Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

End Around Week 1

Hilow is a game theory expert and tournament champion who focuses on mid/high-stakes single-entry/three-entry max


I’m sure this point has sunken in by now after seeing it in multiple places across the site, but Week 1 historically requires a raw score of 240-260 fantasy points to take down GPPs (which is what this is all about!) due to early pricing, which creates a scenario where there are numerous players that aren’t priced appropriately for their expected workload or production. As such, it is absolutely imperative that we take the required steps to build rosters that hold the upside to reach that kind of score, embracing additional variance (smartly) where it structurally makes sense to do so.

I don’t expect a large congregation of ownership around one particular game, rather particular players that have generated large amounts of offseason buzz. On slates where that is the case, we typically don’t have to go overly out of our way to generate the required leverage. Ensuring lineups are constructed properly, utilizing solid roster construction and Game Theory doctrine, should be enough to leverage the field. That said, we’re aiming for top 0.01% outcomes here, so build accordingly!


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 how the field views the slate. The terms “restrictive chalk” and “expansive chalk” are proprietary ideas that I define in the course Roster Construction: My Sharpest Edge. I won’t explain how we arrive at these methods, leaving that for the course. I’d highly recommend you read that course in order to get the most out of this section throughout the season. 


I expect Callaway to carry the highest ownership on the slate, which shapes the slate as a whole. Since he falls under the classification of expansive chalk, we must look to other areas of expected ownership to gauge how he affects roster construction overall.


The four high-priced running backs (Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, and Alvin Kamara) are natural restrictive chalk pieces that pair with Marquez Callaway. With this understanding, we can begin to clearly see the chalk build coming together.


The mispricing in Week 1 is likely to lead to a scenario where the ownership is highly concentrated amongst the pricing extremes at wide receiver. It is extremely easy to “jam them in and figure out the rest” in Week 1 because of the multitude of mispriced players at the wide receiver position, specifically.


The chalk build for Week 1 starts at the running back position, where I expect “one pay-up running back paired with one mid-range running back” roster construction to be heavily, heavily owned. This looks like one of Cristian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, or Derrick Henry paired with one of Joe Mixon, Najee Harris, Antonio Gibson, Aaron Jones, Raheem Mostert, or James Robinson.

I expect quarterback ownership to be largely spread out, with a clear top tier in Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, and Josh Allen, a solid amount of offseason buzz surrounding the mid-range of Ryan Tannehill, Jalen Hurts, Trevor Lawrence, and Kirk Cousins, and a clear value tier consisting of Carson Wentz, Tua Tagovailoa, Jameis Winston, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones. What will likely transpire is heavy ownership on “a quarterback paired with one of his pass-catchers,” which becomes fairly easy to leverage off of.

Wide receiver is the spot where people are most likely to play the extremes this week, cramming in as much of the top-level talent (and pricing) as possible paired with one or two sub-4k wide receivers.

Tight end ownership should be largely focused on Travis Kelce and Kyle Pitts. It is fairly easy to “jam Kelce in and figure out the rest” this week which should again serve to raise the ownership of the value wide receivers.

Put that all together and we get a slate where rosters are highly likely to be built around specific combinations at running back (and a tight range of salary allocation) and the extremes at wide receiver, so these will be the places we will look to generate the most leverage.



Don’t Have Access? Grab OWS Free!