DFS Thursday Night Football: DraftKings Showdown for Week 3

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Before we get into the specifics of this matchup and how to approach it for the DraftKings showdown slate, I want to point people back to a few pieces of evergreen content that I think are extremely valuable if you’re serious about winning showdown all season. I’d recommend reading/listening to this content before proceeding, especially if you’re new to showdown.

1. How to Win Showdown Contests: A detailed article looking at the data and strategy behind winning showdown lineups.

2. DFS Showdown Strategy PodcastA thorough discussion on how to beat showdown, looking at the game theory and how to leverage the field.

DraftKings Sportsbook Lines

Spread: Carolina -8.5
Total: 43.5
Team Totals: Carolina (26.0), Houston (17.5)

Game Outlook

The 2-0 Carolina Panthers head to Houston to take on a 1-1 Texans team that has really surprised a lot of people early in the season. The big story line here is the Tyrod Taylor hamstring injury, which will thrust third round rookie QB Davis Mills into the starting QB position for Houston. To no one’s surprise, the money is pouring in on the Panthers as this line originally opened at 7 and has since been bet to 8.5.

Carolina’s offense has been better than expected with the team running a near 50/50 split in terms of run to pass ratio, ranking 25th in neutral situation pass rate. Unlike some other teams who choose to slow it down and run when playing with a lead, the Panthers game plan so far has remained stable regardless of game script, throwing at a 52% clip when the game is within one score while throwing 53% of the time when winning by more than 7 points. If we project Houston to lose by a full TD or more as the Vegas line suggests, we can’t necessarily lean into the narrative that they’ll pass like crazy. Through two games, Houston ranks 23rd in pass rate when trailing by at least 7 points. Given these tendencies, and the fact that Houston is relying on a rookie QB making his first start, I’d expect the Texans to lean into their three-man RBBC of Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson.

Pace Stats

Plays per game: Carolina: 68.0 (7th), Houston: 66.5 (11th)

Neutral Situation Pace: Carolina: 25th, Houston: 22nd

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Injury Outlook


  • EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos (O): Ankle


Captain Selections

Christian McCaffrey $20,100
There’s not much to say here. McCaffrey’s usage in 2021 has picked up right where it left off in 2019 before an injury-riddled 2020. Through two games, McCaffrey has seen 30 opportunities in each game while posting an insane 22.1% target share on the back of RB1 overall and RB3 overall finishes in the first two weeks. He’s going to be the most popular play on the entire slate, and it probably won’t even be close. If you want to roster CMC in the captain spot, just be willing to get a little contrarian with your build. Outside of his expensive price tag, there’s nothing negative to say about McCaffrey in Week 3.

Stack Idea to differentiate lineups: Cpt CMC + Sam Darnold, Bring back with 4 Texans

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