NFL Showdown can be a fickle beast. These contests do not rely on median projections so much as leverage, and uniqueness. Fading the highest-owned plays can be a risky proposition. Typically, your edge is going to come by identifying the best low-owned plays and finding clever ways to pair them with the juggernauts of the slate.
This article is going to have a heavy DraftKings lean simply because the decision-making process is more interesting given the salary premium attached to the Captain spot. On FanDuel, the pricing is the same for both MVP and Flex spots. You are usually going to need the slate’s top scorer at MVP, so FanDuel strategy revolves around unique Flex builds.
Advice in this article will pertain predominantly to tournament lineups and strategy. For cash lineups, build around median projections. For head-to-head contests, continue to lean into the median projections, but if two options project closely, give the nod to the lowest rostered player.
The Los Angeles Chargers are heading to San Francisco to take on the 49ers as 7-point underdogs. The total is set at 45.5. We’ve got a matchup of two of the top running backs in the game. They’re both priced in a way that makes it difficult to viably jam them into the same lineup. Meanwhile, we’ve got Deebo Samuel at least $1,000 less than he should be. For the first time this year, I’m not considering either quarterback at Captain, as we’ve got so many viable skill position players at multiple price points. While Samuel stands out as the best value and the strongest Captain, we’ve got Brandon Aiyuk playing a sizable role for the Jimmy Garappolo lead 49ers with a salary close enough to Samuel to keep his roster percentage low. The Chargers are down bad at receiver as they’re set to miss both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams once again. Los Angeles’ offensive success is likely to go through Austin Ekeler, so we’ll look to lock him in and build the rest of the lineup around leverage over an equally highly rostered Christian McCaffrey.
- Keenan Allen – Hamstring – Questionable
- Mike Williams – Ankle – Questionable
- Tre' McKitty – Hamstring – Questionable
- Donald Parham Jr – Concussion – Questionable
LOS ANGELES OFFENSE
Justin Herbert $10,600 – Flex
The Chargers have the fifth-highest pass rate of the season, but their offense is sputtering. It’s difficult enough to overcome the loss of a talented possession receiver like Keenan Allen, but when you lose Mike Williams as well, there’s no wonder Justin Herbert is struggling to hit his ceiling recently. Herbert has hit the bonus twice this season and has been within 10 yards twice more. There’s no doubt he can defy the odds and carry an offense featuring Josh Palmer and DeAndre Carter at receiver, but if we’ve got to stack a team, we’re going with the 7-point favorites at home. With Ekeler and McCaffrey in the same range as Herbert and Samuel at nearly $2,000 less, we should get Herbert at his lowest roster percentage of the year. He can be paired with Palmer or Carter in the flex while filling the rest of the lineup with 49ers.
Austin Ekeler $11,200 – Captain or Flex
Austin Ekeler has been doing most of his damage in the passing game of late. He’s tallied less than 50 yards rushing per game since week six, but he’s averaging 12 targets during that span. Over the last two weeks, he’s had a rushing and receiving touchdown in each game. The Chargers are relying heavily on Ekeler to carry their offense while they battle their issues with receiver depth. We can capture much of the Chargers' offensive success by playing Ekeler while we focus on stacking the 49ers.
Sony Michel $4,400 – Flex
While Ekeler is carrying the Chargers' offense, he’s only playing around 70% of the snaps. That has left room for Sony Michel and Isiah Spiller to get involved. Unfortunately, neither player has done much to capitalize on their opportunity. Michel is third in snap share and can be omitted from the player pool.
Isaiah Spiller $3,000 – Flex
Isaiah Spiller has been healthy and active just twice this season. Last week he played 19% of the snaps and carried the ball seven times. If any backup has a shot of vulturing a score from Ekeler, it is likely to be Spiller.
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