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NFL DFS Chalk or Walk: Week 11 Popular plays and pivots

Welcome to NFL DFS chalk or walk! This is an article that looks to identify popular plays and their viable pivots in DFS and season long contests. We will use projections to make assumptions about players' performances and find inefficiencies based on who the field values more.

This article is best used with the projections models here at Paydirt, but it will still be valuable even as a one off piece of content. While the focus is on Draftkings, the content is applicable to Fanduel as well. Costs, Projections, and ownership projections format will be Draftkings/Fanduel.

Popularity, leverage, and balance in DFS

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Current highest owned NFL DFS plays

It’s another week with extremely tight pricing, which is forcing a lot of midranged chalk. There’s simply not many strong values to take advantage of. What this leads to is high ownership on the $5-$6k options at RB and WR. Likewise, it’ll lead to increased ownership on cheaper tight ends to fit the couple expensive options worth rostering. The heaviest chalk above is David Montgomery along with Dameon Pierce, both around 25% owned.

In terms of roster construction, we will be seeing more double TE builds this week. This is a trend we saw last week as well. It’s simply too hard to make up for lost projection with the cheap options at other positions, so optimizers will be looking to TE in the flex. This represents a pretty simple way towards relative value by going with the more volatile cheap WRs at FLEX and ceding a bit of projection in the process.

NFL DFS Popular plays and pivots for leverage

It’s vital to have a strong assessment of not only the popular plays but the viable pivots to them at their position and price. Here are some of the most important popular plays on the slate and a pivot you can make to gain leverage and relative value in tournaments:

Some of the tables used for the stats in this article:

Wide Receivers: Stefon Diggs vs. AJ Brown

Stefon Diggs

Cost – $8,300/$9,400
Projection – 20.00/14.60
Ownership%: – 14.86%/15.77%

The Bills had their game moved from Buffalo to Detroit due to weather, so people are piling on. The team total sits at 28.75 Going from bad conditions to a dome is a big potential boost to productivity and ceiling, and Diggs is a direct beneficiary. He’s averaging the most fantasy points per game in the league at 23.61 to go with a 30.14% targetshare and 31.93% redzone targetshare. Buffalo also happens to be the most aggressive team in the league at 9.40% aggressiveness above average. This is all great, and Diggs is a terrific play in a vacuum. However, he comes at high ownership, and some cracks have shown through the armor of Josh Allen recently.

AJ Brown

Cost – $8,000/$8,400
Projection – 21.40/14.30
Ownership%: – 7.30%/10.12%

At likely half of the ownership, you can pivot to AJ Brown. The Eagles have a similarly high team total at 26.50 and have some injuries to their core receivers. With Dallas Goerdert on IR, there should be a narrowing of the target tree around Brown and Devonta Smith. Considering Brown already averages 44% of the air yards and 29% of the targets for the Eagles, this could push him into the stratosphere. While Brown average just 17 fantasy points per game, he has had multiple 25+ fantasy performances as well as a 40 point bomb a couple weeks ago. With similar upside and a more advantageous situation in terms of target tree, Brown makes for a fantastic GPP option.

Tight Ends: Tyler Higbee vs. David Njoku

Tyler Higbee

Cost – $4,000/$6,200
Projection – 10.90/7.95
Ownership%: – 13.50%/3.90%

The Rams lost Cooper Kupp last week to injury and will have to rely on Higbee and company to pick up the slack. This is good news for Higbee specifically, as his 21% targetshare last week was solid and he has had multiple weeks in the 25% range for the team. It’s not insane to think he could end up with 10+ targets in this spot. However, Higbee has not had a single touchdown this year or a single performance over 20 fantasy points even with a strong marketshare of the receiving work. Likewise, you have to assume this offense is considerably worse without a top 3 WR in the league to pick up the pieces. Higbee is a terrific play in cash games, but I think we can do better at ownership in GPPs.

David Njoku

Cost – $3,900/$5,800
Projection – 10.30/8.30
Ownership%: – 2.97%/3.60%

At nearly the same price, we have David Njoku on the Browns. While the Browns have a team total of just 17.5, that’s still half a point higher than the Rams for Higbee! Likewise, when we look at the overall numbers for Njoku, it’s no wonder he actually projects better overall. While Higbee is averaging 9.17 fantasy points per game, Njoku is averaging 11.69. Njoku has the edge in targetshare, redzone targets, and touchdowns. The only issue with Njoku is he isn’t expected to pick up the slack of a top 3 WR on IR. In GPPs, that’s not enough to make up the ownership gap of these two TEs. Especially considering the roster construction of two TEs this week, this is a strong pivot to make in all formats.

Other pivot situations to consider:

  • Jalen Hurts (pivot) instead of Justin Fields (popular)
  • Tee Higgins (pivot) instead of Amon-Ra St.Brown (popular)

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