DFS: Do You Eat The Chalk In Week 1?

By: Austin Chen

(Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports )

(Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports )

Every week we will look at the projected ownerships on Draftkings to see if the smart move is to play the chalk. The popular high ownership plays are usually worth playing in cash games because it is either an elite option or a severely underpriced player.

However, that is not always the case. I will dig deeper so to see if it is smarter to eat the chalk or pivot to another option in GPP tournaments.




Chalky Play

Marcus Mariota $6800 (Projected Ownership 13%)

Marcus Mariota has a great matchup against the Oakland Raiders secondary in week 1. However, he is projected as the most popular quarterback on Draftkings this week.

I will not be eating the chalk at the quarterback position this week. There are plenty of other quarterbacks with equally enticing matchups with less ownership. Keep reading if you want to see my preferred option for week 1.


Contrarian Play

Matt Ryan $6900 (Projected Ownership 8%)

If Marcus Mariota is projected to be higher owned than Matt Ryan, I am playing Ryan instead. Matt Ryan finds himself in a favorable matchup as well. Ryan faces off against the Chicago Bears who gave up 25 pts a game. Ryan still has all the weapons last season who avg 33 points a game. I expect another strong offensive performance from the Falcons to start the 2017 season.


Running backs

Chalky Play

Le’Veon Bell $9800 (Projected Ownership 38%)

Bell is starting the season off with a dream matchup against the Cleveland Browns. He is projected to score 26.84 which is the most points for a running back this week according to RotoGrinders. The Cleveland Browns gave up over 142 rushing yards a game which was 2nd most in the NFL in 2016.


Contrarian Play

LeSean McCoy $8200(Projected Ownership 15%)

LeSean McCoy is the bell cow player that is priced right below the big 2 running backs of David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell. He is one of the few running backs that can match the output from the top 2 this week. McCoy gets to play against a college football team basically.

The New York Jets are awful, and LeSean has the ability to run circles around them. Bell can be faded this week if you think he is too expensive and widely used. He may not be in football shape as he did not begin to practice with the team till September 1. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has also gotten with the additions of Martavis Bryant and Vance Mcdonald.

Wide Receivers

Chalky Play

Larry Fitzgerald $5900 (Projected Ownership 25%)

Larry Fitzgerald will be widely started on Draftkings this week due to his favorable price and matchup. He will be going up against Quandre Diggs in the slot who had a Pro Football Focus grade of 47.9 which was 98th among 110 corners in 2016.

That makes him a great cash game, but there is a reason to pivot off of Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald will still need to find the end zone to make him a must play in tournaments.


Contrarian Play

Alshon Jeffery $5800  (Projected Ownership 7%)

If starting Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t interest you. I can recommend Alshon Jeffery for a similar price on DraftKings. Alshon Jeffery is playing against Josh Norman who will keep his ownership very low.  Alshon is a big guy who was able to beat Norman last time they squared off in 2016.

Jeffrey ended up with a line of 5 catches for 92 yards on ten targets. Pivot to Alshon this week for an upside WR at a similar price as Larry Fitzgerald.


Tight Ends


Chalky Play

Zach Ertz $3500 (Projected Ownership 30%)

Zach Ertz is currently projected as the highest owned tight end in week 1. That is because of his low price tag of only $3500 and opportunity. Jordan Matthews was traded away from the Eagles, so more targets in the middle of the field should go to Ertz.


Contrarian Play

Greg Olsen $6200 (Projected Ownership 8%)

With people going cheap at tight ends, picking one of the most expensive tight ends is a good way to separate your roster from others in large field GPP tournaments. Greg Olsen is the high dollar tight end I am looking at paying up for in week 1. Greg Olsen is facing off against the putrid San Francisco 49ers defense.

The addition of Christian McCaffrey should only help get Olsen more open. He is always one of Cam Newton’s favorite targets in the red zone.