Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

End Around :: Week 3

Hilow’s End Around: Game Theory Training for DFS Play

Mark “Hilow” Garcia


Macro Slate View

This is one of the more chalky slates I can remember at running back, and one of the least chalky slates I can remember at wide receiver. This gives us an interesting dynamic, in that I typically like to leverage a little more at positions other than running back (unless we see clear cases of bad chalk like last week, and like we’ll see me cover later in this breakdown). So if we find clear cases of bad chalk at running back, and not much chalk to begin with at wide receiver, we should have an easier time differentiating ourselves from the field (IE leverage will happen naturally), and the slate becomes much more straightforward.

Good Chalk vs. Bad Chalk

(Back to the well we go for this first highlight)

Jonathan Taylor:

Take away the name. Take away the hype. Take away the team he plays on. Let’s look at the pure statistics/metrics. JT has averaged 3.5 yards per tote in his young NFL career, while the Colts’ offensive line has created the NFL’s 14th ranked adjusted line yards at 4.42. They rank 28th in the NFL in power success rate and are ranked bottom ten in the league in both second level yards created and open field yards created. The Colts now face the New York Jets, a team ranked 2nd in the league in adjusted line yards allowed, but the memory in everyone’s head this week will be Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert torching the Jets for long runs. If you watched the game (or highlights), what you should have seen was every single long carry from the 49ers was off tackle, with misdirection prior to the snap. Is JT going to see carries to the edge, off tackle? Highly probable. But Reich is the type of coach who is going to get the ball in his playmakers’ hands in the best possible scenarios. This week, that should be over the middle of the field. Now priced up at $7000, JT NEEDS 100 yards on the ground, with passing work mixed in, and two total touchdowns to provide a GPP-worthy ceiling. I doubt that level of production in this matchup.

(Bad Chalk with leverage possibilities)

Jerick McKinnon:

With Kittle out of the lineup for over a game, the 49ers have produced the NFL’s second worst adjusted line yards (remember, Kittle is that team’s best run blocker!). Now missing both Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, the masses will point to increased opportunity for Jet. Allow me to introduce a man by the name of Jeff Wilson, Jr. I’d expect Wilson to see majority of early down work for as long as Mostert and Coleman remain sidelined. I’d also expect the Niners to call up practice squad rookie JaMycal Hasty prior to Friday’s end of week practice, and for all three to be involved in this week’s game plan. Back to a line from my course (first five lessons FREE!): if he wasn’t a good play before looking at pricing, he isn’t a good play after looking at pricing. McKinnon is priced at only $4900 on Draftkings. I expect MANY to fall for this trap this week.

(Bad Chalk, especially if Kittle misses (UPDATE: Kittle ruled out))

Miles Sanders:

For how much bad press this Eagles line has gotten over the past three weeks, they’ve actually ranked 8th in the NFL in adjusted line yards at 4.65 through two weeks (struggling to the tune of a 27th ranked adjusted sack rate allowed). Basically, they’ve been sneakily good with the run and have struggled with pass protection. In his first action of the year, Sanders saw a 77% snap rate, which he turned into a 20/95/1 line on the ground with three catches on seven targets for 36 yards through the air. The Eagles face a Bengals defense allowing 5.14 adjusted line yards to opposing offenses, and dedicated most of their offseason to shoring up their own offensive line. This is firmly in the realm of “don’t overthink things when they ought not be overthought.”

(Good Chalk with interesting leverage angles)

DeAndre Hopkins:

In a week where it’s difficult to project wide receiver ownership, we should expect Nuk to be the highest owned WR on the slate. You don’t lead the league in both targets and team target market share and get away as a sneaky play. In the first game of the season, the Cardinals were forced to remain aggressive against the 49ers, and Nuk went on to see 16 targets. In the second game of the season, the Cards walked to a comfortable victory, and Nuk saw (only?) nine targets. So what do we think the game script looks like this week against the Lions? Nuk’s likeliest scenario for target outcome in this game is 8-12 targets, so he’s likely going to need a couple trips to paint to pay off his elevated price tag, as he’s being used in a very Michael Thomas-esque short to intermediate role, which jives with how this offense has looked over the past 18 games.

(Neither Good Chalk or Bad Chalk, but something we need to consider when looking at our chalk build)

Dallas Wide Receivers:

Both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb should challenge Nuk for top ownership numbers at WR. In a vacuum, both (and throw in the forgotten man, Michael Gallup!) are solid plays this week. If forced to project the highest ownership of the group, I’d put money on CeeDee. Gallup is sure to be the lowest owned, but also has the most difficult matchup on the perimeter (although not daunting, but notable), as Seattle looks to force action to the middle of the field (CeeDee/Amari/Dalton Schultz). The problem we’re going to see out of this offense is they just have so many playmakers available, making it difficult to project floor and ceiling each week.

(None are Good Chalk or Bad Chalk, but we’ll discuss how to leverage this game with nothing pointing to any one player having a better chance at a blowup game)

Logan Thomas:

One of my Ten DFS Commandments is to not play chalk at tight end, but it’s extremely difficult this week with Thomas. All of his advanced metrics (other than being tied to Dwayne Haskins, Jr.) scream breakout, but it hasn’t all come together just yet. 17 targets through two weeks is 2019 Zach Ertz-level volume, and the matchup could not be better, as Cleveland has been a sieve to opposing TEs through two weeks.

(I can’t in good faith classify any TE as Good Chalk, but this might be the closest I’ve ever come)

Chalk Build

$7000 :: Jonathan Taylor

$6400 :: Miles Sanders

$7900 :: DeAndre Hopkins

$5400 :: CeeDee Lamb

$3700 :: Logan Thomas

$4900 :: Jerick McKinnon

Week 3’s chalk build takes all the perceived “must-plays,” jams them in, and forces the rest of the lineup. Knowing now how a good chunk (likely 15%+ this week) of lineups will look, how can we leverage away from that roster construction as a whole, and shrink the percentage of the field we’re competing against from 100% to 85%? At QB, I expect the two quarterbacks in the DAL/SEA game to carry significant ownership, but because they are priced up so much, it will be difficult to fit one of them AND Nuk in the same lineup (so my leverage thinkers that you are, that’s one way to differentiate yourself off the bat if your research has led you to pencil in Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson as well as Nuk).

Leverage Spots

Running Back:

Because of the chalk at the position, we should find the sledding fairly easy with leverage in mind this week. Our top three net adjusted line yards matchups are Arizona, Philadelphia and Minnesota, with Buffalo not far behind. I started the week keying in on Kenyan Drake (who, as JM mentioned in the Edge, is seeing tier two running back usage), Miles Sanders (again, tier two usage) and Dalvin Cook (slow pace in this game so there are increasing avenues to disappointment – the same can be said for his counterpart, Derrick Henry), but as the week went along and we got news of Zack Moss being ruled out, Devin Singletary crept up to my favorite RB play on the slate. Both Kenyan and Miles carry extremely solid price-considered floor and ceiling combinations, priced at only $6000 and $6400, respectively. The matchups are simply too pure for them to truly fail, and they both bring legitimate 4-5x upside to the table on the 22-24 touches they are likeliest to both see. As for Singletary (whom I have faded like the plague in season-long and best ball alike), we know Brian Daboll is one of the most opponent-specific game planners and game callers in the NFL, we know the Bills have opened up their offense with the addition of Stefon Diggs, and we know the path of least resistance against the Rams is on the ground. What many are going to assume, however, is that the pass play rate (first in the league!!!) from their first two games is likely to stick in this matchup, as the Bills first two opponents (NYJ and MIA) were both better attacked through the air, more specifically with deep passing over the middle of the field. This should give us a nice leverage spot at lower-than-should-be-in-this-spot ownership. Bringing it all together, with the expected ownership on Nuk and the misconceptions surrounding the Bills, we can be fairly certain there won’t be many lineups in play this week with all three of Drake, Sanders, and Singletary.

DeSean Jackson:

Injuries, injuries, injuries. The three truths of life: death, taxes and the Eagles barely being able to field a pass-catching corps. In all seriousness, we’ve seen the Eagles force downfield looks for two weeks in a row, against teams that aim to shorten the field. We’ve also seen the inability of the offensive line to provide Wentz with enough time to allow his WRs’ routes to develop. For this week, we get a Bengals defensive line that couldn’t pressure a chain smoker into taking a drag. The volume and the value of each target have been there all season for DJax, this very well could be the week where everything comes together to provide that sought after ceiling game. The bonus is the pure leverage you gain by playing DJax over Sanders and his expected ownership. (Bonus thoughts: I pondered the viability of stacking Sanders WITH DJax this week, which will also carry heavy leverage, but the possibilities of one hitting without the other are too great when considering the presence of both TEs. This is an either/or proposition this week!)

TY Hilton:

The mother of all leverage spots for Week 3! I’d expect JT to carry the most ownership at the running back position, so what if we not only fade him, we play the other member of his team that has the best chances of success!? We talked about the Jets and their desire to work inside out on defense in the JT write-up. We also talked about where they are best attacked, and the fact that Reich is one of the handful of NFL play-callers that will look to exploit the deficiencies of an opposing defense. It just so happens that those two thoughts line up perfectly this week with Hilton. The Jets are most vulnerable over the middle and deep-middle areas of the field, the exact areas TY does majority of his work. The floor is a little shakier than I’d like when looking at TY in a vacuum, but think of him versus the rest of your lineup (as we spoke to in my course!) and balance his lower-than-ideal floor with your lineup as a whole, and reap the leverage that comes along with it!

NYG Pass-catchers:

Back to the well number two! Add Nick Bosa, Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, and Jimmy Garoppolo to the laundry list of 49ers injuries. Akhello Witherspoon will be tasked with one side of the field (opposite tier-below-elite CB Emmanuel Moseley). Witherspoon has one of the worst coverage grades in the entire NFL this season (and mediocre at best dating back to last year). Engram is priced at only $5000, but what may be my favorite play on the entire slate in WR Darius Slayton. Due to the injuries that have mounted on the Giants’ offense (maybe the fourth truth of life?), paired with the passing attempts likely to be thrown from Jones this week (average of 40.5 passes per game the first two weeks), and we should see a target floor of 7-8 looks for Slayton, with the majority of those of the down field variety. Factoring in the likely game script, and Slayton has legitimate upside for 11-13 targets, with likely a good number of those under the “coverage” of Witherspoon (Slayton has run 30/18/2 routes lined up right/left/slot, respectively, and Moseley plays the right side (or, away from Slayton)). There are very clear avenues for Slayton to pop without Jones, so I won’t be looking for the QB/WR stack from this side of the ball.

Want More Hilow?

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.

Collective Contest!

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