Fantasy football is fun. DFS fantasy football can be better. You get to draft a new team every week, injuries don’t matter as much and you can win a ton of money. You can even do it for free, like with DraftKings’ sweet week one free roll that pays out $10,000 to first place. And you have to put nothing down.
Of course, the big thing with DFS fantasy football is actually figuring out who to use each week. You have to find the top values and sleepers and then also pick the right studs and configure the perfect little team of real guys that can accrue enough fake points to keep you from slinking into a deep, deep depression. You also need to know which guys to avoid.
Mostly because of price but also for other reasons, there are definitely some top shelf players you’re going to want to stay away from in week one. In-house DFS guru Taylor Smith talks about some hard fades and a bunch of other stuff in his killer Week 1 DFS Primer, but I’ll add a few more fades to the mix. You’re obviously starting these guys in season long fantasy leagues because you drafted them to be studs or at least serviceable, but using them in DFS with money on the line may not be advised:
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers ($7.6k)
It’s Cam Newton, he’s a dual threat, he’s facing the Jaguars. Blah, blah blah. Yeah, he has legs and he could score on the ground, but he has no one to throw to. He’s on the road, too, and Jacksonville might be considerably better this year than anyone thinks. Newton has upside, just like most other fantasy options. Pick a different one.
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears ($6.8k)
He’s at home and Green Bay has a young secondary. Sure, but that’s where the upside stops. He also lost Brandon Marshall, his offensive guru got fired, Kevin White is on the PUP list and Alshon Jeffery could either be out or possibly limited with a calf issue. He also routinely sucks against the Packers, so even if he does put up solid numbers, the 2-3 picks he’ll surely toss will curb whatever upside he appears to have. The price is nice and in theory Cutler isn’t a bad try, but there is so much value at quarterback, this isn’t a dive you need to take.
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins ($5.5k)
Morris tends to drop off without RG3, and perhaps it’s because the Redskins work less out of the pistol and no read-option makes him more predictable. Considering he’s a predictable plodder in the first place, that’s not good. It’s even worse when he offers nothing as a receiver and is facing Ndamukong Suh and a good Miami run defense. Morris tends to find the end-zone at home, so you could try hanging your hat on that, but I won’t.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins ($5.5k)
The Redskins pass defense is brutally bad. Their run defense is the exact opposite. Already a stingy as hell unit a year ago, they added Terrance Knighton and improved their run support at safety. Miller has nice versatility and can explode, but it’s doubtful he’ll go nuts in this one.
Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts ($5.4k)
I think Gore can still run at 32 and he’s obviously in a really good system. Indy probably still can’t block all that well, though, and even if they can, they’re on the road against one of the stingiest run defenses known to man (Bills). Me no likey.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears ($8.3k)
Jeffery has a calf injury that is going to have him out or potentially limited in week one. He could still crush the Packers. That being said, being the top receiving options can be bad, as Green Bay can hone in on making sure he doesn’t beat them deep. Plus, Jeffery could easily end up being a decoy, or worse, leaving the game after aggravating his injury. When you’re talking about spending this much on a guy, you don’t want to be worried he might not finish the game or make a big impact. It’s best to let someone else pay up for Jeffery this week.
Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets ($6.6k)
I like Marshall just fine in general, and in DFS you’re talking about a potentially elite WR1 at a really nice price. But Golden Tate is cheaper and he’s not facing Joe Haden. Maybe I don’t trust Ryan Fitzpatrick, maybe I’m not gaga about an aging Marshall or maybe I just fear Haden. Whatever the case, fading Marshall sounds like a good idea.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers ($3.1k)
I know what you’re thinking. It’s Vernon Davis, he’s still athletic as balls, last year had to have been a fluke and in week one he’s going to show the world what’s up. Maybe, but probably not. Davis is dirt cheap, but so are a butt load of tight ends. Davis is also facing a pretty good Vikings defense and nothing this Niners offense did during the preseason evokes confidence. Uber pass.