NFL fans rejoice, the football season is finally upon us! Most of the action starts Sunday, but the season officially starts Thursday, September 8th in a matchup between the Buffalo Bills and LA Rams. Draftkings and Fanduel are rolling out contests left and right to start the season, so it’s only right we cover the first matchup. The remainder of this article will give you the best NFL DFS showdown picks for the 2022 season opener.
For showdown contests, we’ll follow a format where we discuss the captain position, utility spots, and overall game theory. NFL showdowns tend to be more strategic and less chalky than NBA, so there’s new ideas to discuss each week.
An NFL showdown contest on Draftkings and Fanduel is not your typical fantasy football contest. You probably know this if you’re familiar with DFS, but it’s worth going over anyway. Showdowns make you draft a captain player who scores 1.5X the fantasy points. Whoever you pick as your captain will also be 1.5X the salary, so there’s definitely some strategy at play.
Ideally, you want your captain to score the most fantasy points in the game. The 1.5X point multiplier normally results in the highest scoring player being optimal. Even so, there’s always a chance that a cheap player can end up being the optimal captain. This would happen due to their points per value allowing an optimal lineup build. In this case, the value captain allows you to jam in all the studs in your lineup.
Without further ado, we’ll get into our best captain picks for tonight’s game.
Josh Allen – QB, $18,000 DK
Expensive price tag but could pay off considering the overall upside and rushing potential. Remember that Josh Allen will have to perform exceptionally well to be the optimal captain at this price point. Either that or the game will have to be slow and low scoring – two things that aren’t expected. An $18k price tag will make it more difficult to build solid lineups, so remember this is somewhat of a risk.
Devin Singletary – RB, $10,500 DK
Usually, I’d wait to feel out the RB situation in Buffalo, but Devin Singletary seems to be running the show. Singletary closed the season in a big way last year, posting 15+ fantasy points in his previous six games. He’s the clear RB1 in Buffalo and offers a nice mix of power running and receiving abilities.
I primarily like Singletary in this spot because of his reasonable price tag relative to his scoring. Draftkings is PPR scoring, so Singletary will benefit greatly from his 3-4 receptions each game. Taking him at the captain spot gives you a nice floor and allows you to build stronger lineups.
Cam Akers – RB, $12,000 DK
Another running back with receiving upside, surprise surprise. Cam Akers missed a majority of his 2021 campaign due to injuries, but he rose like a Pheonix during the playoffs. All reports suggest he is back to his normal self, so we can’t count him out in DFS.
Akers doesn’t have much to work off of last season due to his injuries, but we know his capabilities. He’s a versatile back who’s shifty and has great hands. He’ll likely see a lot of work tonight due to the Rams’ backfield being less saturated to start the year. Akers has a price tag that leans on the side of expensive, so he might go slightly overlooked tonight. He’s still in that range where you can build strong lineups when opting for him as the captain.
Isaiah McKenzie – WR, $3,600 DK
It’s only right that we include a super-value option here. Isaiah McKenzie fits the bill, and you can truly build some great lineups with such a cheap captain. He’s technically the WR3, but he’s still a starter according to Buffalo’s depth chart. Knowing this, Draftkings could’ve made a mistake with this almost free salary.
McKenzie is worth a look for several reasons. To start, he’s probably the cheapest-priced player with an actual ceiling. This is a guy who flashed 30+ fantasy points last season with a $3,600 price on DK. Factor in that he’ll now see more targets as a starter and the upside is clear. McKenzie allows you to put almost whomever you want in your lineups. The outcomes will be very promising if he breaks the slate as your captain.
Everyone listed as a captain of course applies as a utility pick as well, but we’ll go further and talk about some strategy. Considering the potential high-scoring matchup at hand, we’ll be looking to get to both quarterbacks as often as possible. Usually, this means we’ll have to take both quarterbacks at the utility to make up for the salary.
Matthew Stafford – QB, $10,800 DK
Stafford is less expensive than Josh Allen, mostly because he’s less mobile. Nonetheless, we’re talking about the defending Super Bowl champion, and we know Stafford can sling the rock. In this case, we see scoring upside due to the bonuses offered on Draftkings. We know he’s capable of passing for over 300 yards, and he’ll get additional points for this.
From a general strategy perspective, drafting both quarterbacks automatically puts a higher ceiling on two of your players. If salary allows, we’d like to take our chances with two guys who should put up 20+ fantasy points. This won’t always be the case, but two QBs are optimal more often than not in showdowns.
Cooper Kupp – WR, $12,400 DK
Kupp is quite literally a cheat code based on last season. He took home the receiving triple crown, and his upside is second to none at the WR position. The only downside for showdown contests is that he’s usually the most expensive option, and tonight’s no different.
Choosing Cooper Kupp as your captain isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but at $18,000 it’s best to look elsewhere. As a utility pick, however, it’s still possible to build good lineups by including him. It makes more sense to consider Kupp in PPR formats where he’s likely to generate more points. Knowing this, you’re better off taking a chance on Draftkings than Fanduel.
Jamison Crowder – WR, $5,000 DK
Crowder is a new addition to Buffalo’s receiving core. As a league veteran, Crowder will look to add some wisdom to a relatively young Bills offense. Although we don’t know exactly what to expect, we do know that Crowder is capable of paying off this price point.
Crowder is one of the cheapest Bills available, and he really opens the door for unique lineup builds. At $5k, we can squeeze in both QBs and still manage a strong team. He’s not currently listed as a starter, but we can speculate he’ll see targets based on his role. The veteran WR had four games with 10+ fantasy points last season in a backup role.
Bills vs Rams Strategies
We’ve touched on plenty of strategies throughout this article, but a recap doesn’t hurt. In an effort to not sound like a broken record, we’ll go ahead and briefly cover these with bullet points.
- Try to avoid drafting a captain that limits the scoring upside of your lineup as a whole.
- Drafting both QBs is optimal more often than not.
- Remember Draftkings is PPR format, so factoring in receptions is crucial.
- Take your chances on low-owned captains with high ceilings.
- Compare betting lines with player salaries to find a potential edge.
- Think of how the game is expected to play out based on Vegas odds, and build lineups accordingly.
- Remember to consider scoring bonuses on Draftkings when you pick players.
- Enter as many lineups as you’re financially capable of. Ideally, max-enter the contests you’re playing in for the best chance of winning.
Thank you for reading our analysis of the week 1 NFL DFS showdown between the Bills and Rams. There’s no better time than right now to get active in the fantasy sports scene. NFL brings about more contests than any other sport, thus giving us the most opportunities to win.
If this write-up helped you at all, we ask that you please share the wealth with others! Our content will always be free and posted regularly throughout the football season. As always, good luck tonight with your contests. Football is finally back!