This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
Sunday's slate features 13 games and all but one has a total less than 45. The Seattle-Arizona matchup and its 48-point total, will be a popular target for game stacks as a result. Week 18 is a bit different than the rest of the season as many teams have nothing to play for and others have locked up playoff seeds and have no reason to risk key players. With so many unappealing matchups this week, I'll target teams with motivation to win rather than looking for games to stack. The Steelers-Ravens and 49ers-Rams are the only games with playoff implications on both sides. The Packers have nothing to play for. I'd expect rostership to be spread around. As things stand, no one is expected to overly chalky. Because of this, I'll be less concerned with finding leverage and more concerned about finding players who are going to score the most fantasy points. It sounds simple, but it's better to not over-complicate things this week. Target the obvious spots, take a few chances and let others make mistakes. Good Luck.
Note: All prices listed come from DraftKings, but most of the logic can be applied to other sites across the DFS industry. Discussion is limited to players from the "main slate" of games kicking off at 1 p.m., 4:05 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. EST on Sunday. The strategy below is meant for large-field tournaments, where payouts typically are limited to ~20 percent of lineups, with the majority concentrated at the very top.
|44.5||Green Bay Packers||23.75||Detroit Lions||20.75|
|44||Indianapolis Colts||29.75||Jacksonville Jaguars||14.25|
|43||Tennessee Titans||26.5||Houston Texans||16.5|
|44||Chicago Bears||19.25||Minnesota Vikings||24.75|
|38||Washinton FT||22.5||New York Giants||15.5|
|38||Cincinnati Bengals||16||Cleveland Browns||22|
|40.5||Pittsburgh Steelers||18.5||Baltimore Ravens||22|
|40||New England Patriots||23.25||Miami Dolphins||16.75|
|41.5||Carolina Panthers||16.75||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||24.75|
|40||New Orleans Saints||22.25||Atlanta Falcons||17.75|
|41.5||New York Jets||12.5||Buffalo Bills||29|
|48||Seattle Seahawks||20.75||Arizona Cardinals||27.25|
|44.5||San Francisco 49ers||20||Los Angeles Rams||24.5|
These are the players with the best projections relative to their salaries — good plays both for cash games and large-field tournaments. While we don't want our GPP lineups to look like cash-game lineups top to bottom, there's nothing wrong with using a few chalky plays. These players, along with a couple passing-game stacks, tend to form the core that remains fairly consistent throughout my lineups.
- RB Devin Singletary vs. NYJ ($6,000)
I didn't expect to be highlighting Singletary, especially now that his salary is a bit inflated. However, a home matchup against the Jets is about as good as it gets and the Bills need to win to secure the division title. Singletary has averaged 21 touches per game in his last three games and scored four touchdowns in that span. The Jets have largely been awful against the run this season while giving up some huge games to running backs. Singletary rushed for 110 yards last week and has a good chance to top 100 again. He also has considerable touchdown-equity in such a soft matchup that sees the Bills with an implied team total of 29 points.
- WR Christian Kirk vs. SEA ($6,000)
Kirk has seen a significant bump in usage in the absence of DeAndre Hopkins. He's drawn at least nine targets in three consecutive games and has 22 catches in that span. His role as a security blanket for Kyler Murray is even more secure with the news that Chase Edmonds is out. The Cardinals matchup against the Seahawks has the highest total on the slate and Arizona has plenty of motivation to win as it still has a chance to win the division and secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Not only is Kirk a relatively safe option, but he has upside too as Murray has missed him on a couple deep balls in recent weeks.
Other Cash-Game Options
QB Josh Allen vs. NYJ ($8,100)
QB Kyler Murray vs. SEA ($7,400)
QB Taysom Hill at ATL ($6,200)
QB Tyler Huntley vs. PIT ($5,700)
RB Jonathan Taylor at JAX ($9,300)
RB Dalvin Cook vs. CHI ($7,800)
RB Najee Harris at BAL ($7,200)
RB David Montgomery at MIN ($6,800)
RB James Conner vs. SEA ($6,300)
RB Devin Singletary vs. NYJ ($6,000)
RB D'Onta Foreman at HOU ($5,700)
WR Cooper Kupp vs. ARI ($9,700)
WR Justin Jefferson vs. CHI ($8,100)
WR A.J. Brown at HOU ($7,000)
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. GB ($6,800)
WR Brandin Cooks vs. TEN ($6,300)
WR Jaylen Waddle vs. NE ($6,300)
WR Christian Kirk vs. SEA ($6,000)
WR DJ Moore at TB ($5,800)
TE Rob Gronkowski vs. CAR ($6,300)
TE Zach Ertz vs. SEA ($5,300)
TE Cole Kmet at MIN ($3,400)
TE John Bates at NYG ($3,000)
D/ST Cleveland Browns vs. CIN ($2,600)
Stacks are the centerpiece of any tournament lineup, seeking to take advantage of positive correlations between players. It rarely makes sense to use a quarterback without one or two of his pass catchers, even if the player in question scores a decent portion of his fantasy points with his legs. Ideally, a stack also includes a pass catcher from the other side of the game, hoping to take advantage of a back-and-forth shootout. (Implied team totals are listed in parentheses.)
Seattle Seahawks (20.75) at Arizona Cardinals (27.25)
Seattle finally showed signs of life last week when it exploded for 51 points against the Lions. Russell Wilson ($6,300) tossed four TDs in what was arguably his best game of the season. Sunday's matchup against the Cardinals has the highest total on the slate and the Seahawks are expected to be trailing, which would favor the passing game. DK Metcalf ($6,900) is coming off a three-touchdown performance as he finally flashed the big upside we'd gotten used to seeing in previous years. Tyler Lockett ($6,400) has a touchdown catch in three of his last four games. His target share has been inconsistent but the Cards defense has struggled against slot receivers, which could lead to increased opportunities. Gerald Everett ($3,700) has drawn five targets in consecutive weeks and has three TDs in his last six. If you'd rather target the running game, Rashaad Penny ($6,500) has been red hot. He's rushed for 135-plus yards in three of his last four games and has five TDs in that span. If the Seahawks get a lead, expect them to lean on Penny.
After losing three consecutive games, Arizona righted the ship with an impressive performance in Dallas last week. Kyler Murray ($7,400) has rushed for at least 44 yards in four of five games since returning from injury, which is encouraging since rushing upside is a big part of his appeal and he wasn't showing it earlier in the season. Christian Kirk ($6,000) continues to benefit from the absence of DeAndre Hopkins as he's drawn at least nine targets in three consecutive weeks. A.J. Green ($5,400) has caught long passes in four straight games. He's 75 receiving yards away from a $250K bonus. Antoine Wesley ($4,100) has stepped up in place of Hopkins. He has three touchdowns in the last two games as he's quickly becoming a favorite red-zone target of Murray's. His cheap salary makes him appealing in double-stacks. Zach Ertz ($5,300) looks like one of the better tight end values on the slate. He's averaging a whopping 11 targets per game over his last three and has 21 catches in that span.
- Favorite Stack: QB Murray + WR Kirk + WR Lockett + TE Ertz
San Francisco 49ers (20) at Los Angeles Rams (24.5)
This matchup is essentially the only game on the slate in which both teams are still playing for something (the Steelers and Ravens both have slim playoff hopes). It appears as though Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,500) will return following a one-game absence due to a thumb injury. While I don't have any interest in rostering Garroppolo, the 49ers pass-catchers are more appealing with him under center as opposed to Trey Lance ($5,500). Deebo Samuel ($8,500) continues to be used as both a RB and WR. He has at least five rushing attempts in seven consecutive games and has six rushing TDs in that span. He's shown plenty of upside as a WR also. Two weeks ago, in Garoppolo's last start, Samuel had nine catches for 159 yards. The dual-threat ability has helped him put up 25-plus fantasy points in six of 15 games this season. Brandon Aiyuk ($5,600) has been inconsistent, mostly due to his target share being up and down, but he has plenty of upside when given the opportunity. George Kittle ($6,700) has been rather quiet after two big games in Weeks 13 and 14 and now his salary has dropped to less than $7K for the first time in four weeks. He's shown slate-breaking upside and the likely game script sets up well for him in this spot. If you'd rather target the running game, Elijah Mitchell ($6,000) looked good and healthy last week after missing a few games due to various injuries. He had 27 carries when the two teams met back in Week 10.
This is a big game for the Rams. A victory secures the No. 2 seed while a loss drops them to No. 5. The passing game looks to be in a great spot as the 49ers secondary is decimated by injuries. Matthew Stafford ($6,700) has struggled with interceptions lately and struggled in the reverse matchup in San Francisco in Week 10. He has all the motivation in the world to play well Sunday. Cooper Kupp ($9,700) is chasing multiple single-season records and this should be an ideal spot to get them as the 49ers banged-up defense will have no answers for him. Odell Beckham ($5,800) has caught a TD in five of his last six games. He's cheap enough to pair with Kupp but would also make for a good pivot if you'd rather save some salary. Tyler Higbee ($4,000) was Stafford's favorite target last week when he caught six of nine targets for 69 yards. He's also quite cheap and makes for an appealing option in double-stacks. Sony Michel ($6,000) has been impressive lately, but with Cam Akers back healthy and expected to play a role, I'd rather just avoid Rams RBs.
- Favorite Stack: QB Stafford + WR Kupp + TE Kittle +/- WR Beckham
Other Stacks to Consider
- WR Cooper Kupp vs. SF ($9,700)
Kupp has a chance to reach two statistical milestones Sunday. He needs 12 catches to set the single-season receptions record and 136 yards to set the single-season record for receiving yards. Both Kupp and the Rams have spoken publicly about these numbers and both are in reach considering the volume of targets that Kupp gets week after week. The Rams also have plenty of motivation as they need to win to secure the division title and lock up the No. 2 seed. Kupp's salary has risen to it's highest point and hopefully that keeps some people away because he's scored 20-plus fantasy points in 10 of his last 11 games and topped 30 four times in that span. If he sets either record, he'll likely put up 30-plus again.
- RB Jonathan Taylor at JAX ($9,300)
The Colts are in a must-win spot and have a prime matchup against Jacksonville. The Jaguars gave up 50 points to the Patriots last week and have allowed 454 yards on the ground in their last two games. This should be the perfect spot for Taylor to put a stamp on what's been an incredible season. He already has 20 TDs and has rushed for at least 100 yards in seven of his last eight games. He's 266 yards away from 2,000 and while that might be a long shot, he should run wild against the Jags. He has the upside for 150-plus yards and multiple TDs.
Fading the Field
Every week we see at least one or two players who are popular without the backing of a top point-per-dollar projection. In some cases it even makes sense to fade a player with a strong projection, particularly when there are good alternatives at the same position and price range.
- WR Davante Adams at DET ($9,400)
Adams has been on a tear recently, putting up at least 33 fantasy points in three of his last four games. A matchup against the Lions looks good on paper, but the Packers have nothing to play for as they've already locked up the No. 1 seed. It's hard to imagine Adams plays more than a half and that wouldn't be long enough for him to pay off the $9,400 salary. A couple of other easy fades are Ja'Marr Chase ($8,300) and Tee Higgins ($7,200). Both Cincinnati WRs have been crushing lately and both have seen salary hikes. With Joe Burrow out and Brandon Allen expected to start, it's difficult to justify spending any salary on the Bengals passing game.
The Smash Spot
(Players in favorable spots to significantly outperform their salary.)
- RB D'Onta Foreman at HOU ($5,700)
Foreman is fresh off the best game of his career when he rushed 26 times for 132 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins last week. It was the second time in three weeks that he saw at least 24 touches, which is very encouraging for Sunday's matchup against Houston. The Titans need a win to lock up the No. 1 seed and the Texans rank bottom of the league against the run. With Derrick Henry expected back for the playoffs, expect Tennessee to run Foreman the entire game. He has upside for 100-plus yards and multiple TDs in a game where the Titans have all the motivation.
The Bargain Bin
QB Carson Wentz at JAX ($5,800)
QB Tyler Huntley vs. PIT ($5,700)
QB Davis Mills vs. TEN ($5,300)
RB D'Onta Foreman at HOU ($5,700)
RB Samaje Perine at CLE ($5,300)
RB Dare Ogunbowale vs. IND ($5,200)
RB Rex Burkhead vs. TEN ($5,200)
WR Robby Anderson at TB ($4,500)
WR Cyril Grayson vs. CAR ($4,400)
WR Laquon Treadwell vs. IND ($4,400)
WR Marvin Jones vs. IND ($4,300)
WR Antoine Wesley vs. SEA ($4,100)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud at BAL ($3,800)
TE Gerald Everett at ARI ($3,700)
TE Cole Kmet at MIN ($3,400)
TE John Bates at NYG ($3,000)`
Injuries to Monitor
- RB James Conner vs. SEA ($6,300)
Conner has missed back-to-back games due to a heel injury and has remained limited at practice this week. With Chase Edmonds already ruled out, Conner likely would be in line for a big role if he plays. If he misses another game, Eno Benjamin ($4,000) would get the start and be a viable option in cash-games for the minimum salary.
- Winds are expected up to 20 mph in Buffalo. Deep passes likely will be affected.
- It will be windy in Cleveland. With two backup QBs starting, both defenses look like good targets.