Daily Fantasy Sports

2019 NFL DFS Chalk Talk Week 3



Welcome class to Week 3 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

There’s going to be a lot of breaking news coming out in next 24+ hours 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. It’s really hard to project who will be chalk and who won’t be.  Even the sites that sell projections are still wildly inaccurate. So when in doubt, I’ll have too many guys listed than too few.

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 3, and I refuse to look at last year’s numbers, we will really only have Week 2 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 3

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In Week 2 we had three takes and three mehs. The takes were not good.  Mahomes was great but Wentz was a meh and Carr just plain awful.  Meanwhile, the mehs were all awesome.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs – Meh

As usual, he’s the top projected QB for me once again this week.  While Mahomes is certainly matchup proof, this game vs Baltimore is one I’m happy to ignore in gpp.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens – Meh

Once again came in and just crushed it. However, his ownership was at truly absurd levels. At the kind of ownership he’s currently getting, he basically has to be the No. 1 QB to be worthwhile. This is especially relevant given his price increases as well.

While KC is a fantastic matchup, at some point we need to realize that he’s yet to be tested this season. He’s arguably faced the two worst defenses in the NFL these two weeks. While the Chiefs are by no means a good defense, they are still going to be dictating the game script, something that was never the case earlier in the year for Lamar.

He’s still inexperienced and has a largely inexperienced corps of receivers. While the Lamar chalk crushed my soul last two weeks, this could be the week those who fade him laugh their way to the bank.

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles – Meh

It’s not Carson I believe in this week nor the matchup. What I really like about this is it’s a simple game to stack. Slam him in with Ertz and maybe a cheap WR and you’re good to go. He’s otherwise in a good spot but nothing great, my own projections have him just barely in the top 10.

I will definitely have some shares but only because I’ll be slamming Ertz a lot this week.  If he had healthy receivers and options to throw at I’d actually be happy to pass this week.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys – Take

Dak is going to feast playing Miami at home. Normally this is a spot to avoid, but you know Lamar could eat up 20% of the market share once again you can smash in the obvious QB in the obvious spot guilt-free while the donkeys keep riding the Lamar train.

Jameis Winston, TB Buccaneers – Take

Even if Jameis may have lost a step or two, this is a very good matchup for him and recently bad performances should lower his ownership and price enough to be worth grabbing.

I’m very disappointed to see that others are saying the same and I won’t be riding him all by myself but still believe he’s going to wind up with far less ownership than he deserves.

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals – Pass

Why? What is it about a low scoring game against a reasonably difficult defense makes this a chalky play? I simply don’t get it.

I even account for their pace of play and yet, my projections don’t even have him in the top 10 of QBs. I’m happy to throw darts with Murray in gpps normally, but not in weeks where he and the rest of the cards are being talked up as chalk.

Daniel Jones – NY Giants – Pass

This would have been a sneaky play a few years ago. Now the sneaky plays are chalk because everyone wants to be sneaky. He’s great as a sneaky play, not as a chalky play.

My projections have him among the worst QBs this week. If you want a sneaky play nobody will be on, there’s a lot of other hot garbage that could have a good week to choose from that won’t carry the heavy implied ownership of Jones.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills – Meh

Dude has tantalizing upside but along with that comes serious ownership.  Allen is great for gpp but I don’t think I’ll bump more than a few token lines given he’s no longer a secret and could possibly be the second-highest owned QB after Lamar.

Running Backs

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In Week 2 we had two passes both bust on us. Our 3x NE mehs did meh but our 4th meh was the top RB on the slate. The four takes busted twice and only one reached take status. Overall it’s nice to be right about the passes but still not an ideal result.

Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks – Pass

I don’t get why he’s so chalky this week.  Yes, New Orleans is playing without Brees, but Seattle is still not a very good team and it’s supposed to be a close game.

That means pretty typical spot for Carson and thus a spot I’m pretty indifferent upon if he’s going to be a popular play. Him only playing 54% of snaps in Week 2 a major concern as well.

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.  This week it’s easier to pivot though given all the amazing matchups on offer for RBs.

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings – Take

Great matchup and Minnesota is clearly going to keep riding him hard. I’m tempted to meh this here because I know how popular he will be but I don’t care, he’s in my dummy line as we speak.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys – Take

It simply doesn’t get any better than a home matchup against the Fins. Even if he only plays a single quarter, you must realize that’s because he already has at least one touchdown. It’s hard to get a TD.

Take Zeke here and acknowledge his team winning so badly they sit him towards the end means he accomplished everything you wanted out of your RB and then some.

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts – Pass

Mack is chalk here not due to data nor recent performances or even matchups. He’s chalk because of the “pass-catching RBs are great against ATL” narrative.

That may the case and Mack may be a great pass catcher.  But the team doesn’t often use him as one.  He has three total targets in two weeks so we’re taking a big leap of faith that it’s both good for pass-catching rbs vs ATL and that the team is going to dramatically shift usage style and turn Mack into a pass catcher this week.

This isn’t six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, this is chalk talk and too many stars have to align for Mack to go off on the narrative people are constructing for him.  That’s when you take a low ownership flyer on someone, not embrace the chalk.

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers – Take

It seems the concerns he’d be part of a committee and that he wasn’t all that good were both unfounded.  This could be the last week of getting him at a serious discount.

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers – Take

Despite the stinker from last week, I need more than one poor performance to ever need a compelling reason to fade CMC.

This week could be one of them though, I’m not fading due to last week, he’s my No. 1 RB this week, it’s just there are so many good options this week I’ll probably pay down more than usual at RB.

Wide Receivers

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In Week 2 we had seven takes, five mehs and five passes. I managed to luckbox my way with the WR predictions this week with only six inaccurate picks.  Odell smashed value as a pass, Golladay who killed it as a meh, and Keenan + Tyrell who mehhed out despite that I picked them as takes.  Marquise and John Brown both reached meh status despite listing them as passes.  But overall, a pretty good slate for WR predictions.

Sadly for me, WR in general was a dumpster fire for me in Week 2 as I was heavily invested in low-cost pivots such as Moncrief, MVS and Devante Parker.  After luckboxing into not having a single losing slate last year, Week 2 was both the most amount I’ve played in DFS on a single week and the worst week with an ROI of -60% or so.  Sadly, I don’t think I’ve learned my lesson since DeVante Parker is back in some dummy lines.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – Meh

Exploded last week and my projections are once again very bullish on him despite that there’s nothing extraordinary about the matchup. I worry his late heroics and depressed price mean he’ll be super chalk but as far as value among top receivers go he’s probably going to hit it.  I just don’t like how popular he will be.

Odell Beckham, Cleveland Browns – Meh

He really went off last week but there are guys with lower pricing and plausibly lower ownership that I like more.

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers – Take

Houston’s defense is legit but so is Keenan and the Chargers love throwing it his way.  He’s among my top WRs projected for this week and I’m hoping he’s not the uber chalk I think he could be because I’ll be jamming him into plenty of lines.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans – Meh

He’s my top WR for the week and that’s despite a tough matchup in LA.  The question about these guys is whether their price makes a fade very profitable when they bust.  I’ll probably have some shares but will be focusing elsewhere when looking at WR core plays.

Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs – Take

Last week Watkins let everyone down but it wasn’t really his fault. He still got a ridiculous 13 targets and has proved he’s going to be a much more prominent part of this offense going forward.

I’d hope some people are soured off on the lackluster points total and ignore the absurd amount of times they tried to get him the ball. I was 100% fade last week but I’ve seen the data and am convinced I was wrong to do that and simply got lucky it worked out.

John Brown, Buffalo Bills – Pass

Brown is good and I drafted him heavily in best ball.  But he’s not even in my top 20 for projections so I’ll happily pass if he’s going to have high ownership – which will definitely be the case.

Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys – Take

Incredible matchup, depleted receiving corps, there’s nothing not to love about this.

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens – Meh

We all knew Marquise would get more snaps in Week 2 but the real question was how many.  While he did end up leading the receivers with 51 snaps, that’s still only having him on the field for 65% of the time. This time around it wasn’t a blowout either so this feels like it could be what’s to come going forward.

The matchup is great and you can’t simply ignore all the targets he’s received no matter how little time he spends on the field so I’m forced to upgrade from a pass to a meh.

But I’m still not buying here, especially if he’s going to be chalky. Rookie WRs are inconsistent, he was in two blowouts and now in a game they are expected to lose. Could easily see him regress to the mean on this one.

Chris Godwin, TB Buccaneers – Meh

Great matchup and I’ll be owning him heavily but I’d prefer Evans who comes in cheaper and with lower ownership.

Mike Evans, TB Buccaneers – Take

Great matchup and Godwin helps reduce ownership by vulturing roster spots for people looking to game stack.

Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos – Meh

The price is very compelling and still low enough to keep him in the discussion because he offers so much value. Everything else seems unsustainable and I’ll happily let others ride the Manny train.

I’ll only be going here when I need a cheaper receiver to fill out a lineup.

Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles – Meh

Just like with Sanders, the price is very compelling and still low enough to keep him in the discussion because he offers so much value.

I’ll only be going here when I need a cheaper receiver to fill out a lineup because I believe Ertz will be the focal point of the passing game this week.

Christian Kirk & Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals – Meh

Their prices keep them as good value plays but as mentioned when I discussed Kyler, I simply don’t get the Arizona love this week. I’m happy to use as one-off lineup fillers but won’t be building around them.

Tight Ends

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In Week we had four takes and two mehs. One meh didn’t show up, anot

His price has finally dropped to the point where it’s not an easy decision to pass on him. Three total targets last week is concerning though but I’ll probably play him for the first time this year in Week 3.

Evan Engram, New York Giants – Take

Let people down last week but still got 8 targets.  It’s a great matchup for him but I worry the chalk will too high to play as a one off.  I will be playing him plenty though as part of a game stack.

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens – Meh

I think we’ve seen peak Andrews. He could still have a great game here because of the matchup but if I owned him in season-long leagues I’d be trying to sell high right now.

He didn’t start. Also, he played only 53% of the snaps. Hayden Hurst played 9 fewer snaps and Nick Boyle played seven more snaps.  It’s a full-blown TE committee just like last year.

Last year, rostering Andrews and other Baltimore TEs was a painful experience because one would get featured one week and then reserved to a blocking role in the second week. He’s had more targets in these first two games than he did in any games last year, but those have also been absurdly soft matchups.

Andrews is clearly their receiving TE, but he’s far from a lock and could easily get game scripted out. Furthermore, as teams adapt and react to the Baltimore TE packages, they could have to switch it up some more to keep the defense guessing. Andrews is good, but the three best matchups he’ll have all year are arguably these first three weeks and given the rising ownership and price, I’d rather pivot to a TE who will play most snaps.

Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders – Meh

Still pretty cheap and going to be a focal point of their offense.  Unfortunately, Minnesota is a very good defense and this play comes with enough risk that I’m willing to pass on him in large GPPs.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers – Pass

I don’t get the love. Yes, the matchup is good and this is the team that gave up 13 targets to a rookie TE.

But it’s still Greg Olsen and the check down option for the rookie QB is a myth that isn’t backed up by data. He could have a good game, but that’s no different from any other week.

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles – Take

Zach is going to be the focal point of the passing game this week.  I’m going to be all over him.  He’s in my dummy line right now.

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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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