DraftKings NFL Picks & Optimal Lineups: Saints vs. Cowboys Showdown

While there have been a few mediocre Thursday Night Football games during the 2018 NFL season, it's safe to say Week 13 should bring some excitement. At the very least, it'll provide plenty of entertainment and a plethora of big names. To start off the week, the New Orleans Saints (10-1) look to continue their red-hot start against the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (6-5).

Although the Saints have a big edge in the win column, the Cowboys seem to have started turning a corner as of late. After a 28-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans dropped the team to 3-5 on the year and in a bit of a hole in the NFC East, they've now reeled off three-straight wins. Their success has largely come on the back of Ezekiel Elliott's impressive string of performances, and the acquisition of former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper has helped as well.

On the opposite side, the Saints have reeled off 10 straight victories following a Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The impressive run has been a strong all-around effort on both sides of the ball, but Drew Brees is putting up MVP-caliber numbers. Through 11 games, he's completed an astounding 76.4 percent of his passes for 3,135 yards and 27 touchdowns. Brees has also thrown just one interception and is on pace for one of the best seasons of his career.

This game is big for both teams, as the Cowboys attempt to push further ahead in the division while the Saints are battling for the No. 1 seed with the Los Angeles Rams. Not surprisingly, with this being a high-profile game, there are quite a few fantasy football games offered in one-game slates on various sites.

Specifically, DraftKings is offering their showdown option, and I'll approach the slate by giving some insight, picks and optimal lineups. While the Thursday night game features plenty of offensive weapons on both sides of the ball, it should make for interesting roster construction. In turn, the showdown slate has the potential to be a fun one.

Before we get into the actual lineups, I'll break down general rules of showdowns, top choices for the captain spot and then lineups for each of the specific game types offered. This will feature three different lineups which are created for the style of game that you're playing.

First up will be the optimal lineup, which is built around a mixture of my favorite plays, one or two values and a bit of risk mixed in. There will also be a 150-max option which has more risk and attempts to target a few lower-owned options but also brings a high upside. Last but not least is the single entry/cash lineup with less risk and somewhat safer plays.

Let's start with showdown rules and the general idea behind how the DraftKings 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

I'll begin with my captain choices for the Saints vs. Cowboys matchup, including both expensive and inexpensive options.

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