FanDuel Fades Week 14
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 RB3 on the NY Giants. 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…
Christian McCaffrey: I know Carolina doesn’t have much in the way of weapons, but Minnesota hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher all season. They have given up three rushing and just one receiving touchdown to running backs, making them the second-least friendly fantasy defense for RBs.
Doug Baldwin: I know a lot of people are high on Russell Wilson and Baldwin this week, partly because of their excellent December statistics. However, Jacksonville has been brutal to opposing pass games, allowing the fewest fantasy points to both quarterbacks and wide receivers. They allow just 191.6 yards through the air per game, and wide receivers have caught just three touchdowns against them, two fewer than the next worst matchup. Obviously, this fade extends to Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson.
Kirk Cousins: I’m a big believer in the Chargers defense, and the fact that Cousins has been not great the last two weeks makes it hard to trust him. Five turnovers in the last two games vs. two lesser pass defenses (though division rivals Giants and Cowboys) is concerning. To really pile on, he’s averaging almost four fewer fantasy points on the road this season.
Matthew Stafford: His hand is getting better but is definitely not 100 percent. He also looks to be starting behind several questionable offensive linemen. His fantasy production has trended downward over the past four weeks. The matchup with Tampa Bay is super-tempting, but I’m a bit nervous to roll with Stafford in anything but a tournament flier.
Zach Ertz: Ertz is still in the concussion protocol, and a matchup with the Rams isn’t exactly a cake walk. I wrote earlier in the week about Carson Wentz, Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffrey, noting my preference to use Agholor and one of the running backs over Jeffrey and Ertz in this particular game. I really dislike going with players this close to the line in the concussion protocol, especially when they’re this expensive and I can pay just $200 more for Kelce.
Devin Funchess: I think Funchess will play, but how effective he is vs. a really good pass defense is another story. I wrote about McCaffrey above, and my lack of enthusiasm extends to a banged up Funchess as well.
Amari Cooper: Cooper is set to be a game time decision Sunday, but the Raiders have Michael Crabtree back and got serviceable performances from Johnny Holton, Cordarrelle Patterson and Seth Roberts last week, so I’m not convinced they take the chance on Cooper if he’s still obviously hobbled. The matchup is a great one for Crabtree, so make sure to get some exposure to him.
Sterling Shepard: I’m relieved to see Shepard trending toward playing this week as Eli Manning will be back and Dallas has been increasingly generous to opposing wide receivers, now giving up the third-most fantasy points to the position.
In Week 14, players with high projected ownership are Alex Smith, Philip Rivers, DeAndre Hopkins, Giovanni Bernard, Todd Gurley, Keenan Allen, Travis Kelce, Josh Gordon, Bengals D/ST, Chargers 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.