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NFL DFS Showdown SZN: Colts vs. Steelers

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:

  • People are focusing too much on the Colts passing game, which opens up Jonathan Taylor as the best captain on the slate.
  • Pat Freiermuth is an awesome play, but he is a frequent captain in the highest predicted duplications, so you might not want to follow the field there.
  • The Colts secondary passing options make for strong options in GPPs while you build around Jonathan Taylor and Najee Harris.

For conversation and game theory on the 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

The most overvalued player here is obviously Michael Pittman Jr. the exposures in the optimizations are a whopping 0% at captain and just 6.5% in the FLEX. Compare that to the 7.8% captain and 35.42% FLEX projected ownerships and there’s a stark disagreement from the models. This likely stems from the Colts employing a run heavy gameplan in a low scoring affair. While Pittman is certainly the WR1 on the team, that doesn’t lead to a consistent production of fantasy points.

The most undervalued player looks to be Jonathan Taylor. His captain exposures are up at 32% while his projected ownership at the slot is only 18.40%. Likewise, his FLEX exposures at 62% while his projected ownership lags behind at 54%. This is likely a consequence of Michael Pittman being higher owned than he deserves as well. Considering Taylor has the highest upside on this slate, prioritizing him is a no brainer.

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:

The vast majority of captain ownership in the highest predicted dupes goes to Pat Freiermuth. He shows up in nearly half of the highest duplications. This is because of his low price tag and high involvement in the pass-heavy PIT offense. He allows you to fit both QBs and Jonathan Taylor in the FLEX, so it’s no wonder he will be popular. All of that said, he is a terrific option overall, so fading him in the captain isn’t necessarily the way to go.

When we look at the FLEX, we see Najee Harris in nearly every lineup. This is pretty interesting since he likely makes a better captain in a vacuum, but it does give us some insight into ways to be different. Simply swapping Najee Harris into the captain spot and fading either Pickett or Taylor gives you similar upside with a unique build path. Outside of Harris, we end up with a lot of Pickett, Taylor, and some Diontae Johnson frequent in the FLEX. Worth nothing the lack of Alex Pierce across the board here, who could make for an intriguing differentiation piece in large fields.

DFS Showdown SZN: Final Thoughts

This is a pretty straight forward slate but with a lot of variance. The knowns here are Najee Harris and Jonathan Taylor. Najee, with no Jaylen Warren to take snaps, should have 25+ touch upside and is underpriced. Jonathan Taylor is back from injury and getting 75% of the rushing work and 12%+ of the targets. Outside of them you can start to get different in a lot of ways. While people are interested in Michael Pittman, it’s just as good to take shots on Parris Campbell and Alec Pierce. Likewise, with no Kylen Granson, Mo-Allie Cox is a great flier in large field. Focusing on the secondary receiving options for the Colts is a solid strategy.

Overall, Building with Jonathan Taylor at captain and Najee Harris in the flex feels right. Put in some secondary Colts receiving options and fade Michael Pittman and enjoy your night.

Some players that look overvalued:

  • Michael Pittman
  • Diontae Johnson

Some players that look undervalued:

  • Jonathan Taylor (captain)
  • Matthew Wright
  • Alex Pierce

Good luck and bink a unique!

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