Hilow is a game theory expert and tournament champion who focuses on mid/high-stakes single-entry/three-entry max
UPDATE: The End Around was 75% done when the news of Josh Jacobs missing Week 2 popped, which has a fairly large impact on how the field will see the slate. Everything that was written previously to the news will be left the same, while everything written after the news will be in italics. I’m hoping this will help readers better understand the process of identifying the chalk build and how to generate leverage without making suboptimal plays.
It doesn’t appear we are set for overbearing chalk this week after so much chalk failed in Week 1, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect a chalk build as there is a very clear route for rosters to take. With that in mind, and considering what has been preached by the Messiah, JM himself, throughout the week, there are numerous games this week with elevated Vegas game totals yet only one seems to be generating the amount of buzz we’d expect. One of the biggest edges we can gain on the main slate is to question everything. Like, everything. The field is once again going to think they know way more than they actually do this week, which gives us a substantial edge. Fight the recency biases and the urges to seek comfort. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
With the recent news that Josh Jacobs will miss Week 2, we can expect there to be a high likelihood that Kenyan Drake brandishes some level of ownership. The immediate thought from the field will likely be, “where can I allocate the additional salary if moving one of my running backs down to Kenyan Drake?” Be honest, at least 50% of you have already tinkered with this idea, right? If players like what the additional salary creates, they’ll run with the new lineup. If they don’t, they’ll revert back to the original lineup. So, if that is what the field is doing as I write this, what are we going to do to leverage that knowledge? To start, the idea of changing one piece of your roster down and seeing where else you could allocate that salary is about as suboptimal as it gets. That’s what the field will be doing!!! Let’s think through this situation logically to ensure we’re not making suboptimal decisions.
This section of the End Around is a change from last season, where we looked at “good chalk vs. bad chalk.” This season, we’re going to dig a little deeper into the Game Theoretic aspects of chalk and how that molds the way the field views the slate. The terms “restrictive chalk” and “expansive chalk” are proprietary ideas that I define in my Theory Of Roster Construction course. I won’t explain how we arrive at these methods, leaving that for the course. I’d highly recommend you read that in order to get the most out of this section throughout the season.
Not restrictive or expansive chalk; mid-priced. Of all the chalk that ever existed, Najee in Week 2 of the year of our Lord, 2021, is as close to “good chalk” as there ever was. Where is the hole in the following formula for running backs (Opportunity + Matchup + Cost = Fantasy Value)? It’s tough to poke holes there for Najee, right? That said, there is always merit to generating leverage smartly on the running back with the highest projected ownership (will cover below).
Not restrictive or expansive chalk; mid-priced. If you read the Edge writeup, you probably already know that I am not too keen on Mr. Elliott this week. That doesn’t mean he’s a terrible play (because he’s not), it just means there is more certainty found elsewhere. It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see Zeke playing empty snaps as a pass-blocker, similar to last week.
Not restrictive or expansive chalk; mid-priced. Honestly, enough said regarding my thoughts here from the Edge.
Not restrictive or expansive chalk; mid-priced. Recency bias, but a solid on-paper play.
Not restrictive or expansive chalk; mid-to-upper-mid-priced. Nothing left to say other than I will be playing them.
Not restrictive or expansive chalk; mid-priced. A combined 50%+ projected ownership from these three alone.
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