Daily Fantasy Sports

2019 NFL DFS Chalk Talk Week 6



Welcome class to Week 6 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 they 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 dramatically shaping GPP 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 6 and we’re 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 5 weeks of 80% snaps, you can be pretty confident by that point you probably truly have an 80% snap count player on your hand.

For example, at this point, we can rest assured that despite Kyle Rudolph being the 4th highest paid tight end in the NFL, we can’t expect more than a single target or so each game.

2019 NFL DFS Chalk Talk Week 6

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Week 5 was where I staked a claim and said full fade of chalk QBs. Whoops.

Let’s be clear, Week 5 was an anomaly. We will likely never see such a high scoring output from such highly owned players for many years.  It was probably the worst week to go contrarian, especially at QB where there was basically only one answer.

Having said that, let’s look at the numbers. Had five players all listed meh, while Lamar and Carson both flopped and Murray was just average, the two highly owned QB from the slate busting o/u matchup lived up to expectations. You were unlikely to cash in GPP without Watson last week and the few who did probably had Ryan. Despite the results, those two QBs were owned by 25% of all milly maker lineups so even if you had them, it wasn’t a lock for a deep finish.  If we were to redo last week all over again, I’d still fade them in GPP.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens – Take

When is Baltimore going to finally face a difficult defense?

I’ve been passing on Jackson chalk all year, given the horrendous performance last week, you may be able to get him at a not so absurd ownership level.

He’s also #1 in my projections for the first time all year.  He doesn’t have the highest ceiling so I won’t have too much exposure to him in GPP.

Edit: I actually like him even more with Marquise Brown banged up because it clarifies the stack options.

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans – Take

Another week and another top five projection. As much as I’d like to fade someone after he just gave a slate breaking performance as chalk, this matchup is just too good.

This has perfect game script written all over it, only problem is it’s so incredibly obvious and his ownership should eclipse last week.  His emergence is a big reason why I feel comfortable finally going to Lamar.

Having said all of that, I’d be shocked if he didn’t have a great game.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons – Take

Normally a top DFS QB facing one of the leagues worst defenses will have unreasonably high ownership. This is not the case this week. There are so many good options in good situations

He’s also averaging an absurd 44 pass attempts per game… so for those who chase volume, Matt is your guy.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs – Meh

He’s easily in my top five for projections this week.  But when you factor in his recent performances, his banged up receivers and that he costs an arm and a leg more than QBs I like more than him, it’s tough to justify Mahomes.

I think he’ll have a great game but it will be difficult to stack efficiently and there will be other options that come in cheaper.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys – Pass

I get it, he’s facing the Jets.  But QBs facing the Jets have actually had pretty tough sledding.

If the game does get out of hand, I can see them just grinding out the clock. For example, the Eagles only had 29 pass attempts against them last week.

Running Backs

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I’ve always been very transparent that CMC is basically an automatic play for me at this point and last week was why. CMC, DJ, & Fournette were my three takes. CMC was a slate breaker, Fournette earned his ownership, and DJ had a decent performance which was only disappointing in the sense that he had so much ownership.

There were two mehs in Elliot who indeed meh’d out, but the other was Aaron Jones… whoops. I knew there was a good chance of Williams not playing, but I was confident there would still be a time share of sorts. The snap share was there but he had all the touches and exploded for what could be the game of his career. I had Ekeler and Montgomery as passes.  Mongomery bombed out and Ekeler salvaged a decent performance off a whopping 16 targets. The Chargers running back situation will be one to be avoided until it’s clear if last week’s numbers were game script or team philosophy driven.

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings – Pass

Cook has proven to be matchup proof because he always gets the volume.  However, at the ownership and price he’ll command, I’m looking for someone else.

Philadelphia is also not an easy team to run against at all as well.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys – Meh

In a close game Zeke will play close to 100% of the snaps. Yet we’ve seen in a blowout they are happy to hand the rock to Pollard. If it’s a blowout, that probably meant Zeke ate plenty, but if he’s going to be chalk we want to chase higher upside.

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.

I know he’s not on the main slate, but I don’t care, CMC is chalk even when on a bye week 🙂

David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals – Pass

Unsure right now due to injury uncertainty.  However, it’s unlikely I’ll have much of him outside of game stacks even if he’s healthy so I’ll chalk it up as a pass for now

Edit: it seems likely he’ll play now, still wouldn’t touch unless part of a game stack.

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars – Take

Another week, another 30 touches.  Dude is matchup proof and still inappropriately low priced.

Matchup isn’t the best but I strongly feel matchups don’t matter for Fournette.

Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets – Meh

I like Bell, but he’s not the cheapest option nor is he currently in my top five for projections (just barely).

Matchup isn’t that great either.  His ability to catch passes makes up for that.  I think he’ll be fine but I’m hearing rumors he could possibly be highest owned back on the slate… w… t… f…

edit: u/trizytrain13 on reddit made a good point that my explanation here is lacking and after some thought, I agree.

Since writing this he’s snuck into the top 5 for rankings on DK but still just outside the top 5 on other sites.  He’s not once had a big game this season despite consistently getting heavy targets and touches.  The primary culprit is that his yards per carry is absolutely horrible because his team is awful.

Having Darnold helps, but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s still Darnold.   His receptions are also not high quality receptions either and he averages nearly half the yardage of McCaffery per reception.  Dallas is not an easy matchup either and given that this game could easily get out of hand, he could lose the rushing aspect of his game pretty quickly.

He needs to really elevate above what he’s done earlier in the season in order to be worthwhile as a highly owned gpp play and against Dallas I just don’t see it.  I’ll upgrade to a meh because with no Saquon or CMC on the main slate there aren’t nearly as many nice options, but right now it’s honestly a coin flip if he will make my main slate cash line.  He didn’t make my cash line for the full week but now he doesn’t have CMC to compete against for a spot 🙂

Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks – Pass

Leaving this as a pass for now until I have more information on both him and Penny’s status.

Having said that, despite it being a decent matchup, he’s not even in my top 10 for projections.

Edit: Despite that as of right now he’s on track to play and Penny is still unclear, I’m keeping it as a pass.

Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons – Take

It’s not that I like Freeman, it’s that I really like the matchup. I also like the price savings.  Of the “cheap” RBs he’s my clear favorite.  Having said that, I’ll never carry too much ownership of a back who only plays half of the snaps.

I’m avoiding in cash but he’s going to be entering plenty of my gpp lines.

*Late Addition*

Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams – Take

With Gurley ruled out, Brown should get a healthy dose of carries.  Darrell Henderson has basically been an afterthought all year so I’d be surprised if Brown didn’t get the vast majority of touches in the wake of Gurley missing time.

Wide Receivers

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We crushed it in wide receiver rankings last week.  Godwin/Tate/Thomas were all takes and had fantastic games. Auden Tate didn’t break any slates but a couple dozen yards and a TD at min pricing pays at any ownership level. The other four WRs were all labeled as meh and two were just ok and the other two were a disaster.

Some touts talked up Fuller quite a bit and he indeed was highly owned and I regret not including him. His ownership and performance prior to last week were both pretty dismal so despite having a bunch of him myself (see my DeAndre fade) I didn’t think he’d be all that chalky. I’ll attempt being more inclusive of WR going forward.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – Take

Everyone eats against Arizona.  He’s my top wide receiver in projections for the week.

Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons – Take

This is the higher risk, cheaper priced and lower owned pivot you want.  Actually had more snaps than Ridley and Julio last week.

He’s not in my top 25 because he’s Sanu ffs but he’s as good a dart as any.  He’s by far my top low cost receiver.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans – Take

Another week, another top five projection. Keeps getting good target volume but fails to impress.  I think this is the week to go for it give all the attention Fuller will receive.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals – Meh

Could “buy the dip” with two consecutive lackluster performances but I’m happy to fade unless part of a game stack.

Edit: I’m liking him more now with Kirk likely out but still only part of game stacks.

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints – Pass

Still has a near monopoly of targets but given last week’s outburst and this week’s touch matchup, I’m happy to pass on Thomas if he’ll be chalk.

Odell Beckham, Cleveland Browns –  Pass

Decent matchup, he’s at a relative discount compared to the name brand and it should be a close game.

However, I’m still skeptical and willing to pass if he’ll have high ownership. This is a guy who got 11 targets in week one and been on a steady decrease to only six last week. Six targets and two receptions last week. Seven targets and two receptions the week before.  These are not the makings of expensive chalk.

Easy, easy, pass.

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns – Meh

Better production than Odell, much cheaper price, slightly lower ownership.  If you want in on the Browns offense or mid priced receivers, this could be your guy.

Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams – Take

Shockingly got 93% of snaps last week compared to 67% for Kupp and 64% for Cooks. If you want cheap access to the Rams offense, this is your bullet.

Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams – Take

Kupp hasn’t had the volume of Woods’ in snaps or the cost effectiveness, but he’s been utterly dominant in terms of targets each week.

He’s really turned a corner this year and entered into the conversation as one of the top fantasy wide receivers.

DJ Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars – Meh

Believe it or not but entering last week, Chark had the third most snaps on his own team for wide receivers. Looking at the numbers, he was simply running hot and making the most of limited opportunity.

Last week was a different story and he took on a clear lead in snaps with 81% to Conley’s 77% and Dede at 69%.  He seems to take on a bigger role each week and maybe if I spent more time watching the tape this is something I’d have picked up upon earlier.

He’s still not elite, still producing beyond expectations and this will drive his ownership to unreasonably high levels so for now I’ll be mindful of my exposure to him. But one thing is for sure, I’ll no longer be snickering when people comment about him and I say to myself “hahaha I’ll be laughing with Dede to the bank while the donkeys keep playing Chark.”

Whether or not I like him for Week 6, one thing for sure that I was wrong about is Chark is a legit DFS option that should be getting better and better as the year goes on.

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals – Take

Baltimore is actually a favorable matchup and he’s basically their only offense.  I like it.

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks – Pass

I don’t care about the matchup, I’m not buying someone with only four targets two weeks in a row when he’s chalk.

Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys – Pass

I’ll be revisiting this one later but for now it’s a pass given price, ownership and health concerns.

Edit: seems to be healthy but too many options for Dak to throw at and he could easily end up not seeing much time in the second half.

Tight Ends

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In Week 5 we would have been 100% if not for a last minute upgrade of Waller to a take.  It was based on confirmation that Tyrell wasn’t playing and I still hedged in my notes that I would have none of it regardless. However, I still labeled him as a take and he went on to have a rather disappointing game in terms of volume.

Otherwise, we had accurately projected Engram, Andrews, & Eifert as passes and they all stunk.  Ertz was our only take and he was the top TE on the main slate. Well, he was slightly outproduced by Darren Fells two target, two touchdown game.  If you are sick enough to play Fells in DFS then please for the love of god play me in h2h.

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.

It’s a deceptively tough matchup. He’s not in my top five this week.

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles – Meh

Ertz has yet to have a big game this year.  He’s been good and reliable, but other than Week 2, he’s simply getting his seven or eight targets.

Away at Minnesota, I’m tempted to look elsewhere, even on a slate where not much else is there at TE.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers – Pass

The Rams are a quagmire as they are a good defense but sometimes give up a lot of points.

Kittle should be decent if the scores are low but could finally explode if this game somehow becomes a shootout.  This week he’ll replace my standard Ertz play of reliable with upside.

Late edit: in the rush and panic of lineup construction I neglected to edit this in time but have swapped take to pass due to injury news.

I hated TE this week and took a rare stand  into there going to the slate basically 100% Kittle.

Extra late edit: now that Kittle actually did play and had a great game… this is DFS in a nutshell, I had a great week but now am miserable because if I just didn’t pay attention to news it would have been so much better

Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons – Meh

He’s been on a good run and it’s a good matchup.  However, his price is wildly too high for someone with 1500 total yards through three years.

Yes, he’s clearly improved. Yes, the team seems happy to give him some more volume. But people have been predicting a Hooper breakout for three years now. Others are still predicting a Ricky Seals-Jones breakout. You get my point.

Five good games doesn’t magically make three seasons of mediocrity disappear.  I’m buying Hooper this season, but not when he costs as much as Kittle and Ertz. That’s just insane.

Also, if you’re all about the “TEs do well vs Arizona” narrative, if you read this each week you’ll see how I’ve pointed out time and time again that narrative isn’t actually real. No tight ends saw increased targets or anything like that, they just had a typical game with a bit more touchdowns and yardage because it’s in general a bad defense… which is the same bonus any player at any position gets vs a weak defense.

Just ask Eifert and his absurd chalk last week as he sunk countless lines with his four total targets.

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs – Take

Matchup proof but that doesn’t matter because the matchup is divine.  Eat up where you can afford him.

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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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