Packers vs Bears, a Showdown Preview

The NFL’s 100th season will kick off this Thursday, September 5th with two old rivals in the Packers and Bears battling it out at historic Soldier Field.  The NFL decided to go with a rivalry game over showcasing the defending champions to celebrate their 100th season in action and all signs pointing to this being a very good and competitive game between the two NFC North rivals.

For the Packers, the obvious optimism coming into the 2019 season is a healthy Aaron Rodgers, who in week one last year against these same Bears left the game early due to injury only to come back in the second half and lead the Packers on a thrilling 4th quarter comeback.  It was pretty much downhill from there for Green Bay and uphill for Chicago as they won the NFC North behind a solid defense and benefited from a relatively soft schedule allowing Mitch Trubisky and the offense to at times look exceptional and at times look downright putrid.

I don’t think it is necessary in week one to sit around and give you all the changes that each team has made going into the season necessarily, but really highlight the important ones to note.  And for me the biggest change on these teams is the loss of Vic Fangio as the DC for the Chicago Bears, as he now is the HC in Denver.  Fangio has historically been one of the best aggressive defensive coordinators and while the Bears certainly still have talent on all three levels on defense, his loss to me is going to hurt them in the long run.  But week one?  Not necessarily.

Equally impactful for the Green Bay Packers will be the debut of Matt LaFleur as the new HC replacing Mike McCarthy and everyone is going to be itching to see how Rodgers and his body language come out and play this week.  Prior to last season the Packers had won 8 out of 9 in this series, but the tide has definitely shifted with the Bears having the better all around roster and they are a slight -3.5 favorite on Thursday night.

Below is my cheat sheet format to use for Showdown slates as it gives you an indication on how to approach these games.

SHOWDOWN TIPS

NUMBER OF LINEUPS

To win the multi-entry Showdown slates you are going to have to go very contrarian and hope for the exact chips to fall your way, or enter a bunch of lineups to take down 1st place.  It’s just the simple math and odds of winning the tournament when dealing with hundreds of thousands of lineups out there.  I believe that simply telling someone to “get different and get creative” is horrible advice because we still want to put together a lineup that has a realistic high upside chance of winning.  However, as you enter multiple lineups you will find yourself FORCED into building some of those variant type configurations and so if your goal is to take down first place and you have the ability to enter many lineups, then you should do that.

If you aren’t able to play more than one lineup or don’t wish to invest that strategy and mindset then you should play for simply a lineup that can profit (and honestly, you should find the showdown single entry contests and go there).

I am going to give advice on three types of builds for each Showdown slate using my game theory and player pool.

CAPTAIN SPOT

A main lineup in Showdown (again, very -EV) is one that I would highly advise going heavy on the chalk for the core of your lineup.  Because you have one lineup you will be at a severe disadvantage if you are fading the popular plays when they go off because you do not have the variations to go with those popular plays.  This flies the face of what you’ll read around the industry but with ONE lineup we have to be smart and the first spot is identifying the popular plays and considering one of them for our CAPTAIN play.

CORE OWNERSHIP

Build out 3-4 players who are your CORE builds and spread them around between the Captain spot when doing multiple lineups.  If you are trying to just ‘play the field’ then you don’t need to be reading this article if you are just playing as much as you can.  But if you want to throw in 5-10 or 20 lineups, then focus your CORE into a game flow idea.

CONTRARIAN PLAYS

The rest of your lineup each week should consist of the players who are very contrarian and should fall in that 5-15% ownership on the Showdown slate (remember, chalk is usually around 60-80% on Showdown slates most nights, almost nobody is 0.01% owned).  It’s simply not a proven fact that a low owned player is always the proper Captain, but usually it won’t be the highest owned player on the slate and depending upon the type of game we project, we can narrow down the position that will likely gain the CAPTAIN spot.

 

CORE PLAYS

This is the group I would focus heaviest ownership on this week, ranked in order of preference by Tiers.

Tier 1 Plays – Heavy exposure and a single lineup CORE

  • Mitchell Trubisky – QB – Bears
  • Tarik Cohen – RB – Bears

Tier 2 Plays – Second highest exposure and usually 1 of these guys has to be in the CORE for salary relief

  • Anthony Miller – WR – Bears
  • Mason Crosby – K – Packers

Tier 3 Plays – The most contrarian high $ combination this week would be Rodgers-Adams

  • Aaron Rodgers – QB – Packers
  • Davante Adams – WR – Packers

 

SNEAKY SHOWDOWN PLAYS

Mike Davis – RB – Chicago Bears

The sexy name in the Chicago backfield is David Montgomery and certainly Tarik Cohen will draw a ton of ownership as well, but I am very interested in Mike Davis on opening night as a great pivot a lower ownership.  The Bears lost Jordan Howard and have replaced him with both Davis and Montgomery, but Davis comes in with a history of being effective in the red zone and should be involved on Thursday night enough to warrant consideration.

Adam Shaheen – TE – Chicago Bears

Trey Burton has been nursing a groin injury for what seems like months now and is considered a game time decision for the game on Thursday night.  If he sits then that opens up a ton of opportunity for Shaheen who is only $600 and would certainly give you the proper salary relief desired in a showdown lineup while also bringing along legit potential.

Green Bay Defense – DEF

Defenses are usually in the mid to low range in terms of ownership and they’re always that one fluke play away from flipping the contest.  Trubisky showed some struggles at times last year protecting the football and if I am going to use a defense it will be the much lower owned Packers side than the Bears this week.  This is a way to get ‘different’ as they say without completely going off the reservation.  Also, do not be afraid to pair the Packers D with Trubisky.  If they score a DEF TD then all that does is likely force Trubisky to score more points.

 

PREDICTION / BETS

The Packers and Bears to me are going to be neck and neck all season, but the edge is going to the home team in the opening game.  Chicago wins 24-17 and Mike Davis scores two touchdowns.

Bears -3.5

UNDER 46.5

 

srenner

Founder and CEO for The Daily Ambush. Author or The Dongers Club (MLB), The Ambush (NFL), The Slapshot (NHL) and The Tailgate (CFB).