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
We’re going to do things a bit differently in this section for this particular slate. I want to talk more about the psychological aspects in play as opposed to some of the top-level macro aspects.
First off, we can expect the most combinatorial ownership to reside with the first game on the slate. There are many things that go into that assertion, but it shouldn’t take much convincing, considering it is simultaneously the first game to be played (humans don’t like waiting for things) and carries the highest game total on the slate (top-level analysis). That said, there are some interesting angles to take when attacking that game environment, which we will discuss further below.
Next, expect a solid chunk of ownership to land on the top pass-catching options from the CIN-BUF game as that is the game the field is expecting to carry the second highest chances of shooting out. Every pass-catcher in that game not named Ja’Marr Chase, Stefon Diggs, or Gabe Davis is expected to garner relatively low ownership.
From a macro perspective, the field appears intent on paying up at the running back position for the perceived certainty, leaving Miles Sanders, Joe Mixon (yuck), James Cook, Devin Singletary, and Tony Pollard out to dry. Tony Pollard, in particular, appears criminally under-owned.
Finally, we have a primary decision point at tight end, with Travis Kelce and then everyone else. Evan Engram is in a “difficult matchup if he doesn’t see schemed usage,” Dalton Schultz is playing a defense with elite athleticism in the linebacker and safety units (standard tight end coverage from zone), and George Kittle has to contend with Deebo Samuel. Notice I left out Dallas Goedert and Dawson Knox (more on this below).
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.
Again, we’re going to do things a little differently in this section for this four-game slate. Look, the good on-paper plays are going to garner ownership – shocker. Based on how the slate is shaping up, I think it is more optimal to consider how to construct +EV rosters relative to how individual games could play out this weekend, which we will cover more below.