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 15 I’m fading:
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit
There are any number of players to fade this week due to injury and their questionable status heading into the weekend. Winston is one I’m actually worried about. My guess is that he’ll try to play, but he is clearly still having difficulty manipulating a football (as of Thursday when he threw tennis balls). The most turnover-prone QB in the league with a gimpy hand is too risky for me, even when facing a generous pass defense like the Lions. Making matters worse, FanDuel and DraftKings both have him as the third-most expensive QB this week.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco
The Falcons are short-handed on offense without Calvin Ridley and facing one of the best pass defenses in the league on the road. Ryan is discounted this week, and coming off back-to-back quality games with over 300 yards in each. I’m still not interested. Julio Jones isn’t 100 percent either, and Austin Hooper showed some rust in his first game back, catching only two-of-six targets. Spend up a little or save more with someone like David Blough.
Hunter Henry, LA Chargers vs. Minnesota
Henry’s a guy I’ve rooted for from the beginning and I love to see him do well. I have a bad feeling about the Chargers coming off their mega-win over Jacksonville last week in this far more challenging matchup. Against similar defenses this season, the Chargers have scored about 17 points per game. Minnesota is favored on the road in one of the lower game totals. Like Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon, I just keep finding myself passing Henry over for tight ends in better spots and/or at lower salaries.
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears at Green Bay
This game has a much better chance of seeing 20 total points than being an epic divisional shootout. The Packers are moderate home favorites in a game with a total of only 40.5 points, which is pretty low enthusiasm from Vegas as well. Robinson has been terrific the last three games, and his salary has risen accordingly so that he is the third-most expensive receiver on FanDuel. He averages about six fewer fantasy points per game on the road, and that is despite his two best efforts of the season coming in Oakland and Detroit. Robinson was ok in the opener vs. Green Bay on DraftKings, where full PPR and the 100-yard bonus boosted his fantasy line by seven. He’ll need those numbers and a touchdown to reach value on FanDuel this week.
DeAndre Washington, Oakland Raiders vs. Jacksonville
Washington is another primarily FanDuel fade, as he is priced over $6K there and it’s still up in the air whether Josh Jacobs will even be out. If you’re looking for a cheap RB in a good spot, look no further than Patrick Laird ($5500) or even my efficiency crush, Matt Breida ($5600).
Chiefs’ Running Backs vs. Denver
This is getting to be fairly routine but I know some of you are still stubbornly trying to hit on the right back in the right week. To me, it’s like the Patriots, you try every so often when the matchup or other factors seem right, and inevitably you fail. It looks possible that Damien Williams returns this week, which would create a four-headed monster, assuming Spencer Ware’s domination of the position in Week 14 wasn’t a fluke (domination in snaps, not in production). No one here is a safe play, upside is limited, and bottom line, no KC RB is worth even a speculative flier against this defense.
In Week 15, players with high expected ownership are Ryan Tannehill, Deshaun Watson, Chris Carson, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Patrick Laird, Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Tyler Higbee, Travis Kelce, 49ers D/ST, Patriots 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.