DFS Fades Week 17
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 WR on the Oakland Raiders (or, rather, everyone is). 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’twant to roster as well as whom you do makes navigating salary decisions in the lineup construction process a little bit easier.
So in Week 17, I’m fading…
Saints’ and Cowboys’ starters: With their playoff seeding locked in, motivation is going to be low for these two teams. The Saints have announced Teddy Bridgewater will start, so people might take a tournament risk on him and/or Keith Kirkwood (I’m not one of them), but Dallas has suggested they will play normally. I’d take that to mean that Dak Prescott and company might play a couple series, or even a full half, maybe to run through a couple key plays in advance of the playoffs, but I doubt they produce enough to make it worth paying up for.
Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb: The Browns would love to knock the Ravens out of the playoffs, but if they do, I think it’s going to be on the strength of defensive turnovers and some fluky offense. Baltimore knows it needs to win on defense, and they’re doing it. The Ravens allow the third-fewest fantasy points allowed to both wide receivers and running backs, so there’s no need to risk your Week 17 lineups with these two.
Spencer Ware and Damien Williams: This is headed to a time share that I’m not confident in predicting. Together, they should run all over Oakland, but either is liable to get vultured by Patrick Mahomes one way or another. The Chiefs need to win, but the safest plays are Mahomes and Travis Kelce.
Antonio Brown: Brown didn’t practice all week, putting the Steelers in a tough spot. They need to win to get in (and have the Ravens lose), so having Brown available would be nice. On the other hand, they play the Bengals, who might be interesting in thwarting their division rival, but don’t really play defense. Pittsburgh can likely win at home without Brown. If he’s active, he’s worth a spot in a Steelers stack, but I’d use JuJu Smith-Schuster in most formats.
Davante Adams: We’ve heard a lot about the personal motivation Adams has – the chance at the Packers single-season receiving record is 134 yards away. He is obviously bothered by a knee injury, so this is looking to come down to a true game time decision on Sunday. Records are nice, but the risk of worsening a knee injury and spending the offseason in surgery or otherwise recovering isn’t worth it.
James Conner: Conner is expected to be back after practicing in full all week. I’d be surprised to see Jaylen Samuels completely relegated to the sidelines, however, especially if Brown doesn’t play. The Steelers would be smart to use both backs, limiting each’s workload in the event they do find their way into the playoffs.
Allen Robinson: Listed as doubtful, there is very little reason for the Bears to risk Robinson further. In order to move up to the two-seed, they need to beat the Vikings and have the Rams lose at home to San Francisco. The absence of Robinson would maybe make Anthony Miller an interesting bargain play, but overall this should be a low-scoring, defense-driven game from the Bears.
In Week 17, players with high expected ownership are Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, Patrick Mahomes, Julian Edelman, Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Davante Adams, Robert Woods, Texans 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.