As the season moves along, it becomes easier to get a feel for who the higher-owned players will be for a given week. Armed with recent data and an early feel for how team’s offenses are shaping up for the year, many people will arrive at the same conclusions. These same conclusions help lead us to some of the players we should consider fading for a given week.
With a full week to analyze the games and matchups, our convictions and conclusions on the great plays of the week can become even stronger as game time gets closer. Using last week as an example, it would have been pretty hard to pass on playing Drew Brees. Playing at home against a team that was absolutely shellacked in Week 1, Brees looked like a must-start. All signs pointed to a great fantasy outing for Brees and the Saints. Final result? The Buccaneers won 26-19 and neither Brees nor any of his top targets provided their expected fantasy output.
Brees and the Saints are just one example from a week that was full of disappointing fantasy performances from players that looked to be very strong plays. We can’t fade every single one of them and strike gold, but we can zero in on the highly-owned players and dig a little deeper on some must-plays that might not be all they’re cracked up to be.
Another week brings some more players that might be tough to pass on at first glance, but making the right calls can help us get that much closer to climbing the leader board in a huge tournament like this one. Starting with the quarterbacks, here are this week’s players to consider taking a pass on.
Tom Brady, $7,700
Taking a pass on Brady will be tough. The Patriots are huge favorites and Brady and the offense has gotten off to a terrific start. Brady has thrown for 754 yards and seven touchdowns already this year, chances are pretty good that he’ll pad those stats against the Jaguars. There are no sure things in fantasy football, but for this week Brady looks to be about as close as you can get. So why pass on him? Brady will be one of the highest-owned quarterbacks on Sunday.
We need some uniqueness to our lineups and quarterback is usually a good place to start. Each week, there’s one that looks too good to pass up. Like Drew Brees last week. While we certainly can’t expect Brady and every quarterback that looks like a must-play to go out and lay an egg, we can take a pass and try to find a lesser-owned option that might make more of a difference to our lineups. Also, fading the quarterback does not mean fading the entire offense. We can gain exposure to the Patriots offense elsewhere, making it just a little easier to pass on Brady this week.
Andrew Luck, $7,900
The Colts are not as bad as they looked Monday Night and should begin turning things around this week against the Titans. This fact will not be lost on many people. As prime bounce back candidates, Luck and the Colts should be pretty popular this week. In addition to the expected popularity, Luck is the second highest-priced quarterback this week. Although they could turn it around, is there enough upside there to justify $7,900? Perhaps, but we can also save some salary and gain some uniqueness. Similar to Brady and the Patriots, fading Luck does not mean passing on the entire Colts offense. If you find it too tough to pass on a quarterback, you can always select one of his top targets to gain some of the upside you fear you’ll be missing out on.
Marshawn Lynch, $7,400
Sunday’s game against the Bears shapes up to be a pretty healthy rout for the Seahawks. The team is hungry for a win and welcoming a team that is expected to be playing its backup quarterback to one of the toughest environments in the NFL. Looks like a recipe for a heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch once the lead is established. For these reasons, we can expect Lynch’s ownership percentage to be through the roof. Fading Lynch means passing on a potentially huge day from a top running back, but last week provided plenty of examples of high-priced running backs not justifying their large salaries. No guarantee that will be the case with Lynch this week, but we can find similar upside from players at the same price point that may be less popular.
Devonta Freeman, $4,600
Freeman will see a heavy workload this week with the expected absence of backfield-mate Tevin Coleman. Normally that’s a great time to pounce on a lower-cost back, but this may not be one of those situations. The season is still very young but the Cowboys have been especially stout against the run. They have allowed only 106 total rushing yards, 2.6 yards per attempt and one touchdown. Even at his low price, Freeman could struggle to return 3x value. We need to save salary where we can on DraftKings but in this case we may want to look elsewhere.
Antonio Brown, $8,900
Brown is expensive but has been well worth his hefty price tag thus far. He has scored 30+ points on DraftKings in each of the first two weeks and could do the same this week. However, we have a few reasons to consider fading Brown this week. For starters, Le’Veon Bell returns this week and the Steelers just may want to give him the ball a little bit this week. The Steelers will not suddenly become ground and pound with all of the weapons at their disposal but we can expect the offense to shift a bit. At a price of $8,900, that’s a lot of salary to cover – especially if a player loses a target or two. Finally, higher-priced receivers like Brown and Julio Jones have provided a great return through two weeks. That trend could continue, but their ownership percentages will continue to grow. Might be a good week to get ahead of the curve. Save some salary and find some uniqueness.
Larry Fitzgerald, $5,800
Fitzgerald had a phenomenal Week 2 with eight catches for 112 yards and three touchdowns, good enough for 40.2 points on DraftKings. Even with that performance, his salary remains very appealing and pretty tough to pass up. Three touchdowns last week will gain him plenty of attention in DFS circles – and from this week’s opponent. The Cardinals offense looks to be rolling and Fitzgerald could still have a nice day, but we might be able to gain a little separation for our lineups by fading him this week.
Rob Gronkowski, $7,400
Brady and Gronkowski will be one of the higher-owned stacks of the week and for good reason. Through two weeks, they have been a dynamite combo and this week points to more of the same. Pretty good chance Gronkowski finds the end zone this week. Also a pretty good chance that he will be the highest-owned tight end and for that reason we’ll take a pass. The risk will lie with Gronkowski having a monster game in which he finds the end zone on multiple occasions. However, we can save a ton of salary by looking elsewhere and use those dollars to make up for that potential.
Jimmy Graham, $5,800
Graham is not happy with his role in the offense. The Seahawks are expected to dominate the Bears at home. Sounds like a recipe for Graham to be force-fed a touchdown to keep the peace. But he will need more than a touchdown to pay off his salary and unfortunately the days of Graham producing like he did for the Saints may be gone. He may receive a few more targets this week but $5,800 is a hefty price to pay for a maybe. There are cheaper tight ends that receive more targets and may make for better investments.
Seattle Seahawks, $3,400
A perfect storm could be brewing for the Seattle defense. They’ll be playing at home, thirsty for a win and could be facing a backup quarterback. The Seahawks could be one of the rare most expensive defenses in a given week that is also the top scoring one. We can expect them to be highly-owned and for that reason a great candidate to fade. Additionally, the salary savings from a lesser-owned defense could provide just enough cap space for us to fit in a piece we may struggle fitting in by selecting the Seahawks.
Carolina Panthers, $3,100
The Saints are struggling on offense and may be playing their backup quarterback which will make the Panthers quite a popular choice this week. And for good reason, backup quarterbacks playing for an already struggling offense can equal a lot of points for opposing defenses. But if we want some separation for our lineups, we’ll need to dig a little deeper and make some tough choices. Finding the defense outside of the Seahawks and Panthers that produces a nice return could make a huge difference on the leader board this week.
A lot of tough choices to consider fading this week, from Brady all the way down to the Panthers. The good news is you don’t have to fade all of them. But fading just the right ones can make all the difference in the world for your lineups. Best of luck this weekend!