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
Chris Godwin and Mike Evans have such a massive advantage in terms of opportunity on this slate. The Buccaneers throw over expectation at one of the highest rates in the league. I wouldn’t be shocked if Brady throws the ball close to 50 times in this game. Evans has the more combustible ceiling because he runs routes downfield and is more likely to score on a 50-yard touchdown, but Godwin can get there on a 10/120 stat line.
CeeDee Lamb is the unquestioned alpha in the Cowboys’ passing offense. He’s averaging about 10 opportunities a game and is electric after the catch. He is, of course, the most expensive player on DraftKings, but since he should be a tier above the rest of his teammates in terms of targets on this slate, he’s definitely worth heavy captain consideration. Whereas, if Brady goes off, it could be Evans OR Godwin, and perhaps both, if Dak goes off, it will be hard for Lamb not to be part of it.
Tony Pollard had somewhat of a coming-out party this regular season. Though he split work with Zeke, he looked way more explosive, averaging more than five yards per carry. He’s the preferred pass-catcher of the two backs as well. I think you can play Zeke and Pollard together to make the lineup a bit more unique. Overall, Pollard has the better chance of hitting a ceiling score as he has chunk-play ability.
Dak Prescott has actually had some monster games coming down the stretch despite struggling in the final two weeks. The important thing to note is that he’s been running the football a good bit as well. Whether a designed run or a scramble, he’s been good for around five carries per game. Any time a quarterback can add fantasy value without propping up their receivers, it makes them a threat in the captain slot.
Tom Brady could throw the ball 50 times in this game. The Bucs’ offense will lean on Brady to move the chains. I think they’ve learned their lesson after waffling around this year at times trying to run the ball ineffectively. There are enough targets on this offense that Brady can spread the ball around to, including Evans, Godwin, Fournette, White, Gage, Julio, Otton, and the list goes on. Though I prefer Evans and Godwin because they will probably see the bulk of the targets and wind up as captain if the Bucs have success, it’s definitely possible for Brady to
Leonard Fournette will be a benefactor of all the passes Brady is going to throw. Fournette could legitimately catch 10 passes in the right circumstance in this game. And while I don’t think the Buccaneers will commit to the run one bit, he will still get goal-line carries if they happen to be in close.
Dalton Schultz is cheap enough that his spike game could end up as the optimal captain. He’ll need to score, probably twice, to make it happen, but we’ve been here before on a showdown slate. The fact that he’s a mid-range price allows you to get balanced throughout the lineup or add in an extra top-tier play.
Rachaad White will play second fiddle in this game to Leonard Fournette, but still has a good bit of value given the number of pass attempts that I expect Brady to sling around. He’ll play on third downs and most likely in quick-game situations. For his price, he should be heavily considered in the flex.
Ezekiel Elliott is someone I’m never too thrilled about, but that is usually not the case for Mike McCarthy. He loves jamming Zeke into the A and B gaps, especially at the goal line. He’s playable, but you have to be aware of what Zeke's success does to the rest of the Cowboys lineup. Unless they score 40 points, Zeke scoring two touchdowns and cracking the optimal lineup craters the ceiling of his teammates.
Russell Gage and Julio Jones are the ancillary pieces we can use in Bucs stacks. If Julio hits it will probably be because of a touchdown catch, whereas Gage can probably get there on receptions. Cade Otton is the top tight-end target for Brady. He has usurped Brate as the big-bodied end-zone target. He’s a great piece to add to Brady captain lineups or heavy Bucs stacks
Michael Gallup, TY Hilton, and Noah Brown are the rotational pieces for the Cowboys that you can add to your Cowboys stacks. I honestly think the best of the bunch is Hilton as he’s been given deep shots recently. Gallup and Brown leave a lot to be desired. Gallup has underperformed but works the outside, so always has touchdown potential. Brown has taken a step back with Hilton’s emergence.
There aren’t a ton of last-man-in candidates on either team. The tight ends on either side of the ball are really the only super cheap options that could luck into a goal-line touchdown or potentially a multi-target game. Cameron Brate for the Buccaneers and Peyton Hendershot/Jake Ferguson for the Cowboys. I like both DSTs in this game, but the Cowboys have a real shot to break the slate. They have an excellent pass rush and the Buccaneers are going to be slinging the ball all game. There should be plenty of options to sack and turn Brady over.
Captain: Mike Evans
Flex: Tom Brady, Rachaad White, CeeDee Lamb
Captain: Chris Godwin
Flex: Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, Dalton Schultz
Captain: CeeDee Lamb
Flex: Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, Russell Gage
Captain: Tony Pollard
Flex: Cowboys DST, Dak Prescott, Chris Godwin
Captain: Dak Prescott
Flex: CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard, Cade Otton
Captain: Tom Brady
Flex: Mike Evans, Russell Gage, CeeDee Lamb
Captain: Leonard Fournette
Flex: Tom Brady, Chris Godwin, Tony Pollard
Captain: Dalton Schultz
Flex: Dak Prescott, TY Hilton, Mike Evans