I’ve recently taken a liking to the NFL Showdown contests on DraftKings. I find there to still be a nice edge in this format – especially if you’re MME’ing. Putting together 150 optimized lineups that each fit a designed game script gives you a great chance to finish near the top, in a contest full of lineups built by players that are generally just throwing darts.

Well, I’ve dug into the college format. There are some differences, but the same general rule applies – build lineups that MAKE SENSE and you give yourself a nice edge. I can’t tell you how many lineups I see with a WR at CAPT, but that player’s QB is not included in the roster. Or, another favorite of mine, three pass-catchers in a lineup, but no QB to be found. There are kickers galore, multiple RB’s from the same team, lack of QB/WR stacking – or over-stacking – and many more “no-no’s” that kill so many lineups.

I’ve gone back to the start of 2018 and broken down nearly 100 CFB Showdown contests. I’ve explored numerous trends and come up with the following rules to follow to help you build a highly optimized 6-player lineup.

### Optimal Salary

The first trend I will go over has to do with your lineup’s optimal salary. Keep in mind, this isn’t skewed by the fact that most players spend to the cap, these are ONLY figures for the optimal – or perfect lineup – on each slate.

72 times out of 92 (78.3%), the optimal salary was greater than $47,000. This should be obvious, as there is clear correlation between a player’s salary, and their projected fantasy points. However, it was a surprise to me that this number wasn’t higher. In fact, 13 times (14.1%) the optimal salary was actually between $43,000-$47,000.

I think it’s fair to set a minimum salary around $43,000 when building, as the optimal lineup was over this number 92.4% of the time. Don’t forget that most players are spending right up to the salary cap, so by simply **not excluding** lineups in the $42-48k range, we’re giving ourselves a little bit of an edge over most of the field that is simply spending to the max.

**RULE #1:*** ***Set minimum salary to $43,000, maximum to $50,000 (92.4% of optimals)**

### Optimal # of Players Per Team

Out of 92 Showdown slates I analyzed, there were 4 players from one team in 51 of the optimal lineups (55.4%). There were 3 players from each team in 27 optimals (29.3%), and 5 players from one team just 14 times (15.2%).

If you want to play the percentages, you can exclude any lineups that have 5 players from one team – 4-2 or 3-3 has been the optimal build 84.8% of the time.

Personally, I follow this rule **unless** there is a clear favorite in the game – generally a team favored by more than 15 points. In those cases, I will generally include builds with 5 players from the favored team.

**RULE #2: Use no more than 4 players for one team (84.8% of optimals)**

### Optimal Captains

Captain distribution has been pretty even between QB/RB/WR. I do notice a trend that QB captains are generally dual-threat players that can put up big rushing numbers.

Out of 92 Showdown slates, optimal Captain distribution has been: QB – 27 (29.3%), RB – 31 (33.7%), WR – 34 (37.0%), K – 0 (0.0%).

This one is pretty simple – DO NOT play a kicker in your captain spot!

**RULE #3:*** ***Don’t play a kicker as Captain (100.0% of optimals)**

**OPTIONAL RULE: Do not use QB as Captain unless they are a dual-threat**

### Regarding Kickers

To follow up on kickers. A kicker has appeared in the optimal lineup only 15 out of 92 times (16.3%). Kickers simply aren’t as good, and don’t get as many FG opportunities at this level. I’ve found kicker exposure to be well over that 16.3% threshold, so fading kickers altogether is generally a good rule to follow.

**RULE #4:*** ***Do not play any kickers (83.7% of optimals)**

### Optimal Position Distribution

While a kicker only appears in 16.3% of optimal lineups, there is almost always at least 1 QB/RB/WR.

At least 1 quarterback has appeared in 89 of 92 lineups (96.7%), at least 1 running back has appeared 83 times (90.2%), and at least 1 pass-catcher has appeared in all 92 optimals (100.0%). Make sure to set your minimums for those positions at 1.

For WR, there have only been 14 instances (15.2%) where both teams didn’t have at least 1 pass-catcher in the optimal lineup. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to make sure there is at least 1 WR from each team in your lineups.

**RULE #5:*** ***Play at least 1 QB, RB, and WR (87.2% of optimals)**

**RULE #6:*** ***Play at least 1 WR from each team (84.8% of optimals)**

### Optimal QB/WR Stacking

The most obvious rule here is that you should always have at least one pass-catcher in lineups that contain their QB. There has been 116 quarterbacks that have appeared in optimal lineups, and only 6 times did a quarterback not have **at least **1 pass-catcher in the same lineup (5.2% of optimals).

Only 15 times was there a quarterback stacked with 3 of his pass-catchers (12.9%). Therefore, a rule I always follow is to stack all QB’s with either 1 (45.7%) or 2 (36.2%) of their pass-catchers **unless **it’s a high-volume passing team (Hawaii/Washington State).

**RULE #7:*** ***Stack all QB’s with at least 1, but no more than 2 of their pass-catchers (84.5% of optimals)**

### Quarterback/Kicker Stacking

This is a simple one. If a kicker is kicking field goals, a quarterback is not throwing or rushing for touchdowns. Only 10 times out of 92 (8.6%) were a QB and K from the same team in an optimal lineup together.

**RULE #8: Do not stack a quarterback and kicker from the same team (91.4% of optimals)**

### Other Trends

We can’t ink any rules from these trends, but I thought the info was good to know.

First off, a QB/RB from the same team has appeared 69 times. That means 59.5% of the time, a quarterback also has a running back from his team in the optimal lineup.

Secondly, looking at running backs from the same team – only twice has there been an optimal lineup that contained 3 rushers from one team (2.2%).

There have been 65 instances of a team not having a running back appear in the optimal lineup. This implies that only about 30% of the time does at least 1 running back from each team appear in an optimal lineup.

2 running backs from the same team appeared 30 times – an occurrence that happened in approximately 32.6% of optimal lineups.

Last, we look at optimal lineups that featured BOTH team’s starting quarterbacks. This occurred just 27 times – or 29.3% of the time. Not a small enough number to make a rule out of, but this happened much less frequently than I would have thought.

### Summary

There are 8 firm rules I follow when building CFB Showdown lineups on DraftKings. These can all be set in FantasyCruncher, and there is usually a way to set most of these rules in other lineup builders you may be using.

Follow these 8 commandments, and you should see your ROI start to increase in this format:

**RULE #1:*** ***Set minimum salary to $43,000, maximum to $50,000 (92.4% of optimals)**

**RULE #2: Use no more than 4 players for one team (84.8% of optimals)**

**RULE #3:*** ***Don’t play a kicker as Captain (100.0% of optimals)**

**RULE #4:*** ***Do not play any kickers (83.7% of optimals)**

**RULE #5:*** ***Play at least 1 QB, RB, and WR (87.2% of optimals)**

**RULE #6:*** ***Play at least 1 WR from each team (84.8% of optimals)**

**RULE #7:*** ***Stack all QB’s with at least 1, but no more than 2 of their pass-catchers (84.5% of optimals)**

**RULE #8: Do not stack a quarterback and kicker from the same team (91.4% of optimals)**

**OPTIONAL RULE: Do not use QB as Captain unless they are a dual-threat**

Hopefully this data helps in your lineup construction process. Moving forward, I’ll be keeping track of the numbers, and will make necessary updates if I see any of these rules change drastically. If there are any specific topics you’d like me to cover in future strategy sessions, feel free to reach out to me @RyanClifford on Twitter, or hit me up anytime in Saturday morning chats.