% 12.9% -0.7% 95%
Miles Sanders PHI RB $15,600 8.3% 7.0% 1.3% 119%
Davis Mills HOU QB $13,500 5.2% 5.5% -0.3% 95%
Dameon Pierce HOU RB $12,900 9.3% 9.6% -0.3% 97%
DeVonta Smith PHI WR $12,300 7.4% 7.7% -0.3% 96%
Brandin Cooks HOU WR $10,800 6.0% 6.4% -0.4% 94%
Eagles PHI DST $10,500 4.5% 4.4% 0.1% 102%
Dallas Goedert PHI TE $9,900 5.2% 4.9% 0.3% 106%
Chris Moore HOU WR $8,100 1.0% 0.7% 0.3% 143%
Kenneth Gainwell PHI RB $7,500 0.7% 0.5% 0.2% 140%
Jake Elliott PHI K $7,200 1.1% 0.9% 0.2% 122%
Rex Burkhead HOU RB $6,900 0.6% 0.5% 0.1% 120%
Phillip Dorsett II HOU WR $6,000 0.5% 0.4% 0.1% 125%
Ka'imi Fairbairn HOU K $5,700 0.7% 0.8% -0.1% 88%
Texans HOU DST $4,800 0.6% 0.7% -0.1% 90%
Zach Pascal PHI WR $4,200 1.0% 0.8% 0.2% 125%
Nico Collins HOU WR $3,600 1.4% 1.5% -0.1% 93%
Dare Ogunbowale HOU RB $3,000 0.5% 0.6% -0.1% 88%
Boston Scott PHI RB $2,700 0.5% 0.4% 0.1% 125%
O.J. Howard HOU TE $2,400 0.8% 0.8% 0.0% 100%
Quez Watkins PHI WR $2,100 0.6% 0.5% 0.1% 120%
Brevin Jordan HOU TE $1,500 0.6% 0.9% -0.3% 67%
Jordan Akins HOU TE $1,200 0.3% 0.4% -0.1% 75%
Troy Hairston HOU RB $600 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 100%
Mason Schreck HOU TE $300 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 100%

DRAFTKINGS SHOWDOWN FLEX

Player Team Pos Salary Optimal Ownership Diff Leverage
Jalen Hurts PHI QB $11,800 55.2% 52.8% 2.4% 104.5%
A.J. Brown PHI WR $11,200 45.9% 48.3% -2.4% 95.0%
Miles Sanders PHI RB $10,400 35.9% 36.6% -0.7% 98.1%
Davis Mills HOU QB $9,000 32.0% 32.5% -0.5% 98.5%
Dameon Pierce HOU RB $8,600 37.3% 38.5% -1.2% 96.9%
DeVonta Smith PHI WR $8,200 35.5% 38.5% -3.0% 92.2%
Brandin Cooks HOU WR $7,200 29.8% 30.5% -0.7% 97.6%
Eagles PHI DST $7,000 27.0% 26.0% 1.0% 103.8%
Dallas Goedert PHI TE $6,600 26.4% 25.9% 0.5% 101.9%
Chris Moore HOU WR $5,400 15.2% 14.7% 0.5% 103.4%
Kenneth Gainwell PHI RB $5,000 10.1% 8.1% 2.0% 124.7%
Jake Elliott PHI K $4,800 20.9% 19.5% 1.4% 107.2%
Rex Burkhead HOU RB $4,600 12.5% 11.8% 0.7% 105.9%
Phillip Dorsett II HOU WR $4,000 7.5% 6.8% 0.7% 110.3%
Ka'imi Fairbairn HOU K $3,800 18.8% 20.7% -1.9% 90.8%
Texans HOU DST $3,200 7.5% 6.9% 0.6% 108.7%
Zach Pascal PHI WR $2,800 15.5% 14.5% 1.0% 106.9%
Nico Collins HOU WR $2,400 20.2% 22.2% -2.0% 91.0%
Dare Ogunbowale HOU RB $2,000 1.0% 0.8% 0.2% 125.0%
Boston Scott PHI RB $1,800 2.5% 1.0% 1.5% 250.0%
O.J. Howard HOU TE $1,600 13.5% 12.3% 1.2% 109.8%
Quez Watkins PHI WR $1,400 3.5% 2.4% 1.1% 145.8%
Brevin Jordan HOU TE $1,000 16.5% 17.7% -1.2% 93.2%
Jordan Akins HOU TE $800 8.6% 9.6% -1.0% 89.6%
Troy Hairston HOU RB $400 0.5% 0.6% -0.1% 83.3%
Mason Schreck HOU TE $200 0.7% 0.8% -0.1% 87.5%

Common optimal lineup matches

The table below lists each player and the five most commonly found players found on optimal lineups with each CPT option.

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