DFS: NFL Season Premiere Thursday Night Single Game $1M Slates

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I am looking at the DFS $1M Tournaments for Both FanDuel and Draft Kings by examining some plays, for the single-game slate of GB/CHI, to kick off the NFL season.

Some Basic Info:

If you’re into the DFS side of fantasy sports, then you know about FanDuel and Draft Kings $1M weekly tournaments, on Sundays.  You pick what you think are the best players, each with their own salary, trying to fill your roster spots without going over the required salary cap.  Usually, you get to pick from a full slate/multiple games that give you multiple options and teams to look at.  The player combinations are endless. Finding the right roster+salary combinations, from those hundreds of players, could net you $1M.

But, for the one game tournaments (Draft Kings calls them “showdowns”), the options are much less. You’re picking players from only one game/2 teams; and for that reason, these games are usually not given $1M top prize payouts. Yet, for the start of the NFL season, both FanDuel and Draft Kings are offering a $1M prize, single game tournaments, as football fans are always at a frenzy to have the season start, and thus it makes it easy for them to fill a tournament where they have to get 300K entries to make that $1M payoff happen.

The player combinations become less, and the ownership (% of people putting an individual player in their roster) goes WAY up. For example, for this week, a player like Aaron Rodgers might be in 60% of players rosters entries (and you might have him on your roster).  While Aaron Rodgers might end up the top option for the week, if he’s 60% owned, you’re not differentiating your roster from the 300K other entries.  So to win the $1M, you’ll have to find and/or add-in players, who will do reasonably well, that other people aren’t looking at, as much…a tall order when only two teams are playing.

The Single Game Slate Twist:

So quickly, the twist with the single-game DFS tournaments is that you can select a single player, from the ones you roster, as a “captain” (for DK) or “MVP” (for FD).  On both sites, that single-player then earn 1.5X whatever points he gets for the game (so 20 points if he’s in the non-mvp slot become 30 points if the same player is in that MVP slot). Choosing the right player as your MVP is crucial to making your roster score higher, and another way for you to separate yourself from the pack. In a game where player ownership will not be as unique as a tournament DFS with 10games/20 teams to choose from.

Site Differences:

Fanduel                 Draft Kings

$9 Entry fee         $10 Entry Fee

304K Entries       294K Entries

No Defenses        Team Defenses as players allowed

26% cash out       21% cash-out (win money)

5 player rosters   6 player rosters

MVP cost=same  Captains cost more to roster

Big Salary Differences between the two sites

Let’s look at some players who might make good Captains/MVPs:

Aaron Rodgers/Mitch Trubisky

QBs make good captains/MVPs as their points are pretty consistent, week-to-week. The over/under for this game is at 46.5 points, which means that it’s expected to be a shootout.  In most games that are shootouts, QBs will get 2-3 TDs and be dominate in the special spot.


Pros: Rodgers is a better QB with a better overall receiving core.  Davante Adams is a top 5 WR that the Bears were not able to stop, in either game they played last year. The Bears passing D has been bad during the preseason, giving up 340yards+/game (Yes, I know, it’s the preseason, still not a great trend).  Rodgers threw for 3 TDs, versus the Bears in Week 1, last year.

Cons: Bears have a highly touted defense, with most of last years starters returning, and despite a massive o/u projection, could keep the Packers to 17 points or less (like they did in the 2nd time the teams met, last year).


Pros: Trubisky threw for a couple of TDs, last year (in the 2nd matchup), vs. the Packers and that Packers defense has not been stopping anyone in the preseason, as well (340yd+average/game for them too).

Cons: The Bears are just as likely to run the ball. Trubisky had a so-so game, last year (the 1st game) with no TDs and only 171 yards passing, although he did rush for a TD.

Other Captain/MVP options:

Aaron Jones: Looks to be out of his RBBC spot and leading the rushing charge for the Packers.  If they Packers get ahead, early, they’ll be pounding the ball via Jones to wear the clock down. The Bears had one of the best rushing defenses last year and kept Aaron Jones to 4 rushes for 8 yards, last year.

David Montgomery: Rookie RB for the Bears and who we won’t know how the Bears plan to use him until we see his usage in this game. His potential might be too great to pass up. If the Bears get ahead, it’s likely they will lean on Montgomery and he could get extra carries as the game winds downs.

RBs are pretty common to see in the Captain/MVP slot, as they get consistent carries and more opportunities for rushing TDs to happen.

Davante Adams: Adams went 5 rec for 88yds and a TD, and 8 rec for 119 yds, in his two games vs. the Bears, last year.  If you don’t go QB or WR for the special spot, then Adams might pay off huge. Pairing him up with Rodgers would be a must (whether you have Rodgers or Adams in the captain/mvp slot).  Also, anyone that can make OchoCinco/Chad Johnson cry because of the routes he runs is worthy or your captain/mvp slot.

Longer Shots at Captain/MVP

Geronimo Allison/Marques Valdes-Scanting: Some debate about who will be the Packers #2 receiving option, this year, but if the Bears focus on shutting down Adams, then one of these guys would benefit.  High Risk/High Reward play.  With 300K(ish) entries, in both contests, it might take you starting a guy like Allison or MVS to break away from the pack. *** Randall Cobb got 9 receptions for 142 yards and 1 TD in Week 1 of 2018 versus the Bears, so Rodgers can/has zeroed-in on a second or third receiving option, in the past, if he sees a weakness in the Bears defense. ***

Allen Robinson/Anthony Miller: Same as the Packers Duo above.  Robinson is the #1 option, for the Bears, but Anthony Miller coming from the slot spot has the potential to rack up some huge points on a weekly basis. If

Bears Defense (Draft Kings only):  One reliable option in the cash version (top 50% of entries win double their $/entry fee) of Draft Kings Showdowns is playing defense in the Captain spot.  The Bears Defense could pop in this game, especially if they keep the score low and can score off a turnover.  Defenses cost less to the roster, which can save you money to roster other stars. *** The Packers were one of the teams that game up the most points to kickoff returners in 2018.  If the Bears get a kickoff return touchdown, those points go toward the Bears Defense, as well. ***

Either Kicker-Pineiro or Crosby (Draft Kings only): Another reliable option in cash showdown version. It’s entirely possible that this game becomes a field goal fest.  If one of the kickers hits five FGs then he can be the highest scorer of the game.  A much longer shot to happen…but again, to come out on top of 300K entries, you gotta be a little different.

Rest of Your Roster:

Once you choose your captain/MVP, then you need to fill the rest of your roster.  Remember, QBs and starting RBs are the most reliable scoring options.  Don’t be afraid to double up and take a QB and his #1 receiving option, even if you don’t use either in the captain/MVP slot. Kickers or Defenses are usually pretty cheap, compared to QBs and other stud players. A player like Tarik Cohen or Mike Davis may break a run or reception for a big play. Cohen, in particular, can rack up a half dozen catches, in a single game. Play around with the different combinations before settling on your final roster. If you’re feeling a player like may pop, then give them a shot.

Odds that could make a difference:

FanDuel has a 250K bonus for the player who scores the 1st TD of the game (if you roster that player in the MVP spot)

Top 10 odds on the player to score 1st TD of the game:
Adams +600
Jones +700 **First 2 players with best odd are Packers
Montgomery +800
Robinson +1000
Cohen +1000 **Could change some minds on Cohen for MVP on FD
Miller +1600
Graham +1600 **A bit of a forgotten player
MVS +1600
Allison +1600

Total FGs for game-The Best odds land at 3 FGS, total, for both teams
Total FGs for GB–Best Odds are 1.5 total fgs over/under with both the over/under at -120
Total FGs for Chi–Best Odds are 1.5 OVER at -160.
Implies CHI 2 FGs and GB with 1. (Odds that GB gets 0 FGs at +350 vs CHI at +500)

Total TDs for the Game–Odds of 4TDs or 5 TDS both at +375

Here’s where it gets interesting.

2 Total TDs is +900, 3TDs is +475, 6TDs is +450 (leaning towards a higher scoring game as the odds seem to favor 6 TDs over 2 TDs), 7TDs is +600.

There’s a better chance of 7 total TDs than 2 total TDs?!

7 TDs lends itself to a strategy of a near-total team stack for one side. 35-14 would be about right and still go over an over/under total of 46.5 pts, that is begging for people to bet the under, especially with the Chicago Defense on one side of the ball.

Good luck! This is my first DFS column, this year. Let me know if you want to see anything different in the upcoming DFS articles.  I probably won’t spend so space explaining how to play DFS contests, in the future, but I thought it was important for this article, as there may be some new players to the single-game process.

Follow me and hit me up on twitter @Flavorizethis. We can talk fantasy football: redraft, best ball, and dynasty leagues, as well as DFS fantasy football. You can read more of my articles here: https://www.dynastyfootballdigest.com/author/sperkins/

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