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 RB3 on the NY Giants. 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.
So in Week 16, I’m fading…
Jordan Howard: Howard seems increasingly game-flow dependent. That’s something I try to avoid in cash games, even when the player in question looks to be in a great matchup. Upon closer inspection, we see that Cleveland is sneakily allowing under 100 yards rushing per game (seventh-fewest in the league), meaning it’s not even a great matchup. If I’m targeting this low scoring game at all, it’s with Kendall Wright and Mitchell Trubisky.
A.J. Green: When A.J. Green is on the same page as Andy Dalton, it’s a thing of beauty. I’m not getting a great feeling about it this week as he’ll likely be covered by NFC Defensive Player of the Week Darius Slay. It’s a tough assignment on both sides, but with Tyreek Hill, Keenan Allen, and Michael Thomas sitting in the same salary range, it’s hard for me to count on Green.
Jimmy Graham: Graham started the season horrifically, then had an extremely productive mid-season with nine touchdowns in eight games, but has been held to zero fantasy points in the last two. Granted, those two have been against the Rams and Jaguars, raising the possibility that he’ll bounce back this week at Dallas, but I’m alarmed that he’s still almost $7K.
Ezekiel Elliott: It’s his first game back since November 5, and it might be an unpopular opinion, but I doubt he goes right back to running the ball 28 times vs. Seattle. He has the ability to make things happen on the ground, as we know, but a multi-touchdown, 100-yard game is a stretch after this long absence. He’s a fine tournament play but I’m relying on some less expensive guys like Christian McCaffrey and Devonta Freeman in cash games.
Robby Anderson: Anderson’s target volume and a few productive weeks in November now have Anderson’s price at a level I’m stepping away from. With Bryce Petty throwing the ball and the Chargers’ spirited pass defense featuring cornerback Casey Howard covering him, Anderson’s value is falling.
Samaje Perine: While Perine wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, the Redskins were giving him double-digit carries in each of the last five games, with three of those 17 or more carries. I highlight this injury because it opens the door to one of the best bargain plays of the week in Kapri Bibbs and the injury happened after my bargain article came out.
Rex Burkhead: Burkhead has been doubtful all week, so barring a miracle, I’m planning on Dion Lewis and Mike Gillislee being the Patriots running backs to target. Lewis is the safer option based on recent productivity, but Gillislee would be in position for a huge game if 1) the Pats get inside the 10 yard line, and 2) the Pats are protecting a big lead in the second half. Both of those are extremely likely scenarios, making Gillislee a terrific bargain at $4500.
Devin Funchess: The ownership on Funchess will be interesting, because he’s dealing with a sore shoulder for sure, but is planning to play against the league’s most generous pass defense. I’m rolling with McCaffrey for sure, but a three-man stack with Funchess and Cam Newton makes sense in tournaments.
Emmanuel Sanders: I expect the Broncos to hold Sanders out this weekend with nothing to play for. Denver’s offense hasn’t been one to swoon over anyway, and they have one of the lower team totals this week. Avoid.
Marquise Goodwin: A new back injury designation adds injury to insult, or something like that, given that he already makes for a shaky play vs. Jacksonville. The Jags are the league’s top pass defense, making all aspects of the newly functional 49ers offense a fade for me this week.
Marqise Lee: OFFICIALLY OUT
In Week 16, players with high projected ownership are Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Kareem Hunt, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Robert Woods, Zach Ertz, Chicago D/ST, Kansas City D/ST. 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 popular 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 to mix in around them.