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 Vikings. 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 13 I’m fading:
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles at Miami
When TE is so tough, and it is again this weekend, it’s hard to outright fade one of the best in the game. Especially in such a good matchup. However, he hasn’t been practicing on a sore hamstring, and much of the rest of the offense is questionable as well. We’ll know more soon about the status of Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffrey and Jordan Howard, but I’d be surprised if anyone but Jeffrey plays this weekend. A more streamlined offensive game plan makes it easier for even a bad defense to key in on the functional parts, e.g. Ertz. I’m keeping it simple this week with Travis Kelce, Hunter Henry or Darren Waller.
Green Bay Packers WR other than Davante Adams at New York Giants
I love Aaron Rodgers this week the way that the Giants love giving up fantasy points to opposing WRs, but trying to save money here is a battle I’m bound to lose. Between Allen Lazard, Jake Kumerow, Marques Valdes-Scantling, and Geronimo Allison, there’s been a lot of disappointment trying to figure this out even when Adams is out. I actually think this week one of them could finally go off, but I can’t predict who. If you’re desperate to gamble on this situation, I’d pick Lazard.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore
Excepting Arizona, Garoppolo has not been great on the road this season. That is extra true when considering his East Coast trips (Tampa Bay- 11.4 fpts, Cincinnati- 23.4 fpts, and Washington- 7.0 fpts). Sometimes he just doesn’t need to do a lot, e.g. when the defense is in shut down mode or the running game is taking off. We can argue that Lamar Jackson is immune to this thing called ‘defense’ which could force the 49ers into a more aggressive offensive approach. This is sort of what happened in the Seattle game, where Garoppolo threw a season-high 46 times, but ended with a pick, two lost fumbles and 13.0 fantasy points. With many good QB options taking the field on Sunday, I can’t justify saving salary by using Garoppolo in one of the toughest situations of the week.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh
As you know, the Steelers are an easier team to throw on than run on, as they allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing backs. Chubb should be considered mostly matchup-proof, but even he had his worst game of the season vs. the Steelers two weeks ago. Kareem Hunt is going to continue to be involved, especially in the pass game, which I think the Browns will need this weekend as the Steelers look to avenge the ugly Week 10 loss. At his salary, I’m passing Chubb by in favor of either paying up for Christian McCaffrey, or coming down to Josh Jacobs, Le’Veon Bell or Saquon Barkley.
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LeSean McCoy, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland
I’m all in on the Chiefs passing game this weekend, but even with Damien Williams sounding doubtful to suit up on Sunday, I can’t put McCoy in my lineups. High team totals correlate best with QB production, so while we expect the Chiefs to put points on the board, Patrick Mahomes is most likely to account for them. McCoy is coming off his best game since Week 4, it’s true. But he hasn’t had double digit rushing attempts in any of the last three games, and his targets (six in Week 11 was a high) have been inconsistent. At his salary, he can pay off pretty easily with a score or several catches in PPR, but there are many higher upside players I’m aiming for.
In Week 13, players with high expected ownership are Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Jack Doyle, Nick Foles, D.J. Chark, Le’Veon Bell, Benny Snell, Josh Jacobs, Jonathan Williams, Hunter Henry, Eagles D/ST, Panthers 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.