The NFL season is upon us and that means Showdown Time on DraftKings. For those of you that are new to DraftKings Showdown contests, you have come to the right place. I’ll breakdown some general strategy for Showdown contests along with breaking down this particular matchup between the Packers and Bears on Thursday night.
The DraftKings Showdown
The Showdown on DraftKings or NFL Showdown Captain Mode sets the stage for an epic contest. How it differs from traditional contests on Sundays is that it features just six players to the roster. The caveat being one is slotted in as your captain. The captain spot is unique in those players drafted earn 1.5x fantasy point values. They also cost 1.5x their normal price. Finding the right player for your captain spot will be especially important to win because if they have a big game and are not owned highly they are the difference-maker in the contest.
In the captain spot for cash games, you would traditionally lean to a player with a high floor. Kickers, for example, have that safety blanket. Conversely, in GPPs, you want to have someone with a high ceiling in your captain spot. Because in one game outcomes can be quite volatile, focusing your efforts on GPPs is the better approach, because there’s a chance that no player is truly safe. Two players to not overlook as well are both defenses. They have massive upside because they can score touchdowns and if the game does not feature high scoring the defenses will be at the top of the scoring for the slate. However, for the captain spot, I would recommend going with either a quarterback or wide receiver. You can then stack those players together in your lineup to further maximize your upside. Also, do not be afraid to leave salary on the table! The more you leave the less likely someone will have the same lineup as you in these massive GPPs!
The last thing to note when it comes to showdown is that you want to buy into a narrative. Remember storytime as a kid? Same concept here. How will the game go in your eyes? Give yourself an idea of how you think the game will go and build your roster in correspondence to the game flow. Here’s a look at some of the players that you should be considering as Thursday night approaches.
Thursday Night Preview
Aaron Rodgers – $12,400, Mitchell Trubisky – $11,600
For those of you hoping for a shootout Week 1…I think you will be sadly mistaken. It’s Week 1 and fans tend to get overly excited for an explosive affair, which more often than not does not deliver right away. Rodgers is in a new offense and Trubisky through reports as not looked great so far in his second-year under Matt Nagy. Then factor in Rodgers’ last three starts at Chicago averages out to 238 passing yards and just one passing touchdown.
Trubisky is not a great option either though. The Packers defense has vastly improved since last season with the additions of Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Darnell Savage, Adrian Amos, Rashan Gary and most recently B.J. Goodson. And unlike the Bears who have a new defensive coordinator, the Packers are entering the second-season with Mike Pettine as their DC. In two games last year for Trubisky against the Packers, Trubisky averaged just 203 passing yards and one passing touchdown. He also rushed for a total of 48 yards in those two games.
Aaron Jones – $9,200, Tarik Cohen – $8,400, David Montgomery – $8,200, Jamaal Williams – $5,400, Mike Davis – $4,200
Now what head coach Matt LeFleur has stated about assembling the offense through the running game should reign true. Dexter Williams ranked eighth overall in rushing attempts throughout the preseason. And if you look at last season where the Packers’ run percentage, rush attempts, and runs on first and ten all ranked dead last in the NFL, there’s really nowhere else to go but up. Expect to see a heavy running approach as LeFleur sets the standard for Packers’ offense. So Aaron Jones should be a lock in your lineups. Again it’s no guarantee that this Bears’ defense is the same without Vic Fangio and the Packers’ back put up respectable numbers last season against the Bears’ defense. Jamaal Williams scored, rushed for 55 yards, and added four receptions for 42 yards.
But here’s an interesting game theory for Aaron Jones versus the Bears. In 2017, Jones saw his first action in the NFL versus the Bears because of injuries ahead of him to Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams on the depth chart. Later that season he was hurt in Week 10 against the Bears and did not see much work after that. In 2018, similar story. Jones got hurt in Week 15 against the Bears. However, both those matchups came later in the year so because it’s Week 1, Jones should be all refreshed and ready to go to take on the Bears. It’s a legitimate strategy to play both Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones in your lineup especially if you are fading Rodgers to focus touchdowns on the ground game.
As for the Bears, Tarik Cohen is the main target with David Montgomery being the easy fade. Montgomery is going to be heavily rostered because he is a rookie and I mean have you been on Twitter? The redraft crowd trickle effect is going to influence his ownership. When in reality Cohen’s high upside and big-play ability in the passing game make him perfect for the captain’s spot. The Bears will have designed plays for the dynamic playmaker and Trey Burton is dealing with a mild groin strain and missed practice Sunday. So whether he plays or not he looks to be less than 100%. And the correlation between tight end target and running backs targets is something you need to expose. However, Cohen in four games against the Packers has done virtually nothing. So for any Mike Davis truthers out there (including myself), he could be the one used in the passing game if the Packers defense is able to sniff out designed plays for Cohen.
Davante Adams – $12,600, Allen Robinson II – $8,600, Geronimo Allison – $7,400, Marques Valdez-Scantling – $6,800, Anthony Miller – $6,600, Taylor Gabriel – $6,200, Cordarrelle Patterson – $1,000, Jake Kumerow – $600, Javon Wims $200
Now if you really want to take down a GPP, it’s got to be about Cordarrelle Patterson. Now think about how Nagy does not play his starters in the preseason. Patterson for most (myself included) I entirely forget about. That’s because he saw zero preseason snaps. To me, that means that Patterson has an important role in this offense. Nick Petro on Twitter defines it perfectly below when he discusses how the Patriots used Patterson against the Packers slower linebackers. Nagy could do something similar.
The #Bears have four players that can give the #Packers issues up the middle if they chose to play it safe on defense in David Montgomery, Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen and Patterson. In training camp, Patterson lined up in the backfield quite a bit. Nagy can create some unique looks pic.twitter.com/jpGFNLR20Z
— Nick Petro (@petroshag) September 2, 2019
The biggest choice when it comes to receivers will be between Geronimo Allison and Marques Valdez-Scantling. Allison looks to be reported to be the primary slot receiver with Valdez-Scantling on the outside. Things have been especially fruitful for slot receivers from the perspective of Rodgers.
From PFF’s Scott Barrett, 25.6% of Rodger’s career targets have gone to slot WRs to go along with a crazy 111.6 passer rating when targeting the slot position. To give you an idea of how good that passer rating number is when targeting the slot, the highest all-time career passer rating (also held by Aaron Rodgers) is 103.1. In both games, last season against the Bears, Randall Cobb totaled 17 targets, 12 receptions, and 152 receiving yards. His Week 1 game against the Bears was the second-most targets Cobb saw all season. 15 of his total 17 targets were from the slot. The Bears also lost slot cornerback Bryce Callahan from last season replacing him with Buster Skrine from the Jets. Skrine played the eighth-most snaps via PFF covering in the slot and allowed the most touchdowns, fifth-most targets/receptions, and third-most receiving yards. MVS has the chance for a higher depth of the target and perhaps a big play but besides that, he’s the fade. Davante Adams went bonkers the last time they played at Chicago (8-119) and there’s no reason that should not continue so I’d feel fine spending salary on Adams.
On the Bears side, it is impossible to trust Anthony Miller who comes into the game questionable. But that’s not the only injury to look at with defensive back Kevin King also reportedly dealing with an injury. So a reason to buy into a few Bears receivers including Patterson, as he could find himself lined up wide against King’s back up the outside: 36-year old veteran cornerback Tramon Williams. Most likely it would be Javon Wims to see snaps on the outside depending on how the Bears intend to deploy Patterson. Wims has been one of the best receivers on the Bears over the last two preseasons.
Allen Robinson will most likely be shadowed by Jaire Alexander. When Alexander was in coverage versus Robinson last in Robinson was target three times catching two receptions for 63 yards. Two receptions over 30 yards against Alexander show that he can make big plays against Alexander in coverage.
#Packers DC Mike Pettine doubts Kevin King will see a full workload on Thursday vs. Bears. Confident he’ll be able to handle limited snaps, though.
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) September 2, 2019
Trey Burton – $6,000, Jimmy Graham – $4,600, Adam Shaheen – $400
Well it does not look Trey Burton is going to play and he is risky as a play anyway. Tight ends are so inconsistent so they are the easiest position to fade when it comes to Showdown. However, that does open an opportunity for Adam Shaheen to start. Burton did receiver 12 targets in the two games played against the Packers last season. In a game where I don’t project touchdowns left and right Graham is basically useless with run after the catchability.
Eddy Piniero – $3,400, Mason Crosby – $3,200, Bears DST – $5,000, Packers – $2,600
Feeling dangerous? Play the Bears kicker Eddy Piniero because there is no pressure there right? A lot of people will fade the Bears kicker because of the stigma surrounding the position ignoring the fact he converted eight of nine field-goal attempts (including a 58-yarder) in four preseason games. Crosby is definitely much safer a pick though as he as converted eight of his last nine field-goal attempts in his last three games at Chicago.
As for defenses, I tend to think this will be a lower-scoring game so both are in play. I actually like the Packers slightly more because I think they will be winning in this game, and Trubisky is much more likely to turn the ball over Rodgers.