There are many elements to weigh when deciding to fade a player in GPPs. One is a bad matchup, one is a bad projected gameflow, another is when the rate of projected success does not surpass the projected ownership percentage.
In tournaments, having a 50% owned player who goes off and leads the position in scoring is a great guy to have in our lineups. But when our 8% owned player surpasses the value of the 50% player, we have an edge on 50% of the field.
FantasyDraft still includes the Monday Night Football game in their Main Slate, which FanDuel and DraftKings have excluded because they want us to get paid faster, which means we spend it faster. The scoring is full-PPR and salary cap is roughly double that of DraftKings, with pricing to scale. My favorite element of FantasyDraft: you can play two flexes.
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In this post are some simple assumptions on ownership and matchups to help you think about fading certain players in the FanDuel and DraftKings Sunday Main Slate.
Salaries noted are FanDuel/Draftkings/FantasyDraft.
Team Fade of the Week: Raiders at JAC
Derek Carr ($8.3k/$6.3k/$11.0k)
Latavius Murray ($5.9k/$4.4k/$8.8k)
Amari Cooper ($7.9k/$7.9k/14.9$k)
Points will be scored in this Raiders-Jaguars game. My initial dummy lineup to register into GPPs was almost a full game stack of Blake Bortles-Amari Cooper-Allen Robinson-Julius Thomas. The only issue became the Raiders traveling from the Bay Area to the southeast for an early game, but two bad defenses had this game as one of three totaling at least 50 points and it was a virtual pick ‘em.
Since the lines opened, the Chargers-Falcons game has skyrocketed from 51.5 to 53.5-54.0, the Saints-Chiefs from 49.0 to 50.0+, and the Washington-Lions game has slightly fallen from 51.0 to 50.0 or 49.0, depending on the source. In that same time where heavy betting has been on the first two overs and a bit on the third game’s under, this Raiders-Jags game has plummeted from 50.0 to as low as 47.0 in some places. Sharp money is being very aggressive in one way on the Chargers-Falcons game and the other on this one.
The pace is relatively neutral for both teams. Neither are very good, but there is a meme at play, which is the only reason to play Raiders: that the Jags defense is bad.
The Jags are 21st in fantasy points allowed to QBs, but 8th in DVOA against the pass. On the brighter side, they are 21st in DVOA against WR1s and 26th against WR2s. On the other, they are only giving up 61.0 yards per game to WR1s, compared to 76.8 to WR2s. The Raiders are not a complete fade, but the stack is underwhelming, relative to the other options on the slate.
We do want Raiders exposure, but Michael Crabtree ($7.2k/$6.6k/$12.3k) is in the far better spot than Cooper to attack the Jags. Cooper has a 60-48 target advantage and is averaging over two more yards gained per target, but they are equal with five red zone targets. Cooper should be a fine cash play (especially on DK), but Crabtree has more point-per-dollar upside, factoring in that Crabtree gives us the better shot at fitting the best plays on the slate into our lineup: Julio Jones ($9.2k/$9.2k/$17.3k) and Demarco Murray ($8.7k/$7.2k/$13.7k).
The only weak spot, DVOA-wise is the run game (27th) and the WR2s. There is not run game in Oakland, so it’s Crabtree or maybe—just maybe—the line movement is Vegas telling us that ‘traveling west to east’ factor makes the Jaguars defense a strong contrarian DFS play.
Philip Rivers at ATL ($7.8k/$6.5k/$12.4k)
Alex Smith vs NO ($k/$k/$k)
I was on the fence with Rivers because of the west-to-east narrative and was concerned with the line movement slightly favoring Atlanta. The case for Rivers is clear: the game is the highest total and San Diego is a 6.5-point underdog, meaning tons of volume for Rivers against a Falcons defense ranking 26th in DVOA against the pass.
The case against Rivers is four-fold: (1) Tyrell Williams is expected to get shut down while shadowed by Desmond Trufant; (2) Travis Benjamin may be out again, leaving Hunter Henry as the only stacking option; (3) the line was already an aggressive +6.0 against Rivers and has already moved to +6.5, suggesting that (4) the Chargers laying a complete egg and not cracking 20 points has entered a significant enough portion of the range of options to consider fading Rivers.
The idea of a naked Rivers or a Rivers-Henry-Julio stack is tempting, but Rivers can get to 10% ownership at his price and almost all Rivers plays will be naked. If our lineup is going to look like others in a lot of places, we are better off going with the better chalk options in Tom Brady ($9.1k/$7.9k/$14.9k) and Matt Ryan ($8.7k/$7.2k/$13.7k), while winning with our bargain picks instead of maximizing high-dollar players. Jacquizz Rodgers ($5.6k/$4.3k/$8.5k) is the must-play chalk at prices which already give us cap flexibility, and stacking Brady with Martellus Bennett ($5.8k/$4.5k/$8.4k) instead of Rob Gronkowski ($8.5k/$7.2k/$13.6k) or Ryan with Julio and Henry give us the same flexibility with low ownership on those combos.
Alex Smith will not be one of the five most-owned, but he may be the highest owned in his price range. The Chiefs may run the ball too much and Smith has no deep ball. His rushing upside does not compare to those of Tyrod Taylor ($7.7k/$5.5k/$10.8k) without Sammie Watkins and Robert Woods or Colin Kaepernick ($6.5k/$5.3k/$10.5k) without Carlos Hyde. When we spend down, we don’t want to hit value; we want to smash it.
On the fence with:
Matthew Stafford vs WAS ($7.9k/$6.4k/$12.0k)
Throughout his career, Stafford averages 287.5 yards per game at home and 270.4 on the road; 286.8 in domes and 269.5 outdoors. The drastic difference is in TDs—98 in 50 homes games versus 79 in road games; 111 in 58 dome games (1.9 per game) to 59 in 36 outdoor games (1.64 per games). So Home Stafford is a thing?
Well, yes, but not really. All QBs are far better at home and all are far better in domes rather than outdoors. These universal points on Stafford are important because he is very average and the Washington pass defense is a pretty average 14th in DVOA against the pass.
All of this may be overthinking things because the best case for Stafford is that the Lions have zero run game and are a pick ‘em in an over-under hovering around 50 points. Stafford may not have extraordinary averages at home or indoors like Drew Brees, but we should note his elevated ceiling.
Stafford has thrown for 400-plus yards seven times—five at home and one in the New Orleans dome. Stafford has thrown for 350-plus yards 18 times in fewer than 100 games—11 times at home. Stafford has thrown for 300 yards and three TDs 15 times—11 times indoors, nine times at home.
The dilemma here is not whether or not Stafford is a solid play, but what are the chances he outperforms Brady and Ryan?
LeSean McCoy at MIA ($9.0k/$7.6k/$14.3k)
Le’Veon Bell vs NE ($8.6k/$8.0k/$15.0k)
Melvin Gordon at ATL ($8.0k/$6.4k/$12.1k)
UPDATE: MCCOY (HAMSTRING) NOT EXPECTED TO PLAY WEEK 7.
The Bills-Dolphins game is near the bottom in projected pace for the week, if not the slowest game on the slate. If anyone benefits, it ought to be McCoy, but he more expensive than Demarco Murray on every site and his ownership will be equal or higher than Murray’s, despite Murray running behind one of the better offensive lines in the league and facing the worst run defense in the league, according to DVOA and fantasy points allowed.
And the case for Bell is worse than McCoy. Sure, Landry Jones under center for the Steelers makes Bell the focal point of the offense, but McCoy and Murray are also in offenses with no passing attack. And Murray is the easy play of the three, with the other two facing teams in the top-10 in DVOA against the run.
Gordon is just a weekly mention. The game has the highest total, but the Chargers are big underdogs, working against Gordon. The offensive line is below average and is never healthy come gametime, working against Gordon. Gordon then works against himself by averaging only 3.4 yards per carry. He is TD-dependent, but so is Hunter Henry for cheaper exposure to this game. Hell, Devonta Freeman is cheaper across the industry. Gordon should be <0.1% owned.
On the fence with:
Devonta Freeman vs SD ($7.9k/$5.9k/$11.0k)
Spencer Ware vs NO ($7.0k/$5.9k/11.0k)
Jamaal Charles vs NO ($6.8k/$5.7k/$10.6k)
Tevin Coleman vs SD ($6.2k/$4.9k/$9.8k)
The Chargers and Saints are going to each allow over 150 yards on the ground, multiple rushing TDs, and double digit receptions to RBs. The burning question is how the snaps, touches, targets, yards, and red zone action is distributed. I wish I had a bunch of evidence to throw around, but the fact is that one of these four guys may be necessary to win a GPP. Good luck guessing the guy, but taking a stand to fade two or three of these guys is important.
The issue here is that the Chargers are not really much better than the Saints at stopping the run. The Saints are 30th fantasy points allowed to RBs and DVOA against the run. The Chargers are 31st in points allowed, but only 21st in DVOA. Both the Falcons and Chiefs are favored by around 6.5 with totals over 50.
The game theory chart says to fade the Chiefs guys and go Atlanta because Ryan and Julio will be the targets for that game; and the Chiefs guys will be the dominant choice of exposure to exploit the Saints because people hate rostering Alex Smith and his weapons.
In other words, I’m splitting exposure between Coleman and Charles, so Ware and Freeman are going to go off.
Brandin Cooks at KC ($7.7k/$7.5k/$14.1k)
Tyrell Williams at ATL ($6.1k/$4.4k/$8.7k)
Road Brees and high projected ownership off of a big week makes Cooks an easy fade for anyone doing any research, but the gamelog chasers are going to be on him—even in cash. Just don’t be one of them. The Chiefs Home Defense is definitely a thing. A big thing.
Williams is going to have inflated ownership because of the Rivers- and Ryan-led stacks, but that is it. Taking WRs who are getting shadowed by Desmond Trufant is a losing proposition—especially one like Williams, who lacks size.
The argument for Williams is price and targets in a high-scoring dome shootout. But I have a list of others in the same position at similar or better prices with better one-on-one matchups: Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Golden Tate (if Theo Riddick is out), and Dontrelle Inman.
On the fence with:
Allen Robinson vs OAK ($8.4k/$7.3k/$13.7k)
Golden Tate vs WAS ($6.6k/$4.9k/$9.7k)
DeSean Jackson at DET ($6.5k/$5.7k/$10.7k)
The only Robinson concern is price. Oakland is 26th in DVOA against the pass, but the Niners are 32nd and Mike Evans ($8.0k/$7.8k/$14.7) is the only target in town. On FD, we can probably go all-in on Evans and split between Evans and Robinson on DK and Draft. This is all supposing a Julio lock, otherwise, paring the two with a Falcons RB is very much in play.
Tate is only in play if Riddick is out. Otherwise, Riddick dominates the short yardage game, relegating Tate back to fantasy purgatory. D-Jax in the same game has a matchup second—only to Evans—but the risk is always usage. If Jordan Reed is in, D-Jax is low-exposure TD gamble; if Reed is out, the price puts him heavily into play.
Rob Gronkowski at PIT ($8.5k/$7.2k/$13.6k)
Coby Fleener at KC ($5.9k/$3.8k/$7.4k)
Gronk is a gameflow and price fade. He has great TD equity, but his range of outcomes include more four-and-five-catch days with around 85 yards and a TD than the extra catch for 100 yards and an extra TD we need. The upside is always there and the ownership on a stack with Brady is not of concern because their prices already force differentiation from the field elsewhere in our lineups.
Fleener just is not good. Add that the Saints are on the road, his route inefficiency gets amplified here. Correlating Henry with a Falcons stack or getting cheap exposure the Raiders-Jags with Julius Thomas ($5.5k/$3.9k/$7.7k) has more logic flavor.
On the fence with:
Gary Barnidge at CIN ($5.2k/$3.2k/$6.3k)
The Browns are terrible and may be without Terrelle Pryor on Sunday. I am accidentally landing on Barnidge in cash for the Thursday-Monday slate, and I am trying to quit him. But the ball domination potential is there, no matter who is QB’ing. The price is right.
If T.Y. Hilton is out on Sunday, the easy TE punt is Jack Doyle ($4.7k/$2.5k/$5.0k), who may need to be a cash lock in this scenario with so much boom-bust at WR.
Jets at SF ($4.4k/$2.6k/$4.6k)
The Jets are slightly favored at home in the lowest over-under on the slate. It is tempting because they can stop Terrance West. If Ryan Mallett is in for the Ravens, the play is fine for GPPs, but I am finding it impossible to not play the Bengals ($5.1k/$3.6k/$5.6k) or Patriots ($4.4k/$2.9k/$5.6k). Pretty sure the play is New England across the board.
Stats via Pro-Football-Reference.com.