DraftKings Week 1 Showdown: Falcons vs. Eagles Targets & Tips

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones

Getty Atlanta Falcons teammates Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.

When DraftKings rolled out Showdown games, it offered an entirely new spin on the world of daily fantasy sports. In short, you’re filling out a smaller lineup that features players from one single game. They’ve quickly gained popularity, and in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL Season, the Thursday Night Football matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles features a few massive showdown games.

Specifically, the largest is DraftKings’ $2.5 million guaranteed game, which includes a $10 buy-in and $1 million to first place. Before we break down the top targets and offer some advice for this game, here’s a quick look at how showdown fantasy football games work.

  • Six total players (one captain, five flex players)
  • Captain selection costs 1.5 times standard salary but scores 1.5 times the standard points
  • Can choose from any position (QB, RB, WR, TE, K, DST)
  • $50,000 salary cap
  • You can use more than one quarterback

Let’s dive in by first looking at some thoughts on strategy.

DraftKings Showdown Strategy for Falcons vs. Eagles

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones

GettyAtlanta Falcons teammates Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.

The captain spot can be a big differentiator if you use the right player. While often times using a less-expensive player seems appealing so you can potentially fit in two or three stars, that decision depends on the specific game. The best thing to do is to select 3-4 players you would consider for the captain spot, including both expensive and cheaper options.

Here’s a look at a few players worth considering for the captain spot (along with their price as captains):

  • Julio Jones: $16,200
  • Matt Ryan: $15,300
  • Zach Ertz: $12,300
  • Jay Ajayi: $11,100
  • Shelton Gibson: $300

I love the Jones/Ryan pairing in all formats and think I’ll put them together as much as possible. One glaring omission here is Nick Foles, whose captain price of $14,700 just isn’t appealing to me. I’m interested in using Foles throughout showdown games, but he won’t be one of my main focus plays for the captain spot.

The biggest name that jumps out has to be Gibson. Due to the fact that both Alshon Jeffery and Mack Hollins are out for this game, it leaves us the option to get the Eagles’ expected No. 3 wideout essentially for free. I don’t have to explain what having a free spot in a game like this can do for the rest of your roster.

Two favorite captain targets: Julio Jones, Zach Ertz

Top value-saving captain: Shelton Gibson (surprise)

*Note: In a game that features 150-max entries, I recommend leaving some salary on the table. This helps differentiate your lineups from other players.

Roster Construction #1

Julio Jones

GettyAtlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.

There are two ways to go about building a roster here, but I think Jones, Ertz, and Ryan will be starting points for each of my lineups. If you use Jones in the captain spot along with Gibson, Ryan, and Ertz, it leaves an average of $7,600 for two spots. Based on that, I either want to use Nelson Agholor and Ajayi (leaves $800 left over) or Austin Hooper/Mike Wallace with Foles.

These are the two options based on the above roster construction:

  • CAPTAIN: Julio Jones $16,200
  • Matt Ryan $10,200
  • Zach Ertz $8,200
  • Nick Foles $9,800
  • Mike Wallace $4,800/Austin Hooper $4,600
  • Shelton Gibson $200

Option two:

  • CAPTAIN: Julio Jones $16,200
  • Matt Ryan $10,200
  • Zach Ertz $8,200
  • Jay Ajayi $7,400
  • Nelson Agholor $7,000
  • Shelton Gibson $200

As you can see, one option (the top) is a bit riskier, while the second is safer, although Gibson could literally finish with one catch for three yards. Regardless, Gibson will have high ownership and is worth the risk at his price.

Personally, I’m a fan of option No. 2, as I believe Ajayi is going to have a big role as a pass-catcher, and the Falcons allowed a league-high 107 receptions to running backs last season.

Roster Construction #2

Zach Ertz

GettyPhiladelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.

With my second roster, I’m going to look at Ertz in the captain spot and then build around a similar start as above. This would allow me to have a bit more cap to work with after Ertz, Ryan, and Jones. Using those three with Ertz at captain, leaves an average of $5,566 remaining for three spots, and adding Gibson at $200 jumps that to $8,250.

The key here is the potential to differentiate yourself by not using Gibson if you opt to go that route. Not doing so allows you to build a pretty unique lineup.

  • CAPTAIN: Zach Ertz $12,300
  • Julio Jones $10,800
  • Matt Ryan $10,200
  • Nelson Agholor $7,000
  • Mike Wallace $4,800
  • Austin Hooper $4,600

This first lineup is obviously very pass-heavy and will help cover your bases by not using Foles while most others will attempt to push him into lineups. I can’t envision a lot of lines looking like this one.

Here’s another option, this time rolling Gibson back into it and actually taking out Jones to use a Ryan/Freeman combination. It also adds Foles into the mix.

  • CAPTAIN: Zach Ertz $12,300
  • Matt Ryan $10,200
  • Nick Foles $9,800
  • Devonta Freeman $8,600
  • Jay Ajayi $7,400
  • Shelton Gibson $200

One reason I like this grouping is it leaves $1,500 on the table. While that’s certainly a lot, there’s a big stretch of players from $5,600 to $7,000 I’m just not all that interested in. As for the addition of Freeman, I don’t love him in this matchup at all, but his low ownership is worth taking a chance on.

Final Thoughts

Shelton Gibson

GettyPhiladelphia Eagles wide receiver Shelton Gibson

The key in multi-entry showdown games is to be different. Whether it’s by leaving cash on the table or being unique at the captain spot, you have to create a lineup that you’re confident most won’t have, but still offers upside.

One final option to consider is using Gibson in the captain spot and loading up whatever top players you want with him. That will leave quite a bit of money behind, but it’s going to be unique. The obvious risk with that comes from the fact that if one of the quarterbacks or another top player goes off, you’re in a tough spot.

On the opposite side, if Gibson has high ownership, but he isn’t used in the captain spot much, a solid game from him may give you a leg up on the field.

Personally, I’d recommend mixing and matching your favorite players across multiple lineups while tacking on some high-upside players. Doing this gives you the best chance to hit a big payday, but regardless of how good your lineup is, winning $1 million is going to be a tall task.

Good luck!

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