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Favorites & Fades

Week 18

By: Nick Caron | HC Green | Eli Mack | John Fessel
Updated: 1/7/24



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:




- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
- Lines and totals updated Sunday morning

Steelers @ Ravens - (Green)
Line: PIT -3.0
Total: 34.5

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

No Brainers: WR George Pickens

Favorites: RBs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren

A week ago, the Steelers went into Seattle, a team that needed a win to retain control of their playoff chances, and beat them. Much of the credit belongs to the tandem of Harris (27 carries, 122 yards, 2 TDs) and Warren (17 touches, 98 yards, 1 TD). With Mason Rudolph again under center this Saturday, that duo is likely to be asked to do the heavy lifting once again. On paper, the Ravens aren’t a defense to expect big things against, but they’ve secured the top seed in the AFC and will be prioritizing health. This feels like a game where Pittsburgh can win by avoiding big mistakes, and the run game is the way to do that. Harris is a midrange RB2, and Warren is a high-end RB3.

On the Fence: WR Diontae Johnson

With Pickens notching back-to-back big games with Rudolph -- not to mention having a huge game versus the Ravens in their earlier matchup -- it looks like Johnson is the wild card in the passing game right now. He had just two catches for 15 yards versus the Bengals in Rudolph’s first start but rebounded with a 4-76-0 line last weekend. In a week where there simply aren’t as many reliable options, Johnson could be worth using as a low-level No. 3 receiver.

Fade: N/A

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

No Brainers: None

Favorites: RB Melvin Gordon

Baltimore locking down the No. 1 seed means rest for its top players and opportunities for those lower on the depth chart. The biggest such name is Gordon, who was a top-tier fantasy producer during his early days with the Chargers. He’s been carried on the Ravens practice squad for much of the season but finally got a call to the 53-man roster when Keaton Mitchell (knee) tore his ACL. Gordon saw a little action late against the Dolphins, scoring a touchdown, and he could find himself as one of the focal points of the offense in Week 18. As a flex or even an RB3, Gordon makes sense.

On the Fence: WR Nelson Agholor

Another veteran that has played sparingly in 2023 but does have some pelts on the wall is Agholor, who has three seasons of more than 700 yards receiving in his career. The veteran is a capable deep threat, and he’s likely to see increased snaps, perhaps alongside Rashod Bateman. While he’s no Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley has experience running the offense, and the Ravens should still be able to move the ball on an inconsistent Steelers defense. Agholor holds a puncher’s chance at value.

Fade: Everyone else

It’s already been announced that Jackson won’t play. In addition, you should expect little or no role for Gus Edwards, Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, Isaiah Likely, and probably Justice Hill as well. None of them can be used in Week 18.

Prediction: Steelers 23, Ravens 13 ^ Top

Texans @ Colts - (Mack)
Line: HOU -2.0
Total: 47.5

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

No Brainers: C.J. Stroud

Favorites: RB Devin Singletary, WR Nico Collins, Dalton Schultz

Devin Singletary faces one of the league’s worst run defenses in the Colts. Indy has given up the sixth-most rushing yards and the fourth-most TDs on the ground, so Singletary should have some opportunities to produce. His lack of TDs should give you pause, but he has turned himself into a weekly starter for the first time in his career. No need to turn your back on him now.

Nico Collins surprised the fantasy world with some eye-opening performances early in the season. He showed glimpses of his old self last week, catching seven passes for 80 yards during a game that was hardly ever in doubt after halftime. This week’s game should be closer, and thus the passing game should remain relevant for a healthy chunk of the contest. The absence of fellow wideout Noah Brown should give Collins even more opportunities to perform.

Speaking of Brown’s absence, TE Dalton Schultz should expect an uptick in his role as a result. But like most tight ends, Schultz’s production has been up and down all season. His two-catch performance last week on four targets followed a two-game stretch where he had 12 catches on 15 targets. Indy is a middle-of-the-pack defense against the pass, so it’s truly a hit-or-miss proposition for Schultz this week. In the absence of other top notch TEs across the league, however, you could do a lot worse than Schultz.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: WR Robert Woods

Remember going into the 2019 season when there was a healthy debate about which LA Rams receiver to take between Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp? Thankfully, I chose Kupp that year after somebody grabbed Woods a few picks before me, but that seems like a lifetime ago since Woods has been on the fantasy radar. He remains off the fantasy radar and thus should remain off your fantasy team.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

No Brainers: RB Jonathan Taylor, WR Michael Pittman Jr.

Favorites: QB Gardner Minshew

A number of QBs around the league are sitting out this week, which gives other signal callers a boost in the rankings. Gardner Minshew is one of them. Minshew should be able to move the ball through the air but could find it difficult to hit paydirt. The Texans are a classic bend-but-don’t-break defense, as they give up the eighth-most passing yards but the fewest TD passes in the league.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: WR Josh Downs

Josh Downs continues to be underwhelming relative to his fantasy output. I still believe in his stock long term, but he’s not a startable option at this point.

Prediction: Texans 24, Colts 21 ^ Top

Falcons @ Saints - (Mack)
Line: NO -3.0
Total: 42.5

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

No Brainers: RB Bijan Robinson

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Drake London, TE Kyle Pitts

This offense in Atlanta remains an unpredictable, underachieving, turnover-prone mess. We can blame the QBs, but whatever scheme the team is using continues to fall short of utilizing all their top weapons. I remain baffled why it appears Kyle Pitts is a run-of-the-mill TE that they used a top-5 pick on. Is it him or the scheme? We rightfully expected him to come out balling like Sam LaPorta, but his play has looked like that of a third-round pick. Incredible. Drake London has at least had some explosive games, even if he’s been painfully inconsistent. The only thing fantasy manager can hope for is some kind of change—either at the head coach or QB position.

Fade: N/A

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

No Brainers: WR Chris Olave

Favorites: QB Derek Carr

Derek Carr is enjoying the best stretch of the season by far. He has 10 TD passes over his last four games with only two INTs in that stretch. That’s an incredible improvement over the four games prior when he totaled three TD passes against two picks. With RB Alvin Kamara (ankle) likely to miss the contest, we should expect Carr to increase his downfield attempts while putting up solid numbers in the process.

On the Fence: RB Jamaal Williams, WR Rashid Shaheed

Jamaal Williams is a north and south runner who usually doesn’t provide much in the passing game—although his four-catch game last week was the first time all season he had more than two receptions in a game. We can expect rookie Kendre Miller to see some action, but the bulk of the action should go to Williams, despite having not scored a TD all season.

Rashid Shaheed got word this week that he was selected to his first Pro Bowl and a return specialist. That speaks to the potential he has and his ability to make big plays. He isn’t someone you should count on for consistency, but he’s a swing-for-the-fences option who could pay huge dividends.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Saints 23, Falcons 16 ^ Top

Jaguars @ Titans - (Mack)
Line: JAX -3.5
Total: 42.5

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

No Brainers: RB Travis Etienne, TE Evan Engram

Favorites: WR Calvin Ridley

As we’ve seen this season, Calvin Ridley’s performance could go either way during any given week. He could hit the opposition with a 7/103/2 stat line as he did against the Titans in November or a two-catch stinker for 20 yards as he did in the game prior to the aforementioned Tennessee game. And with a banged-up Trevor Lawrence expecting to play, we’re not sure what Jacksonville’s passing game is going to look like beyond Evan Engram. Ridley’s high ceiling makes him an enticing option, but those clunkers are always a possibility.

On the Fence: QB Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence has endured a boatload of injuries this season, and now it’s his shoulder. It sounds like he’s trending toward playing, but beware of any limitations his injury may cause. I would look elsewhere.

Fade: N/A

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: RB Derrick Henry, WR DeAndre Hopkins

This could be Derrick Henry’s last game as a Titan, but we have no idea which Derrick Henry we’re going to get. He remains a threat as a TD scorer, as he showed during Weeks 12-14 when he had six total TDs. Father Time is tugging at Henry’s collar, so his days of consistent production are in the rearview mirror.

Meanwhile, the question marks at quarterback leave DeAndre Hopkins a hit or miss option as well. Rookie Will Levis injured his foot last week, and with Ryan Tannehill most likely not returning next season, the Titans may turn to Malik Willis. What we know of Willis so far in his career is his passing is still raw and he relies heavily on his legs—neither of which bodes well for a productive day from the WR position.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Jaguars 21, Titans 13 ^ Top

Vikings @ Lions - (Green)
Line: DET -4.0
Total: 46.5

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

No Brainers: WR Justin Jefferson

Favorites: QB Nick Mullens

After trotting out Jaren Hall on Sunday night, the Vikings turned back to Mullens at halftime. He didn’t play great -- 113 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs -- but apparently it was enough to reclaim the starting job for Week 18. It was Mullens’ uneven effort against the Lions in Week 16 that got him the hook to begin with as he passed for 411 yards and a pair of touchdowns but also tossed four interceptions. Fantasy owners can live with turnovers when they come attached to big-time numbers like those, and any time you have a QB that’s throwing to the likes of Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and K.J. Osborn, there’s some upside. Mullens would be a risky starting choice, but there is potential.

On the Fence: RB Ty Chandler

Chandler took the fantasy world by storm in Week 15 when he started for an injured Alexander Mattison and racked up 132 yards and a touchdown. In two games since, he has 18 carries, 67 yards, and a TD. He had just 17 yards versus the Lions in Week 16, so you can see why there’s reason to be pessimistic about his outlook. He continues to see more touches than Mattison, however, and perhaps the Vikings will look for a more balanced attack this weekend. He’d be worth plugging into your lineup as a flex.

Fade: N/A

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

No Brainers: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, TE Sam LaPorta

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: QB Jared Goff

In his last four games, Goff has thrown eight touchdown passes and four interceptions. That first number doesn’t sound bad, until you remember he tossed five TD passes (without a pick) against Denver in Week 15. That means in his other three outings he has a 3:4 TD-to-INT ratio, including 257 yards and 1 TD in the win over Minnesota two weeks ago. It’s entirely possible the loss to the Packers on New Year’s Eve broke the Vikings’ spirit, and the Lions will carve them up. Then again, maybe Detroit, which is highly likely to remain the No. 3 seed, lacks an edge. With so many other QBs hurt or resting, Goff holds low-end QB1 value.

Fade: RB Craig Reynolds

While you’d never consider playing Reynolds most weeks, a lot of teams are setting key players down to rest them for the playoffs. Dan Campbell says he’s not going to do that, so unless he changes course mid-game and plugs Reynolds into the lineup, he’ll remain an afterthought on offense. Don’t chance it.

Prediction: Lions 31, Vikings 20 ^ Top

Jets @ Patriots - (Caron)
Line: NE -2.5
Total: 29.5

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Breece Hall

With a ridiculous 22 receptions over his past two games, Breece Hall has been one of the true league-winning players down the stretch this season and he now faces a Patriots defense that has given up the eighth-most receptions to opposing running backs. If he continues to see double-digit carries and at least a handful of passes come his way then there’s no reason to think that Hall won’t again be a strong start for fantasy managers here in the final week of the regular season.

On the Fence: WR Garrett Wilson

Breece Hall’s recent dominance has meant that there hasn’t been as much fantasy production to go around to other players, but wide receiver Garrett Wilson is the only other player in this New York Jets offense who fantasy managers should be interested in. Unfortunately, he’ll have Trevor Siemian at quarterback again this week, who has quarterbacked some mediocre performances for Wilson, including a pair of sub-double-digit fantasy days over the past three weeks. On the positive side, Wilson has continued to be the team’s top wide receiver as he’s been targeted 29 times in the three games in which Siemian has played significant snaps.

Fade: N/A

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Ezekiel Elliott

With Rhamondre Stevenson still on IR, fantasy managers should again be looking at Ezekiel Elliott as a strong RB2 heading into this week. Elliott has at least 15 touches in five straight games and has hauled in 29 passes over those contests. He rushed 16 times for 80 yards when he faced the Jets back in Week 3, despite being the backup RB at the time, so look for him to approach 15 and potentially even 20 touches in this matchup.

Update: Hunter Henry has been ruled Out.

On the Fence: TE Hunter Henry (knee)

The New England passing game has been horrendous all season, but one of the few players who’s been able to even have a few fantasy-relevant performances has been tight end Hunter Henry. Unfortunately, Henry has missed the past two games with a knee injury and that has kept him limited in practice throughout this week as well. If he is active, though, he does have a nice matchup as the Jets have given up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

Fade: WR Demario Douglas

Demario Douglas might be the Patriots’ leading receiver but he - and everyone else in this passing game - lacks the upside to be a significant contributor. Douglas hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this season and has been held to under 15 points in every game. There’s hope here for an expanded role with improved quarterback play next season, but don’t bother here in Week 18.

Prediction: Patriots 16, Jets 14 ^ Top

Buccaneers @ Panthers - (Mack)
Line: TB -4.0
Total: 36.5

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

No Brainers: WR Mike Evans, QB Baker Mayfield, RB Rachaad White

Favorites: WR Chris Godwin

I still scratch my head that an offense led by Baker Mayfield has developed so many fantasy-relative players. And not just relevant, but league winners. Chris Godwin is not one of them necessarily, but his consistency can complement a stacked fantasy roster beautifully. Certainly, his lack of TDs may scare off some fantasy managers, but again, he is as steady a flex option as you will find in the league. If that’s what you need, then Godwin is your man.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: N/A

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Adam Thielen

Adam Thielen hasn’t scored since Week 6, but this could be the game that reacquaints him with the end zone. The Buccaneers have given up the most passing yards in the league and the 10th-most passing TDs. It will be crucial for Thielen to remain the lead dog in this passing attack if the Panthers have any chance of moving the ball through the air, as they lack other quality pass catchers. Thielen has the potential to end the 2023-24 campaign on a high note.

On the Fence: RB Chuba Hubbard

Chuba Hubbard has been limited to 88 rushing yards over the previous two games, and now he faces the league’s sixth toughest team against the run. Over the past four games, the Bucs have surrendered an average of 75 yards per game on the ground. That doesn’t bode well for a team that typically struggles to keep defenses honest with the passing game.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Panthers 13 ^ Top

Browns @ Bengals - (Green)
Line: CIN -7.5
Total: 36.5

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

No Brainers: None

Favorites: RB Pierre Strong Jr.

We know Joe Flacco won’t play in the season finale. You can bet others will follow. Of course, this isn’t the preseason, so you can’t sit everyone, but expect the usual backfield duo of Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt to see minimal snaps this Sunday. In their stead, Strong should get the lion’s share of the work. The former fourth-round pick has logged 49 carries for 226 yards and a touchdown this season, topping out with a 10-41-0 line versus the Seahawks back in October. Cleveland’s top goal is avoiding injury, and the best way to do that is to limit the number of snaps by keeping the clock running. Don’t be shocked if Strong delivers RB3 value or better here.

On the Fence: WR Cedric Tillman

Given that Amari Cooper (heel) was inactive last Thursday with a heel injury, the odds that he’ll return for a meaningless Week 18 encounter are long. On top of that, Elijah Moore (concussion) suffered a concussion in that TNF game, and he too would benefit from extra rest. That leaves the likes of Tillman and David Bell to be the lead receivers. Of course, we have no idea who recently signed Jeff Driskel will target, or how much they’ll even put the ball in the air. Tillman has flashed during his rookie year and could be a flier from a flex role.

Fade: Everyone else

As noted, Flacco is being replaced by Driscoll. Cooper and Moore are dealing with injuries. Ford, Hunt, and David Njoku figure to play little, if at all. None of them can be trusted to produce from a starting spot in your lineup this week.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

No Brainers: RB Joe Mixon, WR Ja’Marr Chase

Favorites: QB Jake Browning

After watching Browning turn the ball over three times in a loss to Pittsburgh, the team appeared to try and rein him in last Sunday as he threw for a season-low 197 yards in a loss to Kansas City that eliminated the Bengals from playoff contention. With neither team having anything to play for, don’t be surprised if Cincy cuts Browning loose once again. He passed for over 300 yards in three of his previous four games, and he’ll primarily be facing Cleveland’s backups. While it’s possible the Bengals won’t ask players like Chase and Tee Higgins, both of whom have been bothered by injuries, to play as many snaps as usual, Browning still carries top-10 upside into Week 18.

Update: Tee Higgins is listed as Doubtful.

On the Fence: WR Tee Higgins (hamstring)

Higgins picked up a hamstring injury during the team’s Week 17 loss to KC, though he was able to return. How much they ask of the wideout, who may well be playing his final game with the club, is up for debate. Assuming he’s active and sees a healthy number of snaps, Higgins has good upside against a Browns team that has nothing to play for as they look ahead to Wild Card Weekend. That would be an assumption, though, as the team could also choose to limit Higgins’ opportunities. That’s why he’s a risky option this Sunday.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Bengals 27, Browns 13 ^ Top

Seahawks @ Cardinals - (Fessel)
Line: SEA -3.0
Total: 47.5

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR DK Metcalf

Metcalf (5-106-0 vs the Steelers last week) has put together his second most productive season of his career, including what will be a career high 17.0 yards per reception. He’s also pulled down his second highest yardage total – 1104 yards and counting – and has 8 touchdowns. The Cardinals are decent against wide receivers (17th), but have no one that can physically match up with the Seahawks star receiver. Metcalf ranks No.18 in fantasy points per game among wide receivers as the season nears its end, and with several top wideouts injured or resting, Metcalf is fairly a borderline WR1 this week.

On the Fence: QB Geno Smith, RB Kenneth Walker

In three games against the Cardinals since the start of last year, Geno has scored under 15 points in two of the outings and has just 4 total touchdowns. One of the biggest reasons for these particularly quiet showings has been that Smith has averaged just under 30 pass attempts per game. With the Seahawks again favored versus the Cardinals, the game script may be quite similar.

Smith has struggled for relevancy in the fantasy world even when he’s seen closer to his season average of 34 attempts a game, and so it’s hard to turn to him this week. In a depleted QB field, though, Smith is a mid-QB2 versus a Cardinals defense that has still given up the 4th most points to quarterbacks, especially with the Seahawks needing this game to help secure a playoff spot.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Walker continues to play despite not practicing, and it’s very likely that he will do so again this week. His Week 17 effort (15 fantasy points) was far more fruitful than his performance in Week 16 (5.6 fantasy points), and the Cardinals do give up more points to running backs than anyone, making him a must play if he is indeed active. Keep a close eye on his status as kick off nears.

Fade: N/A

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

No Brainers: TE Trey McBride

Favorites: QB Kyler Murray, RB James Conner

Kyler Murray tossed 3 touchdowns last week versus the Eagles, and now has back-to-back multi-touchdown pass performances. Players recovering from ACL tears often slowly but surely get back to form over the course of a season, and Murray may be doing just that. As it is, Murray finds himself ranked No.11 in fantasy points per game among QB’s as he prepares to take on the Seahawks, who have been middling against opposing QBs (13th most points allowed). Murray is reasonably a mid-level QB1 with the likes of Mahomes and Jackson sitting this week.

James Conner has 25 or more carries in two of his last four starts, and at least 17 touches in every game during that span. Reunited with Murray, his pass catching has started to return – 15 of his 23 receptions have come with Murray, including 9 in the last three games. Versus a Seahawks team that has given up a whopping 20 touchdowns to running backs, the threat of negative game script is the only thing keeping Conner from elite RB1 status. At No.15 in fantasy points per game among running backs and facing a beatable Seahawks defense, he’s still easily a Top 12 option this week.

On the Fence: WR Greg Dortch

It holds true that Greg Dortch can be in the WR3/4 picture when Kyler Murray is shorthanded, and that was demonstrated again last week when Dortch went for 7-82-0 against the Eagles. The Seahawks secondary is not as vulnerable as the Eagles, so Dortch is arguably a deeper flex play, but has upside due to the opportunity for volume and a career 74% catch rate.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Seahawks 23, Cardinals 20 ^ Top

Bears @ Packers - (Green)
Line: GB -3.0
Total: 45.5

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

No Brainers: QB Justin Fields, WR D.J. Moore

Favorites: RB Khalil Herbert

With D’Onta Foreman missing time for the cryptic “personal reasons” in Week 16 and then being a healthy scratch this past Sunday, it appears we’re back where we started in the Bears backfield with Herbert (back) as the lead option followed by Roschon Johnson. He’s posted consecutive games of 100-plus yards, including an 18-124-1 line against the Falcons, and though they’ve been a bit better lately, Green Bay’s run defense would never be considered a strength. One thing to watch is Herbert’s back injury, which has left him limited in practice this week. Assuming he plays, Herbert is an RB2.

On the Fence: TE Cole Kmet

By any metric, Kmet (knee) is Chicago’s No. 2 target in the passing game behind Moore, and he’s just two weeks removed from a 4-107-0 performance. He injured his knee in that game, though, and was on a snap count versus Atlanta, going without a reception. While this may be the final game for some in a Bears uniform, Kmet looks to be part of their long-term plan, so the team is sure to prioritize his future over gutting it out in a game where the Bears are already eliminated from the playoffs. Given the level of uncertainty it’d be hard to slot Kmet into your lineup.

Fade: N/A

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

No Brainers: QB Jordan Love, RB Aaron Jones

Favorites: WRs Jayden Reed (chest) and Christian Watson (hamstring)

After weeks of being on the fence, it felt like the time was right to elevate Love to no-brainer status. He’s played at a high level for most of the second half of the season, and he’s done it without some of his top guys. That looks to be changing. Both Reed and Watson, as well as Dontayvion Wicks (ankle), are back at practice, which would provide an influx of talent and speed to an offense that’s produced consecutive 33-point outings. Of the group, Reed looks like the strongest play, operating as a high-end WR3 or even WR2. Watson is more of a wild card, having not played since Week 13. He had a 7-71-2 line in that game, though, so if he’s active he’s worth plugging him in as a WR3 with all kinds of upside.

On the Fence: TE Tucker Kraft

Kraft has quietly emerged as a frequent target of Love, catching 18 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown over the last four games. That’s solid production, and in a week where players like Travis Kelce, Isaiah Likely, and David Njoku won’t play much, if at all, it could move the rookie into the top-10 producers at the position. The caveat is the possible return of Luke Musgrave (kidney) from IR. He was TE1 before getting injured, and if he’s activated from IR it could cut into Kraft’s opportunities.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Packers 27, Bears 17 ^ Top

Eagles @ Giants - (Caron)
Line: PHI -4.5
Total: 42.5

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

No Brainers: QB Jalen Hurts

Favorites: WR A.J. Brown

Rumors are circulating that A.J. Brown has been vocally frustrated with the Eagles’ offense and his role within it. We’ve seen this before and it’s resulted in the team focusing on feeding him the ball. Don’t be surprised if he sees 12 or more targets this week as the “squeaky wheel” narrative comes to life. Even during his recent slump, Brown has still been usable for fantasy most weeks, as he’s averaged over 14 fantasy points per game over his most recent six-game stretch. Brown had six receptions for 80 yards on 11 targets when these teams met just two weeks ago, so he seems like a strong bet to turn in at least a WR2 performance against the Giants.

On the Fence: TE Dallas Goedert

Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert was only targeted six times against the Cardinals in Week 17, but caught five of those passes for 47 yards and a touchdown - his first trip to the end zone since Week 7. We’d like to see more passes come his way if we’re going to be confident in putting him in our lineups, but several tight ends have been underperforming and it’d make sense to pivot to a player like Goedert who’s been looking better as of late.

Goedert was targeted a season-high nine times against the Giants when these teams matched up in Week 16, catching seven of those passes for 71 yards. DeVonta Smith could miss the game, which would further consolidate targets, making Goedert an even stronger play.

Update: DeVonta Smith has been ruled Out.

Fade: WR DeVonta Smith (ankle)

The fantasy playoffs have not been kind to Philadelphia wide receiver DeVonta Smith, as the former Heisman Trophy winner has been targeted exactly five times over his past three games. While he was able to turn in respectable, albeit uninspiring performances in Weeks 15 and 16, Smith finally fell off a cliff in Week 17 when he caught just three passes for 30 yards. He also left that game with an ankle injury and has not practiced since, putting his status in question for Sunday’s game. We might be willing to risk it if Smith was putting up huge numbers lately, but his slump in conjunction with his health concerns makes him a fade for those playing in Week 18.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Saquon Barkley

The Giants’ season has been a disaster, but running back Saquon Barkley remains easily the best fantasy contributor in this offense. Barkley touched the ball 26 times when these teams matched up in Week 16, contributing nearly 20 fantasy points in the process, and things are actually looking up for the New York offense as a whole now that Tyrod Taylor is behind center. An improved passing game - or even just the threat of a viable passing game - should give Barkley more opportunities to score, making him both a solid floor and ceiling play even against the Eagles who have mostly been good against running backs this season.

On the Fence: QB Tyrod Taylor

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is dealing with a back injury which makes him a little extra risky this week than he otherwise would be, but Taylor showed us in Week 17 that he still has the physical tools to be a viable QB2 for fantasy purposes. Taylor threw for 319 yards and a touchdown, only threw one interception, and perhaps most importantly showed off his wheels with 40 rushing yards against the Rams. We shouldn’t expect that type of performance every week, but he does have an excellent on-paper matchup this week as he faces a Philadelphia defense that has given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Fade: WR Darius Slayton

The Giants’ wide receiver room continues to be a complete disaster and while Darius Slayton has been seeing a role increase in recent weeks, his production has still been extremely fluky. Slayton has gone into double-digit PPR points in three straight contests, including his first 100-yard game of the season this past week, but he still hasn’t caught more than four passes in any game this season. He may get into the end zone again, but this small sample-size touchdown efficiency isn’t likely to continue.

Prediction: Eagles 24, Giants 20 ^ Top

Rams @ 49ers - (Fessel)
Line: SF -4.0
Total: 40.5

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: QB Carson Wentz, WR Tutu Atwell, WR Demarcus Robinson

Matthew Stafford will be among the Rams getting a rest, with Los Angeles having clinched a wild card spot and simultaneously having no shot at the 49ers for the division. Expect neither team to show a lot of their playbook, as they have already faced once and could face again down the road in the playoffs.

The Niners will surely rest some of their top defensive players, which may be a saving grace for Wentz and company. For managers who are short-handed this week due to QB injuries and better options (such as Stafford) being rested, Wentz is someone you may have to look at, being a mid-level QB2. However, the Rams will likely use a very basic offensive attack, with depth players on the field around Wentz, making him and unappealing option.

Over the last four weeks, Demarcus Robinson has seen 29 targets and reeled in 17 receptions, as well as 3 touchdowns, even with Cooper Kupp and Puca Nacua on the field. Tutu Atwell, who is expected to return this week, will likely be the Rams #1 and #2 wideouts for much of this game, with key Rams starters resting (see below). They’ll have Carson Wentz throwing to them, but it at least puts the pair – particularly Robinson – in the flex conversation in a very short-handed week for fantasy owners.

Update: Cooper Kupp has been ruled Out.

Fade: WR Cooper Kupp, WR Puka Nacua, All Rams Running Backs

Both Cooper Kupp and Kyren Williams will sit this weekend. Nacua has not officially joined this list, as he has a chance to set Ram rookie records for receptions and yards. But, he needs just 4 receptions and 29 yards to set both marks, so it’s unlikely he’ll stay on the field long enough to put up fantasy worthy numbers.

With Kyren Williams sitting, any and all of Ronnie Rivers, Royce Freeman and Zach Evans could see action this weekend, with no clear-cut answer as to who will lead the backfield, or if there will be a leader, at all. Starting any of these backs could leave fantasy owners walking away emptied handed, and the boom side is unlikely to be significant enough to take the risk.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Elijah Mitchell

A banged up Christian McCaffrey will rest this week, as the 49ers have no reason to take any chances with the 1st seed wrapped up. Elijah Mitchell stepped in for McCaffrey last week and finally made a dent (17-80-1 on the ground). Those managers whose seasons extend to Week 18, and survived losing McCaffrey last week (or otherwise had Mitchell stashed), could be rewarded this week. It’s likely that the 49ers will grind this game out and look towards the playoffs. Mitchell has always shown talent as a runner, and while his health remains a risk, the upside here warrants serious RB2 consideration.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: QB Sam Darnold, WR Brandon Aiyuk, WR Deebo Samuel, TE George Kittle

Sam Darnold will get the call this week, as Brock Purdy will be counted among the 49ers getting a rest ahead of the post season. Darnold would be a more appealing play if he was running out there with the same talent that Purdy typically does, but that will not be the case. Jauan Jennings (concussion) is likely to be his top receiver through most, if not all, of this game, and Darnold will likely spend most of the time handing off to Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason, anyhow. Even in a brutally short-handed week at quarterback, Darnold is probably not a play except in two QB leagues.

In addition to Purdy, the 49ers are expected to rest Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. Owners should look elsewhere, as neither Aiyuk, Samuel nor Kittle can be expected to be on the field for more than a drive or two, if they see the field at all.

Prediction: 49ers 17, Rams 16 ^ Top

Broncos @ Raiders - (Fessel)
Line: LV -3.0
Total: 36.5

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: RB Javonte Williams

Williams was not able to cash in on a great opportunity last week against the Chargers, really putting a nail in the coffin of his season. Yet, if your team is still playing this week, you need live bodies who are a lock to touch the ball. Therefore, resurrecting Williams for one week may be wise. Williams had 18 more touches last week, and getting his floor – which is typically about all he’s offered – may be enough to beat an opponent who has to roll with a risky candidate at flex.

Fade: QB Jarrett Stidham and the rest of the Broncos offense

Broncos offense could barely muster anything with Stidham versus a beaten Chargers defense, and while anything goes in Week 18, the Raiders have played their most inspired defense under interim coach Antonio Pierce (allowing just 18 FPts/G and forcing 13 TO in 8 games). There’s no reason to expect them to let up this week, as many of the players on defense are possibly playing for his job, as well as theirs. There are similar QBs to Stidham who are facing teams that will rest members of their defense, or teams such as the Broncos, themselves, who may be divided in the locker room. Looking elsewhere seems wise.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Davante Adams, RB Zamir White

Davante Adams had 21 targets last week. What else is there to say? There's no indication he'll rest in this one and the targets should keep flowing. He’s an easy start.

Zamir White is also a must start this week, assuming Josh Jacobs sits. He hasn’t been practicing, and although Antonio Pierce said that Jacob’s is a game time decision, it’s extremely unlikely that this is more than smoke being blown to mask the Raiders real intentions. Still, just in case, keep an eye on the injury reports this weekend. With 20 or more touches in three-straight games, White is an RB1 against a beatable Denver defense.

On the Fence: QB Aidan O’Connell, WR Jakobi Meyers

Aidan O’Connell’s last four weeks have been the ultimate roller coaster. Versus the Vikings four weeks ago, he mustered just 171 yards passing and 0 touchdowns against 1 interception. The Raiders were shutout. The following week saw the most unlikely turn of events, with O’Connell and friends putting up 63 points on the Chargers. In that game, he threw for 248 yards and 4 touchdown passes. A week later, he managed just 62 yards passing for an entire game against the Chiefs! Then, last week against the Colts, he tossed a career high 299 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Which O’Connell you’re going to get may somewhat come down to which Broncos’ defense he’s going to face. The Broncos were torn apart early in the season, including in giving up 70 points to the Dolphins. They then found their form in the middle of the season. They did not look as sharp, though, recently against Jared Goff (278-5-0) and Bailey Zappe (256-2-0). In short. Dr. Jekyll may be going up against his twin when O’Connell faces off with the Broncos defense. It’s a dart throw, probably only primed for big underdogs feeling the need to take chances this week.

Jakobi Meyers converted 10 targets into 6 receptions for 56 yards last week against the Colts. It was his first time being targeted 10 or more times since October. Meyers has had a solid season thanks to the myriad of ways he’s been able to produce scores (7 receiving, 1 rushing and 1 passing). He’s generally not been able to find a productive day without a touchdown, and that will likely hold true this week against the Broncos. He’s a touchdown dependent WR4 this week versus Denver.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Raiders 19, Broncos 16 ^ Top

Chiefs @ Chargers - (Fessel)
Line: LAC -3.5
Total: 35.5

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

Update: Rashee Rice has been ruled Out.

On the Fence: WR Rashee Rice (hamstring), RB Clyde-Edwards Helaire

If there was any doubt that Rashee Rice is a must target in 2024, that surely should have been quelled by his 127-yard performance last week, a new career high. Even in a game where Rice was targeted less heavily than he’d been recently (6 targets last week), he still had a big impact. Whether Rice gets that opportunity this week remains to be seen, as he could be sat with other key starters such as his QB, Patrick Mahomes. Yet Rice needs 62 yards to reach a 1000 for the season, and the milestone might tempt Andy Reid – and perhaps the Chiefs marketing team – to keep Rice on the field long enough to make a fantasy impact. Those who are short-handed this week and find themselves having to take a risk may want to stick with Rice as a big boom/bust candidate, but certainly should watch his status prior to game time very closely to see if he’s even active.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, meanwhile, is likely to see significant action and may be a frequent checkdown target of Blaine Gabbert in a game where the Chiefs aren’t likely to show much from their playbook ahead of the post season. Isiah Pacheco has returned to practice in a limited fashion, and it’s worth watching his status for the game, but the Chiefs will presumably rest him for most or all of the game, making Edwards-Helaire a flex consideration for fielding a lineup this week.

Fade: QB Blaine Gabbert, TE Travis Kelce

Once upon a time, Blaine Gabbert was the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft, selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars. 51 touchdowns, 49 interceptions and 13 years later, he is a clipboard holder behind Patrick Mahomes. The two will switch roles for this game, but with Gabbert never making a dent in fantasy football during his starting years and playing against the Chargers A team (granted, arguably a B team at this point), Blaine is a reasonable sit.

Meanwhile, the aging – and perhaps distracted – Travis Kelce is in danger of coming up short of 1000 yards receiving for the first time since 2015. He’s also posted a career low 10.6 receiving average, and his 5 touchdowns would be tied for the 2nd lowest total of his career. Drafters will have to keep all of this in mind in 2024, but Kelce has remained an elite tight end – at least up until recent weeks – and managers who find themselves playing for a Championship this week and banking on Kelce are being dished some bad news: Kelce may play, but even if he does, he’ll likely leave the game for good once he hits 1000 yards for the year. Needing just 16 yards to do so, it’s unlikely he’ll play long enough to be worth starting.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Josh Palmer, RB Austin Ekeler, TE Gerald Everett

Ironically, for the first time in at least several weeks, the Chargers are one of the teams from which fantasy owners will find a number of potentially valuable assets this week.

Josh Palmer has returned to practice and should resume default status as the Chargers WR1. Quentin Johnston never grabbed hold of the opportunity (3-29-0 last week), and while veteran return man Alex Erickson had a surprise showing versus the Broncos (7-98-0), Palmer is clearly the best man left standing in the wide receiver room. Palmer has proven himself to be a worthy flex in the past, and even with Easton Stick at QB, the sheer number of talented receivers sitting this week should ensure Palmer no worse than flex status.

Austin Ekeler may be entering his final game with the Chargers, and while he has been going out quietly (just 174 total yards and 0 touchdowns in the last three weeks), the Chargers may be able to control field position in this game, leading to Ekeler to a nice sendoff on his way out of Los Angeles. He’s still handled 14 or more touches in all but two games this year, and that coupled with unusually respectable conditions makes Ekeler a solid RB2 this week.

Gerald Everett didn’t quite cash in on his season high 9 targets last week (4-31-0), but he now has four consecutive games with at least 8 targets and six straight games with at least 4 receptions. He’s in the TE1 conversation during a shorthanded week, even with Palmer coming back.

On the Fence: QB Easton Stick

Easton Stick threw for over 200 yards for the 3rd straight game, while also posting a season high 31 rushing yards. His mobility has started to show the last two weeks, with 56 rushing yards and a touchdown during that span. His limits as a passer do suppress his ceiling, but with Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Brock Purdy, Matthew Stafford and, yes, Joe Flacco sitting, there’s not a ton of options this week. Stick’s mobility, coupled with a resting opponent and the return of one of his wide receivers make him a high end QB2 this week.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Chargers 19, Chiefs 17 ^ Top

Cowboys @ Commanders - (Caron)
Line: DAL -13.0
Total: 46.5

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

No Brainers: WR CeeDee Lamb

Favorites: QB Dak Prescott

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has been enjoying one of the best fantasy seasons of his career and he’ll now face a Washington defense that he threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions against when these teams played in Week 12. Prescott has been a consistent beast who might not have the rushing upside of the top QBs, but he’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in nine of his past 10 games. The Commanders have given up more points to opposing quarterbacks than any other team this season, making Prescott one of the highest-floor players on the board.

On the Fence: WR Brandin Cooks

The Cowboys’ search for a consistent WR2 has continued deep into the season and while Brandin Cooks has shown the potential to be that player, it’s also true that he’s sunk fantasy managers with quite a few duds to go along with very few truly difference-making performances on the positive side. Cooks has seen a bit of a target increase as of late, however, and he’ll be matching up with a Washington defense that allowed him to catch four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown in Week 12, so you could do worse if you’re in a tough spot this week.

Fade: RB Tony Pollard

Tony Pollard had his best fantasy game of the season when he faced the Commanders in Week 12, but it came in large part due to an uncommon six-reception game. Pollard has since been held to a total of 14 receptions over the five games and he’s scored just one touchdown during that stretch while failing to amass over 70 rushing yards in any contest.

The volume continues to be there for the Cowboys’ starting running back, especially with Rico Dowdle and now Deuce Vaughn injured, but his efficiency has been pathetic during the second half of the season.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Brian Robinson Jr.

Robinson had been sidelined for three weeks prior to returning against the 49ers in Week 17. He was still banged up coming into the game so it’s not surprising that he didn’t see his normal workload in the game, especially considering that the Commanders were behind multiple scores for much of the afternoon, but we should be expecting that he’ll be back into his lead role in the Commanders’ backfield in Week 18. The Cowboys have been a good defense overall this season, but they’ve been exploitable on the ground at times and the Commanders fed Robinson 17 touches when they faced the Cowboys in Week 12. Look for him to be a major focal point of the offense again, with a good chance to get into the end zone.

On the Fence: WR Curtis Samuel

Wide receiver Curtis Samuel was targeted a season-high 12 times when the Commanders last faced the Cowboys, catching nine of those passes for 100 yards. It’s also worth considering that he delivered that performance with Sam Howell throwing him the ball, and Howell is expected to start again here in Week 18. The Washington offense, particularly their passing game, can be extremely frustrating at times, but Samuel is a player who has some interesting upside.

Fade: WR Terry McLaurin

Terry McLaurin came through with a touchdown against the 49ers in Week 17, saving what would have otherwise been another disappointing fantasy day for the former perennial fantasy WR2. McLaurin has been held to five or fewer receptions in eight of his past nine games, though, and has reached the end zone just three times during that stretch. This has really limited both his floor and his ceiling for fantasy. McLaurin did see 11 targets come his way when the Commanders last faced the Cowboys, but he was only able to wrangle in four of those passes for 50 yards. There are definitely situations where you’ll still want to start McLaurin, but this has been a lost season for him and there just aren’t many reasons to believe that he’ll end the year on a high note.

Prediction: Cowboys 27, Commanders 20 ^ Top

Bills @ Dolphins - (Caron)
Line: BUF -3.0
Total: 48.5

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

No Brainers: QB Josh Allen

Favorites: RB James Cook

Fantasy football can sometimes be an extremely frustrating game. We can analyze all the data, we can predict the usage, and we can even predict that a player’s team will be in a situation to score lots of points, and sometimes it still doesn’t turn out the way we had hoped. That’s been the case with Buffalo running back James Cook as of late. Cook dominated the fantasy scoreboard from Weeks 10 through 15, averaging over 21 points per game during that stretch, so it’s a bit baffling that he’s been held to single-digit PPR points in back-to-back weeks even though he’s touched the ball 20 and 17 times in those contests.

It’d be tough to blame a manager who wants to bench Cook now as we head into Week 18, as he’s coming off of these back-to-back dud performances, but the reality is that while Cook’s efficiency has been down, that metric is a lot less sticky than usage is. And Cook is still getting the usage we'd hope for. The Dolphins and Bills matchup has the highest over/under on the board this week so we should be targeting players from this game on that basis alone, but it’s especially important to target the players who project to see a lot of touches. That’s James Cook. It might be scary, but it’s the right play from a procedural standpoint.

On the Fence: WR Stefon Diggs

With single-digit PPR points in six of his past seven games, including four-straight, Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs should probably be listed as a “fade,” but it’s oftentimes tough to bench players who’ve been studs almost their entire careers and who’ve only suddenly fallen into a slump. Despite his struggles, Diggs has continued to see a respectable weekly target share, which should still give us hope that he can turn things around. Not only that, but Diggs obliterated the Dolphins when these teams played back in Week 4 as he caught six passes for 120 yards and three touchdowns, marking by far his biggest fantasy day of the season.

Fade: WR Gabriel Davis

Stefon Diggs’ disappointing stretch should theoretically correspond to an increase in production for teammate Davis, but that certainly has not been the case. In fact, Davis has two or fewer receptions in six of his past eight games. His other two games were big fantasy performances, but that type of inconsistency just cannot be trusted in fantasy championships unless you’re in a terribly desperate situation and are simply swinging for the fences, hoping for one of the signature Gabe Davis “couldn’t have seen it coming but happy it did” monster fantasy performances.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

No Brainers: WR Tyreek Hill

Favorites: RB Devon Achane

Raheem Mostert missed practice on Thursday and seems to be trending toward not playing again, which should clear the way for Achane to lead the Miami backfield again this week. Achane carried the ball 14 times for 107 yards in a blowout loss to the Ravens in Week 17, adding four receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown in the receiving game. This type of workload and production, especially in a game where his team is behind by multiple scores throughout, is a great example of Achane’s elite ceiling and floor combination and it’s why he needs to be in fantasy lineups, especially if Mostert sits.

On the Fence: WR Jaylen Waddle (ankle)

Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle missed Week 17 with a high ankle sprain and is looking unlikely to play again in what is a very important divisional matchup. If he does play, this is not a particularly great matchup for him as he’ll be up against a Buffalo defense that held him to just four receptions for 46 yards on five targets back in Week 5. Waddle had, however, produced four straight double-digit fantasy performances before injuring his ankle against the Cowboys in Week 16, so if he gets in a full practice late in the week then it could be tough to bench him.

Fade: QB Tua Tagovailoa

While Mike McDaniel seems to have found his quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa this season, fantasy managers might want to look elsewhere for their own championship run. While Tua has been mostly “fine” as of late, he’s failed to deliver any true high-scoring games since the team’s Week 10 bye. While Tua has averaged a respectable 263 yards passing per game during this stretch, he’s thrown a total of just nine touchdowns over these past seven games and he’s just not enough of a contributor with his legs to make up for the lack of touchdowns. The Dolphins have been extremely successful with their running game near the goal line and that’s likely to continue in this game, making Tua just a QB2.

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Bills 26 ^ Top