Daily Fantasy Sports

2019 NFL DFS Chalk Talk Week 5



Welcome class to Week 5 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.

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 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 the 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. If th ey are not efficiently priced on certain sites then 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.

Week 5 is where I’m finally getting more comfortable in both accurately predicting the chalk and better understanding game flows.  One or two games of 80% snaps could be game script nonsense, but with 4 weeks of 80% snaps, you can be pretty confident by that point you probably truly have an 80% snap count player on your hand.

2019 NFL DFS Chalk Talk Week 4

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Week 4 was no bueno for chalky QBs. I had most labeled as a meh with exception of Josh Allen as a pass and Wilson and Goff as takes. Wilson and Allen bombed out while Goff had a pretty good slate so if you played a lot of Goff like me you probably had a good week.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens – Meh

At first glance it appears to be a tough matchup but this is not the steel curtain of before. Yet again, the sun running Ravens and Lamar have a good matchup. Given his great performances and soft matchup, he’s back among the top projected QBs.

However, he really needs to smash given all the ownership he’ll absorb so I’ll keep him as a meh until his allure wears off a bit.

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals – Meh

He’s cheap but has yet to really perform and on the bubble of my top 10 in projections.  Cincinnati isn’t as awful defensively as people imagine.  In fact, they are league average against the pass.

They are, however, quite soft against the run, which could prove useful for a speedy QB like Kyler.  But his running hasn’t been reliable, so for now, I’m shying away from him unless it’s part of a game stack.

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans – Meh

He’s in my top 5 but he’s up there most weeks. It’s not a smash spot by any means and given his price and ownership I’m happy to pass.  Atlanta is far better defensively than people give them credit for.

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles – Meh

If I had any idea which receivers I could bank upon him throwing to then he’d be a take here all the way.  Wentz has been great thus far and has an easy matchup.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons – Meh

Could have a great game script where he’s forced to air it out in a high scoring shootout. Could have a low scoring game as well.  Thus a clear meh.

Running Backs

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Like QB, week 4 was also a mess for chalky RBs. I was pretty wrong about Gallman as he took on a dominant role where I suspected about a dozen touches and Mack really let me down as well. However, the rest of the picks were pretty much on the money with Ekeler and McCaffrey blasting off with the rest of the chalk being pretty useless in GPP.

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings – Pass

Cook has been one of the most reliable players in DFS this season.  This has correspondingly made him among the most expensive, so that makes him an easy fade in all but the best matchups.  As strange as it sounds, the New York Giants aren’t terrible against the rush.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys – Meh

It’s a good matchup and Zeke is at home.   Yet, despite that he’s easily in my top 5 for projections, I doubt I’ll have many shares this week because there’s a lot of other backs I like that I think could also do well that will be cheaper and with lower ownership.

Edit: in rush to get this out in time, I misread some of the data and wrote it was a tough matchup, when indeed it is not.  H/T to Cody for pointing it out

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers – Pass

Until shown otherwise I’m treating Ekeler like he’s the starter.  Having said that, there’s enough uncertainty to make this an easy fade despite a great matchup.

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers – Take

CMC is elite every week.  He’s my top RB again this week and the only lines where I don’t have him are where I can’t afford him.

David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals – Take

DJ will feature heavily in my lineups. By this point in the season, he’s basically established himself as matchup-proof because he still gets a high volume of targets when the ground game is shut down.

Toss in the easy matchup for the ground game in a game that should be close and I’ll be all over Johnson.

Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers – Meh

Sporadic playing time and inconsistent touches make him very risky and easily avoided if he’s going to garner heavy ownership.

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars – Take

29 carries. 29 carries. 29 carries. In the days where 20 combined touches is amazing, Fournette got 29 carries last week.

The fewest amount of touches he’s had all year was 19. Dude is a lock for work and Carolina has struggled against the run.

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears – Pass

His workload is on the rise but Oakland has surprisingly not been terrible on defense.  He’s also done little with the increasing workload.  You can construct a narrative to convince you to play him but my projections have him just barely in the top 20.

Trubisky or not, I’m not touching him and will pray to my Condia altar that he gets heavy ownership.

Wide Receivers

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Wide Receiver projections weren’t all that accurate in Week 4.  Of my 4 takes, only Golladay turned out great.  I also gave Godwin a meh.  the rest were all pretty bad as predicted.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – Meh

In my top 5 again this week, but he’s there most every week. There are many other options I like just a little bit less for much less salary and ownership.

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers – Meh

Like Julio, he’s easily in the top 5 projections but I’m happy to fade this week.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans – Meh

Another week, another top 5 projection. Just like Julio, I’d much rather spend down than pay up this week.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Take

When I game stack here I’ll have a lot of Godwin, but I don’t imagine I’ll be eating much of what should be very inflated ownership due to last week’s feasting.

Edit: While building lines and I keep coming back to him, even as a one off piece, so I’ve been forced to upgrade him here to a take.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals – Meh

Price and ownership keep rising and I believe his early-season targets aren’t going to sustain.  However, without Kirk, he has a decent chance of having another solid week.

Having said all of that, I’ll be avoiding him unless as part of a game stack.

Auden Tate, Cincinnati Bengals – Take

He’s fantastic as salary relief.  But you’re not playing him expecting a massive game, you’re playing him hoping that he makes the other guys you really want that much more affordable.

I wouldn’t get carried away because he’ll be so heavily owned that you’ll have more to gain fading a stinker than owning a good game.  Having said that, he’s definitely worth grabbing if you have a coherent plan of what to do with the savings.  He’ll feature heavily in my lines where I need to free up cash for certain costly combinations.

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints – Take

Near monopoly of targets against Tampa Bay is fantasy gold. I don’t care if it’s Brees, Bridgewater or some random guy picked from the stands throwing him the ball.

Thomas is going to have a fantastic game and your only concern here is ownership.

Tight Ends

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In Week 5 I took a hard stand on labeling everyone’s favorite chalk in Dissly as meh and he got a TD as one of the best TEs of the slate. In his place, I had Engram, Waller, & Kelce as takes and the first two were just OK while Kelce had a good game.  Also meh’d on Olsen and passed on Andrews and neither were all that good.

Evan Engram, New York Giants – Pass

He’s now priced where he needs to be compared to other elite TEs rather than just deciding if he’ll have a good game. A matchup against Minnesota is far from ideal so I’d rather go cheaper than spend it on Engram.

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens – Pass

Peak Andrews is over now.  He’s a decent play, but with his price and ownership I’m not going near it.

Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders – Take

Kept the party rolling last week but this week faces the Chicago defense.  Womp, womp.

Edit: Just upgraded to take because it doesn’t seem like Tyrell will play.  I’m still personally not buying but don’t see any issues in taking this chalk given he could be the entirety of the passing game.

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals – Pass

I don’t care how depleted their receiving corps is. Eifert is super risky and essentially in a platoon with Uzomah.  Eifert played 48% of snaps and Uzomah played 46%.

Things should improve with the injuries to other receivers but this is a real lottery ticket based on a lot of what-ifs and you don’t buy in when that’s chalk.  He’s safely outside my top 10 at TE despite that this is probably as good as it will get for him all year.

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles – Take

My top projected TE for the main slate.Of course it helps that Kittle and Kelce aren’t available but he’s still the most reliable option and in a smash spot if you have the monies available to spend here.

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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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