How To Play NFL Single-Game Showdown DFS On FanDuel

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How To Play NFL Single-Game Showdown DFS On FanDuel

With NFL week one finally upon us, we are all very excited to get going on some NFL DFS. However, we’re going to have to wait until Sunday for the week’s main slate, and we have an exciting Thursday single-game showdown on deck. FanDuel is offering a huge GPP with a million dollars up top for a five-dollar entry fee.

The FanDuel single game showdown NFL DFS format is very different than their complete slate offerings. There are specific strategies one must use to maximize the opportunity to win. I will discuss the basics and some of the deeper intricacies but how to play single-game NFL showdown contests on FanDuel. All images are illustrations of the concepts presented and not suggested actual lineups. We cannot present a complete lineup, so I have left at least one roster spot blank in all examples.

FanDuel NFL Showdown Format

First of all, one must understand the format. FanDuel differs from DraftKings considerably in their single-game offering. For one, there are only five roster spots rather than six. Secondly, the “MVP” position (FanDuel’s version of the DraftKings “Captain”) pays 1.5x the fantasy points. Yet, it does not cost 1.5x the salary as it does on DraftKings.

This creates a very different game. A single-game format is already reasonably limited in terms of possible relevant roster combinations, but now even more so with only five spots to fill.

It also creates a scenario where there is no advantage to rostering anyone but the player who will score the most fantasy points in the MVP spot. There is no salary penalty, so why would you not?. This makes it a more straightforward game and introduces another strategic wrinkle regarding the importance of uniqueness in your lineups.

FanDuel NFL Showdown MVP Selection

You could easily say that there is no reason not to simply roster whoever you think will score the most fantasy points in the MVP spot. This would be true for sure in a double-up or 50/50 contest or even perhaps in a tiny field GPP. However, because there is no salary advantage to rostering anyone but the most prominent star players in the MVP spot, an even more significant portion of the field will do just that than on DraftKings.

In these vast large-field GPPs such as the Milly-Maker on Thursday, one of the only ways you can really get unique is to get contrarian with the MVP spot. It is wise to do a deeper dive and see if there are viable MVP candidates that most of the field is not recognizing.

You’ll also want to consider the correlation of your MVP with the rest of your squad when looking to create optimal lineups. If you are MVPing a running back, perhaps consider going light on the passing game in the rest of your lineup since you are banking on a ceiling performance from the RB. If you are putting a wide receiver in the MVP spot, it may make sense to put their QB in a flex position.

Considering Game Script

Just as with the DraftKings format, one of the keys to success in single-game DFS is envisioning a game script and constructing your lineups accordingly.

FanDuel does not allow you to roster defenses, so you don’t have to consider that as you would on DraftKings. However, you can roster kickers, and you’ll want to consider how a kicker may or may not factor into how you see the game unfolding.

Of course, you’ll want to consider which team you envision scoring more points in terms of how many players from each squad you select.

You’ll also want to go deeper into game script considerations. Say you think a team will get out way ahead and lean on the run game while the other team plays catch up. In this case, you might roster the workhorse running back from the squad you think will be working with a big lead while rostering the quarterback and a receiver from the team playing catch up.

Many different possibilities can play out in an NFL game. Capturing the correct roster according to game script can be the key to success in NFL showdown DFS.

Gaining Leverage In Large Field GPPs

As mentioned earlier, getting leverage in large-field GPPs is even more complex on FanDuel than DraftKings due to the format. The lack of salary multiplier in the point multiplier position and lack of a sixth roster position makes it quite tricky to get unique and gain leverage against your opponents.

It is going to be even more crucial to leave salary on the table on FanDuel than DraftKings. You might make lineups leaving absolutely absurd amounts to create a unique lineup that has a chance to differentiate itself from the field. Due to inefficiencies in pricing, you can often find lineup combinations that use a fraction of your salary that have legitimate win equity. This is also a way to play a desirable MVP and retain some uniqueness in your lineup.

Insert player that costs well below $14,500 in the last FLEX spot.

Alternatively, while it’s hard to stomach at times, you can get off the board with your MVP choice, and it can work if things go haywire in a given game. We’ve all seen instances where a fringe WR3 goes off for over 100 yards and multiple touchdowns and outscores everyone else on the slate. It’s hard to click those players into our MVP spot as it just feels like lineup suicide, but that’s how everyone else feels too. On that rare occasion that it works out, having a fringy player that goes off in your MVP spot is the ticket to big money.

Another strategy you can consider is to play a player in the MVP spot that doesn’t make logical sense with the rest of your lineup since most DFSers won’t do this. An example would be to play four players from one team in all the flex positions, with an MVP from the other team in the MVP slot.

Insert a fourth Cowboy in the last FLEX spot.

A direct leverage approach would go directly against a top-rated player on the slate, especially in the MVP position. An example would be to play the backup running back when the starting running back is a high-owned play.

The main objective is getting different in FanDuel NFL showdown in these large-field GPPs like the one we will see on Thursday.


There’s not a lot that is more fun better chance to win a million on the first day of NFL football season for five dollars of investment. If you want a real shot, make sure to get different and take some chances with your FanDuel NFL showdown lineups this Thursday.

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