DFS Fades Conference Championship
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 running back on the Philadelphia Eagles (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 the Conference round of the NFL Playoffs, I might be fading…
Todd Gurley: The Saints run defense is no joke. They held Gurley under 80 total yards the first time they met him, and more recently stifled Ezekiel Elliott. Even without Shelden Rankins, I’m leery of spending up on Gurley. I expect the Saints to score points here, and I think the Rams will be forced to move the ball in chunks through the air. Even if they stick with the run game that’s served them so well this season and post-season, it seems clear that they are committed to a committee of Gurley and C. J. Anderson. I’m fading them both in favor of the New England backs, Damien Williams, and/or the Saints backs.
Travis Kelce: I mean, besides Rob Gronkowski, who’s been a fantasy nightmare, there is no one else to use. Kelce’s ownership will be through the roof, but I will definitely be making a point to have some Gronkowski shares for a couple reasons. First, it would be a Patriots-esque game plan to lull opponents into assuming Gronk will just play a blocking role, then get him two ‘surprise’ touchdowns this weekend. Second, the Patriots and Bill Belichick are known for taking away a team’s best weapon. We could debate it, but Kelce is the most consistent threat the Chiefs have. I don’t think they’ll be fully successful, but I think they’ll try to limit Kelce more than say Damien Williams or even Tyreek Hill.
Josh Hill: With Benjamin Watson ruled out with appendicitis, there is speculation out of New Orleans that Hill will dominate the snaps this Sunday. I’ve believed in Hill before, and been burned, so this may be a reactionary fade, but I don’t think so. I’ve written already this week that there are two TE options and the news about Watson doesn’t change that for me. For whatever reasons, the TE has not been utilized by Drew Brees this season and I don’t think they’re going to deviate from the many weapons that have worked so well (Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Ted Ginn Jr.), so neither will I.
Rams D/ST: I can sort of make a case for the other three defenses based on weather, home field, price, actual skill, turnover ratios, etc. but the Rams leave me completely cold. Going up against Brees in New Orleans is a daunting task, and the Rams were merely a league-average unit all season long. If the savings were more significant I’d get it, but as it is, they’re not worth it.
For the Conference Round, players with high expected ownership arePatrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Robert Woods, Sony Michel, James White, and Saints 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.