Mark “Hilow” Garcia
The Chiefs stand out as the only team with a Vegas implied team total over 30 points (32.35), with the Browns and Bears joining them as the only other teams with a team total over 27 (28.75 and 27.25, respectively). But we also have the Ravens (26.75), Texans (26.5), Chargers (26), and Eagles (26) who all carry heightened Vegas implied team totals, that are likely to come in with low ownership (as in, ownership on the weekend is likely to congregate around the aforementioned top three teams). With team totals under three points lower than the Browns and Bears, we’re likely to see extremely high leverage from Ravens players, Texans players, Chargers players and Eagles players. No other team has a Vegas implied team total over 24 points.
Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are likely to be amongst the highest owned players at their respective positions, and for good reason. The matchup favors the pass, their starting running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, will miss this contest, and they have the highest Vegas implied team total at 32 points. The only negative when considering this pass offense is the large spread (Chiefs favored by 10.5 points), which introduces at least some level of concern with respect to how deep into the game the Chiefs will remain aggressive through the air (as we’ve talked about in this space this season, the Chiefs are no longer a team that will remain aggressive in blowouts throughout, as their defense has come a long way in the past two seasons). With that in mind, I will personally be treating the primary pass-catching options as an either/or, instead of playing Hill and Kelce together.
(GOOD CHALK, but some things to keep in mind; I don’t expect I’ll end up with a ton of Mahomes, but will likely have some Hill and some Kelce)
Le’Veon Bell in Week 16 equals Leonard Fournette from Week 15 (running backs on large favorites that have looked washed this season, in tougher-than-perceived matchups on the ground, that are (or were) highly touchdown dependent). Fournette maddeningly “got there” last week on the backs of two one-yard touchdown stumbles, which is likely what it will take for Bell to pay off here at high ownership. The matchup against the Falcons yields a well below average 4.14 net-adjusted line yards metric (allowing only 3.73 yards per carry to opposing backfields), with majority of the damage done against coming from passes to running backs (Falcons have ceded the fourth most receptions on 102 targets to the position). The Chiefs have targeted the running back position 17.7% of the time on the season, and when paired with likely game flow, it is unlikely that rate increases (on the contrary, it’s much likelier that rate falls here). The last game Clyde Edwards-Helaire missed was Week 13, a game that saw Bell out-snap fellow running back Darrel Williams 33 to 31 (52% to 48%), with each likely to split the available targets to the running back position (likeliest scenario of six to eight). This all comes together to make Bell largely a yardage and touchdown back. Priced at $5,800, his ownership is likely to be higher than his prospective chance at a solid point per dollar hit.
(yardage and touchdown backs are almost (I said almost, Derrick Henry!) always BAD CHALK at high ownership)
This one is a little harder for me to get behind. The volume is locked in, but the matchup is far more difficult than public perception dictates. Sitting as the second highest priced wide receiver, there are higher confidence spots to spend salary this week. The ceiling is there, and the volume-boosted floor is locked in, but I’ll likely be looking elsewhere.
(borderline BAD CHALK)
At some point you have to just accept the fact that players get better; DMO is the prime example from the 2020 season. The matchup yields an average 4.27 net-adjusted line yards metric, but the likeliest plan of attack for the Bears involves a high level of DMO involvement. Expect 22-26 running back opportunities as a floor here, against a Jaguars team allowing 25.8 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields. The price has come up to a point where it’s becoming more and more uncomfortable inserting him into our lineups, but the combination of floor and ceiling in this matchup leaves him with one of the highest median projections amongst running backs on the slate.
(GOOD CHALK for combination of floor and ceiling)
The chalk build this week is less about individual players as it is about likely ownership on the three teams with the top Vegas implied team totals (KC, CLE and CHI). High leverage can be generated by mixing in players from the second tier of team totals (BAL, HOU, LAC, PHI) and by picking our spots smartly on those top three teams.
Backfield-mate Phillip Lindsay was placed on the Injured Reserve on Saturday, leaving behind 14 touches per game over the previous three weeks. It is likely some of those touches left behind fall to Devantae Booker, but the biggest boost in expectations is to Melvin Gordon. The Broncos check into Week 16 with the second highest overall rush rate over the last month of play at 55%. Likeliest scenario lands Gordon in the 22-24 running back opportunity range against a Chargers defense facing the sixth most targets to opposing running backs, with a revenge narrative fully in play. Gordon brings one of the highest touch to price ratios on the slate.
With wide receiver Terry McLaurin currently listed as doubtful, and with what ownership does come from Washington likely to be on tight end Logan Thomas, we could be afforded the opportunity to grab a home favorite running back on a team that is “win and in” for the playoffs, against an opponent allowing 26.4 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields at low expected ownership. Sometimes it’s just that easy.
Likeliest range of outcomes lands Higgins in the eight to ten target range against a Texans team allowing the tenth most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Tyler Boyd was ruled out this week, leaving Higgins, AJ Green and Alex Erickson as the starting wide receivers in 11-personnel. The price to ceiling ratio is extremely high on a wide receiver that should be on the field for every offensive snap (priced at only $4,700).
Both were covered in depth in the Edge writeup of this game, so I won’t repeat myself here. Amari would be my personal choice amongst the two for the pure ceiling he brings to the table in this game environment.
Tight end Hunter Henry is likely to miss this contest on the COVID-Reserve and Keenan Allen is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries are extremely difficult to overcome for wide receivers, who go from stationary to full speed repeatedly over the course of a game. Peak leverage would actually come from Keenan playing as opposed to sitting out, with the thought being Henry is out and Keenan is limited or slowed by the hamstring injury, leaving Ekeler as the primary healthy offensive weapon. Chargers are currently listed as the home favorites with a Vegas implied team total of 25.75 points.
Quarterback ownership is typically rather spread out, so this is less about Hurts’ own ownership projections as it is about how he is likeliest to be utilized. The highest EV way to play Hurts this weekend is naked, and it’s likeliest to be the lowest owned of the possible combinations of Hurts ownership. The second highest EV way to play Hurts this weekend is to pair him with Goedert, which is also likely to be under-owned relative to where the combined ownership should be.
You can catch Hilow (and Sonic, and Xandamere, and JM) on the OWS Discord server…
You can get inside Hilow’s DFS mind here.
You can also grab the first five lessons of Hilow’s Game Theory course for FREE.
You can listen to Hilow and Lex on Run To Daylight (hosted by TodFromPA || presented by OWS!), live at 8 PM Eastern this Saturday. (Note: the podcast runs live, but it will be archived shortly after it finishes.)
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