Daily Fantasy Sports

2019 NFL DFS Chalk Talk Week 7



Welcome class to Week 7 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.

Week 6 In Review

Simply put, last week was a blood bath. Some of the most popular plays were a total disaster and since I’ve been playing, I can’t remember any NFL slate where the who’s who of cash games unanimously finished beneath the cash line.

I primarily play on Yahoo as they have much lower rake and cap most contests to 10x entries. In last week’s $109 50/50 those under the cash line are a who’s who of cash game DFS with guys like Moklovin, Daut, Papagates, etc all finishing at the bottom of the pile.  This isn’t me throwing shade, those guys are DFS end bosses.

I was very lucky in fact as late news that Kittle may not play pushed me up to Kelce and then to make it fit I had to swing down to Robby Anderson – who ended up saving my slate.  Tilting how Kittle ended up playing and crushing it anyway, but the move was still net positive for me.

Despite scoring about 30 points less than I typically do, it was still far above the cash line and I had my best week of the season as a result. You can find me there in the contest I shared, I play under “Adam” on Yahoo.

This is exactly why ownership matters, because if the chalk is bad, then you don’t even need to have a good lineup to have a great slate – you merely need to fade the bad chalk. If only guessing which chalk was bad were easy 🙂

Note: I’m not saying the top players always cash. DFS is not a money printing operation for them. They typically run at single digit ROIs and cash less than two-thirds of the time. Nothing about their failure itself was unusual. What made it interesting was basically all of them failed instead of an expected 40%ish.

2019 NFL DFS Chalk Talk Week 7

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Last week we were bold with 3 takes along a meh and a pass.  The takes were the top QBs of the slate and the others were no bueno.  I don’t expect to always get it spot on, but it’s quite satisfying when that happens.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens – Take

Another week, another cake matchup for the Ravens. He’s my top QB on the slate and I seriously worry about how absurdly high his ownership could be on a slate missing Mahomes.

I still haven’t finalized any lines yet, I’m sure Jackson will have a great game, the real question is how high his ownership will be and what stage does it get high enough to fade and hope for a bad game?

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans – Take

Yet another top-five projection. This is a pretty meh matchup for him facing a team that’s league average at stopping fantasy QBs. But Watson has shown time and time again he doesn’t need a good matchup to produce.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons – Take (upgraded from meh)

It’s a pretty standard matchup that comes with a wildcard bonus. The Rams defense has been inconsistent and alternate between good and horrible.  Furthermore, they’ve just shuffled some pieces around as well so it could really go either way.

I like Ryan this week but he’s not in my top five and if he’ll be one of the highest owned QBs then I’d rather go elsewhere.  I’ll probably have some because it’s a juicy game to stack, but exposure will be limited.

Edit: Been going here a lot more than expected in lineup construction but still only as part of a game stack.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks – Meh

In the early weeks, I really enjoyed playing Wilson because he was easy to stack. This appears to be changing. Last two weeks he didn’t give any player more than 5 targets.

This target uncertainty makes him an easy fade for me despite being in a fantastic matchup.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills – Meh

We know the Bills should win… but we don’t know how exactly they’ll do that.

I came into last week with a few Josh Allen dummy lines because I figured a Buffalo stack could be sneaky fun. Hearing news that everyone is of that mindset dashes my Josh Allen fever dreams.

Players like Josh Allen are high-risk pivots that you only play if they’ll have low ownership and so this is perhaps another week without attaining Allen satisfaction for me.

However, I’ll still toss out a single line or two in MME just to appease Professor Dom of the Vegas Bills Mafia.

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals – Take

A late addition to chalk talk, Kyler should definitely be getting some attention yet again.  The matchup is great and he’s finally beginning to utilize his legs – this really opens up his potential for big games while also elevating his floor.

Given his reduced price on Yahoo, he’ll probably be the number one cash game option there.  He’s my dummy cash line QB right now and will probably have a few sprinkles of him in gpp.

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams – Meh

Another late addition. The matchup looks good but my model doesn’t really like him all that much. It expects him to get lots of volume so I’m guessing it’s more based on how awful he’s been, especially when on the road more than any advanced analytics.

Sometimes, you gotta ignore the pass attempts and red zone equity and just ask yourself, “has he been sucking” and this is baked into my model so probably only reason he’s not in the top 5.

It’s a fun game to stack off on so I’ll probably have some pieces but I’d rather go elsewhere if looking at a naked QB option.  It’s important to note he’s only had one big game all year and it was against Tampa.

Running Backs

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It was a mixed bag last week at RB but not nearly accurate enough at only about 50/50. We took the incorrect stance of a number of them but we can take solace that most of the top pros took the same stances we did here.

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings – Meh

Cook has proven to be matchup proof because he always gets the volume.  Not expected to be uber chalk and in a good matchup, the price is the only barrier to ownership.

He’ll be in plenty of lines where I wind up with the cap space, but I doubt I’ll find myself going in that direction too often.

David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals – Take (updated from meh)

I was scared off by his injury scare last week and paid the price.  This week it’s a very similar situation.

On certain sites, he’s very expensive and an easy fade but there are some other places where his price is very low and definitely worth rolling the dice upon.

Edit: it seems more likely Johnson will play and if that’s the case I’ll be heavily exposed to him.  Just be sure to watch the situation because it’s still quite possible he doesn’t play or is limited.

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars – Take

I’ve been locking in Fournette as my highest owned back in recent weeks.  His volume is absurd and a matchup against the Bengals is incredibly juicy.  He’s going to be the highest owned back by a large margin but this is a train I’d rather be riding than watching with hopes of a crash.

Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks – Meh

Three weeks in a row now over 20 touches and 100 yards. Carson seems to really be getting into a rhythm.

He’s burned me plenty this year and while I won’t having too many naked Carsons, I’ll definitely employ him in a number of game stacks.

What hurts Carson is he doesn’t get enough targets.  This extends beyond ppr scoring as it means without the proper game script he could easily bust so he’s more of a narrative build than a one off.

Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons – Meh

Freeman finally burst through as the lead back last week after being in a pretty even snap count share with Ito Smith for most of the year.

I’m still a bit uncertain if last week was noise or a trend so will likely avoid this spot outside of game stacks.

Edit: I’m game stacking heavily so even though I find him a meh, I’m still heavily exposed to him personally.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants – Meh

I really hate how good his matchup is because I’d otherwise happily fade him.  I will be paying more attention to this and see how it develops.  Saquon has the ability to break the slate and has a very good matchup so this bears watching.

Edit: if we had a discount on him he’d be take all the way but you’re paying healthy Saquon prices for a Saquon who may not be all that healthy.  I’ll be monitoring this and if it seems like he’s good to go I’ll lock and load with an upgrade to take.

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions – Pass

Kerryon makes an intriguing salary relief play but is in a horrible matchup and frankly isn’t that good a fantasy play to begin with.

In his entire career, he’s only exceeded 75 yards four times and yet he’s going to be chalk vs Minnesota? Yeah ok….

Latavius Murray, New Orleans Saints – Pass

I already have set up a voodoo doll of Murray next to my altar to the DFS God named Condia and pray the absurd rumors and hype proposing this man as chalk is true.

Set aside all the discussion of Kamara and realize he’s playing away at Chicago

Wide Receivers

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Every single chalk wide receiver failed to live up to expectations last week and were either just average or a disaster. Every. Single. One.  Just a disaster overall. Making matters worse, we gave 6/13 receivers a take rating.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – Meh

Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K. After getting out snapped by Sanu in week 5, he managed to tie him in snaps last week. However, he still played only 2/3 of a very close game.

Jones has never been a high volume snap guy so his target volume should remain secure. However, it doesn’t merely appear to be noise. This is all happening while Freeman takes a lead role and they are increasingly using more tight ends as Hooper had the most snaps of any receiver and Luke Stocker also played 55% of offensive play snaps.

The team is clearly either experimenting or already decided to change offensive philosophy. The thought that a talent like Julio would be impacted by a change in coaching philosophy is ludicrous but the numbers seem to imply this to be the case.  His numbers are down across the board.

My model has him as my top receiver on the slate but I’ll be manually keeping him off the roster unless doing a game stack because I don’t like this trend.

As mentioned earlier, models are often slow to pick up on trends because they are often just statistical noise and this could very well be noise. In fact, it’s entirely possible he’s more productive with fewer snaps.

I’m staying away from this uncertainty as Id rather be wrong about fading a guy than be wrong about owning a guy so I’m fading naked Julio as I just don’t think he has nearly the amount of slate breaking equity that we give him credit for.

Edit: I’m 100% fading Julio despite heavily targeting this game in gpp construction.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans – Take

Another week, another top five projection. Got a silly 12 targets with 9 catches but only got 55 yards out of it.

Eventually, the volume will translate to yardage and TDs. He’s been extremely unlucky so far this year, that won’t last forever.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals – Meh

On paper, it’s a great matchup. However, my model isn’t that high on him despite usually having him in the top 20 or so.

This is something I’ll look into further and update once I understand why my own projections are so low on him. I suspect it could have something to do with KeaSean Johnson out snapping him and possible Kirk return but honestly find it quite puzzling.

Edit: updated everything and he’s moved up several spots on my model overnight – still unsure what specifically was the issue but it was more likely an incomplete data import earlier.

He’s still a meh but will be riding him heavily in most game stacks.

Edit: No nake Larrys but I have a lot of him due to game stacks.

Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams – Take

Very surprised that despite the dud of last week, people are going back to well with the Rams. This wouldn’t be the case in prior years and another example of a dramatically narrowed edge in DFS.

Despite last week being a hot dumpster fire, he still played 100% of snaps… simply absurd opportunity here if the game script flops his way.

Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams – Take

Kupp again fails to get the 100% snap count of Woods or 98% snap count of Cooks but still plays 85% of snaps – which is more than than the top receiver on most other teams.

While most teams are happy to rotate packages, the Rams have three receivers they are committed to keeping on the field the entire game.

Despite that Kupp showed us last week how any receiver can have a floor of zero, I’m still confident of a bounce back and happy to eat the chalk.  Guy was getting an ungodly amount of targets prior to last week’s weirdness.

DJ Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars – Pass (updated from Meh)

Last week we discussed his emergence on the team. Then he went back to his old situation of getting out-snapped by Conley and Westbrook.

I still like Chark plenty, and the matchup is great. I just won’t have much of him in a week where they are likely to let Fournette do the talking.

Edit: There are also other Jags getting similar snap counts at a much lower price and ownership.  Would much rather spend down on Conley or Westbrook this week

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks – Meh

Great matchup, but he’s been unable to get more than five targets for three weeks in a row now. I haven’t watched the tape but IIRC he was complaining in the early season about being double-teamed for the first time. It’s plausible that’s exactly what teams have been doing and he’s unable to get open.

I’m happy to fade unless specifically game stacking for these reasons because he’s yet to show a way to get open as the primary receiving option.

John Brown, Buffalo Bills – Pass

Brown is a great fantasy player but not reliable and this could easily become a ground and pound game.  He’s not even in my top 20 and I don’t envision rostering him unless it’s paired with Josh Allen.

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions – Pass

Lol, c’mon guys. He’s playing away at Minnesota. He’s not cheap, he’s not sneaky, he’s facing a rough matchup.  These things are not what good chalk is made of.

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings – Meh

Thielen is not getting anywhere near the volume of targets he got last year. His value is only propped up by heavy TD volume and that is unreliable.

It’s a solid matchup but I’m happy to fade because I can find other receivers with more targets for less salary.

Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings – Pass

He only played 63% of the snaps in last week’s explosion. He’s at 73% on the season.  This after 83% last year. Vikings aren’t just running it more, they aren’t even putting their receivers on the field.

Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers – Meh (updated from take)

If it seems like he’ll have any sort of prominent role this week it’ll be very difficult to not play him at min prices.

Edit: he really can’t hurt you with his price but it’s possible he still doesn’t start and/or doesn’t get much volume either.  It’s a very unclear situation and I’m happy to pass if I don’t need the savings.

Tight Ends

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Taking a long view in DFS is very helpful for avoiding some bad chalk at times. However, the data can at times be slow to react to a dramatic shift in usage or skill.

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens – Meh

It’s not that I believe in Andrews, but he offers a reliable floor in a good matchup in what has been a surprisingly awful year at tight end.

Edit: He is still very much in a tight end committee but the Ravens seem unwilling or unable to start transferring more of those targets to the wide receivers.  So for now, it’s not nearly the detriment I thought it would be as the lead guy in a three headed monster.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers – Meh

He’s my top tight end of the slate but I am not sure he’s worth paying up for because top tight end doesn’t quite seem to matter anymore.

Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons – Meh

As mentioned earlier, his snap counts and targets are way elevated from the past and he and Freeman seem to be the primary beneficiaries at this possible change in offensive philosophy. As mentioned, my model still doesn’t like him because it’s slow to embrace new data.

Having said all of that, I still refuse to pay up for him most of the time. He’s definitely becoming the focus of the offense, but I refuse to pay TE1 prices for him.

Edit: I have a lot of him though for game stacks, especially with my fade Julio strategy.

Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders – Take

I’m calling an audible again and disagreeing with my model, which has him outside of the top 5. Guy gets a steady flow of targets and they’ll be playing from behind. The TDs will eventually appear but in the meantime, they suppress his price.

Edit: He was slowed down a bit last week but that was against the Bears so we can take it with a grain of salt.  Five targets and 39 yards is a fantastic floor.

Evan Engram, New York Giants – Take

If he’s healthy then Engram should be the king of the turd mountain that is tight end.

I’ll be going here where I have the monies available to spend up.

Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers – Take (site dependent)

Playing in Tennesee is a very tough matchup, but they’ve actually been alright for opposing tight ends so that could be a wash.

My model doesn’t like him so much and projects about 6 targets – which is roughly what it believes Witten and Graham will get.  Having said that, on some DFS sites, he’s criminally under priced to the point where you just gotta book him and hope some of those targets are in the end zone.

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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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