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Optimizer Groups: Optimal SNF NFL Daily DraftKings & FanDuel Picks | Chiefs vs. Raiders

Terry McBride

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NFL DFS Optimal Lineups DraftKings Showdown NFL DFS Tournament Strategy

Sunday Night Football’s NFL DFS Showdown slate is a playground for the afternoon’s winners and a last-ditch attempt to turn the day around for those who were less fortunate on the main slate. The evening brings a healthy total on the board in Vegas for our game between the Chiefs and Raiders, with both teams capable of putting up points in a hurry. The 52-point total bodes well for scoring, as does the close 2.5 point spread that lands in favor of the visitors. The line shows the drop in quality that the Chiefs have taken this year overall, in previous years they would do more than just overcome home-field advantage by a point or two in the spread, but there are still excellent superstar caliber plays on the team. The Raiders offer premium talent of their own, making this a fun game to target for NFL DFS Showdown contests.

The Awesemo Top Showdown Plays Tool is the best way to find low-owned value and leverage, when using the tool we want to focus on the probability of success but also the degree to which a player is owned when compared with that probability and can indicate if the field is over or underweight to a play. Using all of the Awesemo expert data and tools, let’s find the top NFL DFS optimizer picks for Sunday Night Football DraftKings and FanDuel Showdown lineups.

NFL DFS Optimizer Picks: Week 10 Sunday Night Football

Small Sample Central — Trends and Notes

Several of the primary lineup construction notes from previous versions of the article will continue to be listed in this space, but each week we will attempt to find parallels based on Vegas data and the general game environment from historical contests in the pool of DraftKings Showdown research from 2019 through this week’s contests. It is important to not get too focused on results-based thinking in such a small sample. Quality lineup construction is always the focus, but historical results can help inform some basic decisions in a pricing and ownership vacuum. A quick summary of that previous content:

  • According to tracking data for DraftKings Showdown contests over 2019 and 2020, only 17 of 95 slates were won with a quarterback Captain.
  • Across the same sample, wide receivers and running backs split the outcomes evenly, with 33 tournament-winning events each.
  • Of the 38 times that a wide receiver or tight end was in the winning Captain position, only three of those builds did not include at least one quarterback in a Flex position.
  • Thirty-five of 95 winning lineups featured at least one defense, but only two of those featured both defenses.
  • Twenty-nine winning lineups featured at least one kicker, but only two of those included both.
  • Only eight winning lineups included at least one defense and one kicker, while one person won a tournament with two defenses and a kicker in 2019.

Tonight’s 52.5-point total has 19 games within two points on either side in our data pool. The majority of those were won with pass-catchers at the Captain spot, as we have continuously seen when games are totaled in the 50s. 11 of the 19 contests in this sample were won with either a wide receiver or tight end in the top spot, with tight ends managing the trick four times. Two of those winning tight ends are in this game, both Travis Kelce and Darren Waller have been the top option in past Showdown slates. Seven of the 11 winning lineups with a pass-catcher were built as 3-3 constructions, another strong trend we have spotted in several samples.

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The strongest of those themes continues to be the presence of quarterbacks in the flex role. Every lineup in the 19-contest sample includes a passer, with four in the Captain role and the rest appearing as flex plays. All four lineups with the quarterback at Captain did not include the opposing quarterback, but the two passer stack was viable in seven of the 15 remaining lineups. All signs point toward passers and pass-catchers being the most important pieces of this contest, running back Captain plays were victorious just four times in the 19-game sample. Seven of the 19 winning lineups in the sample included a kicker, but none of them included two kickers. There was no clear pattern to correlating the kicker with the Captain play in this sample. Only one lineup that included a kicker also included a defense, and only two of the 19 lineups included a defense at all.

DraftKings + FanDuel Stack Rules

QB with at least one RB/WR/TE from Opposing Team (this will happen naturally in most Showdown constructions, but including the rule will eliminate lineups that feature only an opposing kicker or quarterback)

QB with at least one WR/TE from Same Team (this will happen naturally in a large portion of lineups, but stacking quarterbacks with pass catchers is the easiest way to rack up NFL DFS points. It makes sense to include this rule to force the build, in most situations)

Limit Rules

Limit rules are slightly less important for Showdown slates as there are only two teams to choose from. They are still useful for preventing suboptimal constructions, however, including the following will help prevent these less likely builds.

Limit QB/RB/WR/TE/DST/K from Same Team to three unless paired with Captain

Limit RB from Same Team to one (this is a rule that can be toggled on and off over multiple crunches, but the preference for this slate would be to use it)

Limit K from Same Game to one

Limit DEF from Same Game to one

Construction Basics

We will utilize Fantasy Cruncher’s Groups utility to create specific builds. The Groups feature includes the ability to designate players as the key to the group, or the player whose use in a position will trigger the group requirements. For Showdown slates this can be utilized to force specific sets of players or positions along with each type of designated Captain. The example below shows a group that utilizes Travis Kelce in the Captain role as the key player. It will then force all constructions featuring Kelce in the Captain role to include at least three of the players listed in the group including both quarterbacks, the correlated and positively leveraged members of both passing games, and both kickers.

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NFL DFS Optimizer Groups & Picks

Unlike multi-game slates, when attacking individual potential game scripts, these groups are better deployed individually for separate crunches that can then be combined into a single pool of lineups. Running them all at once is likely to create conflicting scenarios that will either prevent or limit a full crunch.

Quarterback Inclusion

The first wrinkle in utilizing Groups to create specific constructions is that the tool differentiates between a wide receiver or running back and the same player in the Captain or MVP spot. This requires the creation of a group that adds the Captain version of any likely skill player as the key player, with a rule setting that any lineup featuring any of these players must include one of the quarterbacks in a Flex position. The alternate approach to this problem is to remove all but the skill players from potential inclusion at the Captain spot then create a rule that will simply stack the quarterback with the Captain spot, but that approach is likely more flawed. This group does not currently force quarterbacks when defense or a kicker is used at Captain.

Key Players: All primary skill-players as Captain

Setting: At least one

Group: Patrick Mahomes & Derek Carr – Captain Versions

This group will result in getting one of the quarterbacks whenever any of the listed primary skill-players is utilized at Captain. To force the quarterback from the same team, multiple groups should be created for skill players from each team utilizing just the quarterback from that team. When quarterbacks appear in Flex positions, the rules and limit settings will kick in to force optimal constructions in the other Flex roles.

Game Concept — Home Dog Upset

Key Player(s): Derek Carr – Captain version

Setting: At least three

Group: Patrick Mahomes, Darren Waller, Travis Kelce, Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards, Zay Jones, DeSean Jackson, Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake, Daniel Carlson, Harrison Butker

This group chases the notion of a game that leans more to the Raiders side. It attaches to instances of Derek Carr in the Captain role and forces players from a list that includes all of Carrs’ correlated pass-catchers


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Game Script – Pass-Catchers

Key Player(s): Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, Mecole Hardman, Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards, Zay Jones, Byron Pringle, DeSean Jackson – Captain versions

Setting: At least four

Group: Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, Daniel Carlson, Harrison Butker, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, Mecole Hardman, Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards, Zay Jones, Byron Pringle, DeSean Jackson – Standard versions

This group looks to build 3-3 or 4-2 constructions that heavily favor the passing game. They will force four players from a group that includes all of the primary components of both teams passing games when any of the primary receivers are slotted into the Captain role. The group includes both quarterbacks as well as the receiving corps and both kickers. This group can push the edges of affordability, but the presence of several expensive players should also force unique constructions that play well for GPP action.


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We also have NFL DFS showdown projections and NFL single-game ownership projections. If you’re interested in other NFL DFS news for multiple game slates, head over to NFL ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL rankings, and daily fantasy football stacking. Take a look at our NFL inactives, depth charts and NFL starting lineups. View our DraftKings NFL DFS rankings and our FanDuel NFL rankings.

Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on Awesemo.com. A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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