Isiah Pacheco

Super Bowl DFS Preview

Here I am writing my first article for Dynasty Football Factory and I am not even writing about dynasty fantasy football. Instead today we are going to discuss another love of mine, daily fantasy. Specifically, for the Super Bowl LVII Draft Kings Showdown slate. For those that are not familiar with the single-game showdown slate format, it is pretty easy to learn and fun to play as well. Instead of the usual classic lineup starting a QB, two RBs, three WRs, a TE, a FLEX, and a D/ST, we have a captain and five flex spots. Whoever you choose in your captain role will cost 1.5 times their salary and their points will be multiplied by 1.5. Note that these are not traditional flex spots, these can also be quarterbacks, kickers, or defense/special teams. Then just build the best lineup you can with a $50,000 budget.

When discussing DFS, it is important to discuss what kind of contest we are talking about. This discussion is geared toward a large field tournament and how to construct those lineups. In cash games (Head to Heads, 50/50s, Double-Ups) completely disregard things about ownership and think more about floor rather than ceiling. For smaller field sizes you can also worry about differentiating less and just try to build solid lineups. With Showdown lineups in large field tournaments, you are almost trying to tell a story with your build. Trying to build a game script involving all the pieces of your line while also making your lineup different enough to win big money is the tricky part. 

Spend Up Players

These are the big names on both teams that everyone knows. All of these players will have high ownership both in the captain spot and in flex spots. Obviously, all of these guys are fantastic fantasy plays and despite their ownership, you will want to put them in lineups. You generally want the highest-scoring player on the slate in the captain spot and all of these guys have a chance at that. For my personal player pool, I have all of these as potential captains except Patrick Mahomes. I do not like playing quarterbacks in the captain spot of my showdown lineup unless they possess the ability to score rushing touchdowns. If Patrick Mahomes scores 30+ Draft Kings points, it is likely Kelce or another pass catcher actually end up in the optimal configuration. Obviously, yardage and PPR scoring help the pass catcher out here but also the fact that TDs are awarded at six points instead of four in Draft Kings scoring. There can be times when Mahomes ends up the optimal captain but his ownership is likely the highest of any Kansas City Chiefs player. By playing one of the pass catchers instead, I dodge some ownership and help gain leverage on the field. Mahomes will mostly be in my lineups in the flex spot when I have a Chiefs pass catcher as captain or I have multiple pass catchers in the flex spots as well. 

While Mahomes is not in my captain pool, Jalen Hurts is. He is likely going to be my most-played captain across all my lineups. Unlike Mahomes, if he has a ceiling game, it could be with multiple rushing touchdowns causing him to dramatically outscore the rest of the players on the slate. He also gets to play the Chiefs’ defense instead of the elite Eagles’ defense.  He will be the most owned player at captain given his combination of both floor and ceiling. The critical part of building Jalen Hurts lineups will be figuring out how to get different elsewhere. You will want to include at least one of his major pass catchers but beyond that, you will want to get creative with some of your punt plays or cheap plays to both provide some salary relief and distinguish your lineup a bit. Another way to make your build different is to leave some salary on the table. On some slates, I have gone down to nearly $30,000 but the pricing is super tight on this game so I cannot see myself getting below $45,000. 

As for all the pass catchers, Travis Kelce, A.J. Brown, and DeVonta Smith, I love using all of these guys both in the captain role and as flex options. I am predicting a bit of an under and these guys will all be highly owned so I will likely limit myself to at most two of these players. It is also an ownership and salary concern when you start adding more and more of them. I will not make a lineup without any of these guys though, at least one of these fantasy studs will produce a big game and I do not want to be staring at a lineup without any of them. 

Jerick McKinnon

Mid Priced Players

With how well this slate is priced, you see a small dip in ownership with a bunch of these players. We see the running backs make an appearance as well as secondary pass-catching options for both teams. We now need to address these backfields. The Eagles’ backfield carries three running backs of note (we will discuss the other two later) but Miles Sanders is the primary ball carrier. He makes a fine play both in the captain role and in a flex spot. Make a note though, he has not been used as much in the passing game this season. If he gets there it is likely through rushing touchdowns and/or getting the three-point bonus for reaching 100 rushing yards. Either way, he has some negative correlation with Jalen Hurts. Only one of them can get a rushing touchdown on a specific drive and Sanders is unlikely to get many yards or touchdowns through the air. It is okay to play both in the same lineup, just be aware there is tension there. 

The Chiefs’ backfield also has a bit of a committee approach as well but since the postseason started, it has been all Pacheco. For that reason, I am leaning toward taking McKinnon out of my player pool entirely. If that trend continues and Pacheco is the main back for Kansas City then I have massive leverage on all the McKinnon lineups that are just dead money. It is scary because we have seen McKinnon put up big games this season but you gotta take a stance somewhere if you want to win a tournament and you have to choose to fade some guys too. McKinnon will be a fade for me this Sunday.

Finally our secondary pass catchers. Likely the highest owned of anyone in this price range is Dallas Goedert but I think he is a phenomenal tournament play anyways. His ceiling is nearly as high as any of the primary pass catchers but for a fraction of the cost. I will be building a lot of lineups with him in the flex and a few with him as captain as well. The Chiefs pass catchers in this group will mostly be used in the flex spots for me but both have decent upside as captain. I had sworn off Valdes-Scantling before the postseason just for him to go off last week. Kelce is the main pass catcher but if the Chiefs can score some points, at least one of their pass catchers or running backs will get there. If you are building multiple lineups like I am, I would recommend sprinkling a variety of them into your lineups. 

Cheap Plays

While they will open up a ton of salary, I would not advise these players to be a heavy part of your captain portfolio. It would take an odd set of events to cause them to be the optimal captains. The only ones in this range I am using as captains are Gainwell and Toney. I think they have multiple touchdown upside which could be slate-breaking if none of the superstars put up huge numbers but instead they have a flatter point distribution. The nice thing about any of these captains is that you will likely have under 3% ownership on your captain allowing you to put more of the higher-tiered players into your lineup. You will have the salary to spend on studs and can eat the chalky ownership. I also love leaving salary on the table with these plays as a lot of people will play a cheap captain just to fit in all the expensive players and you could end up with a heavily duplicated lineup which can really limit your ceiling even if you have the optimal build. 

We also get to bring in kickers and our defense/special teams units here. On some slates, I can be convinced to have defenses in my captain pool but this is not one and I almost never will have a kicker in the captain spot. They have a very low ceiling but still get played more than they should. It is perhaps correct to consider both kickers and D/STs for captain but if you never played them in the captain spot, you would probably be better off. I do not mind either in the flex spots when done properly though. Kickers make sense in a game script with a lower-scoring game. They can also provide salary relief in lineups with a bunch of studs. I am lower on the kickers for this game than normal though, I expect both teams to be a bit aggressive on fourth down which could result in fewer field goal attempts. 

Both defenses are interesting and make great pairings for your lineups with a running back captain. A running back has a positive correlation with his own defense. A team running a lot has the lead therefore the opposing team will play from behind and throw more. Defensive units do better when there are more pass attempts since they have a better chance of turnovers or sacks. The big thing for defenses is getting a touchdown though. Sometimes it is a pick-six that clinches a game when a team was driving to try and win the game. You can also get a touchdown for that unit with a special teams unit. If you are feeling super fancy you can play a kick returner and their defense and get two touchdowns scored for a runback! That would be Skyy Moore for Kansas City and Boston Scott for Philadelphia. I will not be setting up that stack as both Skyy Moore and Boston Scott are two players out of my player pool this week. 

Speaking of Skyy Moore, he is the only player in this tier not in my player pool. With Toney in the lineup, his usage has not been frequent enough for me to want to spend $3.8K on two jet sweeps and a couple of kickoff returns. If he takes one for a touchdown I will be full of salty feelings and likely not be bringing home a multiple-comma payday but if he does nothing then I have leverage over the ones that did. If you feel like this is a Skyy Moore game then go right ahead, he will remain a fade for me. 

Punt Plays

If you are playing a bunch of top-tier guys, you will ultimately be looking towards these guys here to make your lineup fit. I will not be using any of these players as captains. It would take a strange set of circumstances for one of them to end up in an optimal configuration. These guys make fine plays to try and make your lineup fit. Most of them will be under 10% ownership and with a single touchdown or big play become huge values at their costs. Quez Watkins is looking like he will draw the most ownership of this group but he also has some big play upside that the rest of these players do not have. There are technically some other players in this range but these are the only ones I would truly consider playable. I myself am only playing Watkins, Gray, Pascal, and Fortson out of this group. Their combinations of cheap price and/or low ownership make them work great for my builds. Those four also all have a reasonable chance at a touchdown which would instantly make them an incredible value. I have nothing against the others listed here, I just like to keep my player pool tighter and more targeted so I am looking for fewer things for me to really get there and pull in a big win. 

Thanks so much for reading, if you want to discuss more my DMs on Twitter are open, find me @DougHarrelson on there. Also don’t forget to sign up for our Dynasty Football Factory Membership to get all things Dynasty, Redraft, Devy, and IDP.

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