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.
Where we prefer to play on a site where pros aren’t putting in a million different lineups, FantasyDraft tournaments and 50/50s have a 30-entry limit per user, compared to the government-imposed 150-entry limit on FanDuel and DraftKings. The volume is really nice there, too, with $12k tourney for $5 per entry and a $100k for $25.
Salaries noted are FanDuel/Draftkings/FantasyDraft.
Chalk Fade of the Week: LeGarrette Blount at SF (7.3k/6.4k/12.0k)
The argument for The Garrette is obvious: the Pats are favored by 13, which will have them closing out the game with the run, and New England is running in the red zone to have Blount second only to Melvin Gordon in touches inside the 20-, 10-, and 5-yard lines, making him the league leader in TDs.
The other argument is that this game should be closer than Vegas implies. Home underdogs by double digits beat the spread over 90% of the time. The 49ers are the fastest team on the slate, running plays every 25.6 seconds and one cannot argue against the Pats cracking 30 points. But this game is, the gap between the Brady Game or Blount Game arguments closes.
SF is the worst run defense in the league, giving up the most adjusted line yards (4.54), yards per carry (5.25), and the most fantasy points to RBs on the slate, but Blount does not extend past his norm. Add that SF’s power run rank is 21st in the league and we have a noticeable improvement against power runners versus shifty runners. He is a 3-to-5-yard plodder, so the yards are completely dependent on the volume. A Brady Game dips into that volume and we begin gambling on TDs.
The Brady Game argument raises the next concern of a three-headed backfield with Dion Lewis getting snaps. Lewis and James White are the passing downs backs, which could get Blount under the 50% of snaps he needs for 20 touches. And the goal line TDs are dependent on SF stopping completed passes short of the end zone.
At double-digit ownership—if not over 20%—and requiring multiple TDs for Blout to be worth his price, as he catches no passes, the Patriots receiving options are in a dream leverage spot. Go with the game theory over the shiny green matchup number and fade Blount in Week 11.
Blake Bortles at DET (7.2k/5.4k/10.6k)
Bortles is leading the league with 380 pass attempts, so as a 6.0-point underdog against a Lions team at the bottom of the league in DVOA against the pass and allowing the most fantasy points to QBs, this should be free money. Bear in mind that everyone is looking at this. This is the formula for chalk.
The Vegas market is implying fewer than 21 points for the Jaguars and Bortles’ TD% is an average 4.2% and the offensive line is ranked 30th in adjusted sack rate. The volume is pushing this team backward on the field at best; at worst, the ball is going over to the wrong team. Either way, the Jaguars are a formula for not keeping possessions alive for the extended drives we want at QB.
Will Jacksonville score two TDs on turf? Sure. Will they get the garbage time free money? Sure. But we can easily just go to Allen Robinson for exposure to this passing game and get more upside at the QB position by spending up to Kirk Cousins for $400 more on FD and DK or $300 more on Draft in a higher-scoring GB-WAS game. A naked Cousins lineup with Robinson probably gives us all of the Washington and Jaguars TDs.
On the fence with Marcus Mariota at IND (8.0k/6.7k/12.6k)
Fading the underdog QB in the highest over-under on the slate feels criminal, but the Titans are the slowest team on the slate, running plays every 33.7 seconds, illustrating that they are a run-first team at heart. The Colts have the worst DVOA against the run in the league, so succeeding at running Demarco Murray into the ground will be the confirmation bias Tennessee’s staff needs to hold Mariota back.
Similar to Bortles, the Titans will score and they are dogs on turf, but we can get the TDs through another player: Murray. Murray is leading the team with 26% of the touches inside the red zone and the 5-yard-line, along with being fourth in the league with red zone carries (32). He will get his.
To start Mariota, almost requires a stack with Murray and Delanie Walker. I would go so far as to say that T.Y. Hilton is also required because multi-layered correlation is the only Mariota wins a tournament for us because everyone is looking at the same over-unders. We may have three options here: stack Mariota-Murray-Hilton-Walker; stack Murray-Hilton-Walker with Andrew Luck; or take a stand on Murray slowing this game down as a one-off. Everything in-between a game stack or full fade ignores how this game plays out the way it does and it should be a decider in ROI.
Spencer Ware vs TB (7.7k/6.0k/11.3k)
Todd Gurley at MIA (6.7k/5.0k/9.8k)
At this price, just don’t. KC’s offensive line is only giving the backs 3.88 adjusted line yards (ALY), making Ware’s 5.0 yards per carry (YPC) a huge red flag for regression. The ownership at RB will be so concentrated in the aforementioned Blount and Murray with Le’Veon Bell’s highest raw point projection and C.J. Prosise’s elite value that we don’t have to get cute to go off the board.
Ezekiel Elliott (8.7k/8.0k/15.0k) is running behind the best line in the game by every measurable and is a 7.5-point favorite at home. If we are throwing caution to the wind anyway, bank on Dallas’ O-line beating the Ravens elite run D in a coin flip. Pair him with Prosise with no problem and your lineup is already contrarian. This could be the lowest Elliott ownership we see, rest of season.
The Gurley thing is not mind-baffling. Beating Miami is best done via the run, but that does not necessarily mean that they are bad against the run. The Fins are 13th in DVOA against the run, allowing the 3rd-fewest fantasy points to RBs, and Gurley is averaging an abysmal 3.1 YPC behind a line giving him only 3.65 ALY. He is dominating the ball inside the red zone and rookie Jared Goff making his first NFL start guarantees the run volume, but the Rams cannot really be expected to find the end zone against anyone. And TDs matter.
On the fence with David Johnson at MIN (8.3k/7.9k/14.9k) on FD and Todd Gurley (6.7k/5.0k/9.8k)
Johnson’s ownership against an elite defense will not match his raw skill. But he is on the field 90% of the time with a quarterback who can only throw checkdowns and interceptions. Add that Minnesota is a light funnel defense in that they are 5th in DVOA against the pass, but 10th against the RB and 13th against RBs in the pass game.
Cheaper than Bell, Murray, and Elliott across the industry, whatever exists of the Cardinals offense should funnel to Johnson, making him a nice contrarian play on full PPR sites. It is a better matchup than Elliott, but Dallas’ Vegas implied total over 26 points to Zona’s sub-21 has me weary.
Randall Cobb at WAS (6.5k/5.9k/11..0k)
Rishard Matthews at IND (6.0k/5.1k/10.2k) on DK/Draft
There is a lot to love about the GB-WAS Sunday night game, but Cobb is not one of them. WAS is an average 15th in DVOA against WR3s and 32nd against WR2s because the ball funnels away from Josh Norman. Don’t overthink this. Where we are getting exposure to the GB pass game and not paying up to Jordy Nelson, just go to Davante Adams (7.6k/6.7k/12.6k) and be contrarian elsewhere.
Matthews is a big trap where people will overthink their Titans exposure because they want to play Bell-Prosise with Martellus Bennett, making it hard to play Murray or Walker, let alone stacking with Mariota. The ownership will funnel into the low-volume Matthews, whose ceiling is capped under 20 points with a low floor. Playing Matthews is a fear-based hedge and those are always losing propositions.
With all of the money thrown at RBs, high-priced WRs will go low-owned. And where the ownerships exists, it will likely be concentrated in Antonio Brown. Odell Beckham, Jr. (9.0k/8.5k/16.0k) with no run game against the terribad Bears and A.J. Green ($8.2k/$8.3k/$15.7k) against a Bills team which is 32nd in DVOA against WR1s are both 7.5-point favorites and should see double-digit targets. Both can have 20 points at halftime. There is more volume risk to them than Brown, but the ownership will make the rewards of them outscoring Brown pay off.
On the fence with Pierre Garcon vs GB (5.7k/3.9k/7.7k) on FD
We will have to save somewhere and Garcon is the obvious play on full PPR sites where he is too cheap and so safe for 13-plus points. The problem on FD is that he is not a red zone target, so hitting 2x on FD is hard to trust, let alone the surpassing 15 we want at his price.
That said, the Packers are 28th and 29th in DVOA against WR1s and WR2s, respectively, and 10th against TEs. Mindlessly just plugging in Jordan Reed to get exposure to this game ignores that Cousins can shift his game to taking what the defense gives him and it will give him Garcon.
Zach Miller at NYG (5.5k/3.8k/7.4k)
Don’t believe the hype. Jay Cutler does not throw to TEs. Bennett had a couple of four-week stretches, but that’s it. Cutler’s entire career is marked with weeks where his TE had dream matchups and did not break 8 fantasy points while one WR had 15 targets. This always happens. Miller may get a goal line score, but the looks will get split with Eddie Royal and Miller’s low volume will make him dependent on multiple TDs.
Just buy into Bennett, who will actually get the ball from a better QB against a worse defense, at the same price.
Dolphins vs LA (4.8k/2.9k/5.6k)
Miami is a fine cash play where we cannot pay up to KC, but chalk defenses are always a fade, especially at this point in the season when chalk is more amplified. The Patriots and Giants against Kaepernick and Cutler actually have pick-six and sack upside.