Welcome to another edition of Players to Fade on FanDuel. It’s hard to get into the holiday spirit with a somewhat ugly 11-game main slate. DFS is harder than ever these days, but there is still an edge to be had. It’s necessary to not only narrow it down to the best plays but also be aware of who to avoid on a week-to-week basis. I’ll do my best to identify some players that could end up being landmines that sink our FanDuel lineups. Whether overpriced or in a bad spot, here’s a list of who I’m avoiding in Week 15.
Russell Wilson (SEA): $8,000 @ SF
Wilson has had ridiculous touchdown efficiency, we’re talking NFL record efficiency. That’s slowed of late, but I’m still on the side that he’s going to regress further to the other side of touchdown variance. He’s considerably overpriced at $8k, simply too expensive for a QB on the road that’s only averaging 25 pass attempts over his last five games. Wilson hasn’t even surpassed 20 attempts in his last two games. He’s a low ceiling play, even in the games where he’s thrown for three TDs this season, he’s not coming anywhere close to the robust yardage totals needed to pay off his high salary. He’s not scored more than 26.24 FanDuel points in any single game this season. With the Seahawks favored on the road, I’m expecting they stick to their extremely run-heavy style, once again limiting the potential for Wilson to have a monster fantasy day against a weak passing defense.
Aaron Jones (GB): $7,500 @ CHI
There are a lot of tough calls this week as plays on this slate get thin quickly. I like the potential of Jones but I’m concerned about paying this much for Jones (12.5% of the salary cap) against the top-ranked DVOA Bears run defense that just made one of the best offenses in the NFL look silly and out of sync. The other concern is workload. Jones didn’t play any snaps in the entire first quarter of last week’s victory versus the Falcons, but basically only left the field on obvious passing downs the entire second half. I’m not sure why Green Bay wants to continue to use Jamal Williams, but they give him a chance to fail seemingly every game and then deploy Jones once he struggles. This also could’ve been some sort of disciplinary action from the team, who knows? It wasn’t talked about last week, but I don’t like it against Chicago who gives up the fourth-fewest yards per carry in the NFL. I’ll pass.
Adrian Peterson (WAS): $6,100 @ JAX
Washington saw an offensive spark when fourth-string career backup Josh Jackson entered the game for the struggling Mark Sanchez. Take in that statement for a moment. Now, realize that the Skins are also down to their fourth and fifth string options at multiple positions on their offensive line as well. To compound the problem, the defense has been getting beat badly of late, so much so that even the players are calling out the coaching staff for abandoning the effective schemes that were successful earlier this season. Why does that matter? If Washington gets down in a game, they do not come back, ever. In fact, they haven’t all year. That also means Peterson doesn’t get enough carries to make a fantasy contribution when that happens. We know who he is, a hard runner that doesn’t catch passes and gets easily phased out by negative game script. The only positive is the Jags offense is inept and could keep the game close, but I expect Washington to commit turnovers and being playing from behind for a majority of this game.
Mike Evans (TB): $7,300 @ BAL
This one is tough. A friend asked me a start/sit question earlier this week and out of his player pool, I determined that Evans was the one to sit. It ultimately came down to matchup. In DFS, when every player is available to us, why would you risk the chance that Evans has a stinker against a top-notch Ravens pass defense? He’s reasonably priced, but Baltimore’s fourth-ranked passing DVOA unit is allowing the fewest yards per pass. That’s tricky even if Tampa’s gameplan includes their usual passing volume, which it may decline this week with the Raves clock-eating offense shrinking the game. I’d rather go down to one of the Bucs other receiving options, specifically Chris Godwin ($5,400) as teammate Adam Humphries is overpriced at $6,200. Evans always has upside as a big body guy that can win contested catches. He’s had a good game every time I put him in this article, so here’s to breaking the streak this time around. If you do decide to use Evans, it should only be as a one-off in GPPs only.
Tyler Boyd (CIN): $6,700 vs. OAK
I know what you’re thinking…the matchup against the Oakland pass defense is so tasty! True. The Raiders are ranked dead-last in pass defense DVOA and yards allowed per pass. However, they also give up the fewest fantasy points to the opposing WR1 in 2018. Just an absolute crazy stat, but it’s indeed a fact. Therefore, I don’t like Boyd as the Raiders will likely stick to what’s been “working” the previous 14 weeks. That said, Boyd has had his best games when A.J. Green is starting opposite him and seeing the attention of opposing defenses’ best cover guy. Since Green went down with his toe injury, Boyd has slowed down considerably in the production department. At this price, he would need to put up 20 FanDuel points to pay off value and I don’t think that happens this week in a game that some think will be a shootout, I’m avoiding from Boyd and using other WR options.
Kenny Golladay (DET): $6,800 @ BUF
I beat this horse to death last week, but it worked out exactly like I thought it would. I mentioned how slow, boring and predictable the Lions offense has become since the trade deadline. It was at it’s worst last week as QB Matthew Stafford managed to muster up 101 passing yards while Kenny G only saw four targets. With Stafford in a game manager role these days and Golladay being the only viable receiver outside of Theo Riddick, things are bleak in Detroit. Opposing defenses are taking Golladay out of the game with bracket coverage and he can’t beat it. The Lions are also running the ball much more than they should be and they throw screens and run draws on third and long nearly 100% of the time. This game will be an ugly one, in fact, I recommend not having any exposure to any players on either side of this one. Stay away and don’t waste your money, even in tournaments.
Jimmy Graham (GB): $5,500 @ CHI
The Packers face a super tough matchup against the Bears. I already mentioned how good they are at limiting the run game, but they also rank as the top-ranked pass defense DVOA, allowing the second-fewest yards per pass behind only the aforementioned Ravens defense. This has the makings of another Davante Adams game as he and Aaron Rodgers have a connection. They use non-verbal communication very frequently and often times when you see them hooking up on a pass, Adams isn’t open, the ball is just placed where only he can catch it. Graham doesn’t have that and he’s been very inconsistent in the target department as well. He’s averaging just 4.5 targets over his last seven games, which includes an 11 target game. In fact, he’s been so inconsistent all year, I can only consider using him in a game stack, and I’m not doing that against this Bears defense at Soldier Field. Points should be very hard to come by in this one, even with the liberation of the Packers offense in this post-Mike McCarthy era. Stay away from Graham.
Josh Dalley is a DFS correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, follow him on Twitter @JoshDalley72.