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NFL DFS Showdown SZN: Broncos vs. Colts

NFL DFS Showdown SZN: Broncos vs. Colts

Welcome to this edition of the NFL DFS Showdown SZN breakdown. The aim of this post is to look at the best players to build around and constructions to focus on for the night's NFL DFS showdown contests on Draftkings. We optimize 5,000 lineups for the contest and look into the most common captains and FLEX. Likewise, we take into account the whole lineup's projection and ownership. Finally, we run the lineups through the tools found in the Theory of DFS: Advanced Players course (Buy it here) to see what combos are +EV.

Main Points:

  • The injuries to key running backs for these teams should lead to massive uncertainty, which the field is undervaluing.
  • Michael Pittman has had a lackluster targetshare after week one but projects as one of the highest owned players on the slate.
  • The secondary options for both teams appear to be undervalued and strong options to find unique winners in large field.


Kendall Hinton was removed from the Broncos projections. He was called up three weeks in a row from the practice squad and skipped this week. Instead, the Broncos called up Devine Ozigbo. Likewise, ownership was updated for the industry and it makes for some things worth noting.

Adjustments and updates:

  • The distribution for the Broncos has been spread out, with Tyrie Cleveland, Eric Saubert, and Montrell Washington getting extra marketshare.
  • With the ownership update, Phillip Lindsay ownership looks much more appropriate. He goes from significantly undervalued to a strong FLEX play.

For conversation and game theory on the new charts with updated ownership distributions as well as the top 20 predicted dupes, jump in the Paydirt discord! Free with this link:

Captain and FLEX ownership distributions

Player ownerships for CPT and FLEX from Paydirt DFS optimizations along with their projected ownership (updated)
Player ownerships for CPT and FLEX from Paydirt DFS optimizations along with their projected ownership (updated)

We have a lot of players valued inappropriately on this slate, so it’ll lead to a pretty wide open (and exploitable) showdown contest. 

The main player being overvalued here is going to be Michael Pittman Jr. He shows up in optimizations at captain just .12% of the time, but is projected at 15.12% ownership in that slot. Likewise, he is projected at 49% ownership in FLEX and is in the optimizations just 8.44% of the time. People will likely chase his week 1 performance in an offense that looks to be more spread out.

On the other hand, the main undervalued piece is likely Alec Pierce. While the field is focusing primarily on Michael Pittman, Pierce has quietly had a higher upside role in terms of routes run. While Pittman continues to have a higher targetshare, Pierce has a much higher aDOT and is cheaper. Because of this, Pierce actually shows up as more valuable than Pittman in both CPT and FLEX designations.

A couple other notes:

  • It’ll be interesting to see how the field approaches the Gordon/Boone situation, but as of now Boone is the better play based on optimization and projected ownership.
  • Cortland Sutton is likely appropriately valued at FLEX, but will be underowned as a captain.
  • Both defenses look to be overvalued.

Duplication projections and DFS lineups to avoid

Here are the top 20 lineups in projected dupes. To clarify, you should avoid playing these lineups in large field GPPs tonight:

Top 20 DFS lineups in predicted dupes based on the large $15 contest on Draftkings (updated)

UPDATED: Lineups including Phillip Lindsay with the recent ownership update are massive duplicated. It's incredibly -EV to play any of the lineups you see above.

Captain ownership is quite spread out here. The most used captain in the top predicted dupes is Russell Wilson followed by Courtland Sutton. Chase McLaughlin as a kicker captain looks to be used along with Matt Ryan. Interestingly, neither Melvin Gordon or Michael Pittman Jr. show up at captain here, although because of their low optimization rate they will likely be duplicated more than projected. For the most part, the highest predicted dupes are built around Russell Wilson, Cortland Sutton, and Matt Ryan. Using cheaper captains looks to be an easy way to be different.

Here are some other notes on the highest dupes:

  • The highest owned FLEX players are Courtland Sutton, Russell Wilson, Matt ryan, and Nyheim Hines.
  • Parris Campbell and Kendall Hinton don’t show up here at all, leading to some unique routes to build.
  • Kickers and defenses are mostly not used in the highest predicted dupes.

DFS Showdown SZN: Final Thoughts

This showdown hinges on the uncertainty around the gameplans for the teams because of key injuries. How will the Broncos handle Javonte Williams being out? Will Melvin Gordon end up a bellcow or in an even split with Mike Boone? Will the lack of Jonathan Taylor lead to a higher pass rate for the Colts? According to ownership projections, people view Melvin Gordon and Nyheim Hines the largest beneficiaries of the injuries. However, the optimizations view the gameplans more spread out and less condensed. In sum, the uncertainty here gives a lot of upside to contrarian players.

Overall based on the optimizations the best path tonight is going with either Russell Wilson or Courtland Sutton at captain while focusing on the secondary players on each team.

Some players that look overvalued:

  • Melvin Gordon III
  • Nyheim Hines

Some players that look undervalued:

  • Alec Pierce
  • Kendall Hinton
  • Phillip Lindsay

Good luck and bink a unique!

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