Sunday, Feb 12th — Late
Bye Week:
49ers
Bears
Bengals
Bills
Broncos
Browns
Buccaneers
Cardinals
Chargers
Colts
Commanders
Cowboys
Dolphins
Falcons
Giants
Jaguars
Jets
Lions
Packers
Panthers
Patriots
Raiders
Rams
Ravens
Saints
Seahawks
Steelers
Texans
Titans
Vikings

End Around 7.22

Hilow is a game theory expert (courses at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Northwestern) and tournament champion who focuses on mid/high-stakes single-entry/three-entry max

MACRO SLATE VIEW::

First off, my threshold for identifying chalk, and then writing it up, is 20% expected ownership. As you’ll see here shortly, there aren’t many that satisfy that threshold this week. The ones we do have are uber-mega-silly chalk, which we’ll get into more about below. From a macro perspective, the slate shapes up as one of the more unique slates we’ve had this season, with three games with game totals of 49.0 points or more, three games in the mid-range of game totals, and FIVE games with game totals of 43.0 points or below. We know the top three expected game environments are going to garner a lot of interest on a slate like this, where top game environments are at a premium, so navigating those games is of great importance. Furthermore, hunting for “hidden” or underutilized upside, either of the one-off variety, correlated pairings, or full game environment bets, gains further importance as well with such concentrated chalk up top.

RESTRICTIVE CHALK VS EXPANSIVE CHALK::

Quick explanation: restrictive chalk is an expected highly owned piece that restricts the maneuverability of the remainder of your roster while expansive chalk is an expected highly owned piece that allows for higher amounts of maneuverability on the remainder of your roster. Classifying various forms of chalk as either restrictive or expansive allows us to visualize what it means for roster construction on a given slate and how restrictive a certain player might be, meaning more of the field will look similar from a roster construction standpoint with that piece.

JOSH JACOBS

Neither expansive nor restrictive chalk. Jacobs has been a much bigger part of the Las Vegas offense than we thought coming into the year, with a 74.6% snap rate (fourth at the position), 84.0% team backfield opportunity share (third at the position), and an increased route participation rate (53.5%, 11th at the position). He now gets the distinct pleasure of playing the team allowing the most DK points per game to opposing backfields at 31.6 and is priced at “only” $6,500. Jacobs has seen running back opportunities of 34 and 26 over the previous two weeks. He has seen 16 targets over the previous three weeks. That profile would 100% be classified as “good or sharp chalk.”

KEN WALKER

Expansive chalk. Walker saw 24 running back opportunities last week in his first game as the unquestioned lead back in Seattle, narrowly missing the 100-yard rushing bonus and getting into the end zone. His 11.4% breakaway run rate ranks third at the position, which is important considering his opponent this week, the Chargers, have given up the highest rate of explosive runs this season, including the third most fantasy points per game to opposing backfields (30.1). His projection is more fragile than Jacobs, which expected ownership reflects.

CEEDEE LAMB

Restrictive chalk. Lamb leads the league in team target market share at a robust 33.3%, including an elite 33.1% targets per route run rate and 97.8% route participation rate (13th). He is highly unlikely to crater rosters this week, but I have pause for concern here. Per Fantasy Points’ Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB on Twitter), Lamb has posted 16.6 fantasy points per game over the last six games with Cooper Rush at quarterback and 9.3 fantasy points per game over the last six games with Dak Prescott at quarterback. Realize that five of the last six games with Dak at quarterback also included Amari Cooper still on the roster, but the data serves to highlight the fact that Prescott is an above-average NFL quarterback that gets through progressions well, not force-feeding the ball to his top wideout, while Cooper Rush hones in on his first read (very often his first read if CeeDee Lamb). Also, consider that the field seems to think the return of Dak Prescott will directly correlate to increased aerial aggression from the Cowboys, when the fact of the matter is that they have held pass rate over expectation (PROE) values below league average in every game this season. I strongly doubt a game against a Lions team that can be beaten anywhere on the field pushes the Cowboys into increased aerial aggression. Again, he is unlikely to crater lineups this week, but notable, nonetheless.

PAY-DOWN TIGHT ENDS

Expansive chalk. Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich is priced at the bare minimum of $2,500 and scored on national television last week. Cameron Brate is out for the Buccaneers and rookie tight end Cade Otton is priced at only $2,700. Darren Waller is out for the Raiders and backup tight end Foster Moreau is priced at only $2,800. All three are expected to combine for over 30% ownership this weekend.

Tampa Bay tight ends have commanded just 16.6% of Tom Brady’s 247 pass attempts through six weeks, which leaves Otton with an expected range of outcomes of six to eight targets considering expected game environment.

Dulcich has played one professional game and was in a route at a 71.4% clip, seeing a below-average 15.0% targets per route run rate. He scored a touchdown on a busted coverage play on national television, steaming him up for a game against a Jets team allowing 12.8 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.

The dynamic Darren Waller has averaged just six targets per game over four fully healthy games this year. A valid expectation of four to six targets for Moreau is likeliest considering the expected game environment against the Texans.

CHALK BUILD::

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