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Week 2 NFL DFS Fades: Cheap Dez Bryant is a Trap

Players to avoid in your FanDuel tournament lineups.

Erich Schlegel-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.

FanDuel has changed their interface to not show the ownership of players until their games begin, so we no longer have a Thursday preview on which to gauge Sunday-Monday ownership. Early in the NFL season, there are a lot of DFS players going after name recognition and high over-unders, so those are simple ways to have a basic take on ownership.

Here are some simple assumptions on ownership and matchups to help you think about fading certain players in FanDuel tournments this weekend:


Drew Brees, Saints ($9,200): Not going to waste much time on this. Brees checks all of the Breesy reasons to fade him. On the road? Check. Over $9k? Check. Fresh off of a monster home game which will boost his ownership? Check. I don't even hate Brees here and think the consensus 53 over-under is reasonable. I just don't lock-him-in-for-30-points love him. The price is high to pay off, relative to what should be a high ownership. And we should never forget how INT-prone Brees has always been, especially on the road.

If you feel you cannot win without Saints exposure, Brandin Cooks and Coby Fleener are in elite individual matchup positions. If you are like me and feel this game totals at 55 or under, rather than 50 or over, you have to see a big win for the Giants, as Brees upside on the road caps out in the 350 yard-three TD range. And if he is playing from behind, you can better bank on two or three INTs than that fourth TD.

Cam NewtonPanthers ($9,000)

Cam is 39-for-54 with 503 yards and three TDs against Chip Kelly's Eagles in two games over each of the last two seasons. What sticks out the most is that Kelly's defensive philosophy includes a lot of high-risk-high-reward tactics: heavy blitzing and ballhawking for turnovers. In those two games, Cam threw three INTS in each. EACH!

The 49ers are not those Eagles teams and this Panthers offense is better than each of the past two. Cam is a great play almost every week, but at $9k, we can probably fade him. His name recognition along with so many people chasing his rushing upside and what should be a pace boost would not surprise me if he was the most owned QB this week.

Matthew Stafford, Lions ($7,800)

This fade is more of a gameflow fade than a chalk. Those who want to fit in the high-priced studs will be tempted by Stafford's price with two good WRs, a decent TE, and great receiving back in an offense which won't be so efficient in the run game. The problem is that Tennessee slows the game down too much and Detroit's defense isn't enough to get the ball back to Stafford fast enough.

Vegas has this game at a 47 over-under with the Lions as a six-point favorite, projecting the team in the 28-to-30-point range. I think that is their ceiling and a 20-13 final score is more likely than a 29-21 game. A big reason why I'm weary of the Marcus Mariota ($7,500) love, as well. In this price range, Andy Dalton ($7,800) is the easy pivot or, better yet, paying up to Ben Roethlisberger ($8,300), Carson Palmer ($8,200), or what should be a low-owned-in-this-crowd Blake Bortles ($8,100)

Running back

David Johnson, Cardinals ($9,100)

Simple chalk fade. Johnson will play almost every snap somewhere on the field. He will have a great game. The price may scare people off, but his ADP is season-long leagues gives him enough name recognition to be a guy around whom just enough DFS lineups will be built. In general, paying over $8k for an RB is very hard for me, though.

Doug Martin, Buccaneers ($7,100)

The Cardinals are a great defense behind a great offense. Martin has matchup-proof volume, but Charles Sims is the passing downs back. Playing the primary rusher on a seven-point underdog has to be a bad play. And, honestly, seven points is way too low. I can buy the 50-point over-under, but a 38-13 final score seem more likely than a 28-23 type of game. The Cardinals will be at home and they are just that much better than Tampa. If you are with me on fading Brees, but cannot fade New Orleans, Mark Ingram ($7,100) is a great pivot off of Martin. That said, I doubt I would for any RBs over $7k with so much cheaper values and so much upside at the WR position this week.

Ameer Abdullah, Lions ($6,700)

Don't chase points from an RB who won't get 100 yards and is not the primary receiving back on a pass-heavy team. My gameflow points could be the case for Abdullah, but my primary exposure to the Lions offense is Theo Riddick at $5,900.

Melvin Gordon, Chargers ($6,600)

Gordon is the most expensive Chargers RB and he isn't the best play in this backfield this week. His two TDs in Week 1 will inflate his ownership. Danny Woodhead (6,400) played twice as many snaps as Gordon and got 21 touches to Gordon's 14.

This is where I think Vegas is way, way off on the Titans-Lions game. The Jaguars-Chargers game is also a 47 over-under and this game has potential for both teams to be in the 30s because both teams should be near the top in plays run. With Keenan Allen out, Gordon will get a boost in snaps, as Woodhead sets up in the slot more, and Philip Rivers prefers not having a naked backfield in the shotgun. A high-scoring game means a lot of no-huddle called by Rivers against a bad defense, and that should mean a lot of dinking and dunking to Woodhead, who is the easy pivot here, where we have to increase exposure to this game.

Carlos Hyde, 49ers ($6,100)

The 49ers face the Panthers. Playing anyone against the Panthers is usually crossing the line from contrarian to stupid for me. With no one on bye, there are plenty of other places to save at RB and still get guaranteed volume. Rashad Jennings ($6,300) is the easy pivot to get just that.

Wide Receiver

Amari Cooper, Raiders ($7,800)

I have no idea what to with Cooper, to be honest. He is coming off of a great week, which should inflate ownership. That said, I believe is more of an $8,500 guy, in general, than a $7,800 player. My concern is that he is not the stud who lines up in the slot as a possession guy to throw off coverage. This means that he should be blanketed by Desmond Trufant on almost every snap.

The Falcons defense stinks, so I want Raiders exposure. Derek Carr is just too smart to challenge great coverage. I would much rather go with the safer, cheaper player in the exponentially better matchup in Michael Crabtree (6,400), who should lead the team in targets this week.

Dez Bryant, Cowboys ($7,700)

No Tony Romo. The price is so, so tempting that FanDuel is begging us all to play Dez. But, no Tony Romo. I don't care that the prior Cowboys replacement QBs were all worse than Dak Prescott. Prescott just isn't good enough to transcend the movie we always see: Dez is a bad fantasy play without Romo. I would all 23 WRs down the list, stopping at Tavon Austin ($6,300) over Dez this week. $7,700 is still too much.

Travis Benjamin, Chargers (6,100)

There is a lot of fantasy shark talk of this game being sneaky goodness. I am with them and cannot completely fade Benjamin, without a doubt. But I would rather just pay down to Tyrell Williams ($5,900) on the other side or and stack Woodhead at RB or just play Tajae Sharpe ($6,000) to go cheap.

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots ($8,700)

No Tom Brady makes any Patriot over $7,500 hard to play. Even Gronk. No, thanks.

Julius Thomas, Jaguars ($6,400)

Love this game, but I would rather just play Coby Fleener (5,600) again against the Giants or Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($5,200) against the Cardinals for less money. Triple-stacking the Jags should look more like Bortles with Allen Robinson ($8,200) and T.J. Yeldon ($6,500) than with Thomas.


Arizona Cardinals ($4,800)

Tough fade because I don't love Tampa, but I love Tampa in garbage time to finish out some fourth quarter possessions. The INT-sack upside is big, so playing them is reasonable, but so is 24 points allowed.

Baltimore Ravens ($4,500)

This depends on the Browns starter come Sunday. It is about 99.999% likely to be Josh McCown ($6,000), who can torch this bad defense, as he did last year for 457 yards with two TDs. The Ravens defense is bad and McCown is competent enough to have a huge week with Gary Barnidge (6,000).

Green Bay Packers ($4,400)

The Vikings don't really give a lot to DSTs. Adrian Peterson could volume into a fumble, but this play is really just about points allowed. I'd rather just pivot down to the Giants ($5,300) and pray for multiple Brees INTs.

San Diego Chargers ($4,000)

The Jaguars give up a lot of points to DSTs because the offensive line is bad. This leads to pressure, which leads to sack and INTs. The problem here with be points allowed and this should be a shootout.