When setting your weekly NFL DFS lineups, it can be just as helpful to have an idea of whom you DON’T want to include as whom you do. Every Friday we’ll highlight a few players that you might want to fade. When a player appears here, it mainly refers to fading him in cash games. If you play in a lot of large field, multi-entry tournaments, you might consider just being underweight on these players relative to the field rather than not using them at all.
Players I’m fading for Week 15 include:
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
There are a ton of QBs I want to use this weekend (see below for some of them), but Watson is not one of them. He’ll face a Colts team that has been exceedingly unfriendly for fantasy this year. They give up the seventh-fewest overall fantasy points while ranking near the top of the league in turnovers (third, with 22 takeaways). Watson salvaged his fantasy day despite two turnovers in Week 13 when these division rivals met, with a rushing touchdown and over 300 yards passing (but no passing touchdowns). He struggled last week in a tough matchup with Chicago, barely exceeding 200 passing yards with one score and getting sacked seven times. With nothing to play for, and missing Will Fuller V, Watson is very low on my priority list this week. If you want a cheaper, lower risk piece of this team, our NFL DFS Optimizer likes Isaiah Coulter a bunch this week.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Here I have a salary problem. Cook isn’t as pricey as Derrick Henry on the main sites, but the matchup is vastly different (Cook’s with Chicago is not nearly as nice as Henry’s with Detroit), and it’s close ($500 on DraftKings, $800 on FanDuel, $2 more on Yahoo). One of Cook’s worst games came just a few weeks ago vs. the Bears, where he failed to surpass 100 rushing yards or score a touchdown. You can’t argue with his talent or usage, but there are probably several running backs that can tie his output for less salary this weekend.
James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Normally, I’d say one of those alternatives to Cook or Henry would be Robinson, but he, too, is out of my lineups this week. Robinson’s injury designation doesn’t scare me as much as the Ravens. Baltimore allows the fifth-fewest real points to opponents while scoring the eighth-most points in the league. They control the ball, and the game, especially with Lamar Jackson in fine form last week. The Jaguars’ defense isn’t doing them any favors, and I just don’t think they’ll have the luxury of running Robinson hard this week. Gardner Minshew is back, and if I’m taking any Jaguar (I’m generally not), it’s D.J. Chark in tournaments.
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans
The return of Drew Brees should be a good thing for Thomas, but here I am worried about injuries…to both of them. Can Brees make it through the game? The Chiefs are not a fun defense to face – opponent quarterbacks are averaging the fourth-lowest QB rating (84.2) this season and they average the fifth-most incompletions per game, which has allowed the Chiefs to create 20 takeaways this season. I expect Thomas will play, but I’m not optimistic about him over guys like Tyreek Hill, Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans, or Justin Jefferson. I prefer the slightly reduced salary of Alvin Kamara, who I could see being the workhorse of this Saints’ team vs. Kansas City.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team
I’m not fully fading the Washington Offense, as they are taking on one of the best fantasy defenses at home vs. Seattle. In fact, the reason McLaurin makes it here is that no team gives up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the Seahawks. Whether Alex Smith or Dwayne Haskins start this game, I’m scared to roster McLaurin. He’s posted horrible stat lines the last two weeks, one a difficult matchup with Pittsburgh (which Washington won) and one not so bad against San Francisco, catching two-of-six targets in each game. Yes, I get that it’s a bounce-back spot for him and he has had some great games this year, but his salary clearly reflects that upside, and the downside is too real right now. I’m taking J.D. McKissic and/or Logan Thomas over McLaurin.
Players I like, but who are expected to have high ownership in Week 15 include: Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Alvin Kamara, D’Andre Swift, Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor/Nyheim Hines, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Cooper Kupp/Robert Woods, T.Y. Hilton, Travis Kelce, Rams D/ST. You might consider deviating away from this player pool and pivoting in large GPPs if you’re after a more unique lineup.