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 crazy Week 17 I’m fading:
Players on teams with no motivation that say starters will play: Bills, Vikings, Texans
We just don’t know how much work the starters will get and how much the backups will get. And which backups will get the work. I think for the Ravens, there are some nice value options in Robert Griffin III, Gus Edwards and/or Justice Hill, Hayden Hurst, etc. We know the starters are resting there. Week 17 is a crazy one, but I don’t want to rest my DFS hopes on Sean Mannion, Duke Williams, or Buddy Howell.
Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders at Denver
To be fair, I haven’t been a fan of using any running back against Denver. I know there’s a must-win narrative here, and that the surgery to clear an infection was no big deal, but the bottom line is that Jacobs is an expensive player facing a stout run defense with a bad shoulder. There are much better options in his range and cheaper.
The Chiefs pass defense has come on strong in the second half of the season, as they now rank in the Top 10 in sack percentage and allow the eighth-fewest passing yards per game and second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. While the Chargers don’t have anything to play for but pride, the Chiefs are expected to go all out to secure the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs. If the Chargers do make in-roads, I expect it to be with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, maybe with a big Hunter Henry game.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. LA
It’s hard to fade the dynamic QB, but as I build lineups this week, he’s just not a priority for me. He’s expensive, he’s facing a good, if unmotivated, pass defense that allows the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs (Mahomes had 182 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception in Week 11 vs. LA). And let’s face it, the Chargers are petty and bitter; they’d love to knock the Chiefs down a notch in the playoffs. I just keep passing Mahomes by for Matt Ryan or Ryan Tannehill, usually.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints at Carolina
This one comes down to lineup construction; I don’t think Thomas will have a bad game at all. I do think it’s easier to run on the Panthers, so I’m favoring Alvin Kamara this week. Also, I plan to spend on Julio Jones and Christian McCaffrey, which leaves precious few salary dollars for the highest-priced WR on the slate.
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In Week 17, players with high expected ownership are Ryan Tannehill, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, A.J. Brown, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Aaron Jones, Travis Kelce, Tyler Higbee, Dallas Goedert, Greg Ward, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, Breshad Perriman, Packers 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.