Daily fantasy sports websites have no problem trying out new things, and when DraftKings rolled out their showdown games, it offered an entirely new way to play. In short, you're filling out a smaller lineup that features players from one single game. The popularity of these new games has quickly exploded, and the site now offers massive options for players when showdown slates are on tap.
Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season featured DraftKings offering a $2.5 million guaranteed game, which included a $10 buy-in and $1 million to first place last Thursday night. This was sort of a "welcome to the action" game, as the showdown contests typically aren't quite this large, but NFL, compared to other sports, will almost always feature larger prize pools.
The first DraftKings showdown slate of Week 2 features the 'Battle for the North' – a $10 game with $750k guaranteed and $150k to first place. They are also offering a $180 game with $40k guaranteed ($10k to first), a $33 option with $30k guaranteed and a plethora of lower buy-in options as well.
Before we dive into the action for Week 2 and the Thursday Night Football game between the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals, let's offer a quick insight into how showdown 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
There are quite a few ways to build lineups that are different from what the overall "chalk" will be (popular choices by other players). So creating a lineup that's different than others isn't a tough task, especially considering the potential to use kickers and defenses.
I'll be breaking down a few optimal lineups, which include a variety of players in the captain spot, as well as the options I'll be targeting. Before diving into that, though, I'm first going to hit on showdown strategy for this week's game. Every week, the strategy will be different, as the approach to captain spots will vary depending on the game itself.
DraftKings Showdown Strategy for Ravens vs. Bengals
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.
I'd recommend picking 3-4 players you would consider for the captain spot, including both expensive and cheaper options. From there, you can spread those players across multiple lineups.
Here's a look at the options I'll be targeting at captain (with captain pricing of 1x more):
– Joe Mixon: $14,700
– A.J. Green: $15,600
– Javorius Allen: $8,100
– Justin Tucker: $6,300
– Bengals DST: $4,800
– Nick Boyle: $3,300
Favorite expensive captains: Joe Mixon, A.J. Green
Top value-saving captain: Bengals DST
I'm going to break down a few of my top optimal lineups that feature both cheaper options as captains, as well as expensive plays. I'll explain the reasoning behind each play (including captain choices) in each lineup.