We have six weeks under our belts and some pretty clear direction as to how team each shapes up on the field and for DFS purposes. We have some go-to offenses, defenses to target against for specific positions, some must-avoid players and some players who are becoming staples of our DFS lineups. We also have a good handle on who the chalk plays will be on a week-to-week basis. Some of these players deserve strong consideration for your fade list, while others you may want to select to form the core of your lineups.
Finding the right players to fade is part of the process in DFS and what we aim to help you do successfully with this column. Beyond just pointing out which players you may want to take a pass on, we delve into the reasoning and thought processes behind what makes for a good fade candidate. As we mentioned last week, the previous week’s production and/or performance of the opposing defense can have a great impact on the current week’s ownership percentages. Looking back at last week as an example, DeAndre Hopkins has been on an absolute tear so it’s no surprise that he’s been pretty popular. For last week’s Millionaire Maker, he was owned on 33% of all rosters. Hopkins will surely be popular again this week as there are no signs that the Dolphins will be able to slow him down. Should we fade Hopkins? That’s a tough call as there’s not many receivers that can offer that level of production on a weekly basis.
Another great indicator for ownership percentages each week is the projected totals for each game. Over/under’s are a widely used benchmark, so it’s of little surprise that projected high-scoring games attract a ton of interest from DFSers. For this week’s fade list, we certainly have some players that fit that criteria. We also have some players whose matchups might not be as great as they look at first glance and some players that are just a bit too expensive when compared to cheaper options with similar upside. Let’s go position by position to find some candidates for this week’s fade list, starting with the quarterback position.
Andrew Luck, $7,600
Andrew Luck and the Colts matchup with the Saints has the highest projected total on the board for Week 7 at 52 points. Quarterbacks from matchups with high totals attract a ton of interest from both new and experienced DFSers. To add to the interest, Luck scored 30.98 points in his first game back from injury last week. Top it all off with the fact that the Saints have allowed some solid production to opposing quarterbacks and we have a recipe for a heavily targeted player – and a perfect candidate for the fade list.
Sunday’s game between the Colts and Saints could very well turn out to be Week 7’s highest-scoring game. Fading Luck does not mean you have to miss out on all of the festivities. Although the Saints looked much better in last week’s victory over the Atlanta Falcons, they have allowed solid days to every skill position this year. Two Colts that could be attractive targets come in at very reasonable prices: Donte Moncrief at $5,200 and Frank Gore at $4,900. Fade Luck and gain some exposure to this potentially high-scoring game elsewhere.
Philip Rivers, $6,500
Philip Rivers is on pace for some truly prolific numbers this year and has produced at least 24.6 points for the past three weeks. He threw for 503 yards and two touchdowns last week in a late afternoon game against the Packers that was available to most of the country. His prolific day and pace has been a popular topic of conversation this week and he will surely attract a ton of interest for such a reasonable price. For these reasons, we have to at least consider Rivers for the fade list.
Rivers and the Chargers face off against the Raiders for another late afternoon affair. The Raiders allowed two passing touchdowns in each of their first four games this season, but held Peyton Manning and the Broncos in check in Week 5 before last week’s bye. Was that a product of an improving Raiders defense or simply the well-documented struggles of the Broncos offense? It’s too early to say, but one thing is for certain – Rivers will be throwing and has the potential to match his recent output. Should you choose to fade Rivers, one of his top targets could be a great option to gain some exposure to the potential output. Monitor the injury reports heading into Sunday as both Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates are questionable.
Le’Veon Bell, $8,400
Le’Veon Bell presents a case of a player who warrants consideration for the fade list due to price. We all know Bell’s potential output, as evidenced by Week’s 3 through 5. However, last week was a different story for Bell as the Cardinals held him to 88 rushing yards. This week’s opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, did similar to Adrian Peterson last week, allowing him to gain only 60 yards rushing on 26 attempts. Add in the fact that the Steelers offense may be spearheaded by Landry Jones this week and Bell may find himself receiving similar attention and therefore another down week of production. Similar to his teammate Antonio Brown and DFSers everywhere, Bell will continue to patiently wait for the return of Ben Roethlisberger so the Steelers offense can get back into gear.
LeGarette Blount, $4,800
LeGarrette Blount has been receiving the majority of carries in the unpredictable Patriots backfield with 47 over the past three games compared to 18 for Dion Lewis. He has two productive games to show for it, including last week’s 23.4 points. Taking the unpredictability of the Patriots running backs out of the equation, Blount and the Patriots will be facing off against the league’s top rushing defense in the New York Jets. Working in the Patriots favor is a positive game script. They are an 8-point favorite, which points to some opportunity for the backs in the second half. However, that opportunity is offset by the strength of the opposing defense and the fact that this week we could see plenty of Dion Lewis for all we know. Take a pass on Blount and find a predictable running back in a better situation.
Calvin Johnson, $7,700
Calvin Johnson came back to life last week with his best performance of the season. He caught six passes for 166 yards and a touchdown en route to 31.6 points. The rejuvenation may be short-lived and owners expecting similar output this week might walk away disappointed. The Chicago Bears, last week’s opponent, have surrendered some big days to opposing wideouts this year – last week included. The Lions face off with a Vikings team this week that has done a pretty good job containing opposing wide receivers, outside of Week 3’s game against the Chargers. Last week may just have been a perfect storm for the Lions. Their backs were against the wall and they came to play on Sunday against a Bears team that can be exposed through the air. Could they have turned a corner last week? Possibly, but $7,700 is a lot of salary to spend on uncertainty.
Martavis Bryant, $4,700
Martavis Bryant dazzled us with two touchdowns last week and gets the privilege of facing the Chiefs secondary this week. Looks like a plug and play option, right? Not so fast. As we mentioned while discussing Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers offense could be limited this week. If the Chiefs can hold Bell in check as they did with Adrian Peterson, they should have plenty of time to focus on an inexperienced quarterback. Jones looked pretty good in relief duty last week, but there’s a big difference between that and a full 60 minutes. Was the connection between Jones and Bryant the sign of some chemistry between the two? Quite possibly and Bryant should produce, but with an expected huge jump in ownership percentage the effect on your standing on the leaderboards will be minimal. While the masses roster Bryant, take a pass and see if you can find this week’s version of him.
Greg Olsen, $6,100
We have the Panthers in a Sunday Night game against the Eagles, a game that should attract plenty of interest for DFS. In Greg Olsen, we have one of the top tight ends in the game coming off of an outstanding game in a tough environment. Olsen caught seven balls for 131 yards and a touchdown at Seattle on Sunday, quite the impressive feat. That performance should give a jolt to Olsen’s already pretty high ownership percentage, making him an even more popular choice this week and by extension, a candidate to fade. Additionally, we should see a fair amount of points in the Sunday Night game, it just may come from elsewhere on the Panthers side of the ball. The Eagles have been pretty tough against opposing tight ends and Olsen is a little pricey as far as tight ends go. You’ll want some exposure to this game, you just may want to find it elsewhere. Cam Newton makes for a fine choice at $6,600, while Ted Ginn Jr. at $3,300 looks intriguing for those doing some bargain shopping.
Rob Gronkowski, $8,100
Rob Gronkowski is the most expensive tight end and for good reason – he’s capable of exploding for a monster game at a moment’s notice. But has he been paying off of late? The answer is no. Since Week 2’s 27.3 points, Gronkowski has failed to exceed 17.1 points. He’s averaging 20.3 points per game, but that’s mainly because of two huge outings in the first two weeks of the season. Even at 20.3 points, Gronkowski is barely returning 2.5x value. If we’re spending that much salary cap, it would be nice to have a little more. Gronkowski’s production will come back and he will have more monster games this year, it just may not be this week against the New York Jets. Save some salary on Gronkowski, find a cheaper tight end and spend the excess cap dollars on upgrading another position.
Arizona Cardinals, $3,600
The Cardinals are the most expensive defense this week. While the potential is there for some nice output as they face off with a struggling Ravens team, your cap dollars may be best spent elsewhere. The Cardinals will have their supporters this week and could very well produce a nice return on Monday Night Football. However, you can find cheaper defenses that will offer you similar upside – this week in particular. Many will simply plug and play the most expensive defensive option and be done with it. Spend some extra time on defense this week and see if you can find some similar potential at a cheaper price point. Who knows, you may just find the weeks under the radar defense that goes off.
Miami Dolphins, $2,700
Speaking of under the radar defenses that may go off – How ‘bout them Dolphins from last week? A simple coaching change awakened the beast within and the Dolphins pounced on the Titans for 24.0 points. Don’t take the easy way out and bank on a repeat. While the Dolphins are facing another team that can give up a huge game to opposing defenses (see Houston Texans @ Atlanta Falcons, Week 4), we shouldn’t assume that will happen this week. This week’s Dolphins defense is out there, the fun part is trying to find it.
That brings The Fade to close for another week. We went through some pretty tough choices and some that were not so tough once we dug into them. Keep these players in mind for your fade list and see if you can come up with some of your own to add to it. Making the right calls on a couple of fades per week can pay off quite handsomely. Best of luck this weekend!