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Week 5 Daily fantasy football picks: Fades and contrarian plays

Dec 17, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) celebrates after picking up a first down during the first half in a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

With a focus on our projected ownership percentages for DraftKings (here) and FanDuel (here), today we will be looking at the fantasy football players we should be fading and some we should target instead in DFS tournaments for Week 5.

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 note the differences in the analysis below.

I’ll also offer potential pivot or leverage plays below each strategy-related 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.

Mea culpa/Notes: Last week was rough. The chalk smashed and made our “fade” calls look silly. Meanwhile, almost all of our low-owned plays disappointed. While last week was probably the single least successful article I’ve ever written and I don’t think it will ever be that bad again, we are definitely going to have some more underwhelming weeks before the season ends. Contrarian plays, by definition, are a bit out on a limb, and the highest-owned players are highly owned for a reason (because, usually, they’re good plays). That said, over a long enough sample, we have a much bigger edge in adopting a more contraria -approach in large-field tournaments (where the payouts are so top-heavy and your odds of winning so small). Remember, if you finish out of the money, it doesn’t matter if your lineup scored 30 points or 130.

Straight fades

If I wanted to take the easy way out, I’d say “Fade Sam Darnold, Andy Janovich, Brandon Marshall, and Charles Clay this week.” Instead, here are some players who will draw decent ownership, have a few variables going their way, and who I spent some time researching, but won’t have any exposure to this week.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns

Mayfield is someone I want to play every week and especially with a salary this low, but given the matchup, there’s no way I can pull the trigger. Baltimore ranks in first fantasy points allowed per dropback, first in opposing passer rating, and second in team pass coverage grade.

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