The hot streak continues for McKinnon as he’s now scored
in five straight games and has 8 total touchdowns in that span.
All but one those TDs has come through the air as Andy Reid is
scheming plays for McKinnon inside the redzone… and oh yeah…
guess who’s allowed the most receiving yards to running
backs this season? The Raiders. McKinnon is still splitting snaps
with Pacheco and has only cracked double-digit carries once so
the extreme efficiency will break at some point, but I wouldn’t
get in front of the train. Get on board until it stops.
With McKinnon becoming a permanent fixture in the endzone the
last few weeks it’s been a little difficult for Pacheco
to make any fantasy noise. He managed to score last week but only
saw 11 touches as the Chiefs remained pass-happy despite a neutral
game script and leading much of the fourth quarter. The Raiders
aren’t scaring anyone with their rush defense and this sets
up as another positive game-script for the Chiefs, but can we
really trust Andy Reid to give Pacheco 15-20 carries?
JuJu is the most likely of the Chiefs receivers to pop for a
big game but he has just 7 targets over his last two, and has
just three TDs on the season. His last meeting against the Raiders
ended in a 3-33-0 line on 8 targets. If having to a Chiefs receiver
this week I’d lean towards JuJu but hopefully you’ve
got better options.
Outside of Mahomes, Kelce and McKinnon it’s hard to trust any
other Chiefs skill player in fantasy lineups which is odd to say
given the Chiefs are at the top or near the top of most offensive
categories. Their use of multiple receivers on offense simple
don’t provide enough volume for each individual to have a secure
floor. We’re expecting to see Hardman on the field this week after
not playing since Week 9. Toney hasn’t seen more than 5 targets
in any game this season and MVS hasn’t cracked 30 receiving yards
the last four weeks. Add Justin Watson into the mix and you’ve
got a plethora of options with no clear-cut favorite.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Since his return in Week 15, Waller has yet to see an elite snap
rate, playing 57%, 40% and 49% of the snaps the last three seeks.
Fellow tight end Foster Moreau is actually on the field more,
but it’s Waller who’s seen more targets and has two trips to endzone
during that span. The game script should be in Waller’s favor
and he has a couple big games against KC in his career including
7-88-1 and 7-100-0. This game has the highest over/under of the
week at 52.5.
Stidham’s surprise QB3 performance last week against a stingy
49ers defense was noteworthy. That was just the second 300-yard
performance San Francisco has given up to a quarterback this season.
He also rushed for 34 yards, showing some mobility to help boost
his fantasy floor. And now the Raiders signal caller faces a Chiefs-D
that’s given up the most passing TDs in the league (32) and has
a full complement of weapons including Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow
and Darren Waller. There’s still some unknown here and a fantasy
flop is certainly within Stidham’s range of outcomes, but I wouldn’t
be averse to taking DFS shots with Stidham and his pass-catchers
in Week 18.
Dobbs showed nicely in his first career start against the Cowboys
last week. But that’s the only film there is of Dobbs in
an NFL uniform. I expect him to be much better in his second start,
and the Jags don’t really know what to prepare for in the
passing game. They do know they have to stop RB Derrick Henry,
though. That means opportunities for Dobbs to make some plays
against favorable coverages. I think he’s a sneaky low-end
QB1 in a win and you’re in scenario.
Okonkwo has had at least three catches in five of his last six
games, and at least five targets in four of the last six. Even
better, Tennessee’s coaches are drawing up plays specifically
for the big tight end. The Titans are going to ride Derrick Henry
to the AFC South title, so you have to wonder how much he’ll see
the ball. But it’s not hard to see him as one of Josh Dobbs’ primary
targets when he does have to throw, even with Treylon Burks in
Haskins did a nice job filling in for Derrick Henry last week
with 40 rushing yards on limited work. But this Saturday night
is Derrick’s night. Don’t expect to see much of Haskins
unless Henry goes down.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Kirk had one of his worst outings of the season last week against
Houston. But the Texans actually do a nice job against the pass.
The Titans do not and have struggled against fantasy WR’s
all season (league-worst 26.3 points per game). QB Trevor Lawrence
is playing really well, and Kirk is his top target. In a game
that matters, expect Kirk to shine.
Literally half of Jones’ production this year has come in two
games against the Texans. So, while the game plan should be to
throw the ball extensively against Tennessee this week, Jones
is sitting firmly behind Christian Kirk and Zay Jones on the target
chart. There’s certainly a chance for him to pop in this game,
he just hasn’t shown a tendency for that.
In this week’s version of the Who Cares Bowl, Freeman could
actually provide some flex value for fantasy owners. He’s
led or tied for the team lead in total touches each of the last
three weeks, and though he only has 133 yards in that stretch,
the Colts have been gashed by the run this season. A couple of
big runs could give him viable numbers at the end of the day.
Dorsett has nine targets over the last two games and three catches
in each of those contests. That’s a positive, but he has just
63 yards in that span. Brandin Cooks looms as the supposed WR1
if he ever shows up, but it’s hard to have much confidence in
any of the Texans’ WR’s given the QB play in Houston. Davis Mills
has cracked 200-yards just once in his last five games.
Cooks was supposed to give the offense a little boost when he
came back from injury a couple weeks ago. That hasn’t happened,
and while plenty of that can be laid at the feet of the play at
QB, he has been less than impressive when given the chance. The
last time he topped five catches in a game was Week 4 and he has
yet to post a 100-yard game this season. Stay away.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Moss has been the Colts’ most productive player over the last
three weeks, averaging over 4.5 yards per carry. Interim HC Jeff
Saturday wants to run the ball and doesn’t want Sam Ehlinger to
do a whole lot with it, so look for Moss to provide some real
flex value against a team that has given up the most rushing yards,
rushing TDs and fantasy points to running backs.
Woods has six catches on nine targets for 62 yards over the last
two games, which unfortunately is as productive as any WR has
been on this team. But now Sam Ehlinger is back at QB, which could
mean that he’ll be looking for outlets like Woods or could mean
the passing game will be completely inept. Hard to say… fellow
tight end Kylen Granson is expected to miss again.
The passing game with Ehlinger at the helm simply can’t
be trusted. Pittman did find the endzone last week on his way
to a 6-41-1 line but this week, against a surprisingly stingy
pass defense, I’d look for other options.
Coming off his best three-game stretch of the season, Cousins
authored the kind of dud that ensures continued skepticism about
his ability to deliver in big moments. His final numbers -- 205
yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs -- don’t even tell the full story as
much of that came against backups with the Vikings down 41-3.
He has a good chance to rebound against the lowly Bears in Week
18, however, as Chicago was eviscerated by the Lions this past
Sunday and look every bit a team counting the days until the offseason.
Cousins threw for 296 yards in his first game against the Bears
this year and is a solid QB1.
In a game where Jefferson never got going, Osborn delivered a
7-59-1 effort, albeit with the touchdown coming courtesy of C.J.
Beathard in garbage time. Even with that, the former fifth-round
pick has played better late in the season, finding the end zone
in three of his last four games and seeing 32 targets in that
stretch -- for comparison, Adam Thielen was thrown to 21 times.
Osborn can’t be relied on as more than a flex, but beyond just
his increased usage, bear in mind he’d likely stay in even if
Minnesota gets a big lead and rests guys ahead of a likely Wild
Card weekend matchup with the Giants. There’s some upside here.
As noted above, Thielen has been targeted 11 fewer times than
Osborn, and he’s not playing that many more snaps with 257
over the last four games to 217. Already firmly behind Jefferson
and Hockenson, Thielen has just two grabs for 22 yards during
the past two weeks combined. He has scored in three of his last
six outings, so it’s not as though there’s no hope,
but just realize Thielen carries meaningful risk as a low-end
WR3 or even as a flex play.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Nothing went well for the Bears in Detroit with Justin Fields
accounting for the majority of their 200 yards rushing (and 105
of it coming in the first quarter). While Minnesota sits 31st
in pass defense, their run defense can by no means be considered
a strength; in Week 17, the Packers ran for 163 yards and 2 TDs
on 4.9 YPC. Herbert hasn’t done a lot since returning from injury,
but the ground game is Chicago’s strength, and you can bet that’s
where they’ll look to attack the Vikings (especially with Nathan
Peterman starting). That gives Herbert some playable upside from
your flex spot.
Even against a pass defense as underwhelming as Minnesota’s, you
can’t trust the Bears passing attack, especially after they had
as many sacks allowed as completions (7) in their blowout loss
to the Lions last Sunday. Kmet led the way with a whopping two
catches for 27 yards, though he did at least score their lone
touchdown. The Vikings had issues staying with Robert Tonyan (3-52-1)
last weekend, which gives a little more hope that Kmet can deliver
TE1 numbers in the finale.
Given what happened Monday night and the uncertainty surrounding
the Bengals-Bills game it’s hard to project the Week 18
tilt between Cincinnati and Baltimore. In large that’s because,
had the Bengals lost, this game would’ve been for the AFC
North. Now, Cincy holds a game-and-a-half lead on the Ravens,
which would likely leave them in the sixth seed unless LA loses
to Denver, opening a chance for Baltimore to move up.
It's unprecedented and confusing. For the purposes of this preview,
I’ll be assuming that both teams will play to win. In that scenario,
Dobbins could shine. Since returning from Injured Reserve, the
Ohio State alum has carried the ball 57 times for 397 yards (6.9
YPC) and a touchdown. He’s not playing a ton of snaps, and he’s
a non-factor in the passing game, but he’s seeing a lot more touches
than Gus Edwards. While Cincy does have a good run defense (106.4
YPG allowed/5th), you shouldn’t hesitate to deploy Dobbins as
a low-end RB2.
Edwards has played in eight games this season. In five of those,
he finished between 50 and 70 yards, so that would be a good jumping-off
point for owners looking to gauge his fantasy value in Week 18.
He does have two efforts of less than 15 yards, though, which
includes Sunday night against the Steelers. That creates downside
for Edwards, who is currently filling a complementary role behind
Dobbins as opposed to a 1a/1b type of arrangement. Pencil Edwards
in as a worthwhile flex.
Let’s go to the flowchart: are you a part of the Ravens passing
game? If yes, proceed to Question #2: are you Mark Andrews? If
yes, you have fantasy value. If no, you have no fantasy value
and should be benched. Huntley completed just 14 passes on SNF,
and of that number a dozen went to his tight ends with one a piece
for Robinson and DeSean Jackson. Huntley, Robinson, et all, are
unplayable this Sunday.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Before the game was suspended, Boyd was the recipient of the lone
TD pass, hauling in a 14-yarder from Burrow. The 29-year-old has
been mostly an afterthought over the last eight games, logging
two total TDs, and topping 50 yards in a contest just once. He
does boast a little circumstantial upside, however, as the team
could choose to limit snaps for Chase and/or Higgins leading into
the playoffs even if they decide to go after the win. That offers
some hope that Boyd can deliver, though using him as more than
a flex would be overly optimistic.
Hurst actually led the Bengals in receiving the first time these
two teams met, hauling in six passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.
It was his best game of the season. Hurst has not scored since
Oct. 9, and he’s only gone over 50 yards once since that
encounter with Baltimore. With Burrow under center there’s
always a glimmer of hope, but you’d have to be pretty desperate
to roll the dice on Hurst in Week 18.
Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson has turned in poor performances
in back-to-back weeks, but the periphery numbers have remained
good enough that we’re going back to the well with him again here
in the final week of the regular season. The rookie has been targeted
20 times over his past two contests and an average of nearly 10
times per game over his past six, four of which have been primarily
quarterbacked by Mike White. Wilson has seen at least seven targets
come his way in eight of his past nine contests, which is borderline
elite status, so don’t be too scared to start him after a pair
of bad games.
Mike White threw a couple of interceptions and failed to throw
a touchdown pass in what was an ugly Jets road loss against the
Seahawks this past week, but we now have a four-game sample size
to go off of and there’s plenty to like heading into this Week
18 matchup. White has thrown the ball an average of nearly 44
times per game in his four starts—a number that certainly can’t
be projected to continue, but it does give us insight into the
team having no fears about letting him sling the ball. The real
concern here is that the Jets are likely to be without both Tua
Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater while they turn to Skylar Thompson
to start for them. That could really decrease the Dolphins’ offensive
upside in this one while simultaneously lowering the chances of
a shootout between these teams. White isn’t a QB1, but he’s a
decent QB2 in this one who does have some upside if Thompson surprises
There were a few weeks this season where Zonovan Knight looked
like he might be becoming someone that fantasy owners could really
rely on to carry them down the stretch. Unfortunately, things
have come crashing back to reality in recent weeks as the running
back has now been held to three ugly, single-digit fantasy points
performances in a row. Knight’s bell cow usage actually fell back
so far this past week that he finished third on his own team,
behind both Ty Johnson and Michael Carter, in snaps. If he’s not
dominating the touches, Knight and really any back on the Jets’
active roster is simply not worth starting for fantasy.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Injuries to Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater have it looking
like Skylar Thompson will be in line to start this important Week
18 game for the Dolphins. Thompson looked pretty rough this past
week when he replaced Bridgewater against the Patriots. We did
actually get to see him play against the Jets earlier this season
when he replaced Bridgewater almost immediately back in Week 5,
resulting in him throwing for 166 yards and an interception in
a blowout loss to the Jets. Both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle
turned in less-than-stellar performances in that one and while
there’s reason to believe that they’ll have a better rapport with
Thompson now that they’ve had a week to practice with him, the
upside is still fairly questionable with the Miami offense as
a whole. Hill has been too good to bench with just about any quarterback
behind center, though, so continue to roll with him as usual.
While Hill is still someone who is practically a must-start even
with Thompson behind center, the same cannot be said about Jaylen
Waddle. Waddle has been good throughout most of the season, but
he himself is dealing with a shoulder injury that’s kept
him limited in practice throughout the week. We should expect
him to play, but the combination of him being banged up and Skylar
Thompson likely being the quarterback is enough that fantasy managers
could consider benching Waddle in Week 18 if they have other viable
An inexperienced quarterback behind center oftentimes leads to
an increased percentage of running plays for an offense and that
will likely be the story that fantasy managers starting Raheem
Mostert and Jeff Wilson will tell themselves heading into this
one. They’ve been splitting touches for the Dolphins over
the past few weeks, but there’s not a lot to be excited
about if they’re going to be playing in a low-powered offense.
One of these two players will probably break off a long run or
get into the end zone at some point, but there’s no guarantee
that either player sees more than 10 touches, making both of them
a very risky option in championship finals.
Moore has been the locked-in WR1 in Carolina since Sam Darnold
got back under center with 32 targets over the last five games.
He responded, too. In that span, he has two 100-yard games and
at least 70 yards in four of the five. He also has at least five
catches in three of the five games.
Foreman has been up and down in recent weeks and was significantly
down last week with less than 40 yards for the second time in
three games. The problem is that he is capable of popping off
for 150 rushing yards at any time. You’d feel more comfortable
with him in a game the Panthers are projected to win but that’s
not the case here, and his lack of work as a receiver will continue
to cap his ceiling. Foreman has just five catches on the season.
Though I’m in the minority, I believe Darnold has done
enough to earn another starting shot in the NFL and showed last
week that he still has a live arm with a career-high 341 yards
and three touchdowns. But his penchant for turnovers could be
his downfall, both on the field and in fantasy play where owners
just can’t afford those types of mistakes this time of year.
The Saints have given up just 17 passing TDs on the season, tied
for third fewest.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Johnson has become a major player in the Andy Dalton check down
game with nearly 350 yards in the second half of the season alone.
He has at least three catches in four of the last six games. He
also has five touchdowns since Week 9 and has two games of sixty-plus
yards in the last three weeks.
Kamara is clearly the RB1 in what has become a run-first offense,
posting at least 74 rushing yards in three straight games. But
he has been limited in the passing attack and in the red zone,
which is a bit of a surprise. He has just 4 touchdowns in what
will likely be the worst fantasy season of his career.
Olave is the clear WR1 and should surpass the 1,000-yard mark
this week, which would be some accomplishment in this offense.
But while he has a solid floor and will lock in as a low-end WR2,
his ceiling is limited compared to what it used to be. The last
time he had more than 5 receptions was Week 6.
Mid-season Rhamondre Stevenson was really something to remember,
but it’s been a tough road over the past few weeks. Now facing
a Buffalo team that has little to play for in Week 18, however,
Stevenson could be in line for a fairly heavy workload, especially
if they get ahead on the scoreboard. The Patriots would lock up
a playoff spot with a win and their grind-the-ball strategy should
play into Stevenson’s opportunities, even though he’ll be dealing
with Damien Harris in the backfield who actually out-carried him
by one carry this past week. Stevenson most recently carried the
ball 10 times for 54 yards, adding six receptions against when
he played the Bills back in Week 13.
We had all but completely forgotten about him throughout the
middle part of the season, but Meyers has really bounced back
into relevance over the past two weeks. The Patriots wide receiver
saw six seven targets against the Bengals in Week 16, then followed
it up with nine targets in Week 17, catching six passes, including
one touchdown in each contest. Meyers has seemingly reestablished
himself as the top passing game producer in New England and while
that might not mean a lot considering the overall outlook for
that passing game, Meyers has to be considered a decent fill-in
option against a Buffalo defense that ranks in the top 10 in fantasy
points given up to opposing wide receivers this season and may
end up resting some starters at some point during the game.
Running back Damien Harris missed four games before returning
in Week 17. His return saw him immediately out-carry Stevenson,
albeit only by one, in a somewhat surprising outcome. Still, Harris
has been held to fewer than four yards per carry in six of his
10 starts this season, including his return this past week against
Miami which saw him carry the ball nine times for just 31 yards.
He’s not particularly useful in the passing game and he
doesn’t seem to have the locked-in goaline role anymore,
so there’s not a lot to like about the Patriots’ backup
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
It’s hard to believe that Stefon Diggs has fallen off the
“no-brainers” list, but there’s really no question
that he’s taken a significant step back in not only production
but also overall opportunities late this season. We can obviously
look beyond the completely unpredictable outcome of the Bills/Bengals
game this past week, but Diggs had previously gone three straight
games with subpar fantasy production as well. In fact, you have
to go back to his Week 13 matchup with the Patriots to find the
last time that Diggs really produced like the elite player we’ve
come to know. Diggs caught seven passes for 92 yards and a touchdown
in that matchup and he’ll face the Patriots again here in
Dawson Knox went from full practice participant on Wednesday
to limited practice participant on Thursday so there’s some
concern that he may not be fully healthy, although there’ve
been no indications that he plans to sit out this weekend’s
game. Knox is part of a long line of tight ends who are essentially
touchdown-or-bust, but he’s scored a touchdown in three
straight games while being targeted 20 times over that stretch,
so fantasy managers should be considering him as a low-end TE1
in this one.
The Bills backfield continues to be an ugly situation for fantasy
as both Devin Singletary and James Cook see Neither player is
seeing enough touches to be trustworthy for fantasy. Singletary
has been playing slightly more snaps and seeing a few more touches
per game, so the suggestion would be to go with him if you have
to choose one of these two backs, but neither player is a strong
option against a New England defense that has given up the fifth-fewest
fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
Bucs HC Todd Bowles says the starters will play this week. My
question is how long? With their playoff seed locked up, I expect
Tampa to run the ball, run the clock, and get out of dodge unscathed
against a Falcons team still trying to figure things out in Week
18. While Leonard Fournette is likely to get the start, expect
White to get extended mop up duty, enough to post solid RB2 numbers.
Gage took a back seat to Chris Godwin and Mike Evans during the
Buccaneers’ offensive explosion last week. But this time around,
Gage should take center stage as Tampa pulls their starters at
some point. Gage caught all three of his targets against the Panthers,
so given more opportunity, he could be a viable low-end WR2. It
just depends on when the starters head to the sideline.
I’ve been on this guy since the preseason. It took longer
than I expected, but he has evolved into the RB1 in a run-first
offense with a rookie QB at the helm. A power runner with quickness
and the ability to make plays as a receiver out of the backfield
(when they let him); he is a quiet RB2 play this week.
London seems to have developed a rapport with new QB Desmond Ridder.
In Ridder’s first three contests, London has 19 catches on 28
targets for over 200 yards, by far his most productive stretch.
HC Arthur Smith seems to have loosened the reins on the passing
game with Ridder now behind center. If that continues in Week
18, London could reach Flex status for this game.
I’m not sure he’s a true “fade” as he
was never really in play for fantasy owners. But for those who
might consider him in a one-off situation based on some decent
numbers in recent weeks, that would prove unwise. Ridder has looked
awkward and uncomfortable in the pocket, and he’s a way
off from fantasy starter material at this point.
Watson has been unimpressive since returning to say the least,
completing just 56.7 percent of his passes with the team leaning
more and more on the running game. In fact, last Sunday, the Browns
ran the ball 30 teams to 18 passes. Watson made the most of his
limited opportunities, however, passing for 169 yards and 3 TDs.
With Pittsburgh boasting a better run defense than pass, maybe
this is the week they let Watson let it rip to get a jumpstart
on next season. Then again, the team is reportedly hoping to get
Chubb a rushing title -- he currently trails Josh Jacobs by 160
yards, but he’ll know the number he needs since the Raiders
play on Saturday. Still, if your normal starter is resting, Watson
wouldn’t be the worst guy to take a chance on.
When Watson first returned it made sense that he might lean on
the tight end and maybe Kareem Hunt as checkdown targets. That
hasn’t happened. Njoku has just six catches for 63 yards in the
last three games combined, with most of Watson’s throws going
to the wideouts Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. Mark Andrews’
big game in Week 17 offers some hope, but Njoku would still constitute
a desperation play.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Over the past four games, Harris has played an average of 42.5
snaps to 23.5 for Warren, so we’re seeing very close to
a 2-to-1 split. Warren has also seen a noticeable uptick in usage
in Weeks 15-17, posting 177 total yards and a TD in the past three
contests. The undrafted rookie has been a nice find for the Steelers,
and his three-down ability makes him a threat as a runner or receiver.
Facing a Browns team that has bled yardage on the ground all year
long, Warren is an intriguing flex candidate.
It’s a simple equation: the Steelers like to run the ball,
and the Browns have had trouble defending the run. That should
tell you that a ground-heavy gameplan is in the works from offensive
coordinator Matt Canada. On Sunday night against a much tougher
Ravens run defense, Pittsburgh dialed up 41 runs and 27 passes
with each wideout finishing with just two receptions. Johnson
is getting more targets, so maybe you could deploy him as a shaky
WR3 in what’ll be his last chance to avoid setting a new
NFL record for most receptions in a season without a touchdown.
As for Pickens, he profiles as a flex, at best, with downside.
Akers’ late-season revival continued last week as he touched
the ball 20 times and notched his second-straight 100-yard rushing
game. He’s getting the bulk of the snaps with only a small percentage
going to Malcolm Brown (16%) and Kyren Williams (6%) last week.
He’s been the most consistent threat in this offense over the
last five weeks and that should continue in the season finale.
Seattle has allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position
and Akers posted a 17-60-2 line against them back in Week 13.
He’s an easy RB2 based on expected volume.
Higbee is the only receiving option I’d consider in the Rams
offense this week. The Seahawks have given up the most fantasy
points to the position, including a league leading 1144 receiving
yards. Tyler Conklin of the Jets just hit them up for 6-80-0 last
week and Higbee isn’t sharing playing time like Conklin is with
C.J. Uzomah. The Rams tight end is worthy of low-end TE1 upside
We’ve seen Baker in a Rams uniform four times and he’s
topped out at 230 yards and 2 TDs (DEN). His other two appearances
have resulted in 234 yards and 1 TD total including a 132-0-0
line against the Chargers last week. Traveling to Seattle with
the Seahawks fighting for the playoff lives doesn’t sound
like a good spot for a marginal NFL quarterback playing with a
sub-standard group of wideouts. Hard pass on Baker this week.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
With a playoff berth on the line the Seahawks are likely be riding
their two best players against the Rams. That means Metcalf and
Walker should be the focus of the offense. Metcalf posted an 8-127-1
line against the Rams back in Week 13 and seems to enjoy the matchup
with Jalen Ramsey. The Rams have given up seven 100-yard receiving
game this season.
Walker is coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing games against
Kansas City and the Jets and now faces a Rams team that’s only
allowed one 100-yard rushing game all season, which came last
week by Austin Ekeler. Perhaps the Rams are looking ahead to the
off-season? In any case, I’d expect a healthy dose of Walker in
this game with Locket less than 100%. The Seattle running back
has seen 49 carries in his last two games and was dominating snap
share last week against the Jets until garbage time, when DeeJay
Dallas got some run. Walker missed Thursday with an illness so
monitor status reports this weekend.
Geno blasted the Rams back in Week 13 to the tune of 367 yards
and 3 TDs finishing as the QB3 for the week. That was by far the
most passing yardage he’s had in any game this season but
those numbers are skewed by the fact that Walker and DeeJay Dallas
were injured early, forcing Seattle to rely on the passing game
in the second half. Still, he posted the numbers meaning he’s
capable of posting another spiked week but with Pete Carroll opting
for more balance in his offense, I’d expect more of low-end
QB1 ceiling for Geno this week and likely a QB2 finish, especially
with Tyler Locket banged up.
Speaking of Lockett, he picked up a leg injury last week to go
along with his recent finger surgery. Despite the obstacles, I
expected Lockett to be out there given the significance of the
game, despite missing practice much of the week. Last week, Lockett
only played 32% of the snaps while Laquon Treadwell (54%), Cade
Johnson (36%) and Dareke Young (38%) picked up the slack. We could
see more of this committee from Seattle in Week 18. This scenario
make’s Locket a very risky Flex option at best.
If the Ravens lose to the Bengals earlier in the day, then the
Chargers will be locked into the No.5 seed and won’t have
anything to play for in this game. Given that scenario and the
stifling pass defense that the Broncos have displayed this season,
it’s easy to downgrade both Allen and Williams this week.
We know both are capable of WR1 performances but Williams posted
a 2-17-0 line on six targets the last time these two teams met
(Wk6) while Keenan was out with a hamstring injury. Denver has
allowed just 7 TDs by wide receivers this season. Only the Texans
have given up fewer (5).
With a difficult matchup and a playoff berth already locked up,
it’s fair to question how much Herbert we’ll see in
this game. HC Brandon Staley said “Once we find out about
that game (CIN/BAL), then we’ll make the appropriate decisions
moving forward,” Staley said. Sounds like if the Bengals
beat the Ravens earlier in the day then some of the Chargers starters,
including Justin Herbert, may be limited or not play at all. Unless
you have a swap option for Herbert in the late-afternoon window,
it’s probably best to sit Herbert this week.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
The Chargers defensive weak spot is definitely stopping the run
which gives some intrigue to Murray and Edmonds this week. The
two Denver RBs are splitting time with both logging around a 60%
snap share last week against the Chiefs. Murray out-touched Edmonds
16 to 10 and both ended up with similar yardage (70s). Neither
saw any opportunities in the redzone. The Chargers have given
up the second-most rushing yards (2,017) to RBs this season, behind
only the Texans (2,263).
Jeudy has posted at least 8 targets in his last four games and
has WR28, WR14, WR22 and WR2 fantasy finishes to show for it.
Not bad if you’re looking for a WR2. The Chargers may be lacking
motivation in this game depending on what happens with CIN/BAL
earlier in the day and we’ll be monitoring the status of S Derwin
James who missed last week with a concussion. If both of those
chips fall in favor of Denver, then Jeudy seems like a safe option
in the season finale even with Courtland Sutton back in the mix.
It seems the new head coach doesn’t have a problem with Albert-O,
unlike Nathaniel Hackett who apparently didn’t approve of Albert’s
blocking. With Greg Dulcich on the sidelines, the former Missouri
tight end saw his first game action since Week 5 last week and
delivered a TE9 performance with 45 yards and a TD. Don’t be fooled
though, this is still a tight end by committee. Eric Saubert (34%),
Eric Tomlinson (33%) and Andrew Beck (19%) also were in the mix
and the Chargers have only allowed two tight ends to score TDs
The Giants’ situation is one of the most fluid heading
into Week 18. We just don’t know what they’re going
to do and we may not get a clear indication until it’s way
too late. As such, any player in this offense is of abnormally
high risk for fantasy as there’s a decent possibility that
they get very little playing time or none at all.
With that being said, one player who’s really stepped up
as of late is wide receiver, Richie James. James has scored at
least 13 fantasy points in five of his past seven games, including
a seven-catch, 76-yard, one-touchdown performance this past week
against the Colts. He’s seen an impressive 32 targets over
his past four games and has really begun to establish himself
as the top pass catcher in this rag-tag group. Certainly, a game
against a great Eagles defense is nothing to be confident about,
but James did catch seven passes for 61 yards and a touchdown,
on nine targets, against Philadelphia back in Week 14.
While most of the national attention will be on whether Daniel
Jones starts or not, fantasy managers will need to be most closely
watching the Saquon Barkley situation. Barkley has been excellent
throughout most of the season and will finish the year as a firm
top-half fantasy RB1 whether or not he plays, but there’s
plenty of reason for the Giants to not risk playing him—or
at least not risk giving him his usual workload—in what
is essentially a pointless game for them in Week 18. If we hear
strong indications that the Giants will not rest their starters
then feel free to roll Barkley out as usual, but otherwise, he’s
a very risky option as even an RB2.
Alongside James, Isaiah Hodgins has really stepped up as the
Giants’ second option in their passing game in recent weeks. He’s
now scored a touchdown in four of his past five games while accumulating
33 targets over that timeframe. He’s definitely not a must-start
and he could end up sitting with the rest of the Giants starters,
but he’s still a relatively inexperienced player who the team
may decide could benefit from additional playing time against
a good defense. In that scenario, he might end up being the defacto
WR1 for Tyrod Taylor which would give him a bit more of a floor
than some of the other players in the New York offense have this
As of Thursday evening, the Giants have still not made their
decision as to whether or not Daniel Jones will even play in this
weekend’s game against the Eagles. New York is completely
locked into their playoff slot and while head coach Brian Daboll
has implied that he doesn’t intend to sit his starters,
there are enough scenarios that could play out where it makes
sense to just bench Jones for fantasy in Week 18. He’s been
fine throughout most of the year, but there’s very little
reason to risk playing him when he could end up going out there
for a single drive and then handing things over to Tyrod Taylor.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
It’s not true that the Eagles’ Week 18 game against
the Giants is a “must-win,” but a win would lock up
the top seed for them in the NFC and a bye through the first round,
so it’s about as must-win as there can be for a team that’s
already in the playoffs. With that in mind, expect to see quarterback
Jalen Hurts back on the field after missing each of the past two
games (both Eagles losses) with a shoulder injury. Hurts is still
not back to full health, but his legs are still intact and that’s
what we should be most excited about for fantasy purposes. Hurts
might actually end up running the ball more than he already does
if his arm is giving him problems, which might not be ideal for
the Eagles’ offense, but it could still be fine for fantasy
purposes. We’re not benching Hurts if he’s starting,
so throw him in your lineup and hope for the best.
With just nine targets in his first two games since coming back,
we haven’t yet seen Dallas Goedert be truly unlocked since
the shoulder injury that caused him to miss five games. Of course,
his two games back have both been without starter Jalen Hurts,
so don’t be too hard on Goedert who had been emerging as
a must-start tight end earlier this season prior to the injury.
He’s been mediocre since returning and Hurts isn’t
at full health, but few tight ends possess more upside than Goedert,
so you’re probably starting him unless you have another
We had been able to rely on Miles Sanders’ pure carry totals
to deliver fantasy points throughout much of the season, but the
Philadelphia running back has now been held to 13 or fewer carries
in five of his past eight contests. Without much passing game
usage to go along with it, Sanders has been extremely difficult
to trust for fantasy purposes as he’s either been producing
huge games due to multiple touchdowns or complete duds as he fails
to get into the end zone and doesn’t see enough volume to
make up for it. We don’t yet know what the Giants’
starting roster will look like for this one and it could end up
being a game in which neither team really wants to push their
starters, so there’s some risk in this one, especially with
Sanders dealing with a knee injury. Sanders did crush the Giants
when these teams played back in Week 14, so don’t bench
him for other questionable options, but understand that there’s
more risk to starting him this week than most.
The only steady hand in this offense is Conner, especially with
David Blough at quarterback and DeAndre Hopkins sitting out with
knee injury. He’s averaged 21 touches over his last seven games.
His insane snap share over the last four weeks came to an end
in Week 17 when he picked up a knee/shin injury allowing Corey
Clement to play 43% of the snaps. Conner missed practice Thursday
so monitor reports on Friday to see if he’ll be out there this
week against the best fantasy run defense in the league. Certainly
not a great spot… and if we get any hint that he will play but
his workload will be reduced, then he drops down into the “On
the Fence” category.
Brown (6-61-0) saw a respectable nine targets last week, one
shy of rookie TE Trey McBride and fellow wideout Greg Dortch who
both saw ten. Blough through the ball 40 times last week but was
predictably inefficient completing just 24 (60%). This is something
both Brown and McBride will have to endure as the matchup on paper
gets tougher this week against the 49ers, although we did see
Jarrett Stidham have some success (365-3-2) last week. With Hopkins
out, Brown led the wide receiver group in snap percentage (91%)
and is locked into the starting lineup alongside Greg Dortch (81%).
McBride had a breakout game last weekend against the Falcons
and could be in line for another high-volume game if game script
plays out like we think. Neither are safe, but both Brown and
McBride are be volume plays that could lead to some second half
garbage time points.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Kittle has become a fixture in this section and once again has
a great matchup against a defense that’s given the up the
second-most fantasy points to the position. His last game against
the Cardinals (Wk 11) resulted in a 4-84-2 line and TE2 finish.
He’s seen 8 targets in each of his last two games and has
five touchdowns in his last three. The outlook doesn’t get
much better and only a potential rest scenario in the second half
keeps him out of the “No-brainer” category.
The 49ers would need to beat the Cardinals and have the Eagles
to lose to the Giants in order to grab the No.2 seed. Not impossible,
but certainly not probably considering the Giants are likely to
rest their starters. Both games are in the late-window which means
San Francisco should at least start the game at full force. Aiyuk
saw a season-high 12 targets last week and had his best fantasy
game of the season (9-101-1). That of course, came with Deebo
on the sidelines but we get to see Deebo on the field this week
potentially cutting into targets for Aiyuk. I’d lean towards
a low-end WR2 value for Aiyuk this week, given the multiple variables
surrounding this game.
Deebo got in a full practice Thursday and looks like he will
be available this week. I’m sure the 49ers would like to
get their No.1 receiver in the action leading up to the playoffs
but it won’t be a shock if he’s limited in some fashion.
There’s no sense in risking him for a full game against
Arizona fresh off a knee injury when you’re favored by 14
While he’s still playing second-fiddle in his own backfield
in terms of touches, Cowboys running back Tony Pollard has now
scored at least 14 points in seven of his past eight games and
there’s little reason to believe that he won’t be
in line for another productive game here in Week 18. The only
real concern here is that Pollard struggled mightily back in Week
4 when he played against the Commanders and had his worst fantasy
performance of the season. Additionally, the Commanders have been
excellent against opposing running backs for most of the season,
although they did just allow a 100-yard day to Nick Chubb this
past week. It’s not a perfect matchup by any means, but
Pollard’s been extremely reliable for fantasy and should
be trusted again as an RB2 this week.
Tight end Dalton Schultz has found himself all over this article
throughout the season, but a final appearance on the “Favorites”
seems appropriate following his seven-reception performance that
included two touchdowns against the Titans in Week 17. Schultz
has now seen 28 targets over his past four games and should see
at least a handful of opportunities against the Commanders.
With the Cowboys needing to win this game in order to give themselves
a chance at a division championship and a home playoff game, Prescott
should again see at least enough volume to be a low-end QB1 for
fantasy purposes. He’s thrown for multiple touchdown passes
in eight of the 10 games he’s played in since returning
from injury and he’s now attempted at least 30 passes in
six straight contests. He doesn’t have a high ceiling against
a good Washington defense so look elsewhere if you need the boom
potential, but Prescott is a solid option.
This past week saw running back Ezekiel Elliott got into the
end zone again, extending his touchdown streak to at least one
score in nine straight games. He’s been a subpar performer
from an efficiency standpoint, he hasn’t reached 100 rushing
yards in any game this year, and he’s practically become
a complete non-factor in the passing game, but Elliott remains
the Cowboys’ primary goaline back. That role in an offense
as good as Dallas’ is about as good as it gets for a touchdown-or-bust-type
player like Elliott has become. Like with Prescott, don’t
expect a huge performance, but Elliott should be good for at least
15 touches and a decent opportunity for a touchdown or two.
Michael Gallup’s 2022 has been a forgettable one and it
seems like he’s probably more likely to go out with a whimper
than with a bang. The Cowboys added veteran T.Y. Hilton a few
weeks back and while Gallup’s playing time hasn’t
really changed, we have certainly seen Hilton affect the target
opportunities for both Gallup and fellow receiver Noah Brown.
With CeeDee Lamb dominating the opportunities and Dalton Schultz
being so heavily utilized near the end zone, it’s tough
to really rely on any of these other complementary players in
the Dallas passing game right now. If they were playing the Titans
again, then sure, maybe we take a chance on Gallup, but against
the Commanders, there’s just not enough upside to really
warrant playing Gallup, Brown, or Hilton.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
No Brainers: N/A
Robinson is out. Jonathan Williams and Jaret Patterson are expected
to handle RB duties for Washington.
With the Commanders really only capable of playing spoiler at
this point, the team has opted to turn to rookie quarterback Sam
Howell to get the start here in Week 18. Howell, a fifth-round
pick, will get his first NFL playing time and it’s likely that
he’s not going to be fully unleashed right away. Instead, look
for the team to rely heavily on their running game this week,
which is expected to be led by another rookie, Brian Robinson
Jr., who has now carried the ball an average of 17 times per game
since he first stepped on the field. Robinson is, however, dealing
with a knee injury and was not on the practice field on Thursday,
so his status is in question heading into the weekend. Should
he play, there’s little reason to think that the Commanders won’t
utilize him heavily, as there’s no reason to risk further injuring
him this season. If he doesn’t play, however, the Commanders'
backfield could look pretty ugly as they will likely be going
with a committee of Jonathan Williams, Jarrett Patterson, and
possibly Reggie Bonnafon. Williams saw the most playing time this
past week when he got nine carries so look for him to be the primary
beneficiary if Robinson does miss the game. No matter who is starting,
though, their opportunities should be strong as the Commanders
will be without fellow running back Antonio Gibson who was placed
on IR during the week.
The QB carousel in Washington continues and the team will now
be looking to rookie Sam Howell to close out the season. It’s
hard for things to get much worse than the quarterback play we’ve
seen in Washington, but going to a fifth-round rookie will almost
certainly mean a lower-than-usual pace for the Commanders’ offense
and fewer downfield opportunities for the receivers. Still, Terry
McLaurin has been through some pretty ugly quarterback situations
not only this season, but throughout his career, and he’s been
a pretty solid producer more weeks than not. It’s understandable
if you want to bench him if you have similar options who don’t
have the quarterback risks, but McLaurin should still be looked
at as a low-end WR2 this week against a Dallas defense that has
really struggled to contain opposing wide receivers this season.
While McLaurin is still considered by most to be the top receiver
in Washington, it’s worth noting that he has actually been
out-targeted by rookie Jahan Dotson in back-to-back weeks. Dotson
has seen 31 targets over his past four games, which has led to
three pretty nice fantasy performances and one dud this past week
against Cleveland, even though he saw seven targets on the day.
Dotson could easily regress back to fantasy irrelevance, but you
could certainly do worse than him if you’re looking for
a replacement for one of your usual starters who’s sitting
out this week.
Rookie quarterback Sam Howell will be making his first NFL start,
but he should not be someone you’re relying on. Like most
rookies making their debuts, Howell is unlikely to be given a
ton of opportunities even if the team falls behind and we typically
need lots of volume for a player like Howell, who doesn’t
possess much mobility, to produce for fantasy.
Stuck in a slump throughout December, Williams got a taste of
Chicago’s Swiss Cheese defense last Sunday and responded
with 144 yards and a TD on 22 carries. To put that performance
in perspective, the BYU product ran for 116 yards on 47 carries
during the month of December. While Green Bay has similar numbers
against the run to the Bears, don’t be misled, as the Packers
have been trending up, allowing just 27 yards to Dalvin Cook last
Sunday. The former Packer knows what January football in Lambeau
is like, and he’ll certainly be motivated, but don’t
count on him as more than an RB3.
In seven road games this season, Goff has passed for 1,742 yards
(248.9 per game), 6 TDs, and 4 INTs -- and without his 355-yard,
3 TD showing in a blowout loss to the Panthers, it drops to 231
yards, 3 TDs, and 4 INTs in his other six outings away from Ford
Field. Indoor teams often don’t fare well in Green Bay in
January, particularly at night; just ask the Vikings, which came
into Week 17 having scored 89 points in their three most recent
games prior to falling behind 41-3 in the fourth quarter. There’s
some upside with Goff to be sure, but consider your options before
plugging him into your lineup against a defense that has six INTs
in their last six quarters.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
It took three months, but the Packers seem to have finally embraced
the notion that the backfield combination of Jones and Dillon
is the strength of their offense. Even with Jones feeling better
after dealing with an ankle injury, Dillon still logged 12 touches
and scored a touchdown for a fifth consecutive game. Despite being
the No. 2 back, Dillon has led the team in snaps each of the past
two weeks, and doubtless he’ll have a major role against
a Lions defense that has given up 520 yards rushing combined over
their last two games. Dillon is a borderline RB2/RB3 in a must-win
With the Packers in the midst of a four-game winning streak and
a playoff spot on the line you’d think Rodgers was the lynchpin
of it all. You’d be wrong. Rodgers has thrown for fewer
than 240 yards in all four of those wins, and he hasn’t
thrown for multiple TDs since Nov. 27. He threw for a season-high
291 yards against the Lions in the earlier meeting this season,
but he made some brutal mistakes (three INTs), particularly in
the red zone, that were huge in a six-point loss.
With teams keying on Watson, Lazard has led the Packers in receiving
in back-to-back weeks, which is something he did in Week 9 against
the Lions. He finished with 87 yards and scored a touchdown --
of note, he hasn’t found the end zone since. While both
guys have pathways to starting appeal with Lazard as a WR3, both
could be marginalized depending on how the game unfolds.