Sunday, Feb 11th — Late
Bye Week:

Why Optimals?

This course is focused on how to find the optimal lineup in Showdown. Note that finding the optimal lineup is very different from finding the winning lineup. The goal here is that, recognizing that the optimal lineup only wins a little over 50% of the time in Showdown tournaments, there’s a lot of money out there if you can find the exact optimal lineup and avoid a big multi-way tie for first. I also want to note that I’m assuming that you’ve read my existing Advanced Showdowns course, as I’ll make references to data and takeaways from it throughout this. It’s probably not 100% necessary, but it’s good material if I do say so myself, and if you don’t have it you’ll just have to trust what I’m saying when I reference it without being able to see the content yourself.

Let’s start with setting expectations. This strategy is not for the faint of heart. It’s going to involve high variance play, because you’re going to have to intentionally avoid plays that are strong on paper and take a more contrarian approach to roster construction. You’re going to have to be prepared to lose a lot of slates. The upside, though, is that these Showdown tournaments are extremely top-heavy and if you hit once, you’ve guaranteed yourself a profitable season. My approach is to work some amount of high-variance lineups into my normal MME builds. I don’t go all or nothing. If I’m max entering a Showdown tourney, I’ll do something like 125 lineups that are built to “win” and then 25 that are built to try and be optimal. 

Why Showdown is great for this strategy

Let me start by saying that if you’re chasing the very top prize of a big GPP, I would absolutely target Showdowns over the full-slate Milly Makers. In most Showdowns you’re looking at a smaller prize of low six figures versus a million, but I just think they are far, far more winnable. Here’s why:

  • It’s really easy to figure out ownership, and when there are guys who are 50-80% owned, you don’t need to go contrarian everywhere in order to move past the vast majority of rosters. 
  • It’s also just easier, at least for me, to deeply analyze a single game than it is to figure out an entire full slate. If you figure out a game flow that others aren’t expecting, you can absolutely smash (a couple of years ago, the Raiders were playing at the 49ers and ownership was all over the Raiders; almost all of my Showdown lineups were 5-1 and 4-2 49ers stacks, and I absolutely crushed that slate). 
  • With just six roster slots, there are fewer things to have to get right in order to win (especially as you can largely construct your Showdown roster within the context of how a single game will play out; as JM often says, “Give yourself fewer things that you need to get right” — and Showdown gives the perfect opportunity for this).
  • And finally, there are a lot more Showdown tournaments than Milly Makers, so a high-variance strategy will normalize to expectations in less time. 

Again, I want to emphasize here that in the past two years, the optimal lineup has only won the big Showdown tournaments slightly over 50% of the time. That means that almost half the time there’s a 6-figure score out there that nobody is getting. That’s worth targeting.