Daily Fantasy Sports

2019 NFL DFS Chalk Talk Week 2



Welcome class to Week 2 of the 2019 NFL DFS Chalk Talk symposium!

This is our new weekly installment where I’ll discuss the chalky options and whether or not I believe they are worth rostering in GPP formats.

It is not a list of my favorite plays.

This is not a list of guys I don’t like.

In general, even if I give a player a negative review, they are still guys I probably like.

Chalk is chalk for a reason.  That reason is chalk is good.

There’s a lot of “bad chalk” that is still a must in cash and I’m primarily a cash game player so I could easily be heavy on a lot of these guys even if I think they are bad GPP options.

Chalk 101

If we knew the results of outcomes, ownership wouldn’t matter and we’d just choose the highest scoring lineup.  But since none of us really know what the optimal lineup will be, it’s probably better to choose the player who will have less ownership where we share the prize with fewer people if he goes off.

For perspective, Yahoo will give 1 million dollars out to anyone who manages to submit a perfect lineup in their freeroll.  They’ve been doing this for years now.  Hundreds of thousands of lineups have been submitted into the Yahoo Cup each week and not once has anyone had a perfect lineup.  Hence, why they feel so comfortable offering out that free million because they know that it’s extremely unlikely anyone will ever do it.

Since we can’t possibly know what makes a good lineup, we should at least submit the best possible one but hedge a little and try to get some guys who won’t be too popular along the way.

A Note About This Article

We’re getting this out way too early.  There’s going to be a lot of breaking news coming out in next few days that will drastically change the definition of which players are or aren’t chalk.  You should view this as a living article.  We will be updating this report as more information becomes available.

This is not meant to be for any specific site since relative pricing varies quite a bit site to site.  Furthermore, in GPP, the relative price of an individual isn’t really that big a deal.  They are either going to in a normal price range for a starter or in a mismatched price range because they weren’t expected to be the starter when salaries were released.  If they are mismatched that’ll help them be chalk, but for the most part, it really doesn’t matter if someone is the 4th most expensive QB or the 9th most expensive QB in regards to ownership.

We’re simply going to look at the players who I’ve seen get a lot of mentions and expect to be popular plays.

A Note on Methodology

I go into DFS with a Jon Snow outlook.  I know nothing.

Make zero assumptions.  Everything is data-driven.   That data needs to be relevant too.  Unfortunately, this means a lot of guesswork in the early days.

I really only care about perceived talent and perceived opportunity. As it’s Week 2,  and I refuse to look at last year’s numbers, we will really only have Week 1 to use for data so we’ll still heavily rely upon gut instinct here.  However, as the season goes on, we can look less and less at one-off performances. As the year goes along, I hope this list will prove increasingly accurate.

2019 NFL DFS Chalk Talk Week 2

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In Week 1 we had 5 passes, 1 meh, and one take.  The Jacoby take busted and the rest were fairly reasonable except for Lamar Jackson who should have been a take.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs – Take

Easy matchup against Oakland and with Tyreek out, it actually gets cheaper to correlate with receivers as well with a dramatically narrowed range of outcomes.  As usual, he’s at the top of my projections but unlike other weeks, this is one of the few weeks I’ll be ok with Mahomes despite how much ownership he’ll accrue.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens – Meh

Came in as chalk with his great matchup and crushed it.  This week again has an absurdly good matchup.  Going to be tough to pass up on him despite a price and ownership hike.  He’s likely going to be my cash lock but given his expected ownership surge, I’m willing to pass in GPP even though he’s in a fantastic spot and will likely perform once again.

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles – Take

Last week I thought the game would get away from them and they’d turn to the army of running backs but WAS scored plenty and Wentz hit his numbers.  This week one would assume ATL’s offense would coerce a repeat performance.  However, this is still the ATL team that was so bad last week Cousins only threw the ball 10 times.  I believe ATL is much better and Wentz will once again air it out and rack up points.  This is chalk I’ll eat with the hopes it’s not actually chalk.  For what it’s worth, my sports betting group put a few units on him to win the MVP at 15:1 and since making that bet the odds have increased to 7:1.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots – Meh

After dismantling the Steelers and witnessing what Lamar Jackson did to the Dolphins, Brady should be among the highest owned QBs in Week 2.  As a pats fan, I don’t think he looked that great in the game, but it’s still an unbelievably good matchup.  One issue holding me back is it’s difficult to predict which flavor of the week Belichek will give the ball to so creating NE stacks is like solving a Rubik’s Cube when you’re color blind.  I love Brady for this game but it’s anyone’s guess what other pieces in NE will carry the load each week.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys – Meh

Dak put up a great performance last week and although Zeke should feature more in this matchup in Washington, he’s in a good spot @WAS.  I like the play but could easily see this as one where he spends most of it just holding the ball for Zeke/Pollard to grab and run.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders – Take

Will be forced to throw it against KC, a team that seems to continue last year’s trend of scoring lots of points and being scored on upon plenty as well.    This is a great spot for Carr and he comes very cheap as well so it leads to a world of possibility.  I’ll dip my toes in here plenty.

Running Backs

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In Week 1 we had 6 passes, 1 meh, and 3 takes.  The passes were 100% accurate.  The lone meh in Ekeler exceeded meh status to have an incredible game.  Meanwhile, the takes all performed admirably except for Saquon who got his 100 yards but still not quite what we paid for so was still a meh.

Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns – Take

People got burned last week but he still dominated snaps despite lack of production.  I’m willing to hope that ownership has dropped enough to warrant rolling the dice on what should again be an expected positive game script for Chubb

Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks – Pass

Not the ideal matchup of last week but I imagine people will keep riding the surge from last week.  I’m happy to let others take him while I seek other options.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants – Take

Beast and matchup proof.  I’ll be riding him heavily in GPP regardless of ownership and pricing.  I can find other pivots elsewhere.  We can probably just leave this snippet in each week.

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings – Meh

Should carry ownership momentum and he’s a top 10 back this week for my projections but close enough to the bottom of that range to pass on this chalk.  GB is a far more difficult assignment than last week where they ran the whole game.

James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers – Pass

At home vs Seattle is a pretty nice matchup but it’s a bit troubling he saw only 9 more snaps than Samuels.  Being part of a blowout probably a major factor but troubling enough to fade this chalk for now.  Remember, Samuels was very, very good last year when Conner was out.

Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders – Take

Looks good, team used him heavily, he’s in my dummy line as I type.  I’ll eat this in both game stacks and one offs.  The game script isn’t ideal but you can’t get too logical if you’re playing someone from OAK anyway.

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints – Take

He’s a focal point in a high scoring offense that should be in a very high scoring game and comes at a significant discount to Saquon.  I’ll be riding the Kamara train hard.

Sony MichelJames WhiteRex Burkhead, New England Patriots – Meh

They are primed for an incredible week but trying to figure out who gets it as well as running the risk of split duties makes this a highly volatile threesome that should probably be avoided unless you’re into MME or a glutton for risk.

Wide Receivers

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In Week 1 we had 8 passes, 4 mehs, and 4 takes.  They all failed.  Nearly all attained meh performance of not hurting but not helping push into the money either.  The only exceptions were Evans (meh), Albert Wilson (pass) and Samuel (pass) who all letdown their owners to acieve pass ratings.  Tyrell Williams was sole one to achieve take levels of production we seek when looking at chalk.

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Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – Take

Last week was a meh, this week is a take.  Facing a strong offense that let Washington run roughshod over them, this could be a week where we get a Julio explosion.

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals – Take

Although Ross is the one to light it up last week, I still view Boyd as the primary DFS option.  They’ll once again going to be throwing it a lot to play catch up.  This is chalk I’ll eat.

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings – Take

Still managed to do well in a game where they only threw it 10 times.  I’ll dip into Thielen once again in what can only be an improved situation over last week.

Odell Beckham, Cleveland Browns – Pass

It’s not that I don’t like him, he’s a top 10 WR on my projections.  It’s just when you pay ODB prices, you need an utterly huge game to pay off both the price and the ownership.  A Darnold-less NYJ and a shaky o-line team should mean a lot more Chubb and short passes.

Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins – Take

Terry shocked the world coming in for 62 snaps and successfully running deep routes for a very productive first game in the NFL.  I instinctually racked him up as a pass, but the deeper I look at the numbers, the more I think he could be an outlier as a productive rookie WR.

Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders – Take

Carr should be getting plenty of chances to throw his way as the Raiders panic to catch up to the high scoring Chiefs.

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers – Take

He’s far from a lock given that he’s only on the field about 80% of the time, but he’s really good when out there and dominates targets.  Against Detroit, it seems like a pretty good spot despite being chalky.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans – Pass

In my mind, he’s the best season long fantasy WR.  However, JAX showed us that they are pretty capable of shutting down the top WR and forcing the QB to throw elsewhere.  Even before Tyreek went down, Watkins was already a black hole for targets.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers – Meh

I’ll need to wait until I see PIT has fixed whatever it was that’s troubling them before I pay a premium for JuJu.  However, it’s a pretty good matchup and at home and Pitt is notorious for their home/road splits.

Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs – Pass

I go to sleep praying to my Condia altar, hoping the god of DFS grants me the high ownership I expect Watkins to garner at ridiculously high prices.  Watkins was objectively terrible last year.  He often failed to show up even when there were injuries and you expected him to eat.  Now he’s not only supposed to be chalk but one of the priciest options on the table.  Man do I hope people roster him heavily and he shows up with 6 targets for 37 yards.

Caveat – my own model has him as a top 5 WR on the slate… so maybe I’m the one being irrational.  I’m still not paying those prices for Watkins though.

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs – Take

Guess who was on the field for 53 snaps last game?  That dud of a performance was very likely a fluke.  This is the KC WR I’ll be targeting at half the price and lower ownership.  I hate rostering rookie receivers, but this has little to do with MeCole and more with the fact that he’s a warm body getting snaps in KC.

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints – Meh

It’s a good matchup but nothing spectacular so I’d rather save some money and get lower ownership on another WR.

John Brown, Buffalo Bills – Pass

Brown is good, I actually played him a bit last week and drafted him very heavily in best ball.  But I’m not touching such a volatile asset given that now he’s been hyped up relentlessly.  I loved him when nobody was on him, will avoid like the plague if he’s chalk.

Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys – Meh

It’s a fine enough matchup but don’t think this is a smash spot.  Maybe good for correlating with Dak but doubt I’d do any naked Amaris in my stacks.

Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams – Meh

I like Woods a lot, but my projections are basically indifferent between him and the rest of the 3 headed monster.  Those three were all on the field basically the same amount of snaps as well.  In situations where I have indifferent projections, I’m never going the one who should get the most ownership.

Miles BoykinMarquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens – Pass

Whether it was because of the blowout, nagging injuries, or whatever, neither player saw much of the game.  They simply won’t ever see that kind of efficiency on such few snaps ever again and it’d be a fools errand to expect repeat greatness off 18 and 14 snaps.  Even if they saw more snaps I’d still be fading simply because you can’t trust rookie WRs and although ARI is an easy matchup, it’s nowhere close to the dumpster fire that is MIA.

Tight Ends

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In Week 1 we had 3 mehs that were all indeed mehs and 2 takes.   One take in Kelce meh’d out on us while the other take in Engram blasted off.

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs – Take

Safe and reliable.  The only weeks I don’t go heavy on Kelce will be when pricing at other positions make affording him feasible or not.  We can basically keep this up all year.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers – Meh

Great matchup but like always, would rather pay just a little more for Kelce or a lot less for someone else.

Evan Engram, New York Giants – Take

Exploded last week and this week should be no different.  Unfortunately, his ownership and price are both going to be higher.  Still worth it

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens – Take

Still cheap, still likely Lamar’s favorite target.  Still facing a smash matchup.  This is about as ideal as it’s going to be for Andrews.

He doesn’t come without risks though.  His snap count is concerning as it indicates Baltimore could still play TE flavor of the week (as they did last year) with their 3 headed monster.  While he got 8 of the 15 total targets for TEs, there were still a good amount of targets sent to other TEs.

In his defense, reports out of camp all indicated Andrews had run away with a dominant receiving role and I’m willing to roll with that narrative and assume he saw the least snaps because they wanted to preserve their TE1 in such a blowout.

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions – Meh

My projections really like Hockenson.  They also really liked O.J. Howard though…  He promisingly played in 64 snaps to Jesse James‘ 51 snaps.  Those 12 targets are simply outrageous though.  That’s not sustainable for any TE, let alone a rookie TE.  I understand he came into the season with a ton of hype and thus far has smashed expectations but he’s going to need to do it more than once against a super weak defense before I trust him when he’s going to be highly owned chalk.

I also wouldn’t be surprised in Arizona hadn’t really game planned for him given the history of rookie TEs in the NFL.  There’s zero chance that LAC doesn’t already have a number of schemes drawn up to neutralize him in the lab.

You can view Hockenson as salary relief on sites where he’s cheaper but it’s a tall order to expect big things again from him in Week 2.

Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders – Take

Way too cheap and clearly emerged as a prime receiving target in Oakland.  Waller played 100% of snaps.  Tyrell Williams played 95%.  After those two there wasn’t much left.  This could change dramatically as not every week do you get to steamroll Denver, but it goes to show that Oakland is all about being fantasy friendly by concentrating snaps and touches to a shortlist of players.  Add in cheap price and facing KC into the mix and this someone I could very well be 100% on.

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About DFSx42

DFSx42 is a tech consultant who built his own models for DFS. He's a cash game specialist that primarily plays on Yahoo as "Adam" where you can see his H2Hs for every sport and every slate. Recently finished 5th overall in the Yahoo Cup, a season long DFS league with over 100k competitors. Yahoo Cup Standings

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