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Week 15 NFL Daily Fantasy Tournament Players to Avoid: All of the 49ers

Players to fade in our GPP lineups for Week 15 of the NFL season.

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NFL: New York Jets at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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, whichFanDuel and DraftKings have excluded because they want us to get paid faster, which means we spend it faster. The scoring is full-PPR and the 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 $7.5k tourney for $5 per entry and a $50k for $25.

Sign up right now for FantasyDraft.com using this link, receive a 100% bonus on your first deposit, play four RBs or three TEs, and experience the more leveled playing field we desire for GPPs.

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: 49ers at ATL

Colin Kaepernick (7.5k/5.8k/10.9k)
Carlos Hyde (7.0k/5.9k/11.0k)

The ATL-SF game has the highest over-under on the slate (51.5) and is in a dome. The Falcons are giving up the 6th-most fantasy points to QB and the most in the league to RBs, while being 23rd in DVOA against the pass and 28th against the run. What’s not to love?

I don’t care what the over-under is on a game. When Vegas has a team as 13.5-14-point underdogs, as they have the Niners, there is extremely low confidence that that team moves the chains, let alone gets into the end zone multiple times.

Instead of having Kaepernick white knuckle out a game in the snow, recently, he just got pulled early. Down multiple TDs, they are calling run plays for Shaun Draughn.

Chip Kelly is either the weirdest man on the football planet (non-zero chance, this is true) or the Niners are throwing games once they get down to inflate their draft position. There is legitimate concern that when the Falcons get their inevitable 13-3 or 14-0 lead somewhere in the first 20 minutes of the game, the volume for Kaepernick and Hyde go down. This is not a normal position for the two to be set up for success.

On DK and Draft, Jeremy Kerley (4.9k/3.4k/6.6k) and Quinton Patton (4.5k/3.2k/6.3k) are tempting. Especially Draft where we have to play two flexes and WR is a terrible position this week. I am flirting with Kerley as a WR2 and playing four RBs, but there is enough value to not have to sink this low to do it.

With Vance McDonald on IR, Garrett Celek (4.5k/2.7k/5.3k) is the guy every fantasy analyst feels compelled to drop into the hat because they are afraid he scores two TDs in the highest over-under on the slate. This is a Trojan Horse.

Celek did score two TDs against Atlanta last season, but those were half of his four career TDs in 52 NFL games. Also, those two were from Blaine Gabbert, not Kaepernick. Celek has a good shot to score against this bad Atlanta D, but if that 4-yard TD catch is his only catch, who cares? If he doesn’t score (which is more likely), a 3-catch-26-yard day is just a black hole in the lineup on a slate where it will already be hard to not dud a WR spot.

I love underdogs in over-unders higher than 47. We are far better off targeting the other two teams who fit this criteria—the Saints and Chargers—at reasonable prices.

Quarterback

Tyrod Taylor vs CLE (7.6k/5.7k/11.2k)

In the search for any way to play TyGod, I just could not find it. His upside is good, in a points-per-dollar vacuum, facing a Browns squad in the bottom-five across the board, defensively. My issue is Philip Rivers (7.8k/6.2k/11.7k).

Their prices are so close that I would rather play for Rivers’ 300-yard and three-four-TD upside than TyGod’s 250 and one with 30 rushing yards and a TD or 175 passing yards with two rushing TDs and no passing TDs or vice versa with the 250 passing yards. Pace is very difficult to project, but pace matters, as we saw with the Lions in New Orleans two weeks ago. The Bills and Browns run a very low 60’ish plays per game, so it should be one of the slower games on the weekend, and that is reflected in the low 41.5 over-under. As 10-point favorites without many total plays run, Taylor’s passing volume cannot project high with any magic variables and two rushing TDs are then almost necessary for Taylor in GPPs.

Either way, Taylor’s upside just kept capping out in the 21-22-point range, while Rivers—without Melvin Gordon—will be slingin’ it in a game with about a 20% higher over-under for legitimate 30-plus upside. Rivers is not my favorite play on the weekend, yet, but it looks like the cheapest we should go before reaching for magic. We can just gamble on a cheaper defense to fit that in where we would otherwise go Taylor.

On the fence with... everyone

Weather forecasts are improving for Sunday, nationwide, so the over-unders are deflated. Between Matt Ryan (8.5k/7.3k/13.7k), Aaron Rodgers (8.5k/7.1k/13.3k), Derek Carr (7.9k/6.3k/12.0k), and Rivers, my hands are up in the air for tournaments. So much so that Sam Bradford (6.7k/5.0k/10.0k) is that hot mess buying us a shot at last call. And that’s not even trying to make sense of the Saints-Cardinals game, yet.

Running Back

Ezekiel Elliot vs TB (8.5k/8.2k/15.4k)
Kenneth Farrow vs OAK on FD (6.0k/4.4k/8.7k)
Jerick McKinnon vs IND on FD/DK (5.6k/4.0k/7.8k)

There should be a lot of thought put into two of the four most expensive players at a position being put into our lineups, but worst of the four should be the automatic fade. Elliot is running behind an elite offensive line, but the Cardinals and Steelers run blocking should not be washed aside.

The Cowboys are giving their RBs 4.39 adjusted line yards per carry (ALY). The Steelers are actually giving more to Le’Veon Bell (4.43) and the Cardinals are right behind the two (4.24), so the matchup-blind offensive line plug-and-play argument for Elliot does not even work. And playing three of the top four is insane.

LeSean McCoy is not crossed off the list because the Browns are the Browns and they are the worst run defense in the league, while Tampa is 21st in DVOA against the run and 14th in fantasy points allowed and rising since Gerald McCoy returned to clog up the middle.

Farrow is the sexy new plaything and is a great RB2 or flex play on DK and Draft because he is free. But FD priced him up to LeGarrette Blount’s (6.3k) level. The same Blount who has 14 of the Pats’ 41 TDs on the year, facing a vulnerable Broncos run D.

Anyone who has read anything I have written on RBs this year knows how much I hate the Vikings run game. One can imagine how much it offends my football sensibility to hear McKinnon constantly brought up as a possible play. But I had to take it seriously when smart people kept saying it, I guess.

The Minnesota line is terrible. It is actually worse than Indy’s run D, which is 30th in DVOA against the run. The targets are undeniable, though, and the Vikings pass volume is reflecting a self-awareness of their bad offensive line. With no shot at 100 yards and less of one at a TD, we still should not flex him on DK because he can get another six-seven points in the pass game, but as a second flex on Draft, I can buy it to fit in Bell and David Johnson.

On the fence with Ty Montgomery at CHI (5.0k/4.8k/9.5k)

The Bears have a bit of a funnel run D—14th in DVOA against the pass and 20th against the run—while running fewer than 60 plays per game on their own end. Montgomery’s 12 touches in Week 14 was the first time since Week 9 where he had double-digit touches, so an already-down-paced game raises red flags.

The price is the temptress. There is 18-plus-touch upside with double-digit catches, if the gameplan is to go through him because Christine Michael sucks and Aaron Rodgers is not the greatest in Soldier Field. On DK and Draft, he feels like a safe path to value in flex spot.

Wide Receiver

Amari Cooper at SD (7.4k/7.1k/13.3k)
Larry Fitzgerald vs NO (7.2k/7.0k/13.3k)

Michael Crabtree (6.0k/5.9k/11.0k) has 119 targets on the year to Cooper’s 114 and 18 red zone (RZ) targets to Cooper’s 11. As favorites in the 3rd-highest total on the slate (49.5), I want the volume across the board at 80 cents on the dollar.

Fitz hasn’t scored a TD since Week 5 and only has seven red zone targets since Week 2, other than three in Week 9 against the Niners. He has 20 targets in the last two weeks and is still the team leader with 130 on the season, but Carson Palmer is a mess. On FD, the TD is too important to play Fitz.

On DK and Draft, he is startable, drawing a great slot matchup against the Saints. But with limited upside, despite the high over-under, we can get cheaper volume-based plays like Emmanuel Sanders (6.6k/6.6k/12.3k) and Julian Edelman (6.4k/6.1k/11.4k).

On the fence with T.Y. Hilton at MIN (7.3k/7.2k/13.7k)

Good spot for the Colts to take a beating, but it is difficult to see them curl into the fetal position and just wait for it all to stop, fighting for the playoff lives. The ball has to go somewhere; and without Donte Moncrief (hamstring), it has to go to Hilton.

Hilton has 261 receiving yards in 23 targets in the last two weeks and averaged 10.6 per game in the five weeks Moncrief missed. The ownership should be lower than the targets (if not half) and this is intriguing because Hilton can actually turn those targets into TDs.

The concern is not a one-on-one matchup, but what the Vikings safeties do over the top and if Andrew Luck is on his back too often to get Hilton the cleanest balls. This feels like an autoplay to hit value with immense upside on DK and Draft, but that should never be the case against the Vikings in Minnesota.

Tight End

Kyle Rudolph vs IND (5.8k/4.3k/8.0k)

For the last four years, the fantasy community has been trying to make Rudolph a thing again and it is happening. Bravo. Eight or more targets in four of his last five, hitting double digits in Weeks 12 and 13, makes us have to take notice against an Indy team 30th in DVOA against TEs, allowing the 2nd-most receiving yards and 10th-most fantasy points to TEs.

The ownership is what feels too high when there is an endorsement for him everywhere I turn. A lot of times, we can just look at the situation and the price and just fuck-it him into the lineup and not overthink it. My problem is that Cameron Brate (5.7k/3.8k/7.4k) is cheaper and only has one fewer target inside the 10-yard line than Rudolph, facing a Cowboys squad which is 31 in DVOA against TEs. Seems like an easy pivot.

Defense

Ownership at Defense should be fairly spread out between the Texans and Bills with some Baltimore and KC sprinkled in. Not sure that there is one definitive fade, but it has me on the fence with the Vikings, Cardinals, and Saints. There is a lot of distraction from the Vikings, people don’t like to play D/STs against the INT-prone Drew Brees, and people are afraid to play the Saints (despite getting their sacks and turnovers).

If you are not confused yet, the best advice you can take here is to take a stand on one or two. Diversify your lineups elsewhere. Trying to play everyone is a losing proposition.

Stats via Pro-Football-Reference.com and FootballOutsiders.com .