DFS Fades Week 16
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 16, I’m fading…
Mike Evans: With several high end wide receivers I like a lot – Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins – as well as a number of expensive RBs that I’d like on my roster, there’s no room for Evans this week. The Bucs are playing for nothing in Dallas, where the Cowboys would benefit greatly from a win (and are among the least fantasy-friendly WR matchups). Teammate DeSean Jackson is probably back this week in the Bucs offense as well, which doesn’t help Evans’ case any.
Todd Gurley: This fade supposed that Gurley will play in some capacity. He gets the second-best matchup of the week with the Arizona Cardinals, who have been a RB dream this season. The Rams would like to control their own destiny through the playoffs, but how much Gurley will they need to eek out a win over the league’s worst team? They are two-touchdown favorites on the road, and my feeling is that Gurley is not going to be over-tasked if he does play. I find it hard to imagine him paying off that $9K salary this weekend.
LeSean McCoy: Josh Allen has sparked some renewed interest in rostering various pieces of the Bills Offense. Robert Foster and Zay Jones have had a couple productive games, but the RB position has been a disaster. With just about no healthy bodies left, it looks like Shady McCoy will be back in action in New England. The price is low, and McCoy’s best receiving game of the season was vs. the Patriots in Week 8, but I don’t see a repeat here. There are better bargain options than McCoy this week, and for that matter, Bills receivers too. This is the time of the year that the New England defense really picks up the pace.
Kenyon Drake: One of the cheap running backs making an impact, and poised to do so again this week, is Kalen Ballage. Jacksonville isn’t the shut down defense they used to be, and Ballage erupted for over 10 yards per carry on 12 carries last week in Minnesota, no slouch defense themselves. With Frank Gore out, it looks like Ballage, and not Drake, will have the opportunity in the Dolphins’ backfield. Hints of interpersonal conflict between Coach Gase and Drake further limit my interest in one of the bigger fantasy disappointments this season.
The big names: Gurley, Jones, Hopkins, T.Y. Hilton: probably all play, but you’ll need to keep an eye on them Sunday morning. Jones and Hopkins are guys I’d want exposure to if they were active.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: He strained his groin in Thursday’s practice, which is problematic. Groin injuries can linger and are easily reaggravated. Although Sunday’s game in New Orleans is a huge one, I doubt the Steelers push Smith-Schuster through this injury with the playoffs looming. James Washington and Vance McDonald would benefit, and although the Saints are not a good RB matchup, Jaylen Samuels’ usage in the pass game make him more interesting if Juju is out.
Kenny Golladay: He surprised me with a nice stat line vs. the Bills last week, but injured his chest in the process. He’s been limited and is listed as questionable as the Lions host Minnesota in one of the lowest point total games of the week. I’m still down on Golladay, as he’s likely going to see Xavier Rhodes a good part of the day.
Lamar Miller:Sounding like a true game-time decision, Miller’s absence would benefit Alfred Blue and possibly, D’onta Foreman. It would be Foreman’s first game action. I’m not ready to buy in without seeing him actually on the field this week, but he might be an interesting name for Week 17. With or without Miller, the Eagles are a team you want to throw on. I’m high on Deshaun Watson and Hopkins and that’s about it for the Texans.
LeGarrette Blount: He’s dealing with a calf injury, but in light of the fact that we mentioned Ballage’s nice game vs. the Vikings last week, it’s worth noting that Zach Zenner is still very cheap. Zenner looks to be in charge of the Lions’ backfield, including the goal line work, if Blount is out.
In Week 16, players with high expected ownership are Ben Roethlisberger, Nick Chubb, Ezekiel Elliott, Antonio Brown, Evan Engram, Marlon Mack, and Colts 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.