Fantasy Sports

DraftKings Showdown: Thanksgiving Day

RICHARD RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES

Introduction

Only a few times a year, we relate social gatherings with sports. There aren’t many days in the year better than DraftKings Showdown Thanksgiving Day NFL Showdown slates. From noon until midnight, we have one game after the other while we enjoy good food, good drinks, and good company. From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Lineup Construction

When it comes to Showdown slates, roster construction is free and flexible. You can really paint any game script you’d like with the only parameters being the $50,000 salary budget and the rule that you have to pick at least one player from each team. Some of the titles and criteria below are interchangeable but are a guideline I like to follow when constructing my roster.

Captain

The captain spot may be the single most important spot on a showdown slate. If you don’t get this spot right, you can pretty much kiss your chances of winning any large prize in a GPP goodbye. I like to look for guys who play over 70% of snaps to start. Then, I like to look for higher and mid-priced options that have a realistic chance to get over 2x value. If I’m considering low-priced options in the captain spot, I like to see that they have a realistic chance to get 4x value or better. This is rare, but if I’m considering min-priced options in the captain, they have to really be able to reach double-digit points and allow you to get all the top options you want. This typically is considered in a shootout game script matchup.

Core Plays

The core plays are where I try to do two things. First, I try to grab as many yards and touchdowns that are going to be in the game as possible. Secondly, I try to do that through players who are projected 2x value or better. These are typically mid to high-priced options. The 70% snap count threshold is still a pretty good target here. The one exception I don’t mind is running backs that are in a true split committee. Therefore 45-55% snap threshold is fine.

Values

Value plays are where the money is made. I still like to keep a 50-70% snap share when looking for values. This is the level where you are searching for the guys who will outscore the kickers and defenses. I personally have never taken much interest in playing kickers or defenses. I find them extremely unpredictable so I typically fade them and try to find the value out of position player at a similar price point. However, there’s not always a good value option at that price point. This is very typical in concentrated or funnel offenses that are top-heavy talented. If this is the case, I almost always prefer kickers then defense.

Dart Throws

This is where millionaires are made. If you are using plays from this section, you have a good gut or have money to blow. These plays are typically touchdown-dependent plays, in-game injury-seeking plays, fumble doghouse plays, or garbage time while the starters sit plays. Plays from this section are awesome when they work out, but they rarely do. So touch these at your own risk but don’t blame me if they don’t work out. I simply saw a path, but I didn’t say it was a good path.

Fades

Fades are plays that I’m avoiding. There can be several reasons to fade a play. The most common reason is ownership through the field is going to be high so fading can be an effective strategy to differentiating a lineup. Another reason to fade can be to try and grab the points for a particular play another way. The most common example is getting points through the passing game through pass-catchers instead of the quarterback. Lastly, as mentioned above, I take a hard stance in showdowns and fade kickers and defenses almost every time. It’s one less option I have to worry about and they rarely end up optimal to win a tournament.

Bears at Lions (CHI -3, O/U 41.5)

This game has the opportunity to be very ugly. With a 41.5 point over/under, this shapes up to be a defensive struggle. The Lions come into this matchup winless and struggling mightily outside of D’Andre Swift, and the Bears are banged up all over the field. Nonetheless, let’s dive in and see if we can find the best plays.

Lions running back D’Andre Swift rushed for 81 yards and a career-high 68 receiving yards in Week 10. Raj Mehta USA TODAY Sports

Captain

D’Andre Swift – I know this is the obvious choice and ownership will likely reflect that notion. With the Lions pass game woes and the lack of good options on the Bears side, I’m ok eating the chalk here and hoping the field decides to go elsewhere at captain. We can differentiate in other spots to create a unique build.

David Montgomery – Similar to Swift, David Montgomery will likely be pretty chalky but with Robinson out Mooney may become popular. Given the low total and the game script I’m following here, Montgomery fits the build best with Chicago favorited. He’s played almost every snap since returning from injury two weeks ago.

Darnell Mooney – With Allen Robinson likely out, Mooney steps into a big spot here as the WR1 for the Bears, who will be piloted by Andy Dalton a more true drop-back passer. He’s already been playing over 85% of snaps so look for the target bump at this price point to payoff.

Core

Kalif Raymond – I like Raymond here as the first way to differentiate. He’s consistently played over 70% of snaps throughout the year and has received on average 5.1 targets a game when Jared Goff plays. Additionally, Raymond has been known to break off a big play as he did in his role with the Titans.

Cole Kmet – This is my gut play. I think his ownership is going to be down due to his lack of production. However, Cole Kmet still remains a very talented receiver with the ability to catch the ball down the middle of the field. With Justin Fields out and Andy Dalton as more of a traditional drop-back passer, I like him to get a piece of the Bears passing game. Not a terrible captain choice, but I found filling out the rest of the lineup though.

T.J. Hockenson – He is a target monster. If you are trying to grab more of the Lions passing game look no farther than Hockenson. Plug and play him. He is essentially the Lions pass game, so just put him in and forget about it.

Value

Josh Reynolds – This might be my favorite play on this showdown slate. Josh Reynolds was acquired by the Lions a few weeks, and last Sunday against Cleveland he played 90% of snaps. He was targeted three times and had zero catches. I know what you’re thinking. Why on earth would Josh Reynolds be a good play? He played 90% of snaps!!! And he’s $1,400! There’s also a solid chance the Lions will be trailing. He basically opens up any direction you want to go with your lineup. If you’re feeling really gutsy, throw him in the captain in a large GPP, because I think he is going to go severely overlooked, due to his goose egg last week.

Dart Throws

Jesse James/Jimmy Graham – This is a 150 entry max play assuming you want to get away from Reynolds. You’re hoping for a touchdown from one of these guys who play less than 30% of snaps. I’m personally not touching this, and if it hits I’m tipping my cap.

Fades

Jared Goff – I feel comfortable fading Jared Goff because I am going to try and obtain his points through his pass catchers. I also don’t see him throwing more than two touchdowns, so he is a pretty easy fade for me.

Andy Dalton – Similar reasoning as Goff, but I think Dalton plays even worse than him so I’ll try and grab his points through Kmet and Mooney.

Defenses – Fading the defenses in this game is purely an ownership move. They aren’t bad plays necessarily. I’d just prefer to be different than the field, because I think there will be a lot of lineups with a defense in them. Pivot to Reynolds, Raymond, or Kmet.

Raiders at Cowboys (DAL -7, O/U 51.5)

This game has shootout potential at a 51.5 point total. There are some big names on each side of this one, and on each side of the ball for each team as well. This game is going to be going on during dinnertime on the east coast, so feast on this one heavily. It should be a fun one and probably the highlight of the day in the NFL.

Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Captain

Dalton Schultz – My favorite captain in this one. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb out of the picture, makes Schultz an interesting captain in this one. He played almost every snap while Cooper was out last week and I expect the same here. You can’t ask for a better situation in this spot.

Ezekiel Elliott – Constantly the forgotten man in Dallas, especially in showdown. He’s always a favorite play of mine because everyone else wants Dak, Lamb, or gets cute with Pollard. With a 51.5 point total, give me Zeke in this potential shootout.

Core

Cedrick Wilson – Cooper and Lamb are out. He will be acting as the WR2 in a pass-happy offense. Great price point. Had an incredible career at Boise State and finally is getting some good opportunities on Thanksgiving. Yes, please!

Dak Prescott – This is strictly a shootout-type play. I’m using him to double up with Schultz, and Wilson. There should be plenty of opportunities since he’s averaging over 35 pass attempts a game.

Josh Jacobs – I’m not going to lie to you. Josh Jacobs isn’t an exciting play. He’s got Kenyan Drake breathing down his back and he’s had an average at best season. I found when building lineups that I kept landing on him. So I like the play in the aspect that he grabs a chunk of the rushing game with receiving potential in a shootout.

Value

Bryan Edwards – Over 75% of snaps played on the season and it continues to increase with the release of Henry Ruggs. He had a solid game two weeks ago against Kansas City in a similar setting. I expect him to bounce back here against Dallas. I mean, how often can you get the WR1 on a pass-happy team at this price point?

Dart Throws

Cowboys Defense – Trevon Diggs. Enough said. The man is becoming the Ed Reed of this generation. If you’re feeling gutsy take a shot here.

Fades

Darren Waller – Great football player. NFL defensive coordinators are doubling him all the time now, and he’s got no one taking coverage from him at this moment so he’s an easy fade. Let others play his name and bust.

Derek Carr – Just not the same yardage totals since the beginning of the year. A lot of that has to do with what I said about Waller.

Tony Pollard/Kenyan Drake – Don’t get cute here. Let others make this mistake. They’re both seeing just over 30% of snaps and are too expensive for that volume.

Bills at Saints (BUF -6, O/U 45)

Time to wind down after dinner, and enjoy a good struggle. Some of you are probably in a food coma or drank way too much, but there’s one more shot at this with a Bills versus Saints dessert. Both of these teams are trying to find their way, but they both typically stay true to their scheme. So enjoy diving into this last one on Thanksgiving with me.

Bill quarterback Josh Allen looks downfield. JAMIE GERMANO/ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT

Captain

Mark Ingram – Yes, he will get ownership if active but don’t be scared. A lot of people are going to move to Bills players with Kamara out but his volume should be solid here.

Marquez Callaway – Probably my favorite captain with Kamara out. He’s not that far removed from some huge games this year. He plays over 70% of snaps, and I expect Buffalo to lead this most of the way, giving him more opportunity.

Core

Zack Moss – This is an honest shot in the dark at this backfield. I just think he’s the most talented and has a pretty good price. He only needs a touchdown to pay off.

Cole Beasley – A higher-priced dart throw but has been very volatile this season. I’m including him here in the core because I do think he gets some ownership.

Stefon Diggs – Find a way to get him in. I think he targets hogs here. I like playing him as a flex over captain due to ownership concerns.

Josh Allen – I feel the same way about Josh Allen as I do about Stefon Diggs.

Value

Deonte Harris – He could be under the dart throws section, but he continues to make big plays week to week and that’s all it takes in these contests.

Juwan Johnson – Trautman out. I think he gets some run here, but the Saints haven’t committed to a TE outside of Trautman. He doesn’t need much to pay off though.

Bills Defense – With Kamara out, the Saints offense immediately becomes less dangerous for one of the best fantasy defenses in the league. Despite my traditional opinion on defense, this is probably a pretty good play.

Saints Defense – Only play if you think the Bills continue to struggle.

Dart Throws

Kenny Stills – See Deonte Harris, but it could be him instead, probably lower owned.

Devin Singletary/Matt Breida – Pick one and don’t pair with Moss. I still prefer Moss at his price point over these two in this crapshoot of a backfield.

Taysom Hill – You’re hoping for an injury to Trevor Siemian and a touchdown for this one to pay off.

Tony Jones – I don’t trust his production right now. He only played 15% of snaps with Kamara out on Sunday. If for some reason Mark Ingram is ruled out, play him. I honestly wouldn’t be scared to use him in the captain and play studs. However, if Ingram is ruled out, he will likely be popular so using him in the captain can give you some small leverage if you believe he goes off.

Fades

Emmanuel Sanders – The man left out. If he beats you tip your cap. I couldn’t find a single build I liked with him, other than the Bills blowing the Saints out and Mark Ingram hurt.

Conclusion

It’s a wonderful day for sports, especially football! Enjoy your food, your drinks, and your company. Play within your means, don’t chase your losses or get greedy with your winnings, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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