Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season kicks of Thursday night with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans. This is going to be one of the most popular regular season DraftKings Showdown slates ever. That increases the prize pools but also makes it more difficult to be unique in such a large field. Landing on a lineup that even just a handful of teams are playing is going to be crucial for increasing the value of your entry. Winning a tournament with 500 other players chops the prize money so thin that a lineup with hundreds of duplicates is hardly worth entering, no matter how good it looks on paper. Here are three contrarian ways to approach the opener showdown slate of 2020. Lets dive into the first NFL DFS slate of the season on DraftKings + FanDuel between the Chiefs and Texans on Thursday Night Football (TNF).
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NFL DFS Picks: Contrarian Plays for DraftKings Showdown | Chiefs vs Texans TNF
3. Double Chiefs Running Backs
The Chiefs parted ways with DeAndre Washington to trim their roster down to 53 players. This move left just their first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire, former sixth-round selection Darwin Thompson, and veteran Darrel Williams on the team. The Chiefs are top-five in running back touchdowns over the past three years and have an implied total of 31.75. CEH at just $8,800 is going to be a popular play but pairing him with another Chiefs back will be done sparingly. Darrel Williams was touted as the clear backup to CEH throughout training camp and Thomspon hardly took the field as a rookie so Williams is the move here.
Williams as a direct backup was already a value at $1,800. Add on The Athletic’s Nate Taylor saying it wouldn’t be a surprise if CEH and Williams “split most of the Chiefs’ rushing attempts on opening night” and he is a must-play. At 6’0″ and 225 pounds, Williams has the size to be a goal line back while CEH racks up receptions out of the backfield. There’s potential for both to be in the winning lineup but few players are going to take that route. Double running backs is an underutilized option for NFL DFS showdown lineups.
2. Texans Tight Ends
The Texans waived Jordan Thomas so this decision comes down to Jordan Akins versus Darren Fells. Because neither separated themselves in 2019, I don’t expect many people to choose either side of this choice in Showdown. This is despite the duo combining for three double-touchdown games last year. Fells managed the feat twice and added three more scores while Akins recorded both of his 2019 touchdowns in a single game. The end-game totals of those three outings were 51, 85, and 47. The Texans are projected by Vegas to be trailing throughout most of the game. Their 10-point dogs to the best offense in the league but still have an elite quarterback of their own. This is the perfect scenario to scoop up low-owned value with either Houston tight end.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) October 6, 2019
Fells is typically used as a blocker but his 6’7″ frame does lead him to get a number of red zone looks. Akins, on the other hand, saw more targets last year (55) and is six years younger than Fells. Volume is our best predictor of touchdowns and Akins has the edge there. Both players provide leverage on the field but targets make Akins a slightly better play. Anyone entering multiple lineups should get exposure to both. Fells and Akins make for a nice way to differentiate your NFL DFS lineups on DraftKings.
A game with a 56.5 total might not sound like one ripe for jamming in defenses but this is the kind of environment that defenses can reach their true upside in. Ceiling games from defenses come from random events like pick-sixes and scoop-and-scores because of how valuable a sack-fumble-touchdown combo is relative to other methods for defenses to accrue points in DraftKings Showdown scoring. In a game that will feature loads of plays, both sides will get extra shots at making these defensive swings happen.
The Chiefs defense is the choice here as they are massive favorites but they also get a far easier quarterback matchup.
Deshaun Watson career:
- 9.4% sack rate
- 2.4% interception rate
Patrick Mahomes Career:
- 3.9% sack rate
- 1.6% interception rate
Sacks and interceptions are a major source of defensive splash plays. Given that chasm between the rates at which each quarterback gives them up at, the Chiefs defense is at an incredible advantage. At $3,400, they only cost $600 more than the Houston defense as well.
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