News & Analysis

Week 1 DFS fades and contrarian plays

By Scott Barrett
Sep 8, 2018

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Dec 3, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (left) attempts to catch a pass as Cleveland Browns defensive back Kai Nacua (43) defends during an NFL football game at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This season at PFF, we’re offering projected ownership percentages for Elite subscribers. You can find them for DraftKings here and for FanDuel here.

Today, and every Saturday during the season, I’m going to be referencing these ownership percentages to discuss players we should be fading for DFS tournaments.

However, there’s an important caveat here: Sometimes these players will be an outright fade – their ownership is too high to warrant playing them at all. Sometimes these players will only be a partial fade – their ownership is too high to warrant playing them in large-field tournaments (such as DraftKings’ Millionaire Maker or FanDuel Sunday Millions) but they’re still a good enough play on paper that I might not be fading them in smaller-field (or higher stakes) tournaments. I’ll annotate the differences in the analysis below.

I’ll also offer potential pivots below each fade, and, at the end of the article a few lower-owned options I think should be higher-owned than from what we’re expecting.

For a more in-depth explanation on why ownership percentages matter and what a contrarian approach entails, you can read my primer here.

Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

FanDuel: 42.1%, DraftKings: 37.1%

On both sites, Kamara projects to be the single highest-owned-player of the slate, and that’s not without good reason. His 2017 season was arguably the single most efficient season from a running back ever. He finished fourth at the position in fantasy points per game despite getting out-snapped (569 to 466) and out-touched (288 to 201) by teammate Mark Ingram. Now, in Week 1, Ingram is suspended and the only other active running back on the roster joined the team less than a week ago. The matchup looks good as well, considering Tampa Bay gave up the fifth-most fantasy points per game to running backs last year.

Recommendation: On paper, irrespective of ownership and despite a high price tag, Kamara really is one of the best plays on the slate. For that reason, I’ll only be fading Kamara in larger field tournaments like the DraftKings Millionaire Maker or FanDuel’s Sunday Million. I’ll still be rostering him in higher stakes and smaller field tournaments and likely also in cash games (if I can afford him).

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