There are several reasons you might not want to roster a certain player in a given week of NFL DFS. To truly be a “fade”, in my opinion the player has to be projected to have decent ownership, e.g. no one is “fading” a WR4 on the LA Rams. I’ll always provide the argument for and against a player in this column. Also, fading a player doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have zero exposure. If you’re a DFS player who plays on multiple sites with multiple lineups in various contests, fading might mean you use that player in just one or two tournament lineups while other DFS players are using him in a majority of their lineups. In the case where you want to fade a player due to projected high ownership (see more on this below), perhaps you fade him in tournaments but continue to roster him in cash games. Having an idea of whom you don’t want to roster as well as whom you do makes navigating salary decisions in the lineup construction process a little bit easier.
In Week 5, I’m fading Matt Stafford, Andrew Luck and Julio Jones due to tough matchups. This is a week where there is a ton of wide receiver potential but you’ll want to pick your studs carefully. On the other hand, there are very few running backs I trust completely this week.
Matt Stafford faces an Eagles defense that has been among the stingiest to opposing quarterbacks. They’ve yet to allow a passing touchdown or a 300-yard passer. Stafford has thrown four interceptions in the last two games, and it looks like the loss of Ameer Abdullah may have had a bigger impact on this offense than expected. At over $8K, paying up for Stafford this week is simply not smart.
Andrew Luck is in much the same situation, facing a Bears defense that might be better than people think and priced higher than his production supports. Chicago has allowed just 220 passing yards per game with three total touchdowns and have intercepted opponents four times. Meanwhile, Luck is averaging just under 20 FanDuel points per game, thanks in large part to a huge Week 1 performance. If you’re paying up, just go for Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Ben Roethlisberger, who all have higher floors and more upside.
Julio Jones against the Denver Broncos is just not something you need to do this week. The Broncos are at home, decent favorites, and have allowed an average of 110 receiving yards total per game and one receiving touchdown total for the season. The only reason to use Jones is to be contrarian in a tournament, but unlike last week, I’m not even doing that in Week 5.
In Week 5, I’m also fading the:
Oakland running backs: This is a situation people are all over. Latavius Murray is doubtful, but the team is hopeful he can play. There are a lot of mixed messages, and frankly have been since the preseason about this backfield. The bottom line for me is that Oakland is going to be a pass-first team, so no matter how the duties are split, no one is going to have a monster rushing performance. I get the over/under on the game, and the fact that the Raiders are home favorites make the value plays of Jalen Richard or, more popularly, DeAndre Washington, attractive but try to use some restraint here. Aside from John Kuhn’s three touchdowns on 12 total yards last week, San Diego has been pretty good against the run (70 rushing yards per game allowed). With Jason Verrett out, I think Derek Carr and company attack through the air even more this weekend.
New York Giants running backs and Eli Manning: No team has been tougher against the run than the Packers and the Giants are dividing rushing duties between Orleans Darkwa and Paul Perkins. I have no idea how to predict this split, because as we saw last week, both backs bring something to the field. I think both struggle this week, which leads me to the passing game. Green Bay is actually a nice passing matchup on paper, and I think Odell Beckham Jr. and one of Victor Cruz or Sterling Shepard will have good fantasy days. However, they can bring pressure and if Manning’s passing volume is elevated in the absence of an effective run game, I think he’ll throw some picks. Personally, Beckham Jr. is the only Giant I’m using.
In Week 5, players with high projected ownership, based in part on Thursday ownership percentages, are Melvin Gordon, Jerick McKinnon, DeAndre Washington, Derek Carr, Jordan Howard, Ben Roethlisberger, Brandon Marshall and Antonio Brown. I think Game Theory is useful in DFS to an extent; obviously we can’t all win with the same players. But time and again it’s proven that big GPP winners can and do win with chalk plays in their lineups. One or two highly owned players that live up to their expectations (e.g. score a ton of points) won’t hurt you nearly as much as fading those guys in favor of lower-owned, lesser-producing players will. The trick is to find the low-owned, productive guys. I’m not high on McKinnon or Washington, as discussed above, but ownership is not enough to take me off of the other names listed.