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Advanced NFL DFS: Showdown strategy

We continue our breakdown of NFL DFS. In this section, we look at showdown strategy, with definitions and some advanced strategy.

Davante Adams congratulates Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers after scoring a two-point conversion during the second half of a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park on November 03, 2019 in Carson, California. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

In daily fantasy football, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. For DFS, that means attacking game types with a specific strategy based on the format. Classic is popular, but Showdown offers a potentially quicker return on results.

Showdown strategy


A Showdown contest is how you can play DraftKings for single NFL games. You will pick six players from a single game with your $50,000 salary cap roster. You must have one player from each team. Each lineup is made up of one captain and five flex spots. The captain spot gets his DraftKings points multiplied by 1.5x but you also pay 1.5x his flex salary.


Captain’s spot

The captain’s spot is the most important player due to his higher price and higher upside as part of a small overall lineup. Picking a captain is tough, as the very best players will also take a huge percentage of your salary cap due to their 1.5x price hike. The spot is important, but you also don’t want to hamstring your overall lineup completely.


As with any cash game, you want to have strong floor plays across the board. That means you’ll likely go after the two starting quarterbacks, as they are always going to have a strong floor no matter their skill level. That will likely limit your cash to spend elsewhere, so you’ll need to find value and one place to do so is in kickers and defenses. Both are usually priced well for their average DK points compared to more volatile receivers and tight ends. Using kickers and defenses in Showdowns while paying up for high floor quarterbacks makes for a good base for cash games.


You want a strong DK points floor for any player you pick as captain, but for GPPs you’ll need to add a bit more risk/reward to the slot. That means going with more volatile strong wide receivers is in play. You’ll also want to stack with your captain to emphasize how you project/hope the game script will play out.

Game script

Trying to project how a single game plays out is a good way to figure who has the most upside in any given matchup. Is one team favored by a couple touchdowns and has an offense based on the running game? That sets up well for the favored teams running back and their DST while the underdog will likely need to throw to try to make up ground. Unfortunately, we aren’t always correct in our game script projections, but using the odds and matchup stats to play the game out in your mind is useful.

Salary cap/differential

It is human nature to try maxing out your salary cap in a lineup. It makes sense that the closer you are to zeroing out your salary cap, the more total point upside you have, but in Showdown games there are so few viable lineup constructions that when people try to max their salary cap, you’ll often have the same lineup as others. Instead, don’t worry at all about closing in on the salary cap. Leaving big chunks of cash on the table in Showdown isn’t generally a detriment.