This is an interesting week from an ownership perspective. As of Thursday night, there isn’t really a crazy amount of chalk developing on either Fanduel or Draftkings. Of course, that could change over the next couple of days due to a significant injury or two but as of now the ownership is very well spread out. I think that is important because it allows you to roster some of the better plays in your lineup without being afraid of being too chalky. For example, most weeks I have only recommended rostering one of the chalkiest players from the four main positions in your lineups. If you were to go any higher you would need some pretty contrarian picks to go with them. However, if the 2nd to 10th most owned guys don’t necessarily offer a big discount in terms of ownership then you are freer to go with the better values. Hopefully, the sites will do a bit better pricing like this slate going forward so teams aren’t so concentrated that we see massive ties at the top of the leaderboards like we did last week.
How to play the chalk
One of the biggest decisions each week is how to handle the chalk on the slate. The chalkiest players are typically the ‘best’ plays on the slate if you are trying to maximize your total points produced. However, if you are looking to win a big tournament you can gain a lot of ground on your competition if you choose a player that outperforms there. If that player is in a lot of lineups you can pass a lot at one time. Balancing scoring the most points and playing against your competition is the toughest part of DFS. In this section, we talk about how to handle the toughest decision of the week. What to do with the chalk:
As stated in the opening the chalk is spread around pretty evenly this week and the quarterback position is no exception. Our normal go-to quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes II have difficult matchups against the Bills and Patriots respectively. That leaves another of our top go-to quarterbacks Deshaun Watson as the top owned QB as of Thursday night. Unfortunately, for Watson, he also gets a tough matchup against the Broncos. In fact, if we compare the Vegas totals for these three games the Texans sit the lowest at 42. Baltimore is the second-lowest at 43.5 and the Chiefs are the highest at 49. Of course, totals don’t tell the whole story as the Texans are the biggest favorite but a high total does help us understand how likely the game is to shoot out.
Watson is my top-ranked value, although not by much, so I think it makes a lot of sense to make him a part of your GPP plans especially if his ownership stays in the low teens. If it starts to creep up to the upper teens then I think you will want to fade him. If I was only playing one lineup, it’s a toss-up if you go with Watson or any of the guys right behind him. My current lean would be to go with someone else like Matt Ryan or Jackson.