Expectations versus Reality
In August of 2018, I found an email from myself to one of the contest operators that lead with the statement “I’m not particularly interested in single-game contest formats.” By December of 2018, I had made more than six figures playing NFL Showdown contests on DraftKings and Fanduel and it had become my single favorite contest format in DFS.
Life comes at you fast.
Sadly, the reality is that these results aren’t remotely sustainable and run WELL above expectations. In fact, the most common result (and the median result) was that I would enter 150 lineups and lose anywhere from $650 to $1500. On any single slate, my expectation is that I will enter lineups and lose money, and to be honest it would not be altogether unsurprising if I lost 20 straight slates and more than $20,000. And the downside is much worse. There are probably plenty of people rooting for that to happen.
But when we do win, hopefully, we will win big.
While the level of 2018 success is not sustainable, it is enough to convince me that with logical lineups powered by a strong optimizer, careful rules, and good projections, Showdown can be a profitable venture.
NFL DFS Showdown contests are here to stay and a great way to enjoy DFS during primetime NFL contests on DraftKings and Fanduel. In this premium article, we will cover the key concepts to help you improve at Showdown contests. The Showdown strategy we’re going to layout does not guarantee a profit and most weeks you will likely lose, but if you follow these strategies diligently over the course of the 2019 NFL season, it should put you in contention. I’m confident that at least one person who reads this will catch the lucky tipped pass, fumble recovery, or overturned touchdown to win some life-changing money.
Table of Contents
Showdown Strategy Basics and S.H.A.R.P. lineup building
Simply put, I try to build S.H.A.R.P. lineups by utilizing common themes each week. Showdown slates are not easy or quick money and the thought I put into one single SD contest is as cumbersome and draining as the thought put into an entire week of main slate contests.
Shuffle is the DailyRoto diversity tool. With the shuffle feature turned on, each time a player is used in an individual roster the player’s projection will be decreased in future lineups. When you increase the shuffle settings it provides more lineup diversity. Increased lineup diversity can help to reduce variance. This year we have added positional shuffle and a volatility setting that can be set at a positional or player level.
Hedging your lineups against each other reduces the correlation of your lineups and increases the chance that you’ll have a top one percent finish from a handful of lineups. The NFL is highly variant and I’ll rarely go all-in on a single player in general, and never go all-in on a single player at the captain spot.
Analyze your lineups and the slate, both prior to creating your lineups and after you’ve run them. By doing this you’ll notice things that you can fix in your rules. I often run the optimizer a dozen times and “group out” lineups that look illogical. Analyze winning lineups. I’ve posted the winning lineups from all primetime slates below.
Rules are the key to Showdown and will be where you win or lose, by setting up the perfect correlations or by grouping out the winning lineup. I cover the most important rules below and teach you how to build your own.
Projections drive our opinion on what will happen on a given slate. They are fully customizable if your opinion differs from ours on target share, or if it differs from vegas on the game score. While a 4th string WR projection never matters for main slate DFS it can separate winners and losers in Showdown. Our projections will provide a great baseline but you need to take ownership over what you feed the optimizer.