One of the hardest weeks to predict, Week 18 is upon us and is already making my head spin. There are plenty of teams that will still play their starters as they try to squeak into the playoffs. There are also some teams that can get better seeding.
Still, we don’t know how much the starters will play. Some may not play at all. Some may play a half. Some may play until the game is out of reach for the opposing team.
I took a look at matchups and playoff indications, and hopefully I built a decent guide on who you can start/sit this week. Good luck to all those who have their Championships in Week 18!
Aaron Rodgers, QB (Green Bay Packers)
Sunday night in Lambeau with playoff stakes on the line, there is probably no better streaming option than Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers hasn’t been great for fantasy this year, but he is going up against the Lions in a win and get in matchup. The Lions have been solid against the run and horrible against the pass, so this one should see a lot of throws by Rodgers.
He also has all of his weapons, with Lazard, Doubs, and Watson all available for this game. I expect Rodgers to throw all over the Lions to complete the improbable run for the playoffs in front of a home crowd.
Cam Akers, Running Back (Los Angeles Rams)
Cam Akers went from potential star to injured to out of the Rams’ organization all within a year, but now he suddenly has found some new life in the backfield.
Akers has been on a tear in the last few weeks, and it appears as though maybe he got over the achilles injury hump that hampers so many players who try to return from that injury.
This week he faces the Seahawks, who are battling for a playoff spot and are currently giving up the third most points to opposing Running Backs.
I assume the Rams will run a lot, making Akers a must-start in a plus matchup. He has over 200 yards and three touchdowns on the ground over the last two weeks.
Christian Watson, WR (Green Bay Packers)
We are going to dip back into the Green Bay Wide Receivers this week, and hopefully Christian Watson is back to full health for this must-win.
Watson has been hot the second-half of the season, and has the speed/skill to burn the Lions’ secondary. If Watson is indeed at full strength, he has a good chance at catching a touchdown pass or two. Maybe he even gets a few deep targets.
Tyler Higbee, TE (Los Angeles Rams)
Tyler Higbee didn’t do much in his last matchup with Seattle, but that was before Baker Mayfield came to town. Now he hasn’t exactly exploded with Mayfield, but he has seen some decent volume over the last month.
The Rams are trying to play spoiler (if they can) against the Seahawks, so I expect them to put up points. Seattle is giving up the most points to Tight Ends, so Higbee by far has the best matchup of the week.
Cairo Santos, K – (Chicago Bears)
The Bears welcome the Vikings to Chicago in Week 18, and even though the Bears will be without a lot of their Receivers, the Vikings are bad enough to allow Justin Fields to move the ball down the field.
Now I don’t trust the Bears to blow out the Vikings or anything, but they should be good enough for plenty of kicking opportunities. The Vikings allowed two field goals to the Packers last week and are currently giving up the most points to opposing kickers, so Santos is a top streamer this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars, DST
If you need a streaming defense, Jacksonville is one of the better ones this week. They face the Titans (game is in Jacksonville) and this is a must-win.
The Jaguars beat the Titans a few weeks ago and held them to 22 points. That was with Ryan Tannehill, who is done for the season. Also, they held Derrick Henry to 121 yards, which as bad as that sounds is actually a pretty good feat.
A must-win game against a team lacking their starting Quarterback makes the Jaguars a solid play this week.
If you are streaming defenses, the Giants are probably one of your best options.
Jared Goff, QB (Detroit Lions)
Jared Goff and the Detroit offense have something going, but it probably gets shut down this week against a tough Packer defense in the cold weather.
Goff has been way better at home, and has struggled a bit while playing away. The Lions were able to shut down the Packers earlier this season, winning 15-9 in a surprising upset. That said, Goff only threw for 137 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, so it’s not like he blew up the Packer defense.
Unfortunately I think the Lion’s run to the playoffs falls short this year, and Goff will have a tough time in Green Bay.
Brian Robinson, RB (Washington Commanders)
Brian Robinson faces the fourth-best defense against the Running Back position in the Dallas Cowboys in Week 18.
Not only that, but Robinson has struggled to really provide fantasy relevance in recent weeks. He hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards since November, and hasn’t scored on the ground in seven weeks. He also rarely catches passes, so it’s not like his receiving stats will save his fantasy day.
If you somehow are in the championship with Robinson on your roster, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, WR (Denver Broncos)
This season needs to end for the Broncos, and they better hope 2023 is a much better offense or else they are in massive trouble.
The Chargers are currently giving up the fifth-fewest points to Wide Receivers, and Russ Wilson’s struggles won’t help the situation. This matchup is bad for any receivers, let alone receivers who have struggled to get 10 ppr points for most of the year.
If you have other options than these Broncos, I’d pivot to them.
David Njoku, TE (Cleveland Browns)
David Njoku had such a promising start to the season and quickly became a startable Tight End. But that changed over the course of the season, and now he barely is fantasy-relevant.
DeShaun Watson isn’t known for his passing to Tight Ends, and Njoku also gets a tougher matchup against a much-improved Pittsburgh defense.
Njoku’s time as a fantasy starter appears to be over for this season.
Randy Bullock, K (Tennessee Titans)
The Titans have to win, so I expect them to be a bit riskier when it comes to fourth-down attempts. The Jaguars will put up a lot of points (most likely), so if the Titans want to make the playoffs, they will have to go for it to keep up.
Bullock has been injured this year, and even though he is back to full health, I just think there are plenty of better options out there. I know most fantasy teams probably don’t have Bullock on their roster, but don’t even think about streaming him.
New England Patriots, DST
The Patriot’s defense is beat up and currently missing quite a few starters, making them a sit in this week’s horrible matchup with the Bills.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills played their starters too, since they “lost a week” in Week 17 due to the horrible event that took place on Monday night.
The Bills already beat the Patriots this season 24-10, and with a depleted New England secondary and probably some fire in the Bills’ bellies, I think they destroy the Pats.
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