The Fade: DraftKings Week 12

Players that you may want to consider fading for this week's tournaments. 

The Fade returns for Week 12 with a new list of players that you may want to consider taking a pass on for this week. We’ve spent a good deal of time over the course of the season talking through the methodology of what makes for a good fade candidate. This week, we’ll take a look at some of the specific factors that contribute to a given players’ popularity for the week and how that applies to Week 12. We’ll start off with one of the most popular starting points for many DFSers weekly research routines.

This Week’s Projected High-Scoring Games

  • Tampa Bay @ Indianapolis. Colts -3, 46 ½. An improving Jameis Winston versus an also improving Colts team makes for an intriguing matchup.  
  • New York Giants @ Washington. Giants -2 ½, 47. The two teams at the top of the NFC East could have a shootout in the nation’s capital.  
  • New Orleans @ Houston. Texans -3, 48. The Saints defensive struggles will lead many to focus on this game for DFS purposes.
  • San Diego @ Jacksonville. Jaguars -4, 46 ½. Both teams have some intriguing weapons on offense that also fall into the affordable category.
  • Pittsburgh @ Seattle. Seahawks -3 ½, 46. Will we see a ground-and-pound type game or will it devolve into a shootout?

It’s no secret that games with the highest projected totals of the week generate a ton of interest for DFS purposes. Players from the above matchups will make it to many short lists for consideration in Week 12. For fade purposes, we need to identify which of these matchups will be the most popular, which ones may turn into shootouts and which ones (if any) may fall just a little short of expectations.

This Week’s Top Matchups To Exploit

  • Saints vs. QBs. The Saints have struggled against opposing quarterbacks all season and have been especially vulnerable in recent weeks.
  • Chargers vs. RBs. The Chargers have allowed several big performances to opposing backs this year, including last week against the Chiefs.
  • Washington vs. WRs. Washington has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in five consecutive games.
  • Raiders vs. TEs. Multiple big games allowed to opposing tight ends in 2015 but have settled down somewhat of late.
  • Rams vs. DEF. The Rams have allowed double-digit performances to opposing defenses in consecutive games and five times in total in 2015.    

Focusing on opponents’ weaknesses is a key tool for DFS research - and also for finding fade candidates. Of these matchups, which will attract the most interest? Which of these remain exploitable? Are any of the above opposing defenses turning the corner and the public just hasn’t caught on yet?

Last Week’s Top Performers

  • TB QB Jameis Winston. Winston completed 19 of 29 for 246 yards and five touchdowns in last week’s beat down of the Eagles.  
  • SEA RB Thomas Rawls. Rawls carried the ball 30 times for 209 yards and a score and added on three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown for good measure.
  • HOU WR DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins was targeted 11 times and hauled in five of them for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
  • MIN TE Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph snagged six of his eight targets for 106 yards and found the end zone.
  • Chiefs DEF. Kansas City’s defense continued its hot streak and has now scored double-digit in points for four consecutive games.

Many DFSers will chase last week’s performances in hopes of a repeat. Sometimes the chase is warranted and other times it produces less than desirable results. Of the above top performers, which players are also in a strong matchup this week? Which ones are facing am unfavorable matchup? Which will attract the most interest and/or has been labeled as a must-play for this week?

All of the above factors can generate several additional fade candidates for Week 12, but the below players look like they will be especially popular this week. Let’s take a look at this week’s top fade candidates, starting with the quarterback position.   


Brian Hoyer, $5,000

The highest-projected scoring game of the week coupled with the Saints struggles on defense will bring a lot of attention to Hoyer and the Texans passing game. A note of caution: we’ve seen several examples this season of struggling teams that come back off of their bye week and put forth an inspired performance. While I’m not expecting any miracles with the Saints defense, we can’t completely rule it out – especially with the Texans seeming to be such a chalk play for Week 12.    

Carson Palmer, $7,100

The 49ers are bad and Palmer is playing at a high-level and a dark horse MVP candidate. He should be able to have his way with the 49ers and a repeat of his Week 3 output of 22.54 points against them is not out of the question. That being said, we have a couple of factors leading us to consider the popular Palmer as a fade candidate. First, we can find several quarterbacks at a lower price point that offer us similar upside for Week 12. Second, the talent disparity between the two clubs is so great, we could see a game that gets out of hand quickly and results in the Cardinals grinding out clock as opposed to lighting up the scoreboard.

Running Backs

Doug Martin, $5,800

Martin exploded for 235 yards on the ground last week and will capture the imagination of many that are looking for a repeat. While a solid 100+ yard day is not out of the question for Martin, another monster outing does not seem likely. It’s simply a tale of two opponents. Week 11 offered up an appealing date with a sinking Eagles squad while Week 12 leads him to a date with a Colts team that is playing their best football of the season. Martin may produce a decent day, but we can find less popular choices in the same price range with similar upside.  

Thomas Rawls, $4,500

Rawls is one of those selections we discuss from time-to-time that is really tough to take a pass on. He’s extremely affordable, handling lead back duties and coming off of a stellar outing. We faced a similar situation last week with Charcandrick West and our fears of fading him turned out to be unfounded as West produced 8.4 points before exiting the game with injury. Similar to the West situation of last week, let the salary cap be your guide. Rawls looks like a tremendous value that can help you round out your roster in style. However, if you have other value plays that you’re also high on this week, consider taking a pass on Rawls for a little uniqueness.  

Wide Receivers

DeAndre Hopkins, $9,100

After a few weeks of up and down outings, Hopkins bounced back with one of his top performances of the season last week. His strong performance coupled with a date with the much-maligned Saints defense will likely have his ownership percentage through the roof this week. Hopkins is averaging 25.2 points per game this season and has exceeded that number on six occasions, but assuming he meets his average for the season we are looking at less than 3x return. That’s a ton of salary to put on the table to bank on another big outing. Save some salary on Hopkins and look to a lower-priced, high-target receiver with a great matchup for Week 12.  

Larry Fitzgerald, $7,400

Just like his quarterback, Fitzgerald will have plenty of supporters for his date with the 49ers. Also like his quarterback, we should consider him as a candidate for the fade list. Fitzgerald had one of his best games of the season in Week 3 against the 49ers with 9/134/2 for 37.4 points. The 49ers have not improved since that game and have lost some key pieces along the way. This game has the makings of a lopsided Cardinals victory that does not produce the fantasy goodness that many are anticipating. Similar to Hopkins, we’ll save some salary on Fitzgerald and look to a cheaper receiver with a solid matchup.

Tight Ends

Gary Barnidge, $4,800

Barnidge and quarterback Josh McCown are reunited this week and will look to rekindle their early season chemistry. On tap for the dynamic duo is a date with the Ravens on Monday Night Football, always a popular target for DFSers hoping to still be in the running for large GPPs as the week comes to a close. Barnidge is averaging 16.6 points per game this season and looks like an excellent target for this week - a fact that will not be lost on many. Pass on the temptation that is Gary Barnidge for Week 12 and look to an under the radar tight end with upside.  

Jordan Reed, $5,100

Potentially high-scoring game? Check. Opponent struggles against opposing tight ends? Check. One of the top targets in his team’s passing game? Check. Reed checks off the key boxes and several others which will place him on many short lists for consideration this week. He’ll be on mine as well and will also have a spot on the fade list as a potential fade candidate. Cumulatively, the Giants look like they struggle against tight ends each week. Digging into the numbers a little deeper, we find that three games have inflated those numbers and that they have done a decent job against tight ends in the remaining games. Pass on Reed and look for a less popular tight end that may be a bit more budget-friendly.  


Arizona Cardinals, $3,900

The Cardinals make another appearance on the fade list and this one may be the toughest to pass on of all. Flashing back to Week 3 once more, the Cardinals defense dominated and posted 28.0 points for their highest output of the season. Many will look to capture lightning in a bottle by rostering the Cardinals this week, but they may be missing out on the week’s hidden gems at defense that can offer upside and uniqueness. The Cardinals certainly look intriguing this week, but we’ll dig a little deeper to separate our lineups from the pack.   

Cleveland Browns, $2,000

The Browns are one of the lowest-priced defenses of Week 12 but also have the potential to be one of the week’s top performing defenses. The Ravens have been decimated by injuries and will be rolling with veteran Matt Schaub at quarterback. This game could get ugly for the Ravens and the Browns could be in line to force a bunch of turnovers. Unfortunately, the Browns pricing for the week is so far out of whack that it sticks out like a sore thumb for what could be a fruitful matchup. Take a pass on this week’s softball – although it will be extremely tough to do so at this price – and see if you can uncover this week’s hidden gem of a defense.

That brings The Fade for Week 12 to a close. We have several games, matchups and last week’s darlings to consider as well as our usual collection of the week’s top fade candidates. We don’t have to fade all of them, but taking a pass on the right ones and replacing them with lower-owned players with upside can pay some handsome dividends if everything breaks correctly. Best of luck this weekend! 

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