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
Christian McCaffrey is playing only 71% of snaps over the last month for the 49ers, but when he’s on the field, he is getting the football on the ground and through the air. He’s averaging almost four more touches per game than anyone else in this contest, and they are often high-value touches in the form of targets and goal-to-go carries. He’s the top raw point player on the slate, so he makes a great captain option.
CeeDee Lamb has been on a tear over the last four games. He’s seeing 27% of Dak Prescott’s targets and also has four touchdowns in that time span as well. The 49ers have been bottom five over the course of the season in terms of wide receiver fantasy points. Lamb pretty much fits any game script, as he’s by far the top option on the Cowboys.
Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk could both land as the optimal captain. Aiyuk is more of a traditional outside receiver and I would say he needs to be paired with Brock Purdy. The Niners like to look for him on slants in the end zone when they get in close, usually on play action. Samuel, on the other hand, can get involved in multiple ways, including the run game. He’s dominant after the catch and can turn bubble screens into 70-yard touchdowns like we saw last week. Samuel’s ceiling game could detract from CMC and Purdy if he gets a rushing touchdown, so it’s not completely necessary to stack him with Niners passing options. In fact, it could be a unique idea not to.
Tony Pollard is actually the more palatable running back option from the Cowboys because he sees more high-value touches despite seeing about 12% fewer carries than Elliott. He’s clearly the more explosive back. For whatever reason, the Cowboys do like to slam Zeke into the line of scrimmage, but I think they’ll have a hard time with traditional running in this game and will resort to getting Pollard the ball in space as their running attack.
Dak Prescott has enough weapons and runs often enough that we can slot him in as the captain. For him to hit as captain, I think he’ll need to succeed rushing the football, so it severely inhibits the upside of Zeke. Other than Zeke, he’s pairable with between one and three skill players of your choosing.
George Kittle and Dalton Schultz will probably be a bit under-rostered, but we saw last week just how valuable tight ends can be. Nearly every game had a tight end have a big fantasy day. That included Dalton Schultz, who hit the optimal captain spot on Monday Night Football. They’re both cheap compared to their skill-player counterparts and have, in my opinion, a nearly equal chance of matching them in fantasy point production. Fire them up in the captain as leverage plays.
Brock Purdy could be slotted into the captain role but I think his chances of landing as the optimal captain are lower than his percentage rostered will be. He does have a slew of weapons and some mobility, the two factors required for quarterbacks to land in the captain, but for me, you have to cut off the number of captains played at some point. He’ll be over-rostered in my flex spot because I think he has a high floor.
Ezekiel Elliott, admittedly, is not my favorite player to roster. He’s inefficient and has lost his burst. It seems like the only way he gets there is by scoring two touchdowns, and he still barely cracks 15-18 fantasy points. The Cowboys do seem to be stuck on jamming him into the line of scrimmage, so he’s playable. He detracts from everyone else’s ceiling, so I’d play him with more Niners than Cowboys.
Elijah Mitchell has been spelling CMC enough to warrant being slotted into one-game lineups. His style is similar enough to CMC that the Niners don’t have to change up what they do, as he’s pretty explosive and can also get tough yards. I like rostering him and CMC in lineups in hopes the 49ers score on the ground the whole game.
Michael Gallup has been quiet for pretty much the entire season, but he’s healthy and getting the snaps at outside receiver. He’ll get his opportunities down the sideline and should be rotated in with Dak lineups.
Jauan Jennings and Ray-Ray McCloud are the tertiary options for Brock Purdy, but have different ways of getting there. McCloud won’t play a ton and will get a deep shot that he has to reel in to get there, same thing with Danny Gray if he’s active, while Jennings is more of a traditional intermediate route runner
TY Hilton and Noah Brown will be Dak’s tertiary options. Hilton has been getting decent looks and I like his prospects to see multiple deep shots. Brown has been somewhat phased out since Hilton's arrival.
The reserve tight ends are pretty much the only last man in types that you can tack on as a prayer sixth man in hopes for a lucky touchdown or long catch. Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot will both get some run in multiple tight-end sets. On the 49ers side, Kyle Juszczyk will be mainly a blocker, but could be involved in some play-action passes out of the backfield. This game doesn’t profile for one specific type of game script, so the kickers and defense are also good options whether you’re creating lineups aligned with a slugfest or a shootout.
Captain: Christian McCaffrey
Flex: Brock Purdy, Dak Prescott, TY Hilton
Captain: CeeDee Lamb
Flex: Dak Prescott, Dalton Schultz, Brandon Aiyuk
Captain: Dak Prescott
Flex: CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Deebo Samuel
Captain: Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk
Flex: Brock Purdy, CeeDee Lamb, Brett Maher
Captain: Tony Pollard
Flex: Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle
Captain: Dalton Schultz
Flex: Dak Prescott, Michael Gallup, Brandon Aiyuk
Captain: George Kittle
Flex: Brock Purdy, Elijah Mitchell, CeeDee Lamb