FanDuel Fades Week 9
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 9, I’m fading…
DeAndre Hopkins/Will Fuller V: What went from the highest implied team total and best fantasy matchup of the week vs. the generous Colts defense has quickly turned into a nightmare. I’m still mourning the loss of Deshaun Watson, while the Texans get ready to start Tom Savage this Sunday. The total has dropped on the game, and the spread has narrowed. Savage is making his fourth NFL start this week, and his record does not inspire confidence. He has never thrown a touchdown pass, averages just over six yards per attempt, and has taken a whopping seven sacks this season alone on 13 passing attempts. His receivers are 100 percent unusable. What I wrote earlier in the week about Jacoby Brissett and T.Y. Hilton being nice contrarian plays in this game is still true, but I’m now a whole lot higher on Lamar Miller.
Kirk Cousins: Cousins will be playing behind a banged up or replacement level offensive line this week, and be without Jordan Reed and quite possibly Jamison Crowder. That’s not good, and that’s before we consider that he’ll be playing in Seattle. There are several mid-range QBs to use this week (Alex Smith is my favorite) ahead of Cousins.
Joe Mixon: I vowed to be out if he had another lack-luster performance in Week 8. His rushing totals were abysmal, plus he fumbled for the second straight week, but he saved his fantasy day with one big receiving play that went for 67 yards. I’m not willing to bank on big receiving plays coming through vs. the Jaguars, who are allowing the fewest points per game, are the worst fantasy matchup for receivers and just shored up their run D with Marcell Dareus.
Jameis Winston: He’s been on the injury report with the shoulder soreness, but is expected to play this weekend. If his see-saw up and down fantasy adventure continues, he’d be in line for a big game in New Orleans. Ignoring the statistical pattern, this is a nice matchup for him and Mike Evans, who should finally be able to find some separation.
Zach Ertz: Nursing a sore hamstring, it sounds like Ertz is going to play vs. Denver. Barring any news that he is limited, this could be a sneaky good spot for him. Because Denver covers the outside receivers so well, good tight ends like Ertz can often win inside. If he’s playing, I like him to extend his touchdown streak come Sunday.
Emmanuel Sanders: I’m cautiously optimistic that Sanders plays and if he plays, he’s usable in DFS. The Eagles boast a top run defense (fifth-fewest fantasy points allowed), but rank 10th in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs and WRs. In 13 games that Sanders played with Brock Osweiler at QB, he’s actually averaged around a fantasy point more than with any other QB over the last three seasons (per RotoViz). That’s an insignificant difference, the point is, his value isn’t lower with Osweiler under center.
In Week 9, players with high projected ownership are Alex Smith, Kareem Hunt, Dez Bryant, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas, Devin Funchess, Mark Ingram, Vernon Davis and Jaguars 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.