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.
Here are some simple assumptions on ownership and matchups to help you think about fading certain players in FanDuel’s Sunday Main Slate:
Drew Brees, Saints ($8,600): Not sure if Brees will have the ownership of Cam Newton ($9,300), Philip Rivers ($8,500), or Kirk Cousins ($7,600), but he could end up being the top pivot people make off of these three. And it may be getting too cute.
Brees is on the road and outdoors, which always suppresses his production. They are traveling from the southeast’ish to the West Coast. Willie Snead may miss the game. And we are not really sure how good or bad the San Diego defense is, but we can be sure that it is not bad to overcome the reasons why Brees is not in play when he is not in play.
The idea of paying over $8,000 for anyone but Cam or Rivers is a deliberate contrarian play. All options in the range will be low-owned, so getting cute about ownership should not really trump projections. Matthew Stafford ($8,300) against the laugh-out-loud Bears should outperform Brees in the price range—at an even lower ownership.
On the fence with:
Trevor Siemian, Broncos ($7,400): The idea of saving only $200 to play Siemian over Cousins feels stupid. But the merit in doing so is if the chatter and articles over the final two days before kickoff are dominated with the advice of fading Cam/Rivers for the cheaper Cousins. In that case, Cam and Rivers just become more appealing, but the pivot to Siemian—where we need the cash—is justifiable.
The Buccaneers are bad enough for this to just be a C.J. Anderson game, but Tampa is running a league-leading 77.7 plays per game. No matter how Denver controls this game, there should be an uptick on their average of 65.3 plays per game. And, as bad as Cleveland’s defense is—to lead the argument for Cousins—the Buccaneers are worse, on top of the faster pace.
I cannot do this. If the money is really needed, is Siemian really better than Alex Smith ($6,900) against the Steelers? I would rather just play a certain WR, who will be mentioned later in this post, to get my exposure to the Denver passing game. But I wouldn’t make fun of the Siemian owner.
Play whomever you want. Pricing is pretty solid this week. Matt Jones and Isaiah Crowell ($6,600 each) at the same price as Theo Riddick ($6,600) and Charles Sims ($6,500) is a joke, but the market failure generally has reasons.
The primary reason is that guys have jumped into starting roles, like Jordan Howard ($5,600). Howard is the only big splash, as Melvin Gordon ($7,600), LeGarrette Blount ($7,500), and Christine Michael ($7,500) are now adequately priced. At a position with such reasonable pricing, fading the value chalk in Howard against the Lions has to be a big mistake.
On the fence with:
Everyone over $6,800. With Howard as such the easy 100% exposure player, I struggle to justify paying more than Riddick or the $6,800 price tags on Mark Ingram and Carlos Hyde. Going YOLO with Le’Veon Bell ($8,300) and his over-80% snap count in Cousins lineup is always in play, ahead of the rest for raw points, but everyone over $7,200 looks good for raw points.
Terrelle Pryor, Browns ($7,000): The guy was running the wildcat, throwing passes, and—oh, by the way—saw 14 targets for 144 receiving yards. There is this Peak Fantasy Draymond Green thing about him. He is not great at anything, but he can give you fantasy points in so many areas at one time that he can exceed value. Like, Green, I see what he is doing and think about how I just have to have a guy like that. Like, Green, my inner conflict quiets when I see the price tag.
$100 more than Emmanuel Sanders is difficult to justify. Sanders is the best gateway to expose ourselves to facing the Tampa D in a paced-up game. Pryor has more targets on the season (31-29), but Sanders is tied for second in red zone targets (8) and leads all WRs with at least five RZ targets in RZ usage (58.3%).
As much Sanders feels like the easy alternative to Pryor, the tournament god are begging me to play DeSean Jackson against those Browns for $6,900. Where we are not playing Cousins, we should have exposure to Jackson somewhere, and a game stack doesn’t really fly here with 7.5-point spread. The only reason this is great for the Washington pass attack is because Matt Jones is garbage.
Travis Benjamin, Chargers ($6,600): I can get behind Benjamin, even outside of a Chargers stack because the Saints are bad. I just struggle to understand why him over teammate Tyrell Willams ($6,400). Williams has 20 targets to Benjamin’s 21, a 24% RZ usage to Benjamin’s 16%, will draw the more favorable matchup, and projects to be much lower owned.
On the fence with:
Brandin Cooks, Saints ($8,200): The Chargers have the third-worst DVOA against WR1s on the slate and this is a fade? If Snead is out, my interest goes up, but Ingram at $1,400 cheaper feels like the smarter way to get exposure to the Saints.
Jamison Crowder, Washington ($6,000): The matchup is great and Crowder is leading the NFL with eight RZ targets. The Browns are oddly first in DVOA against non-WR1-WR2 receivers, though. The punt WR is a toss up between him, Kevin White ($5,500) and his nine targets per game, Seth Roberts ($5,400) in a great slot matchup and a 33.3% RZ usage, and—if Snead is out—Michael Thomas ($5,300).
Houston Texans ($4,900): The Titans are not good and we cannot really start many options, but the Texans have too many injuries to important people. Even if the Titans are worse than the Texans are banged up, the Titans are paced down and run-heavy, so the sacks and turnovers will be more difficult to come by for the Texans D.
Carolina Panthers ($4,800): The paced-up projection of this game has points flying around everywhere and there is something a little messy with the Panthers secondary. Up front, they can contain the run, but the Falcons can do so many things with their backfield in the passing game to turn the checkdowns into their rushing attack.
Matt Ryan is always ready to blow up for multiple INTs, but he needs to be pressured. Carolina is only a bit above average in sack rate this season and Atlanta is about average, so Ryan should be under extraordinary duress.
Pivoting off of these two to Washington ($4,600) has some more pizzazz, where we fade Pryor, but paying up to the Cardinals ($5,300) at home against the Rams is the most expensive because the raw points project the highest. Arizona has to be the top play.
Stats via Pro-Football-Reference.com.