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 a lot 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.
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.
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.
Najee Harris will benefit from the Chargers defensive scheme allowing teams to run the ball. Basically the Chargers put an emphasis on not getting beat through the air, which creates a bend don’t break defense that allows chunk runs. Harris gets all the touches out of the backfield on both the ground and through the air, he’s my favorite captain on this slate.
Austin Ekeler obviously has the ability to smash in any game, but hes a bit more volatile. He won’t see the volume that Harris will, but he has the potential for double digit targets. The Steelers’ defense is a tough matchup for the Chargers offensive line. Ekeler can definitely get there, he’s second on the team in targets at 18%. His ceiling is somewhat limited because the Chargers don’t mind running out the second-string backs on the goal line
Mike Williams is the heavy hitter with an aDOT of 10 yards per target and 22% of air yards. Williams and Justin Herbert are super correlated because he thrives on long touchdown scores, whereas someone like Keenan Allen can get there on volume receptions which doesn’t require the quarterback to have a big game.
Diontae Johnson has a massive command on target share at 42%. He’s a bit in the mold of Keenan Allen as he gets a bunch of targets and works the intermediate portion of the field mostly. Johnson does score touchdowns at a higher clip than Allen. Johnson is my favorite target in slugfest game scripts as he can rack up points without touchdowns. I also like adding him to heavy Charger stacks.
Justin Herbert has captain upside because he can spread the ball around whereas Ben has a concentrated target share. There’s also the fact that Ben is cooked as a player. Herbert can get the ball to a few different tight ends, running backs and receivers. He’s had 350 yard and three touchdown games in where the touchdowns go to guys other than Allen and Williams. He also is mobile which raises his captain likelihood. I would try to get Cook and/or Parham in Herbert captain lineups.
Ben Roethlisberger is the prototypical flex, but never captain quarterback. The Steelers run the ball a bunch and Ben is a statue. In fact, he’ll probably be a tough get at the flex as well. He lands in the optimal lineup if the Chargers struggle offensively. Otherwise, the skill positions will outscore him most of the time.
Keenan Allen is too pricey to land in the optimal captain for me when I run lineups, most likely because he doesn’t score a ton of touchdowns. He does see volume targets and a 9-90 line is likely for Allen every time he steps on the field. The 100-yard bonus and the end zone often elude him, which caps his ceiling.
Chase Claypool can actually be put in the captain spot despite his listing as primarily a flex player. He has an expected TD rate over the last month of .45, yet has not been able to convert. That’s probably due to his 25% market share of air yards. Claypool gets manufactured touches, like jet sweeps, WR screens, and end arounds near the goal line so he has touchdown upside
James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud are the ancillary pieces, but I think McCloud may have secured a spot in 3WR sets. He played 75% of the snaps in last game with Claypool out, but Washington played more of the Claypool role, while McCloud ran more short low aDOT routes a la Juju Smith-Schuster. I like McCloud as a dart in this one.
Pat Freiermuth has clearer usurped Eric Ebron as the top tight end in this offense, however with Ebron back and playing about one-third of the snaps, it does cap Freiermuth’s upside just a tad. They are completely different considerations though, because Ebron is in the cheap range while Freiermuth is in the mid-range. Both work with different lineup constructions
Josh Palmer and Jalen Guyton are the ancillary pieces for the Chargers that can be used as punts. Guyton has lost the trust of the Chargers coaching staff as he started playing in the neighborhood of 70% of snaps and has decreased each week culminating in a season low 18 snaps last week. Palmer has been holding steady but he is in that 30% range for snaps as well. I don’t love either of these guys at their prices, but anything can happen on a single game slate
Donald Parham and Jared Cook are the two players that I’d target more than the ancillary receivers. Cook has a near 12% target share over the last mont and Parham has pulled even in target share with the receivers not named Allen and Williams. Herbert has been leaning on his tight ends a bit more over the course of the season. They make a bit more sense as well because they are the end zone threats and if Herbert ends up having a decent day, he’ll correlate well with the tight ends more so than a two or three target Palmer.
Larry Rountree III would be my preferred running back dart throw in this game as Ekeler is replaced much more throughout the game than Harris. Rountree scored last week and it seems the coaching staff has faith in him to be in the rotation.
Captain: Najee Harris
Flex: Justin Herbert, Mike Williams, Jared Cook
Captain: Diontae Johnson
Flex: Ben Roethlisberger, Eric Ebron, Keenan Allen
Captain: Mike Williams
Flex: Justin Herbert, Ray-Ray McCloud, Pat Freiermuth
Captain: Austin Ekeler
Flex: Chargers DST, Keenan Allen, Diontae Johnson
Captain: Justin Herbert
Flex: Mike Williams, Donald Parham, Chase Claypool