I've decided to change my article from a History article to a Showdown Slate article. For now, I will do the GB-NE Sunday Night game, and will update this weekend with the Titans-Cowboys MNF game.
So, why am I changing this up? The Showdown Slates have become very popular and there is a lot of interest in them. Also, I did have a big score in Week 5, when I finished 2nd in the $10 150-max showdown slate (I shared runner-up with 238 of my closest friends that week). While I will not claim to be an expert at these, I am compiling data and will be updating my thought processes each week as we get more data. With these, there are three things to think about:
- It's one game. There is a lot of variance. So even if you have the game pegged exactly the way you think it should, it may not work out in your favor. This is the part you can't control as much, since every tenth of a point is huge.
- Create a narrative. Make sure your lineup tells a story. Maybe you choose a defense and RB from a team, thinking that team will run a lot. If you think this is true or that team will be up in the second half, loading up the other side wtih the QB and pass catching options helps tell the narrative, since that team will likely have to be trowing to catch up and extend the game.
- I tend to think you are looking at a 2x-2.5x multiplier for most players, including the captain spot. WR has seemed to be the position of choice for Captain in most of the winning lineups so far. But, Defense, QB, TE, and RB have showed up as well. I haven't seen the Captain Kicker win one yet, but the kickers are very popular in these lineups. They can easily get to 2x to 3x with 2-3 field goals, and are good salary savers.
With that said, here is my analysis for this week's showdown slates.
All pricing is the regular, non-Captain pricing.
Green Bay at New England
It's going to be hard to play both QBs on this slate, so if I'm choosing, I'll take Aaron Rodgers (11,600). I know he didn't put up big numbers in LA last week (30 attempts was a season low), but I still think the Packers' running game is spotty at best. I'll take the expected volume with him and play the GB passing game. I also think he has 30 point potential, which will be needed at some point here. With him, I think DaVante Adams (10,200) is the safest and highest upside play. He is expensive, but with three straight 100-yard games and the only WR for the Packers that has a defined role, I will go back to him. If you don't want to pay up for him or want to pair with him, you'll have to choose among Valdes-Scantling, Cobb, and Allison. I'm surprised to see Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5,800) as the highest priced of these three, but he did outsnap Cobb and Allison last week. I don't think MVS is going away, even if and when Cobb and Allison return to full health. Geronimo Allison (4,600) would be my other play, as he did outsnap Randall Cobb (5,600) last week and has had better numbers than Cobb this year. The only other Packer I have interest in is Mason Crosby (3,000), who has four double-digit point totals in seven games this season. At 3,000, he would be a nice multiplier play.
I think I'm going to try and strategically fade Tom Brady (11,400). He's had two games of 22 points, one of 25, and one of 32. In a vaccuum, he's a fine play: I just worry about whether he can get 30+, especially since the Patriots do have some form of a running game. Brady is fine to play: I just don't think I like my inital lineup builds with Rodgers and Brady. My favorite Patriot play is James White (9,600), especially if Sony Michel (7,000) misses. White has put up 24+ points in four of his last five games. His floor is so high that he feels like he has a floor of 20, with upside for more. If Sony Michel misses, Cordarelle Patterson (1,800) would be a great value play, as he did get 10 carries last week, but nothing out of the receiving game. His return game abilities always give him massive upside. In the receiving game, I'll continue to fade Gronk (6,800) as he just doesn't look right. Julian Edelman (8,800) did get 100 yards last week and does have 20 point potential. Josh Gordon (7,400) is the upside play to consider here. He has that big play ability and has played in at least 80% of the snaps the past three weeks. If I can afford Edelman, I'll pay for him, but that $1,400 looks like it may be needed on this slate. Finally, Chris Hogan (3,800) has seen a decrease in snaps, but may be viable if Gronk were to miss. If I'm going to go that low, I may look at Stephen Gostkowski (3,400), who only has one game below 8 fantasy points this season.
Possible captains in this game: MVS (if Cobb or Allison miss), Gordon, White, Edleman. If you can afford Adams there, that would be my preferred play.
Geronimo Allison has been ruled out, so MVS is squarely in play for me. If you listen to the podcast, you will hear Michael bring up Aaron Jones (5,400) and I got on board. He was over 60% on the snap count last week and has had averaged well over 5 yards a carry. At this price, he is squarely in play as a really nice value..
Tennessee vs Dallas
I'm writing this part early Saturday afternoon and no prices have been listed yet. There isn't much that I'm excited about for the Titans in this game. The hope here is Marcus Mariota was able to get feeling back in his throwing hand during the bye week and is able to perform up to his ability. He does have at least 25 rushing yards in four of his six games this season. Dion Lewis's viability comes down to answering this question: Do you think he gets six targets or more? When he has gotten 6+ targets this season, he's put up double digit points. When he hasn't, he hasn't gotten to 10 points. Dallas has given up nearly 8 catches to running backs so Lewis is someone I will be giving a hard look at. Tajae Sharpe did see nine targets in London and has been the more consistent receiver behind Corey Davis. Sharpe should be priced low enough to make him a decent value play. I don't think I have much interest in the Titans defense, as they only have one game where they forced multiple turnovers. Ryan Succop will be in play, as he has only missed two field goals all season, has had multiple field goal attempts in all but one game this season, and has made two from 50+.
Dak Prescott may have the most upside on this slate of any player not named Ezekiel Elliott. He has back to back games of 22+ fantasy points, with three straight games of 30 rushing yards. He has two rushing touchdowns in his last three games as well, helping his floor. Ezekiel Elliott should be the most owned player in this slate. He's coming off his worst game of the season vs Washington, but I'm not sure this is the greatest spot to bounce back. Tennessee is league average in DVOA vs RB, and are among the five stingiest against pass catching RBs. But in this game, it will be hard to find anyone else with 20-25 touches. I don't think I will play him as my Captain, and hope that he does well enough to justify his cost. Amari Cooper is really intriguing here. Tennessee is 2nd worst in DVOA vs #1 WRs. The concern is how quickly can Cooper learn the playbook in a week and a half. Cole Beasley has seen 19 targets in the last two games. I don't see his role changing much with Cooper and may actually see easier coverages with so much attention being paid to Cooper. It was only three weeks ago that the Ravens sacked Mariota 11 times and shut out the Titans. I don't think the Dallas defense is a bad play, but not a must play. Brett Maher has only missed two field goals this season, with three from 50+. I'm sure he will be in my final considerations for a roster spot this week.
Possible Captains in this Game: Dion Lewis, Amari Cooper, Cole Beasley, Tajae Sharpe, Brett Maher (This seems like the game that a kicker at captain could be optimal)