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 WR3 on the Bengals. 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 14 I’m fading:
A lot of my arguments this week are about money and matchup, and in this case, both. These two guys should be absolutely unimpeachable. Jackson plowed through the 49ers’ defense with two touchdowns and over 100 yards rushing. He made it look easy vs. the Patriots too, with three total touchdowns including two on the ground. Mahomes hasn’t faced quite as tough a schedule but posted over 30 fantasy points with three touchdowns against the Ravens and Titans, two of the better defensive units in the league. So the real issue I have is spending the most or second-most salary I can at QB given that the Bills and Patriots have shut virtually everyone down this season. I will absolutely consider them in tournament lineups – especially Jackson – but will look for a cheaper option in my cash game lineup so as not to compromise the other skill positions should defense (and weather?) prevail.
Josh Jacobs vs. Tennessee
Jacobs is no stranger to the injury report, but this week he isn’t progressing as fast as normal through his paces. He did appear on the field Friday, but we still don’t know what he was able to do. Even if cleared, and with what is now reported as a fractured shoulder, it will be hard to trust Jacobs at a relatively high price in a tough matchup. The Titans have allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing most weeks (Christian McCaffrey is a big outlier), and average less than one rushing touchdown per game allowed.
Marlon Mack at Tampa Bay
I worry that people see the Bucs on the schedule and just see green lights when it comes to their DFS lineups. That was true for quarterbacks and receivers, but the Bucs have been stout vs. opposing running backs all year (allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to the position), and the past two weeks have pretty well shut down the pass as well (Atlanta and Jacksonville). Mack will be back, but this isn’t the time to be spending up on him ($6K DK, $7.3K FD).
Jarvis Landry vs. Cincinnati
This is a turnaround for me, as I’ve been high on Landry the past 2-3 weeks. I’m mildly concerned about his hip, but I’m also concerned that the Bengals Defense, such as it is, will shift additional attention his way after being the clear lead back over the last three weeks (30 targets, 3-for-3 in the red zone with three touchdowns). The Bengals haven’t been great in coverage anyway, and both Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. are probably going to be fine, but I’m saving a few hundred with OBJ in most of the lineups where I’m using any Browns’ receivers.
Dalvin Cook vs. Detroit
To the dismay of fantasy players everywhere, including those who own Cook in season-long playoff matchups, or especially them, perhaps, Cook will play this weekend. This seems unnecessary as the Vikings are 2-TD favorites at home vs. Detroit. Alexander Mattison looks ready for a bigger role and seems like he could shoulder the duties while Cook regains his perfect health in time for the playoffs. I have a hard time believing that Cook will see his normal workload, so even though it’s one of the best matchups out there, I can’t put him in 98 percent of my lineups. Buyer beware, I recognize my tendency to put my own ideas about “what should happen” ahead of what teams say at times and this could be one of them.
In Week 14, players with high expected ownership are Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, D.J. Moore, James Washington, Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, Leonard Fournette, Le’Veon Bell, Darren Waller, Jack Doyle, Vance McDonald, Packers D/ST, Vikings 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.