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 WR3 on the Cleveland Browns. 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 10 I’m fading:
Jared Goff, LA Rams at Pittsburgh
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the Steelers’ defense has quietly been coming on strong the last few weeks. They now rank fourth in sacks, and are second behind only New England with 22 takeaways. It’s not merely an easy schedule, either, which is what mainly has me scared off of a cross-country QB visiting. Goff has been great in four of his last five games, against four of the league’s worst passing defenses. At times, he’s attempted 50-almost 70 passes per game this season. He is the fourth-most expensive QB on FanDuel for those reasons. Brandin Cooks’ absence this week makes the Steelers’ secondary’s job that much easier. Cooper Kupp is always hard to contain, but I’ve dampened expectations on him and Robert Woods as well this week. One last note on Goff, he has one of the worst pressured completion rates (22 percent). He gets great protection normally, but the matchup between the Rams O-line and Steelers D-line is one to watch…I’m betting on Pittsburgh at home winning at the line of scrimmage.
The Browns are just getting pummeled matchup-wise this season. In the last four weeks they’ve had Denver, New England and San Francisco. Buffalo ranks 30th in fantasy points allowed to WR and 29th to QB. In addition, they’re allowing the third-fewest points per game and this game carries the lowest total of the week. Mayfield’s and Beckham’s salaries are so low and they are showing some improvement, but the breakout we’ve been waiting for is still a week away.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee
Still the second-most expensive QB, and the fastest to ever recover from this kind of knee dislocation, apparently, Mahomes being back in action could be tempting. Some of us are just eager to find out how inhuman he is, exactly. I’m not saying don’t use him at all (multi-entry GPP lineups are ok), but I’m not relying on him in my cash game lineup. If you’re ok with Mahomes’ salary, three QBs I’d use instead are Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, and Lamar Jackson.
This is a simple case of talent canceling out talent in an equal opportunity game. Murray has showed that he is perfectly capable of footing the workhorse RB load, and the Saints would be foolish to return Kamara to that role after losing him for two games (plus the bye) with an ankle and knee injury. Even assuming Kamara is 100 percent, I think we see at best a 60/40 split between he and Murray. Also worth noting is that Atlanta has morphed from a dream matchup for RBs to a Top 3 passing matchup. I’m all over Brees and Michael Thomas this week.
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JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. LA Rams
Smith-Schuster has seen his price drop to a very tempting level and is at home this weekend with a questionable run game (James Conner is in fact out). Smith-Schuster himself popped up with the toe injury that bothered him earlier, but that’s not the only reason I’m wary. He hasn’t had a 10-target game yet this year, and although his team has scored at least 20 points in every game since Week 2, he has only three touchdowns on six red zone targets. Compare that with someone like D.K. Metcalf who has 14 end zone targets this season. I just can’t commit to being disappointed again when the Bucs guys, Thomas, Cardinals’ Christian Kirk, and others are cheaper and/or in better matchups and game scripts.
In Week 10, players with high expected ownership are Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Lamar Jackson, Tyler Lockett, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Michael Thomas, Christian Kirk, David Montgomery, Mark Ingram, Marlon Mack, Mark Andrews, Ravens D/ST, 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.