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NFL DFS Showdown SZN: Cowboys 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:

  • Tony Pollard still shares work with Zeke but appears to be well undervalued for his efficiency and upside.
  • Lots of people look to be using kickers as captains, but there are strong upside plays that are affordable like Parris Campbell instead.
  • You don’t have to be super different tonight thanks to a highly owned combo, but you do need to think about if you are buying or fading Jonathan Taylor.

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 on the slate looks like Jonathan Taylor, which is a bit shocking. His exposures at captain are just 4.5%, while he is projected to be around 14% owned there. Likewise, in terms of FLEX, his exposures are at 34% while his ownership projection is 47%. The colts have been underperforming in general and haven’t been able to put Taylor in position to find his upside in the redzone. He looks like a strong fade at captain and a good fade overall.

The most undervalued play looks like Tony Pollard. His exposures at captain are a healthy 20% while they are near 57% in the FLEX slot. His projected ownerships for both are at 9% and 38% respectively. There is certainly risk here, as you know the split the Cowboys will go with. But the models have favored Pollard for his efficiency and if he starts getting the bulk of the work you want to be ahead of the curve.

One last note is how undervalued Parris Campbell appears to be. His captain exposures are surprisingly high for a WR2 and could make for a great option in large field GPPs thanks to an unappreciated ceiling.

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:

There are a lot of kicker captains here, which makes sense but doesn’t seem necessary. They are used to afford some general combos of Dak, Lamb, and Taylor but there are values on this slate that are strong enough to supplant the kickers. Likewise, the projections on the top guys aren’t so strong that giving up on upside at captain is smart just to jam them in. Overall, it looks like paying down at captain on this slate has some obvious opportunity cost.

When we look at FLEX, it’s a lot of Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and Jonathan Taylor as discussed above. Likewise, we have Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell. Interestingly we see no DSTs used here even with the Colts being a 10 point underdog. We also see hardly any Gallup or Schultz, so using them in a more Cowboys heavy build can help make you different.

DFS Showdown SZN: Final Thoughts

This seems like a relatively easy slate to play from a theory perspective. There’s a straightforward combo that most people will have of Dak, Lamb, and Taylor along with one of the kickers. If you want to build with that combo, make sure to be different as you finish it off and avoid the more popular secondary options. The optimizations would say to avoid Taylor all together and make a more quality lineup based around just Dak and Lamb. The other option is playing for a Cowboys failure and playing a Colts stack of Ryan/Pittman/Campbell along with Lamb as the main Cowboys option. Any one of these build paths makes plenty of sense and should keep you with a low enough dupe count to make it worthwhile if it wins.

Based on optimizations, building with a Taylor fade and a priority on Parris Campbell and Tony Pollard is the way to go.

Some players that look overvalued:

  • Jonathan Taylor
  • Matt Ryan
  • Dalton Schultz

Some players that look undervalued:

  • Tony Pollard
  • Parris Campbell
  • Colts DST

Good luck and bink a unique!

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