NFL Showdown can be a fickle beast. These contests do not rely on median projections so much as leverage, and uniqueness. A swing pass to the third-string fullback can heavily alter the leader boards. Showdown can be a fun way to enjoy a Prime Time game, or it can be an entire DFS portfolio. No matter the reason for playing, fortune favors the bold, and this article will never tell you a player is off-limits; even the third-string fullback. There are some cases where a great play will be so highly owned that their upside isn't worth losing the opportunity to be contrarian by fading them.
This article is going to have a heavy DraftKings lean simply because the decision-making process is more interesting with the Captain having a salary premium to correspond with the scoring premium. On FanDuel, the pricing is the same for both MVP and flex, so just play either a quarterback or running back in that spot. There are scenarios where a wide receiver can pay off, but it’s difficult with it being the 0.5 per reception.
Advice in this article will pertain predominantly to tournament lineups and strategy. For cash lineups, build around median projections. For head-to-head lineups use median projections but a little variation goes a long way towards not getting duplicated.
Jimmy Garoppolo is set to return to action after football fans were teased with the prospect of seeing Trey Lance hold the starting job in San Francisco. This game profiles to be a run-heavy approach from both sides of the ball. With the total set at 43.5 points, multiple running backs have the opportunity to be viable. The game environment sets up similarly to the Thursday Night Broncos v. Browns game in which Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon III, and DErnest Johnson were all in the optimal lineup.
- Deebo Samuel
- Jonathan Taylor
- Elijah Mitchell
- Jimmy Garoppolo
- Michael Pittman Jr
- Carson Wentz
- Zach Pascal
Jimmy Garoppolo - Captain or Flex
Quarterbacks inherently carry heavy ownership on every Showdown slate. Even with poor performances, quarterbacks find their way into optimal builds in games with low fantasy output. This play says more about Deebo Samuel’s after-the-catch ability than it does about Garappolo. With the Colts losing their promising young safety, Julian Blackmon, the 49ers' receivers will have even more opportunity to thrive after the catch this week while making like easier for Garappolo. Expect Garoppolo to be brought along to a solid fantasy outing by his surrounding cast.
Elijah Mitchell - Captain or Flex
In a bizarre turn of events, it is Elijah Mitchell’s name that appears first in this segment. It has been clear throughout every part of the 49ers season that Mitchell is their preferred option over their third-round back, Trey Sermon. After returning from injury in Week 5, Mitchell was given 9 carries to Sermon’s 1. Mitchell also has two catches in each game he’s started. His usage should increase as he is now fully healthy.
Trey Sermon - Flex
In typically Kyle Shannahan fashion, nobody has a clue what he’s thinking or doing. One thing is for sure: He is not going to feature Sermon. Sermon makes the list based solely on game environment. The 49ers backfield is priced similarly to how the Buccaneers backfield has been priced on previous showdown slates. Consider Mitchell, Sermon, and Kyle Juszczyk similarly to Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II, and Giovanni Bernard respectively.
Deebo Samuel - Captain or Flex
While Deebo Samuel is arguably going to be the most rostered wide receiver thus far this year, perhaps sans Davante Adams, he has earned it. Samuel is averaging 10 targets a game. He has games with well over 100 yards with both Garoppolo, and Lance, so there is no edge to be had based on the switch at quarterback. This article always encourages massive leverage, and fading Samuel will certainly give that, but there are very few ways in which Samuel doesn’t end up in the optimal lineup. To get contrarian with Samuel, either play him at Captain with five Colts or play a Colt at Captain with five 49ers, including two 49ers running backs, and Samuel.
Brandon Aiyuk - Flex
It’s better to be early than late for Brandon Aiyuk week. While Samuel has been widely successful, his touches have been largely manufactured. While Aiyuk’s aDot has been oddly low, his outside role lends itself more to taking advantage of the Colts' ailing secondary.
Other Targets -
Kyle Juszczyk - Flex
Kyle Juszczyk has received 4 targets in each of the last 3 games. Shanahan’s mistrust for his running backs has translated directly to more usage for Juszczyk. At $4,000 on DraftKings, Juszczyk has graduated from insanely chalky punt play to a solid mid-priced option.
Mohamed Sanu - Flex
Mohamed Sanu has hovered around a 50% snap share the previous three weeks while getting at least three targets in each game. He is a sub $3,000 play with guaranteed opportunity. At $2,400, Sanu is priced just high enough to where he may not be over-owned relative to opportunity.
Carson Wentz - Captain or Flex
Carson Wentz is in captain consideration for much of the same reasons as Garoppolo. In games with low totals and limited fantasy output, it’s easier to take the bankable production at quarterback and get contrarian elsewhere. While T.Y. Hilton is unlikely to play, Wentz has still been getting it done with his available receiving options. He’s thrown for multiple touchdowns each of the past three weeks.
Jonathan Taylor - Captain or Flex
The last time Jonathan Taylor was on a featured showdown slate he gashed the Baltimore Ravens for 169 scrimmage yards, and 2 touchdowns. He followed up that performance with 145 yards on the ground and another 2 touchdowns against the Houston Texans. The only thing working in favor of Taylor’s ownership being feasible is Samuel’s massive ownership. Fitting both Taylor and Samuel in lineups should be a priority, even at the expense of fitting one, or both of the quarterbacks in. Taylor’s current usage is making it difficult for Nyheim Hines to get anything going in terms of production, which is why he does not have a segment in this piece.
Michael Pittman Jr - Captain or Flex
Prior to Week 6 Michael Pittman Jr was averaging over 8 targets a game. Receiving production was down across the board for the Colts in Week 6 against the Texans because they didn’t need much more than Taylor’s valiant effort on the ground. The hope is that last week’s receiving performance takes some ownership off the Colts’ passing attack. Colts passing stacks with Samuel as the lone 49ers run back will be strong builds.
Zach Pascal - Captain or Flex
The Colts will be without Parris Campbell for the foreseeable future, and likely without T.Y. Hilton for at least one more week. Zach Pascal was already a strong play in the mid-range price group without the thinned wide receiver group. Now without the other options for the Colts' passing game, Pascal finds himself in captain consideration. Before last week Pascal had seen no less than 5 targets in each game, with snap rates above 80% in each game this season.
Ashton Dulin - Flex
Ashton Dulin is the next man up for the Colts. He’s seen his snap share grow throughout the season after coming in as an undrafted free agent. He has averaged a 30% snap share over the previous two weeks and should see that double without Hilton or Campbell.
Mo Allie-Cox - Flex
Mo Allie-Cox is still seeing fewer snaps than Jack Doyle, but Doyle’s production has been non-existent. Allie-Cox is a huge target in the redzone, both literally and metaphorically. At $5,200 he should not garner more than 15% ownership, and in a low-scoring, low-fantasy-output outing such as this, he may only need one catch for a touchdown to make an appearance in optimal lineups.