Last week, we spent some time discussing the merits of fading Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. To briefly recap both of their performances from last week, Brady had a solid day of 25.3 points and was owned on 21.2% of rosters in the $7M Millionaire Maker. Rodgers had another off day by his standards and produced 18.54 points, but wasn’t quite as popular as we thought and only appeared on 5.0% of Millionaire Maker lineups. By simply bypassing these two players, we would have gained some uniqueness over 26.2% of all lineups in the tournament.
Brady and Rodgers will remain among the most expensive and most popular quarterbacks almost each and every week. Based on this alone, we could make a case for fading them every week - but that doesn’t always make fading them the correct call. Each week is its own puzzle with different salaries, matchups and game scripts. Some weeks it will make sense to save some money at quarterback and steer clear of the crowd, while other weeks there will be plenty of value to help you fit in the higher-priced quarterbacks and their matchups may be too good to pass up on.
Moving on to Week 6, we have a new list of players to consider for the fade list. With several weeks of data behind us, we have a good feel for who’s playing well and who’s not and how that will impact ownership percentage. Recent performance remains one of the strongest predictors of attracting the interest of the masses, but we like to try to stay a step ahead. If we can buy players while they’re on the way up and fade them before they start to come down, we can take a huge step towards winning that battle. Starting with the quarterback position, here are this week’s fade candidates.
Eli Manning, $6,800
After a rough start to the season in Week 1’s game against the Cowboys, Manning has put together a nice stretch of games. He has thrown at least two touchdown passes in each of the last four games and scored at least 19.16 points in each of them. This week, the Giants face the Eagles on Monday Night Football, a game that features one of the highest projected totals of the week at 49 points. The Eagles have allowed eight passing touchdowns so far this season and two passing touchdowns in three of their five games. Four of the five quarterbacks they have faced have thrown for at least 283 yards. Manning is in a good spot to continue his strong play against a team that has been giving up points to quarterbacks, but also is in a good spot to be a candidate for the fade list.
Manning will attract attention based on his strong play of late and the fact that the Eagles can be exposed through the air. Add in the fact that it’s a Monday Night affair and we have a situation that will look awfully appealing to many DFSers. Some question marks about the health of the Giants receiving corps may dampen the enthusiasm a little, but we can still expect Manning to have plenty of supporters. This is one of those situations where we were buying a few weeks ago while he was on the way up and trying to time our fade at just the right time as he’s on the way down. Take a pass on Manning and find another source of points from the Monday Night game.
Carson Palmer, $6,600
Palmer has been very consistent this year and a great mid-priced quarterback option on a week-to-week basis. Despite Week 4’s hiccup against the Rams, the Cardinals have looked like one of the better teams in the early part of the season en route to a record of 4-1. The Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in what is somewhat of a ‘revenge game’ for head coach Bruce Arians, who ‘retired’ as Steelers offensive coordinator after the 2011 season. Arians is far from retired and has gone on to plenty of success in his post-Steelers career, but don’t you suppose there’s just a tiny bit of extra motivation present this week?
The potential for a little extra aggressiveness on offense coupled with the strong play of the team this year should vault Palmer’s ownership percentage up a notch. This is a pretty tough one to pass on, but as always – fading Palmer does not mean fading the entire Cardinals offense. Larry Fitzgerald has also been a consistent performer this year and looks appealing at a salary of $7,000, while Chris Johnson has been a pleasant surprise and sits at $4,600 this week. Buy some Cardinals this week, but find a lower-owned quarterback for your lineups.
Matt Forte, $7,100
Don’t look now but the Bears are actually playing pretty well after a rough first three weeks. After being shut out by the Seahawks in Week 3, the Bears have turned it around and won two close, hard-fought games. Forte’s performance has correlated perfectly with the rise of the Bears performance. For Week 3’s debacle against the Seahawks, Forte scored 7.4 points. The Bears two wins have seen Forte score 18.5 and 21.9 points in Week’s 4 and 5 respectively.
This week shapes up as another great opportunity for Forte and the Bears to continue their upswing as they travel to Detroit to face a Lions team that looks to be in the midst of a lost season. Forte’s another tough one to pass on, but players facing the Lions will probably be a pretty popular target for DFSers for the rest of the season. A salary of $7,100 makes it a little easier to pass on him. If we travel a little south on the salary chart we find Eddie Lacy at $6,300. Lacy could have a similar ownership level as Forte, but also offers a similar upside for $800 less.
Arian Foster, $7,000
I’m not sure who is more excited for Foster’s matchup with the Jaguars this week- Foster himself or his potential owners. The Jaguars were torched on the ground by the Buccaneers last week to the tune of 174 yards and two touchdowns. For good measure, Doug Martin and Charles Sims combined for eight catches for 120 yards and another touchdown. It’s time to splash some water on the enthusiasm. While Foster looks to be in a good spot, his ownership percentage may outweigh the benefits.
As we discussed, recent performance is a strong indicator of where the public’s interest will lay in subsequent weeks. This applies to the performance of opposing defenses as well. Let’s look at another situation from last week as an example. It’s widely known that the Raiders have been lit up by opposing tight ends to start the year, making Owen Daniels of the Broncos an attractive target for last week’s game. Daniels proceeded to produce a line of 0/0/0 on five targets and disappointed many owners. I’m not suggesting that Foster will produce a goose egg on Sunday, just reaffirming that each week and game is its own puzzle. Foster’s owners may end up being very pleased with Sunday’s output, but last week’s production by the Buccaneers backs is no guarantee of his success this week. Pass on a highly-owned Foster and find a lower-priced back with similar upside.
DeAndre Hopkins, $7,700
Foster’s Texans teammate is a little tougher to take a pass on. Hopkins leads the NFL in targets and has scored at least 27.1 points for three consecutive games. He’s still reasonably priced as well so we can expect his ownership percentage to continue creeping upward. It’s a perfect time to fade him and see if we can catch him just as his production starts to tail off a bit. While the Jaguars struggled against running backs last week, they have not allowed a passing touchdown to wide receivers for two consecutive weeks. The volume of targets that Hopkins receives will certainly lead to some solid production. We’ll just see if we can find similar production from another receiver that is less popular.
Julian Edelman, $7,600
As a key cog in the Patriots offense, we can safely assume that Edelman will be a popular choice as the Patriots force the Colts to seriously question the science behind air pressure. Edelman will receive plenty of targets and it’s quite possible that the Patriots will put up plenty of points. The Colts have struggled with defending receivers each week and there are no indications that this situation will suddenly improve. Best case scenario, we can hope that the game follows the script of Week 3’s Patriots victory over the Jaguars. The Patriots did their damage early and were then content to let the running game take over in the red zone.
Jimmy Graham, $5,400
Sometimes players just don’t fit in well in their new surroundings no matter how talented they are or how strong their new team appears on paper with their addition. That appears to be the case with Graham in Seattle. Graham has had two solid games this year complemented by three games in which he has failed to exceed 6.9 points. For the year, he is averaging 10.7 points – hardly enough to justify his salary of $5,400. Each week, Graham will have plenty of supporters that feel that this is the week it all comes together and Graham and the Seahawks will live happily ever after. While there’s a slim chance that could happen this week, there are plenty of tight ends that cost much less and offer just as much upside with less risk. Pass on Graham this week and keep him in mind for the fade list each week until his salary lines up better with his current production.
Tyler Eifert, $4,900
Production and a good fit in the offense have not been problems associated with Tyler Eifert this season. He has scored five touchdowns in 2015, two of them in last week’s impressive victory over the Seahawks. We may be able to catch Eifert on the downswing this week when the Bengals take on the Bills. The Bills have held opposing tight ends in check for the last three weeks and could do the same to Eifert this week. As the Ravens showed us in Week 3, Eifert can be contained as well as he produced zero catches from his three targets. The Bills may have some trouble on Sunday with a red-hot Andy Dalton but look for them to hold one of his top targets in check and pivot to a lower-owned and maybe even lower-priced tight end.
New York Jets, $3,100
This is purely an ownership percentage play as the Jets are in a great spot this week. They come in off of their bye week to face a Washington squad that can be forced into mistakes. With opportunity will come a very high ownership percentage and for that reason we will fade the Jets. The Jets are one of those ‘must-plays’ that we talk about from time to time. When we hear that description, we know it’s time to start looking elsewhere. By the way, last week’s must-play defense, the New York Giants, was owned on 19.6% of rosters in the Millionaire Maker and produced 2 points.
New England Patriots, $3,100
The Patriots defense should also be pretty popular for their date with the Colts and looks like a pretty good candidate to produce some points. We have to find uniqueness for our lineups and defense can be a great place to start. Last week’s winning lineup for the Millionaire Maker selected the Packers defense, which was only owned on 6.3% of rosters and proceeded to produce 23 points. Finding this week’s Packers defense will not be easy, but that’s also part of what makes DFS such a great pastime.
That takes care of The Fade for Week 6. As you begin to put together the pieces for this week’s puzzle, don’t forget that part of the solution is finding the right players to fade. Best of luck this weekend!