There are several reasons you might not want to roster a certain player in a given week of NFL DFS. 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 the Conference Championship Round, I’m fading:
I’m rolling with two QBs this weekend: Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. Mahomes and Rodgers have the best chance at high volume, multiple touchdowns and, on DraftKings, the 300-passing yard bonus. Both Tannehill and Garoppolo direct run-heavy, defense-reliant teams. Though both have been solid, and both have had very good games, my imagination has to stretch a bit too far to roster either of them in their current matchups. If I found myself utterly unable to build the lineups I like with the more expensive QB options, I might feel differently, but that’s not the case.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers at San Francisco
Though I think Rodgers will be able to pull some rabbits out of his hat to move the ball against the 49ers, I’m less confident about Jones. This is a harder decision because Derrick Henry is a full $2000 more expensive than Jones on both sites and Jones is coming off another great effort. When it comes down to clicking “draft player”, however, I’m scrolling up to Henry’s name, not Jones. Teams had so much success running on the Chiefs this year, and so little running on the Niners (including Jones himself in Week 12 – 3.8 fantasy points) that it seems worth the money to spend up on what appears to be an unstoppable Henry.
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee
I don’t have anything against Hill. I don’t think he’s unfairly priced, but in case it isn’t already obvious, I’m all in on Mahomes and Henry, which doesn’t leave a ton of extra cap space. In most of my lineups, I’ve also committed to Davante Adams, who commandeers way too high a market share of Rodgers’ passing yards to ignore. When there are so few options yet, you have to draw some lines, and Adams’ volume crushes Hill’s. Now, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Hill have a monster game this weekend, and he is part of my tournament plans, but if I were making one lineup, he wouldn’t be in it.
In the third round of the playoffs, players with high expected ownership are Patrick Mahomes, Damien Williams, Davante Adams, Derrick Henry, and Travis Kelce. 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.