There are several ways that people play fantasy football today. In its traditional sense, people draft a team and manage that team on a weekly basis and compete against their friends, families, and coworkers in weekly matchups. Usually, those leagues are 10 or 12 team leagues and, in most cases, you play another team head to head each week with the highest scoring team winning the week. Recently, other forms of fantasy football have been rising in popularity, including daily fantasy sports (DFS).
In DFS, you do not draft a team and you start with a clean slate in every contest you enter. This has become popular largely due to the appeal of your team not being crushed by injuries and not being locked in to your team all season. If you drafted Saquan Barkley last year in your redraft league with the 2nd overall pick, you had a large hill to climb right off the bat to win your league. Now, say you also drafted Michael Thomas and Dak Prescott, you likely couldn’t make up for that on the waiver wire and your league graciously accepted your donation. Besides injuries, let’s say you missed out on drafting guys like Justin Herbert and Justin Jefferson. Id venture to guess that you had some serious FOMO watching them go off on other team’s rosters! Well, these things don’t happen when you play DFS.
When you play DFS on sites like DraftKings, you participate in weekly contests and build your lineup from scratch using a salary cap. You get to select your players from the entire player pool available for the given contest. To build out your lineup, you select your players at their given salary for the week and put together a team you like while staying under the $50,000 salary cap. There are several different contest formats as well, such as tournaments, and cash games like head to head, 50/50’s and multipliers. There is so many ways to play DFS and it is no wonder that it is taking off in popularity.
Here at Aaron Torres Online, I will be coming to you weekly with a column specifically focused on one type of DFS contest, the Showdown style. Showdown style contests are used when you are playing a single game contest (or sometimes 2 or 3 games off of the “main slate”). Showdown style contests are for games like Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football that are not included in the main slate of Sunday games. This gives you an opportunity to play in a contest that begins and ends with the single game you are playing. I will be coming to you every Thursday, specifically giving you players and strategy for the Thursday Night Football showdown contests.
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So JB, what is the Showdown style and how do you play it? Showdown style DFS contests, also referred to as Captain Mode contests, are different than your main slate DFS contests. The first difference is the roster construction. In Showdown, your roster consists of only 6 players and must include players from both teams. The positions are also different in this type of contest as the roster positions are a “Captain” and 5 “Flex” players. This means that you can play a QB, RB, WR, TE, K or Defense in any of those roster spots with no minimum or maximum at any position. You can pick any player in the player pool to be your captain, but you can not use a player in the captain spot and a flex spot in the same lineup. The player you select as the captain will score 1.5 time the standard fantasy point value for every statistic but drafting a player in the captain spot will also cost you more salary than if you were to draft them in a flex spot.
This is where the strategy and budgeting become extremely important. Its easy to say that you want to put the best player on the field in your captain spot, but by doing that it limits the salary you have left to put other notable players in your flex spots. For example, if you put Patrick Mahomes in a captain spot it may take up too much salary and won’t allow you to use Travis Kelce and/or Tyreek Hill. Having the 1.5x points from Mahomes is nice, but not if the rest of your lineup has to consist of Harrison Butker, Chiefs Defense and the opposing team’s 3rd WR.
These are the types of things we will discuss every Thursday in this column. I will talk you through the notable players in that week’s Thursday Night Football matchup and how to value them when building out a Showdown Captain Mode DFS contest on DraftKings. We will talk about high end players, value players, roster construction and opportunity costs. I will give my roster construction thoughts to both tournament and cash game styles, and I will give you all the tools you need to build out a winning lineup and cash in! I look forward to helping you here every week and I will see you in the winner’s circle!
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