The Lineup Lowdown: NFL Week 10 Edition

I don’t know how he does it but he does. Unlike most top-ranked Grinders who play DFS as their sole source of income, Justin Van Zuiden, aka stlcardinals84 is an ode to the common man who dreams of making it big in the DFS industry. Justin balances a full-time job as an accountant, a beautiful family, and crushes DFS contests on a continual basis. He’s ranked in the top 100 in all three major sports and has had several massive paydays in 2017 including one you can read about (and learn more about Justin) in this interview I did with him back in June.

One of the main contributors for RotoGrinders including doing the famed NFL Grind Down, Justin took time out of his busy schedule to go over his main DraftKings tournament lineup for today’s main slate.

I am going to start with the “chalky” picks that I made here:

RB – Jordan Howard: This game features the likely game flow of Chicago being ahead, and this feels like a Jordan Howard game, especially since the weather looks to be very poor. I am a little worried about his lack of pass catching ability with this being a DK lineup, but Howard is a top five running back for me in Week 10.

RB – Bilal Powell: He’s chalky, and I’m just eating it. I couldn’t find another $4,000 running back that I liked, though I almost pivoted this lineup to Darkwa.

WR – Antonio Brown: I had enough salary to fit him in, and the depth at WR was less than the depth at RB, so I decided to spend here. The Colts have nobody capable of covering him, especially now that Vontae Davis is injured and has been released.

WR – Sterling Shepard: The 49ers are very good against tight ends, and Eli Manning has no targets outside of Shepard and Evan Engram. Shepard was one of the first guys I locked into this lineup.

TE – Cameron Brate: All of my lineups had some piece of the Tampa Bay offense, with Fitzpatrick, Brate, Jackson, and Humphries all being affordable. Again, I realize this is another chalky play.

FLEXA.J. Green: Same logic as Brown, and he should be motivated for a big game after getting ejected last week.

DEF – Bears: This was a logical RB/DEF pairing with Howard and the Bears defense, which seems to make sense given the matchup against the Packers. Green Bay has one of the lowest team totals on the board this week.

With all those picks being popular, I knew I had to get a little frisky from there, so I went with the QB/WR stack of Marcus Mariota and Corey Davis. Mariota seems to be healthy and has the green light to run again, while Corey Davis is super talented and is also getting healthy. His snap count last week was very encouraging.

Justin sent this write up shortly after the morning games were ending and had this to say – “Of course, I am writing this as the early games wrap up, and this team pretty much looks like a 100% disaster. Such is life in DFS football sometimes. On to next week (or the late slate)!:

And such is the life of a DFS player. Sometimes you eat the chalk and you end up throwing it up and other times it’s a delicious tasty treat. This week it was the non-tasty version as everyone in the lineup outside of Mariota (who didn’t put up a great number but wasn’t a disaster), Green (saved by a long TD in the 4th quarter), and Shepard were the only players in the lineup that weren’t busts. Justin’s lineup barely topped 100 points on his way to a non-cash. I’m quite sure he’ll be fine in the long run though.

Bonus Hazy Doesn’t Go With His Gut And Is An Idiot Discussion

I often spend time in the NFL thread in the RG forums (if you don’t take part in it, there is some great discussion there, feel free to pop in anytime and ask me a question) discussing the week’s upcoming games and plays. Earlier this week I stated the following…

This week has as many question marks as I’ve seen all season when it comes to roster construction. The biggest decision will be how you handle Bilal Powell – I think I’ll definitely be under the 40-50% projected ownership but I haven’t started roster construction yet but I can’t imagine being that high on a guy who has shown he’s capable of putting up just 10 fpts when given a full workload. There are other areas with things to consider as well and I’ll be spending most of the day digging into that and trying to sort it out but that question there is numero uno on my list.

As the week moved on, I was more convinced then ever that fading Powell was the correct play but then got into a spirited debate with’s ownership guru, Chris Gimino, about the merits of fading Powell.

Our conversation started like this…

Me: “I’ll play some Leveon but I’m not going to force Bilal into my roster to make it happen.”

Chris: “We fade bad chalk.”

Me “Bilal is bad chalk.”

I then laid out my argument for why he was bad chalk with my ultimate statement being this… “I think you gain no advantage going field with chalk plays. You’re just putting yourself in the same position as half the people you are competing against. I want to either be under what they are at thinking the chances that the player will underperform are greater than that he will do well or on the contrary if I think he will actually perform, I want to be above the expected ownership to gain leverage on the rest of the field that did not use him.”

Plain and simple, I thought Bilal would underperform. I respect Chris greatly. I respect his co-host on the Ownership Report, Scott Hanson (two time live final winner), just as much. The two discussed what we talked about on their show. I understood their viewpoint and even though I felt uncomfortable with it, I decided to shift my perception and went heavy on Powell in GPP’s.

We know how this story ends. I’m not blaming anyone here but myself but I’m going to take this as a lesson learned the hard way. If you believe in something strong enough, go with it. Own your decisions, even if others tell you otherwise. In the end the only one who controls the Submit Lineup button for my lineups is me. Period.

That’s it for this week – next week, we have a special guest on the Lineup Lowdown. He’ll be at the RotoGrinders party and needless to say he’s a big figure in the industry. Until then…

About the Author

  • Aaron Hendrix (thehazyone)

  • Aaron Hendrix is a former professional poker player who made the transition from season long fantasy sports to DFS in October of 2014. He used to cover poker tournaments for a living until stepping into his current role at RotoGrinders. He can be found on Twitter at @aaronhendrix


  • mtjroto79

    Chalk was contagious.
    Brate.(go with cheap instead:Celek that no expert truly liked)
    A cheap TB receiver.
    Brown as a savings over Bell (who also tanked)
    Hyde and or Howard instead of the stable Ingram.
    Worried off JuJu just because of Bryant’s return.
    Powell just because Forte is out.

    None willing to just ride Goff
    etc etc etc

    It just goes to show when a good player is not in action the substitutes do not just fill in.
    Snap counts dont always rule.
    Cash advice vs GPP advice is as gray as my hair.Who realy knows what is safe>
    When chalky opportunities exist wth outside advice, always reconsider your original opinions.
    Mine had Brady Burkhead Crowell Theilen.
    I went off all of that because of the common discussed here chalk contagion
    Thanks STL for your hard work and to Aaron also

  • Unico10

    • 920

      RG Overall Ranking

    Celek was chalk – I faded him
    Powell was chalk – I was over/equal field on him

    Both equally average/bad players in good opportunity spots

    Sometimes your gut is lucky and sometimes it isn’t… that’s all
    Nobody knows for sure

  • Babelito84

    It’s why reading sites like this corrupt the mind. Always play a non RG influenced lineup

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