The Chalk Report
This past week there was some surprising chalk players and some not so much. The most popular player in the DraftKings Milly Maker was Dalvin Cook at 33%. This is the one that surprised me. We knew he was going to be a popular choice, but to have a third of the field own him was surprising. Ezekiel Elliott was the next highest owned at 25%. That was a rather obvious choice, especially based on him playing the Monday before and having a good game. The two most popular players in the Fanduel Sunday Million were A.J. Green at 34% and then Zeke at 26%. Green was expected to be used heavily based on his game the week before and his price still being a little low.
Leonard Fournette was chalky on both sites coming in at 20-21%. Larry Fitzgerald the third most popular player on both sites as his price is still way too low for his usage. DeAndre Hopkins was 24% on DK and 16% on FD and he easily paid off with a big game against Tennessee. The next most popular plays on Fanduel were Todd Gurley and Stefon Diggs around 19%. I am hoping people are off Gurley this week going up against the Seahawks. Hopefully, people still think of Seattle as a shutdown defense and won’t want to roster him.
I was surprised that Deshaun Watson was not more popular based on his price and the talk I heard all week. I recommended him in my article especially for DK where he was 13%. That is high for a QB, but not as high as I thought he would be. He came in at only 5% on Fanduel and if you played him probably did very well. Cam Newton was barely played at 2% on both sites, yet was the highest scoring fantasy quarterback. As I predicted on SiriusXm with Dr. Roto, Le’Veon Bell was very low-owned at only 8-12% and was the highest scoring running back. Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston and Eli Manning were the next highest scoring QBs at ownership from 2-8%. This is a perfect example of why it is ok to pay down at the quarterback position. As an example, Tom Brady was 10-15% owned at a much higher price and did not finish in the top five at the position.
As I have stated before, we don’t usually have to worry about quarterback ownership percentages. As we saw this week, even the most popular QBs are less than 20% owned. I do think Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson will be chalky. Carson Palmer should also be among the higher owned QBs especially at this price of only $5900 on DraftKings. At running back, Lev Bell should go back to being popular again after his great game last week. He got 41 touches in that game! 41! Quarterbacks don’t even throw the ball that much many times. If he isn’t chalk again this week I will be very surprised. Zeke should be popular again as well as Kareem Hunt. I am guessing Latavius Murray draws some ownership if Monday’s game is on the slate. He is taking over for the injured Dalvin Cook and is only $4500 on DK and $6000 on FD. After his nice performance last week, Bilal Powell will be somewhat popular as well.
At wide receiver this week, we have the usual suspects at the top. Antonio Brown, Jordy Nelson, and A.J. Green will be among the highest owned. I also expect Dez Bryant will draw some ownership going up against Green Bay. I assume after his big game Monday night, Travis Kelce will the high-end chalk at tight end. Though Rob Gronkowski and Zach Ertz are similar price and will still be popular plays. I am really trying to come up with synonyms for popular and chalk but it’s kind of hard. Charles Clay should finally get some ownership as well as Evan Engram. They are both off to good starts and are seeing a lot of targets. Jared Cook is still too cheap on DK at $3900 and I am debating what his ownership percentage will be. He has a good matchup at home versus the Ravens.
Finally, I would think the Vikings are going to be popular on the Thursday-Monday slate going up against the new Bears QB. On the main slate it’s a little harder to tell. There are some not so great defenses in good spots. The New York Jets play the Cleveland Browns. I think both are in play this weekend. Also, San Francisco faces off against Indianapolis. Both of these defenses are in play, yet I am debating how chalky they will be. Check back with me later in the week for clearer defensive percentages.
Remember, not all chalk is bad chalk. The saying goes “chalk is chalk for a reason”. Players in good spots are naturally going to be higher owned than players in bad spots. Finding the players in perceived bad situations, (like maybe Todd Gurley this week) but that could do well is the key to pivoting off the chalk. Listen to the late week podcast and articles to determine which popular players to roster and which are best to fade.