General Rules for Creating Showdown/MVP Lineups
Correlate with your Captain/MVP — Make sure you are creating a roster that makes sense with your 1.5x player.
On DraftKings, lean RB/WR in the captain. Though QB can finish as the optimal captain, it’s often overused by the field relative to its success rate. When you are using a QB in the captain, I like to use many of his pass-catchers. Because the likely scenario, if a QB ends up as the captain on DK, is he spreads his touchdowns around to multiple receivers and not one skill player had a ceiling game. The one exception to this rule is if the quarterback is mobile (think Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray) and can accrue points with their legs without bringing pass-catchers along for the ride.
On FanDuel the MVP spot doesn’t cost you 1.5x salary which means you’re just trying to get the highest-scoring player in that spot. Contrary to DK, it’s often the QB because of the scoring system. I would lean QB/RB on FD, but there are always exceptions to the rule.
Leave salary on the table — I’m not just talking about a few hundred. Don’t be afraid to leave a few thousand on the table. In a slate that has an extremely limited number of viable options, there is a much greater chance for lineup duplication. It may not seem like much of an issue, but it can decimate your expected value to put in lineups that are going to split with 500 other people.
Multi-enter if you can. Single-game slates have so much variance that the first play of the game can take you completely out of contention if you only have one lineup. It’s best to build a bunch of lineups (you don’t have to max enter) that concentrate on different game scripts and a handful of different correlated captains.
DST and Kickers, while not very exciting, usually offer a solid floor for cheap — especially in game scripts that go under expected point totals. I would only use at most two per lineup, but usually one or fewer.
When creating single-game lineups, the most important part is creating correlated lineups according to a projected game script, and not pinpointing the exact five or six players who will score the most fantasy points on the slate.
ALSO VIABLE AS FLEX PLAYS — LISTED IN PREFERENTIAL ORDER
DeAndre Hopkins popped up on the injury report with a hamstring, but it looks like he’s good to go. Hopkins has commanded 13 or more targets in 3-of-4 starts this season. Whether it’s Colt McCoy or Kyler Murray, Hopkins will be the top target-getter in this game. The 49ers' defense has been solid against the pass, however, they have been giving up yards to receivers. Given the type of usage Hopkins has seen under each quarterback, it’s tough to not have Hopkins as the top captain option, especially within the PPR DraftKings format.
Christian McCaffrey should oddly have some depressed ownership because of how much Elijah Mitchell played last week. There’s obviously some risk built in here because McCaffrey could again cede a bunch of touches to Mitchell, but I think there’s also a chance they feature CMC this week. Maybe they’ll take a hot-hand approach, either way, I’ll jump at the chance to get a dip on McCaffrey ownership.
James Conner is healthy and the workhorse going forward. He had 26 carries last week and the Cardinals releasing Eno Benjamin at least says they aren’t worried about Conner breaking down. Conner isn’t going to be a super efficient runner like, say a Tony Pollard who can get 140 yards on 15 touches, but we’re looking for lots of touches and hopefully Conner plunging into the end zone multiple times.
Brandon Aiyuk is the WR1 in San Francisco. He plays the most snaps of any wide receiver on the team and has seen a higher target share as of late with 35 targets over the last four games. I don’t think we’ll see a ton of Aiyuk in the captain spot so it won’t take a lot of exposure to him there to be overweight.
Rondale Moore has been a stud since the return of Hopkins and his virtual full-time move into the slot. In his last three games, he has 31 targets and 24 receptions. He’s a very safe floor player when you have a more risky core around him, but I think there is merit to playing him in the captain in this game given how much he is being targeted. Getting Moore in allows for unique lineups to be created with a higher average salary. If there isn’t a punt option that hits, the optimal lineup tends to be mid-range player at captain with an extra pay-up option in the flex.
Elijah Mitchell is the 49ers' version of a cheap mid-range player that can unlock a lineup to get an extra stud in there. Mitchell approached 20 touches last week and while I don’t think that’s an every-week thing for him, we can’t assume things we don’t know. Obviously, it’s leverage off CMC, and Mitchell has the home-run-hitting ability to get there on one touch.
Colt McCoy or Kyler Murray honestly doesn’t make a huge difference for me, believe it or not. Given the price difference, I think both are really safe options in the flex. If reports surrounding Kyler say he’s 100%, he can be a captain play. He’s in the intro as the prototypical captain quarterback for goodness sake. He’s been solid, but hasn’t had a monster game, his rushing upside does make him 1.5x viable.
Jimmy Garoppolo is a safe floor play without much of a ceiling. I will probably be underweight on him as his pass-catchers in the same salary range have a great shot to outproduce him given the scoring system.
George Kittle and Deebo Samuel will probably be captain picks for many of the DFS players firing in lineups on Monday night, and by all means, go for it. I personally think their odds of landing in the captain spot will be overvalued especially relative to their price. Kittle has been used more as a blocker the last few weeks, playing 100% of snaps and only seeing a couple targets in each game.
Trey McBride will be the tight end to slot in for the Cardinals. He’s got a productive resume coming out of college and while he probably won’t be as polished as Ertz, he should see a solid number of targets in his stead.
The last man in choices aren’t super appealing. The 49ers have a few wide receivers that will see a handful of total targets in Jauan Jennings and Ray-Ray McCloud. McCloud will see some high aDOT throws while Jennings works more of the intermediate part of the field. Kyle Jusczyk looks like his role in the offense as a pass catcher may be phased out with CMC in town, but you can’t rule out tossing him in 3-5% of lineups. Ross Dwelley will be in on heavy packages and at the goal line for a potential play-action touchdown near the goal line. On the Cardinals' side of the ball, Keaontay Ingram will back up James Conner and should see a fair amount of usage with Eno Benjamin off the team. He is definitely a player I like including in lineups that don’t roster Conner for leverage. Greg Dortch, Robbie Anderson, and Stephen Anderson are ancillary pass-catching pieces that can be rotated through lineups in mass multi-entry player pools. Dortch is more of a slot type while Anderson is more of an outside type, so I’d keep Dortch and Rondale separate and Robbie and Hopkins separate.
Captain: DeAndre Hopkins
Flex: Cardinals QB, Trey McBride, Brandon Aiyuk
Captain: Christian McCaffrey
Flex: Cardinals QB, Rondale Moore, George Kittle
Captain: James Conner
Flex: Jimmy Garoppolo, Christian McCaffrey, Trey McBride
Captain: Brandon Aiyuk
Flex: Cardinals QB, Jimmy Garropolo, DeAndre Hopkins
Captain: Rondale Moore
Flex: Cardinals QB, Elijah Mitchell, Deebo Samuel
Captain: Elijah Mitchell
Flex: Cardinals QB, DeAndre Hopkins, Brandon Aiyuk