DraftKings Chalk, Pivots & Punts: Week 5
DraftKings Advice Week 5
Welcome to NFL Week 5 folks! In case you missed this article the first few weeks, let me explain what we’re doing here. This is a weekly piece on DFS plays for Draft Kings with a focus on GPPs, in particular, the main slate. The articles will indicate who I think will be the chalk plays, who some pivots or contrarian plays are to get off the chalk, and some punts plays that could either save on salary or are just so far below the radar they might be tournament winning plays if all goes well. Instead of saying “Player A” is chalk, pivot to “Player B,” I’ll just have a chart showing my data for the match-ups with the chalk/pivots/punts listed after that. In this article, pivots can be a pivot from one player to another player at the same position, from one position to another, or just a way to pivot to the other side of a game that everyone else might be stacking.
Simply put, the pivots will not always be direct pivots, more like other ideas to consider in the macro-view of the slate. Each game will have a brief write up and will include the team’s projected point total and spread as of the time of writing. Without further ado, let’s have a look at the Sunday main slate.
Above is the Vegas implied totals and lines for each game, as well as match-up data I have compiled for pace, opponent fantasy points allowed, and raw Yards & TD data vs. the positions we are looking at for building our DFS rosters. Since we’re looking at opponent data, read across the line as such. If you read the NYJ line, that is all the data that their opponent (JAX) allowed so far this year. Red is bad, green is good, and is gradient between.
Below is my Chalk, Pivots, and Punts Chart based on my opinion of the slate and what the field will likely be on this week.
Websites I use to research are:
- Daily Roto for Snaps, Targets, Carries, and Red Zone Opportunities (Promo code: “grid10” Save 10%)
- The Quant Edge for WR/CB Match-Up Data (Promo code: “gridironexperts” Save 10%)
- Pro Football Focus for WR/CB and OL/DL Match-Up Data
Plus I have a spreadsheet of my own that I use to keep track of defensive points by position (ie. WR1, WR2, Slot, etc) and multi-TD games allowed.
Now, let’s dig into each game and see what the good chalk is, where to pivot, and if there are any good punts on the slate. Note, in previous weeks I had the games listed in order as they appeared on the Draft Kings slate. This week, I am listing them in order of Vegas implied total points since the higher scoring games are where we tend to focus our attention first when constructing rosters.
Atlanta Falcons (27.5/+3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (30.5/-3) 
This one is going to produce a lot of chalk plays, but you kind of have to have a piece of this game in your line-ups this week. The point total is the highest of the slate and both teams project at around 4 TDs each. With Pittsburgh’s revolving door at RCB, it would be wise to target Atlanta WRs who will run routes over there. According to TQE’s WR/CB Match-up tool, Julio Jones ($8500) runs the most routes of the Atlanta trio on that side of the field, and he has a four inch/30 pound advantage on Coty Sensabaugh and a three inch/20 pound advantage on Artie Burns. You can bet Julio will see massive ownership. We haven’t seen him truly breakout yet this year, which is something people will be anticipating here. He’s going to be hard to fade, even with the high ownership. Calvin Ridley ($5800) will likely spend most of his time matched up with Joe Haden who has been good in his career, including his time with the Steelers. However, he is coming off a bad game, and Ridley has put up two strong games in a row. Mo Sanu ($4000) will face off against backup slot corner Cameron Sutton, where Sanu will have a size and experience advantage on him. Sanu has put up 15 and 20 points the last two weeks, and his price is a bit of a bargain. If you’re looking to pivot off the chalkier two WRs, Sanu could pay off – although I would not expect him to out-score Julio or Ridley. Devonte Freeman ($6500) is returning this week and is someone I’ll have interest in. The Falcons would like to run the ball more to slow the pace and keep their defense off the field, and I think Freeman is going to be refreshed and running with juice in this game after not taking any hits since week 1. Austin Hooper ($3000) is punt worthy as the Steelers are allowing a league-worst 13.5 points per game to TE1s and 20.0 points per game to the TE position in general.
Also heading for massive ownership will be James Conner ($7500). Pittsburgh abandoned the run game early last week, so look for that to turn around. Conner’s snap share has decreased each week since week 1, but he is still seeing about 80% of the snaps over the past couple weeks which keeps him in top 5 RB snap share compared to the rest of the league. Conner still sees around 6 targets per game as well, and by now we all know attacking the Falcons defense with pass-catching backs usually reaps its rewards. Atlanta is also giving up the 8th most rushing yards per game and at least 1 rushing TD per game right now, so he could do damage in both areas. The Falcons gave up two rushing scores to Jay Ajayi last time they were in PA. Antonio Brown ($9100) is priced up for this match-up, and could also be a bit chalky. However, there is something off between him and Ben, and everyone seems to be aware of it. If they make a concerted effort to remedy their chemistry this week, he could have a huge game. Offering a discount from AB pricing is JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7500) who will frequently get to see the burnable Brian Poole in coverage. Ben has had better chemistry with JuJu so far this year, and even if AB gets some extra work JuJu should still see enough volume to hit 20+ points. Another factor working in JuJu’s favor is his red zone usage. JuJu is second in the league in red zone targets with 13. Ben Roethlisberger ($6900 – QB1) might also be popular in this one, but his price is at the top of the list this week which could deter “Pay down at QB” players from spending up to get him. Vance McDonald ($3700 ) is in a good spot against the Falcons depleted middle, and could bust out with another big game this week. A deep dive punt idea here is Ryan Switzer ($3000). Switzer is getting more involved in the offense lately and caught all 7 of his targets last week. His snap share, targets, a fantasy points per game have risen each week so far this year. He’ll also be working in the area we like to attack the ATL defense, the middle.
Oakland Raiders (23.5/+5.5) at Los Angeles Chargers (29.0/-5.5) [52.5]
The last two times Oakland has gone down to SoCal to face the Chargers, the score has not reached more than 40. However, both teams are playing at a fast pace this year, and neither is playing particularly well on defense right now. The Chargers will get Corey Liguet back from suspension this week which could add a spark to their interior pass rush, but may not be enough to sway the overall game scenario. Oakland still has a pretty decent OL, although not what it was, and now they will be starting a rookie at RT. Marshawn Lynch ($5500) seems to be doing okay finding his way through the holes the OL has opened up so far, and is getting a handful of targets per game as well. Lynch hasn’t had a 20+ point game yet this year though and LA has a pretty solid run defense this year though, so I wouldn’t go heavy here, if at all. The way to attack LA has been in the passing game, as they are allowing 2.5 passing TDs per game and have allowed multiple passing TDs in 3 out of 4 games to start the year. Amari Cooper ($5500) looks to be the best bet for production in this one, as he has had at least 1 good game against the Chargers each of the last two years, and he is priced friendly for the slate.
For the Chargers, Melvin Gordon ($8600) appears to be in a smash spot this week, and will likely carry high ownership, but should not be faded due to ownership concerns. Oakland is allowing the third most rushing yards per game on the slate and 1.3 rushing TDs per game. Gordon is also involved in the passing game, so the rushing figures only add to the appeal here. Gordon is tied with Marshawn Lynch for the third most red zone opportunities behind Kamara and Gurley. This game sets up well for Gordon to put up another 30 point game. The Raiders have not allowed more than 17.8 to a WR yet this year. That 17.8 mark was set by slot WR Cooper Kupp in week 1. The inside WRs are the way to attack the Raiders defense, so Keenan Allen ($7800) would be the only one I’d target at WR for LA. He had a huge game against OAK in week 17 last year, scoring 37+ DK points (albeit, one of his TDs was a fumble recovery in the end zone for a TD).
Green Bay Packers (26.0/-1) at Detroit Lions (25.0/+1) 
Aaron Jones ($4300) is somehow super cheap for this match-up against the team allowing the most rush yards per game in the NFL. Jones looked good on limited touches each of the last two weeks. DK has him priced as the top RB on GB this week, but he’s still way too cheap. He’ll go high owned because of the misprice, but is in play for me. I would roster him even if his salary were $1000 more. Detroit is playing surprisingly good pass defense even though they haven’t had much of a pass rush with Ansah missing games. Aaron Rodgers ($6300) hasn’t had a big game since week 1 when he put up a respectable 25 points. But, Rodgers is priced down this week, presumably because of the tough match-up on paper. His low salary has me interested. We may not see it this low again this year. However, we need to monitor his WRs this week with Randall Cobb (OUT) still nursing a bad hammy and Geronimo Allison ($5100) in the concussion protocol. Davante Adams ($7600) is going to see heavy volume if both Cobb and Allison miss this game, and should be in line for a bump with Cobb already ruled out. Rodgers likes guys he can trust, and none of the other WRs on the active roster were in Green Bay last year. The Pack should be able to keep Adams away from Slay enough in this game for him to produce. The young WRs are too risky for me this week, but if you have good info on one, go for it. Jimmy Graham ($4700) should get a bump in targets if Cobb and Allison are both out. Detroit and Quandre Diggs have been pretty tough on TEs this year, so GB will have to get creative with both Adams and Graham if that’s all they have left.
The Lions continue to roll out a 3-headed RB carousel that makes each back nearly unplayable. Packers defense has been pretty solid as well, so there’s not much interest for me in the Lions RBs this week. This game has a high implied total though, so we have to figure out how both teams are going to score 3 TDs each. The Lions may be able to put something together through the air with Golden Tate ($6700) and Kenny Golladay ($6000) being the first two players I would look at. Tate is 12th in the league in total targets and has three games over 20 points, including last week’s 36 point effort. He may be chalky due to the cheap pricing, targets, and recency bias factors, but I wouldn’t avoid playing him. Golladay will likely be lined up on Kevin King, who is returning from injury and may have some rust to shake off. Marvin Jones is down to $4700 on DK and actually out-targeted Golladay last week. He’ll be a solid pivot play this week.
Los Angeles Rams (28.5/-7.5) at Seattle Seahawks (21.0/+7.5) [49.5]
Jared Goff ($6500) played out of his mind last week, but will get a bit of a test going on the road for the first time since week 1 against a defense that gets a boost from their home crowd. However, with the loss of Earl Thomas for the year the Seahawks defense may just be too over-matched against McVay’s arsenal. It is encouraging that Vegas thinks the Seahawks can score 3 TDs in this one, as that will keep Goff and the gang’s foot on the gas for most of the game if that scenario plays out. Seattle is second worst on the slate in pressure rate (per Pro Football Focus OL/DL match-up tool), which should allow Goff the time he needs to find his quartet of weapons in the passing game.
Based on TQE’s WR/CB Match-up data, it appears Brandin Cooks ($7400) is in line to face 5th round rookie Tre Flowers for most of the game. That’s a match-up I’d like to exploit, especially if Goff has time to let him get deep a few times. Of course, you can’t go wrong with Cooper Kupp ($6300) who is 4th in the NFL in red zone targets at ten, or Robert Woods ($6500) who leads the team in targets and air yards. Todd Gurley ($9400) doesn’t have an ideal match-up, but that usually doesn’t tend to matter with him. He can run and catch and has the third highest snap percentage in the league, behind Kamara and Conner. If you can afford the salary, Gurley is always an option.
Seattle hasn’t had a great start to the season. They’ve also been on the road for 3 out of 4 games, winning one. They comfortably beat Dallas at home in their only game at The Link. This won’t be the case here. Seattle is going to want to get their run game going like they have the last two weeks which resulted in wins. However, that’s not going to be easy against the Rams front 7. If LA gets an early lead, the ball will likely be more in the hands of Russell Wilson ($5100) to create plays. He has his main target Doug Baldwin ($5000) back healthy, and Baldwin is expected to “play a ton” in this one. If you’re looking for a contrarian stack this week, this is about as good as it gets. Thielen, who plays in the slot (like Baldwin) just smoked the Rams for 30.5 DK points last week. Although, I would keep expectations from getting too high here due to last year’s match-ups between Baldwin and Robey-Coleman, where Baldwin only scored 7.7 and 1.6 points. You could alternatively look to the outside and punt with Tyler Lockett ($4600) and hope he does something inthe deep passing game. Chris Carson at $4100 puts him in play as a contrarian/punt play for me as well. If you’re desperate for a minimum priced TE so that you can cram in other stars and punt at the position, Nick Vannett ($2500) is the last man standing in the SEA TE group, and LA has allowed at least one good game to a TE in week 1, but that was Jared Cook.
Jacksonville Jaguars (23.0/+3) at Kansas City Chiefs (26.0/-3) 
The Chiefs defense is giving up the most passing yards on the slate and the 4th most points to QBs on the slate, and Blake Bortles is moderately priced at $5500. This will likely push him into chalk territory, but he’s still a good play. He’s got 3 dynamic WRs to throw to with Keelan Cole ($4900), Donte Moncrief ($4100), and Dede Westbrook ($4700) all priced below $5000. Each of them have had at least one game of 24+ points this year. KC is allowing the most points in the NFL to slot WRs this year (which is including slot studs Keenan Allen and JuJu Smith-Schuster), so Dede will be on my radar for a stack option with Bortles. If I were to add a second WRs, it would be Cole. Fournette has already been ruled out, so T.J. Yeldon ($5600) will be the lead back again this week. KC doesn’t have a dominant run defense and have allowed double-digit points to every RB1 they’ve faced. Yeldon gets plenty of targets which helps keep his floor up. He’ll be on my radar this week.
Part of the field may fade the Chiefs in this one because of Jaguars. Part of the field will play Chiefs because they’re only looking at their prior production. So, it’s kind of hard to gauge how chalky the KC players will be. One guy, in particular, I have my eye on is a super reduced priced Tyreek Hill ($6900). He’ll get his share of match-ups against Tyler Patmon in the slot. When Hill isn’t getting cracks at Patmon, Sammy Watkins ($4800) will be. Watkins left last week’s game with a hamstring injury and is questionable for this week, so that is something to monitor. Hill received 13 targets last week due to Watkins exit, and should Watkins miss this game, Hill should see similar volume again. Kareem Hunt ($5800) is starting to come alive now and could play a major role in this one if the weather gets too sloppy. He’s priced low enough to keep him in consideration during roster construction this week.
Miami Dolphins (20.25/+6.5) at Cincinnati Bengals (26.75/-6.5) 
This game has the most lopsided pace ratio of the slate. Miami is second to last in the NFL running only 45.7 pass & run plays per game, while Cincinnati is running 70 plays per game (boosted a bit by last week’s OT game in ATL). With so few plays, there is less opportunity for Miami players to reach 20 or 30 points. Only twice this year has a Dolphin cleared 20 points, and that was Ryan Tannehill ($5200) scoring 26 in week 3 and Kenny Still ($5400) scoring 29.6 in week 1. I have no interest in any Miami players outside of Tannehill and maybe Stills until this offense shows a pulse. Vegas believes they will score 20 this week, so if you’re looking for low ownership, Miami could get you there.
With Miami’s play pace so low, this makes for a great opportunity to roster the Bengals DST ($2700). They may be a bit chalky due to price, but they have plenty of talent and are 3rd on the slate in pressure rate per PFF’s OL/DL match-up tool. They should be able to create plenty of sacks and turnover opportunities for the plays the Dolphins are actually on offense. Miami’s biggest weakness on defense is against RBs, in particular, pass-catching backs. With Bernard ruled out and Joe Mixon ($6900) returning it would seem Mixon is in a smash spot. However, Marvin Jones has made comments on Mixon’s conditioning this week, so his snaps may be a bit reduced. In GPPs, I would still play him and trust he does what he needs to do while he’s in the game. Mark Walton ($3400) had 4 targets last week and should get bumped into the typical Gio role. At that price, he’s a worthy punt option. At WR, A.J. Green ($7200) is likely to be shadowed by Xavien Howard, but this is a match-up he can beat. Green is a superior athlete, and with the loss of Tyler Eifert to IR, he should see a boost in his 8 targets per game average. Tyler Boyd ($5700) saw 15 targets last week, and should also benefit from the loss of Eifert as a target. C.J. Uzomah ($2900) is a decent punt play at TE. He seems to be the next up for targets at that position with Eifert down. I don’t mind Andy Dalton ($5900) this week, since there aren’t many QBs in the “Pay Down” range that jump out, but this could be a running game for the Bengals and not much action for Dalton to get 20+ points out of.