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WNBA Showdown Roster Construction

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Over the past year DraftKings and FanDuel have introduced and continued to evolve their single game Showdown content. Early slates where met with mixed results as given a smaller player pool (typically around 16 players) the large field format lead to a limited number of combinations to stacking players, and the early fantasy offerings resulted in multi-way chops (typically of 50 or more people) who won the contests.

To help alleviate this issue and introduce variance into builds they’ve since introduced multipliers to the format to decrease multi-way ties and increase a players ability to construct a unique line-up. Similar to the struggles DraftKings and FanDuel had with the single game format in its infancy, any reputable fantasy sports site does not offer content on slates containing less than two games for similar reasons. Touting plays isn’t simply about highlighting the “best plays” on a particular slate but rather trying to offer the subscribers of the content an edge the rest of the field may not be on for any given reason.

In a single game format this becomes exceptionally harder to do without leading the masses to the same overall construction. I feel however “the edge” to the new Showdown format lies in understanding the format itself and how to build the optimal construction on any particular slate in order to increase your return on investment and the amount of #Buckies won.

I’ve personally found the most success with the Showdown format by thinking about roster construction one of three ways on DraftKings. As the Captain spot is a 1.5x multiplier that also is a 1.5x multiplier that detracts from salary it leads you to approaching the slate from a roster construction standpoint that breaks it down into one of two categories (the third is a contrarian approach). Anyone who knows me knows that I am one for playing the correlation game with plays and I am also keen on analyzing what wins, and are there trends to what wins. Over the course of this season I’ve found that in regards to the DraftKings WNBA Showdown slates there is a fairly logical construction to what plays typically find themselves into a winning line-up (it’s less about ownerships and more about raw points).


When settling on which player to play in the Captain spot it comes down to one of two things…

  • Does a stud go for 50+ points from a fantasy standpoint on that particular slate? If the answer is “no” playing a high priced stud ($10K+ standard pricing) in the Captain spot is a flawed and sub-optimal construction as it leads to also having to roster multiple punts who have a greater than average chance at scoring less than 10 fantasy points and not helping carry the line-up. If no stud on the slate scores more than 50+ fantasy points (even 40-45 is on the edge of comfort splitting hairs) they more often than not are not in the winning GPP line-up in this format because of the overall volatility of the punts. In a single game format the punts rarely hit (especially if the studs go off) so the correlation between a stud Captain + 2-3 punt plays is that you are basically banking on the studs going off to carry the sub 15 dkpts scores you will get from your multiple sub-$3K players.


  • If the answer to the first part was “no” then the second optimal construction is to determine who has the upside to be the best value play of the game. When it comes to constructing a strong Showdown line-up, point per dollar investment and upside is the most important factor to consider. By best “value” play in the Showdown format you should think of this as less of a literal sub-$5K player like you would in the Classic construction but more of the best upside play in the sub-$9K standard pricing. More often than not if a stud does not score over 50 fantasy points (raw points no multiplier) and is thus not in the Captain spot in a winning line-up the best value play point per dollar is the player who was rostered as the Captain. Ownership means less in the Showdown format (at least in regards to WNBA) than people realize and to break down what it takes to win you’ll find that the difference between 1st and 25th or even 100th has everything to do with where in a line-up the best plays point per dollar where rostered and nothing to do with actual ownership.

Note: There is a secondary scenario that you see hit every now and then where if a sub-$4.5K player standard pricing goes for 25 or more dkpts (37.5 dkpts as Captain) they are likely the key on that particular slate to binking as their cheap price tag afforded you a construction to play all of the high priced players who inherently not only have the higher floors, but also the higher ceilings. *

  • The third way of thinking of this is the polar opposite approach to the first two points and instead plays the contrarian angle and considers ownership as a way to leverage the field. This aspect of construction I feel best suits itself to the 100 man tourneys, head to heads, cash games, or small field stuff where you can utilize ownership to your advantage. Given the Showdown format is a single game roster construction and typically has less than 16 players in a player pool who are viable players to consider it’s often easier then in a Classic format to try and access and gauge ownership relative to the field as to who the “chalkiest” plays of the slate could be. As we’ve already covered the fact that “ownership” in many regards doesn’t matter in large field construction, these smaller field formats you can actually utilize ownership as a contrarian means to leverage the field and gain an edge. Typically the highest owned player isn’t always the best raw points play or the favorite stud in the best match-up but rather more often than not it’s a solid mid-tier play who be it because of pricing or obvious construction builds leads the field to this player being higher owned then they typically may be on a classic slate. A contrarian Showdown approach is to take the player you think would be the highest owned player on a particular slate and play that person as the Captain. The edge you gain from this is as this player should be the chalk play of the slate, for every point scored you rise (or fall) that much higher than the field that much quicker. Typically this person is a player nobody in the field considered rostering as a Captain yet likely had in their line-up anyways because pricing worked or they “just fit” as last woman in a line-up.

FanDuel is a bit more straightforward as with no salary affecting the multipliers people get way to cute or try and outsmart the format. With regard to FanDuel construction it is more straightforward – determine who you feel will be the top three raw points plays on the slate and play them 1 / 2 / 3 with the highest projected scorer being the 2x MVP spot and trickle it down to the UTIL. Simply approaching the build from this construction is a consistent way to turn a profit in a format where everyone puts to much stock in finding a “low owned play” when the reality is the contest and format is built for raw points upside.