Sunday, Feb 11th — Late
Bye Week:

End Around 9.23

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


Beyond the fact that we have a relatively short slate with low game totals (half of the games on the slate carry a game total of 40 points or fewer this week), this is only the second slate in the previous five weeks that has projectable value (low cost players that carry a solid median projection at cost), meaning we are likely to see a large portion of the field cramming in as much top-end salaried players as possible and filling in the gaps with the perceived value. As we’ll cover shortly, ownership expectations support this claim. Furthermore, the perceived value chalk pieces are all comparatively fragile if we put them side-by-side with chalk value from earlier in the season. On that note, I want to take a second to be as clear as possible in support of that statement. If we played out this slate 100 times, guys like Demario Douglas and Devin Singletary would be found on winning rosters and/or optimal rosters for this week at a rate much lower than their respective ownership levels (we can even add in guys like Terry McLaurin, Rachaad White, Chuba Hubbard, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Wan’Dale Robinson to that list, all of whom are expected to garner 10 percent ownership or more as perceived value pieces).


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. From my DFS+ writeup of this game:

“While the Bears present a solid matchup for Alvin Kamara through the air, his two outlier aerial production games came with the Saints playing from behind for most of the game (14 targets in the loss to the Jaguars in Week 7 and 14 targets in the loss to the Buccaneers in Week 4). His target totals in wins and close losses this season are five, eight, and three, with the two games of five or fewer targets coming in the two New Orleans wins during the previous five weeks. The Saints are currently installed as 8.5-point favorites against the Bears. All of that to say, we should expect a likeliest scenario of 17-20 carries and three to five targets for Kamara in this spot, in a matchup that is more difficult than public perception. That’s a tough sell for me at $8,100.”


EXPANSIVE CHALK. Demario Douglas is a 5’8” slot wide receiver who runs a 4.44 40-yard dash. His 13 targets over the previous two weeks are solid, but the absence of Kendrick Bourne is highly unlikely to drastically increase a snap rate that was already 62 percent and 77 percent the previous two weeks on an offense that typically lands around 60 percent 12-personnel utilization in games they are able to play to neutral-to-positive game script. Highly unlikely to sink your roster at $4,000 but equally as unlikely to contribute to a GPP-winning roster.


EXPANSIVE CHALK. The Texans have utilized a split backfield for the entirety of the 2023 season, with the highest snap rate for a back in a single game this season landing at 59 percent. Furthermore, the three backs that have been active on game days have all seen offensive snaps for the Texans this season, including Mike Boone and Dare Ogunbowale. All of that to say, I find it highly unlikely that Devin Singletary is tasked with more than 60 percent of the offensive snaps in a pass-funnel matchup for a team that has fed its lead back more than a modest 18 running back opportunities just twice this season.


RESTRICTIVE CHALK. I dig leveraging the uncertainty with Jacobs this week . . . at moderate ownership. The goods – Jacobs saw 11 targets in rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell’s only start this season, a 24-17 loss to the Chargers, Jacobs ranks third in the league in opportunity share, third in carries, and second in targets at the running back position, and the Giants have allowed 23.8 DK points per game to opposing backs. The bads – the Raiders remain the only team in the NFL to score 21 points or fewer in every game this season, Las Vegas ranks 25th in red zone scoring rate at 44.0 percent, and the Giants have held the Jets, Commanders, and Bills to just 11.33 points per game over their previous three outings.


NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. A little tidbit from Mike Johnson in a text last night: “Tyler Allgeier opportunity counts in Falcons wins: 24, 18, 16, 18.” The Falcons are currently 3.5-point favorites against a Minnesota team led by rookie quarterback Jaren Hall. Another way to read that is that Bijan Robinson has seen more than 16 running back opportunities in just three of eight games this season.


RESTRICTIVE CHALK. I get it, we have to spend our salary somewhere this week and Barkley is coming off the highest single-game usage of any running back over the previous decade (36 carries and 35.7 percent team target market share). Even so, Saquon Barkley averages 17.8 DK points per game on 22 carries and five targets per game this season. In other words, Barkley is not exactly setting the world on fire with his robust opportunity this year.


RESTRICTIVE CHALK. A.J. Brown boasts a 39.2 percent targets per route run rate against man coverage this season, including a league-leading 0.95 fantasy points per route run against that primary coverage alignment. The Cowboys are in man coverage at the fourth highest rate in the league (34.9 percent). He also just set an NFL record for six consecutive games of 125 yards receiving or more last week.


NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. Head coach Shane Steichen has largely made good on his promise to bring Jonathan Taylor along slowly over the course of a month following his return to the team after continuing to deal with an ankle injury into the season. Taylor’s snap rate has increased in each subsequent game, from 15 percent to 42 percent, to 50 percent, to 61 percent in Week 8. The Panthers rank 31st in DK points allowed per game to opposing backs at 32.6, having allowed 4.7 yards per carry and 14 rushing scores this year.



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