This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
As the NBA Playoffs progress, multiple-game slates will become increasingly less frequent. This leaves DFS players with the moderately accessible and often misunderstood Showdown format, which is the case tonight as the Warriors and Clippers face off in Los Angeles.
While the strategy for the Showdown format should warrant an entire article by itself, I'll attempt to summarize some broad strokes about how to approach them - especially in an unfamiliar format.
At first glance, the format is deceptively simple. You assign one player as the Captain, who will receive his usual complement of fantasy points with a multiplier of 1.5x while the remaining five utility spots earn points as per usual. The added wrinkle is that the players you assign at the Captain spot also see their salaries increased by a multiple of 1.5x. The crux of this format is determining the overall value of that extra salary amount in relation to his lesser value if the player was relegated to a utility position. I'll use last night's Jazz-Nuggets game as an example.
Conventional wisdom would dictate that selecting the player with the most fantasy points for the captain position would be the ideal strategy. And at least in last night's game, that was the proper way to go as Nikola Jokic was far and away the biggest point-getter on the evening. Most GPP winners fielded him as the Captain, yielding 118.5 DKFP as a result.
However, this result is more the exception than the rule. Often, the value of a player who can generate a lot of points on his own should do just that and take a utility spot to maximize your available cash to, in essence, acquire better players. As you build your lineups tonight, I would tinker with various Captains and see if you can create your own 1x and 1.5x projections to see if there is a clear-cut winner like Jokic. I've done this already, and I've decided this is one of those evenings where the winning lineup won't feature a top-tier player at the Captain spot.
Also, be aware there will be many duplicate rosters in most of the Showdown contests, which puts a massive dent in your ROI. For this reason, I'm going to spend up on these contests to generate a more suitable potential profit. So, for those of you who toil in the $1 and $2 games, Showdowns are an excellent place to risk a bit more money.
Ultimately, a lot of your approach tonight is your own opinion of how this game will shake out. I think a lot of us expected the Warriors to close this series out the other night and we were, quite simply, dead wrong. We now need to look at this contest the way Vegas does: as a high-scoring matchup that will feature value on both ends of the ball.
Lou Williams, $15,000 CPT, $10,000 UTIL: The fate of the Clippers will likely lie with the fortunes of the league's best sixth man. Lou was once again the team's leading scorer, and his inflated salary reflects his value. Williams knows more than anyone the Clippers possess the goods to make things difficult for Golden State, and his veteran presence vaults this team's confidence. While he's expensive, he makes for a valuable addition to any build tonight.
Patrick Beverley, $9,300 CPT, $6,200 UTIL: Beverley will be a guy I'll slide into the CPT spot in a few of my builds, as he can allow for more talent at the utility spots with his sub-10k price tag. You have to go with the assumption he'll once again outdo his regular-season averages to justify his addition.
I don't have an issue with Stephen Curry ($10,400) or Klay Thompson ($7,600), but only at a utility position. I don't think their totals will make a Captain slot worth it tonight. Of course, Curry could be another Jokic and destroy a lot of lineups. But no one said DFS was easy!
Kevin Durant, $11,400 UTIL: While I love Durant as a utility, you end up being severely marginalized by using him in the 1.5x slot. 17.1K is a lot to pay, despite Durant's dominance throughout this series. Adding Durant is the exact reason for slotting a cheaper Captain because he can generate huge totals on his own. In such a high-scoring matchup, there will be cheaper CPTN plays that could use the 1.5X boost and still allow you to find room for Durant.
Danilo Gallinari, $12,900 CPTN, $8,600 UTIL: I like Gallinari a bit more as a utility player, but there is merit to considering him in the 1.5k spot despite the price. Gallinari's most significant issue seems to be his overall reluctance to include Lou Williams in the offense when he's on the court. It's evident the team hums on all cylinders when Williams sets the pace. And in the last game, you saw several instances where Lou was begging for the ball while Gallinari tried to create his own action with a series of low-percentage shots. Let's assume Doc Rivers addresses this issue, resulting in a more patient approach from the forward tonight.
Andrew Bogut, $8,400 CPTN, $5,600 UTIL: I think the center position is full of potential for the captain spot tonight if you believe in the viability of putting more obvious scorers at the utility spots. This risk-reward potential is scary. I've elected to switch things up and go with a more obvious Captain pick more than once, only to regret the decision. Overcome that fear and experiment with low-cost guys like Bogut, who has the potential to reward you with 5x value at this captain's salary.
Showdowns aren't easy to crack and are often frustrating. I prefer firing up radically different builds and hope for the best, but I hope today's article has expanded your knowledge of this format and helped you view it differently.