3 Daily Fantasy Football Players to Avoid in Week 18
We have a lot of pieces on numberFire geared toward helping you figure out which players you should roster in your DFS contests on FanDuel, but an important aspect of the DFS process is figuring out who you shouldn't play.
Narrowing down your list of potential plays by avoiding those who are destined to underwhelm can go a long way toward helping you create winning lineups.
Zigging when the masses zag is part of giving yourself an edge in DFS, so you'll sometimes be able to make a case for using a player in this piece in an effort to be contrarian -- especially if said player is really good. Inevitably, some of the players I feature in this article will blow up and pop for a big game, but that comes with the territory of doing a piece like this one -- unless I'm going to tell you to avoid playing dudes like Jared Goff. I'm not going to do that. I want this piece to be useful.
Here are some players I'm avoiding this week.
Tom Brady, QB, Buccaneers
FanDuel Salary: $8,100
Tom Brady has scored fewer than 15.00 FanDuel points three times in his last six games. Prior to an unexpectedly close matchup against the New York Jets last week that required the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense to keep its foot on the gas versus a bad Gang Green defense, Brady was in a funk, scoring 5.76 and 14.38 FanDuel points in his past two games.
Brady was dealing with a banged-up receiver corps in those two down outings, and that's something he's going to have to overcome this week, as well. Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown won't be out there, and Mike Evans appears to be operating at less than 100% due to a hamstring issue. Evans logged just a 76% snap rate last week, and with the NFC's top seed out of play for Tampa Bay, they have no reason to push Evans too hard this week.
While Brady ripped the Jets for 27.4 FanDuel points, it was the Jets -- a team with the league's worst D, according to our metrics. The Carolina Panthers -- Brady's opposition this week -- rank 10th in overall defense. Carolina has permitted the fourth-fewest FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (16.1).
And for Brady to get those 27.4 FanDuel points, it took 50 pass attempts, 410 yards, and 3 touchdowns. With almost no rushing juice to fall back on, Brady needs huge passing volume and for the Bucs' touchdowns to come through the air to have a ceiling game. It hasn't happened all that often for him over the second half of the season; he's surpassed 20.28 FanDuel points just three times over his last eight games.
According to our model, Brady is the worst point-per-dollar play among the 11 highest-salaried quarterbacks who are expected to suit up (as of Thursday). Brady is tough to stomach at his lofty salary.
Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
FanDuel Salary: $9,000
Alvin Kamara's role just isn't that great when Mark Ingram plays, and with Ingram getting in a limited practice Wednesday, it looks like Ingram will be back for the season finale at the Atlanta Falcons.
In the two games in which Kamara and Ingram have been active together, Kamara has played only 61% and 60% of the snaps while averaging 12.0 carries and 2.0 catches (on 5.0 targets). That's not what we're looking for when plugging in a back with a $9,000 salary.
On top of that, Taysom Hill is always a threat to steal goal-line carries.
While the matchup with the Falcons is a great one, Kamara won't be in my player pool if Ingram is active.
Eli Mitchell, RB, 49ers
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
Eli Mitchell returned with a bang last week, notching 21 carries and 119 rushing yards while tacking on two grabs for 11 receiving yards with a tuddie through the air.
But that came in a positive game script in a cushy matchup with the Houston Texans. Our metrics rank Houston sixth-worst in defense, and they are surrendering the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs.
It should be tougher sledding this week versus the Los Angeles Rams. Not only are the San Francisco 49ers 4.0-point 'dogs, but LA's defense is also giving up the 11th-fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs (19.2) and ranks 7th-best in overall defense, per our numbers.
Plus, Mitchell was in on only 58% of the snaps last week. It's possible that number ramps up after his first game back, but it's also possible Jeff Wilson and JaMycal Hasty continue to siphon snaps -- especially if the Niners get behind. Wilson led San Fran's running backs in targets (three) in Week 17. Kyle Juszczyk will keep doing his thing, too, as he's played between 53% and 55% of the snaps in three straight games.
All in all, I am having a tough time getting behind Mitchell in this spot and at this salary. Despite carrying the seventh-highest salary at the position, Mitchell projects as the slate's RB12, per our algorithm.