Sunday, Feb 11th — Late
Bye Week:

End Around 8.23

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


Yes, there are no games on the Week 8 slate that carry a game total of over 50 points. Yes, scoring is down around the league. Yes, this slate feels overwhelming and ambiguous. But beyond those top-level feels introduced from the slate itself, we must realize that there are zero teams on bye this week and 26 teams in play. From a pure law of probabilities perspective, that immediately means that the score required to ship GPPs this week is likely to be much higher than in previous weeks due to the sheer number of teams and players on the slate. More chances for outlier production, probabilistically speaking, are likely to lead to more players with outlier production when all is said and done. Why is that so important here? It means that every player that we place on rosters this week must carry a clear path to 30+ DK points in their range of outcomes because somebody is likely to capture a roster full of 30+ fantasy points and ship GPPs on this slate. That is the most important theoretical aspect of this slate and something we must keep in mind as we build this week. What’s more, the field is likely to struggle with these methods after four consecutive slates where 230-235 points was winning large field GPPs.


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.


RESTRICTIVE CHALK. Alvin Kamara holds a 37.1 percent targets per route run rate against Cover-3 this season. The Colts play from Cover-3 at the highest rate in the league on defense. Kamara is pacing to set an NFL record for targets in a season at running back. Kamara has missed three games due to suspension. Kamara reached 29.3 DK points last week – without finding the end zone. 30+ DK points are well within his range of outcomes against a Colts team that breeds solid game environments due to their offensive success, elevated pace of play, and underperforming defense. Play Alvin Kamara.


EXPANSIVE CHALK. If we combine the fantasy involvement and production of Zach Ertz and Trey McBride this season, we would be left with what amounts to the TE4 on the season. That profile now rests on McBride’s shoulder alone after Ertz was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Even so, the Cardinals carry the second lowest Vegas implied team total on the slate and have scored more than their Week 8 implied total once since Week 3. Remember the importance of 30+ fantasy point potential this week. McBride scoring 30+ fantasy points in this slot would be more like a 99 percent outcome than an 80 percent outcome!


EXPANSIVE CHALK. Man, the chalk defense that has the best point-per-dollar median projection on the slate. We know the drill here – median projections mean very little to us at defense due to the highly variant scoring at the position. That said, it’s hard to argue against the top point-per-dollar play at the position on the slate. Just understand that there are defenses that carry as much, if not more, upside from a raw points perspective, including the Ravens, Eagles, Jets, Chiefs, and potentially even the Vikings.


NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. Breece Hall in $100 less than Bijan Robinson, has a higher median projection than Bijan, and has a higher 80 percent outcome than Bijan. Hall is objectively a better on-paper play than Bijan. And yet, both players are projected for about the same ownership in Week 8. Statistically speaking, if both players have a similar price and similar ownership expectation, but one player has a range of outcomes that far exceed the other, there is inherent leverage to playing the player with the more robust range of outcomes.


NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. Zay Flowers has three games this season with double-digit targets and no game with more than 11 looks through the air. The first game came in Week 1 with Mark Andrews on the sideline. The second and third instances of double-digit targets came in both Baltimore losses. Mark Andrews will play in Week 8 and the Ravens are favored by 9.5 points on the road in Arizona. The path to 30 DK points for wide receivers includes nine to ten receptions, 100-110 yards, and a touchdown, with an additional touchdown removing the need to crack the 100-yard receiving bonus. That profile likely makes up only five percent of Flowers’ range of outcomes here, meaning he can return 30+ DK points in this spot, but it is much more unlikely to happen than other players that have 20-25 percent of their range of outcomes in the 30+ DK points realm.


NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. Look, I get it, play running backs against the Broncos. Even so, Pacheco averages 14.3 carries and three targets per game. With a profile that lacks clear paths to upside through the air, he will require 100 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to return a viable GPP-worthy score here. Can he return those numbers on 14-16 carries and two to three targets against the Broncos? Sure, he can. Does it represent a solid portion of his range of outcomes here? Nope! Remember, a 13-game slate means we absolutely must have every player on our rosters hold clear paths to 30+ DK points!


NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. I was talking about this with Jordan Vanek on the Cover 5 show Friday, and he brought up that the DraftKings pricing algorithm was exploited this week after Bijan Robinson saw one offensive snap and had one carry for three yards in Week 7. Objectively, Bijan is probably the first instance of a player being priced this far below median projection since Puka Nacua earlier in the season. Even so, his opponent, the Tennessee Titans, has allowed just 3.6 yards per carry and the matchup yields one of the lower net yards before contact values on the slate. Bijan has seen five or more targets in all but one healthy game which helps to bolster his median projection, but the sledding could be tough to unlock legitimate 30+ DK point upside in this spot.



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