Skip to main content

NFL DFS Week 18: Picks, Plays and Values

A Josh Allen-Dawson Knox stack against the Jets could be a winner.

After researching the NFL player pool at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end each week over the past few seasons, I will go on a new path for the daily games in 2021. I continue to make the stat projections for Sports Illustrated, and this baseline will be used to identify possible values at each position during the season.

In the daily games, we see players with low salaries post difference-maker scores each week. The key to winning is mixing a core of studs with some undervalued options that post impact scores for their price point.

Depending on the format, the goal is to find players that will score three or four times their salary to have a shot at GPP (grand prize pool).

Quarterback

Top Tier: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills ($8,100/$8,800)

After shining in a must-win situation in New England (378/3), Allen had his worst game of the season passing the ball against the Falcons (11-for-26 for 120 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions). However, his value in the run game (15/81/2) allowed him to post a competitive day in fantasy (25.10 points). As a result, Allen still leads all quarterbacks in scoring (27.40 FPPG). In Week 10, he passed for 366 yards and two scores vs. the Jets while gaining 13.1 yards per pass attempt.

josh-allen-bills-beat-chiefs

New York ranks 27th defending quarterbacks (22.10 FPPG), with their biggest failure coming last week (TB – 410/3). They allow 8.2 yards per pass attempt and 27 passing touchdowns. In addition, the Jets continue to have risk against the run (492/2,192/27), leading to running backs scoring 27 times.

SI Sportsbook lists the Bills as a 16.5-point favorite with an over/under of 42.5. However, a one-sided game restricts Allen's ceiling, and Buffalo does have a top defense. He has an excellent matchup, but his fantasy value must come early in the game if the Jets lay down offensively.

More: Kyler Murray – 28.76 fantasy points

Value: Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints ($6,200, $7,700)

Over his four starts, Hill has run the ball 45 times for 252 yards and two touchdowns (6.2 FPPG). In addition, he averaged 204 passing yards while delivering three touchdowns with four interceptions. Hill scored 27.30 and 28.05 fantasy points in his top two games in four-point passing touchdown leagues. Over two starts against the Falcons in 2020, he gained 597 combined yards with four touchdowns.

Atlanta sits 29th in quarterback defense (22.93 FPPG), with failure against the run (86/413/4). Over the past seven games, only one team had success passing the ball (TB – 368/4). Offenses scored nine rushing touchdowns over the previous four weeks. The Falcons only have 18 sacks, with quarterbacks gaining 7.1 yards per pass attempt.

Hill has a high floor due to value in the run game. However, his passing matchup isn’t ideal, and the Saints have weakness at wide receiver and tight end. Hill projects to gain 244 combined yards with 2.5 touchdowns, giving him a chance to post a fantasy score four times his salary.

More: Lamar Jackson – 26.23 fantasy points

Running Back

Top Tier: Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts ($9,300/$10,200)

The Colts need a win to clinch a playoff berth. Taylor needs 266 rushing yards to reach 2,000. Over his last 13 games, he gained 1,770 combined yards with 20 touchdowns and 29 catches (25.08 FPPG). Taylor gained over 100 rushing yards in his past four starts (seven of his eight games). In Week 10, he finished with 126 combined yards with one score and six catches against the Jaguars.

SI Recommends

Jacksonville has slipped to 21st defending running backs (24 FPPG). Four teams scored over 35 fantasy points. Over the last two weeks, the Jets and Patriots rushed for 454 yards with five touchdowns. The Jaguars allow 4.3 yards per carry, with backs scoring 18 times.

Taylor is a home run threat with multiple scoring upside. He looks to be on a path to gain 139 yards with 1.35 touchdowns and two catches. However, Taylor has a high salary, requiring a minimum of two scores and well over 150 yards to pay off.

More: Dalvin Cook – 24.36 fantasy points

Value: Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills ($6,000/$6,700)

Over the last four weeks, the Bills had Singletary on the field for over 80% of their plays. In addition, his opportunity in touches improved over the previous three games (23, 17, 23), leading to 284 combined yards with four touchdowns and six catches (19.47 FPPG). He has set career-highs in rushing attempts (169), rushing yards (782) and touchdowns (6). In Week 10, Singletary had short chances against the Jets (49 yards, one touchdown and one catch on eight touches).

New York continues to have the worst defense in the league against running backs (32.78 FPPG). Backs have 27 touches with plenty of success in the passing game (99/877/4). Nine teams scored over 30 fantasy points, with two disaster showings (66 and 54.8 fantasy points).

Singletary has an excellent matchup, and his stock is on the rise. A touchdown should be a given with a couple of catches. However, a blowout game may restrict his opportunity in the second half. I have him projected for 119 combined yards with a touchdown and four catches.

More: D’Andre Swift – 18.86 fantasy points

Wide Receiver

Top Tier: Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings ($8,100/$8,500)

Over his seven starts at home, Jefferson has 47 catches for 711 yards and five touchdowns, highlighted by four games (9/118/1, 7/124, 8/169/2, 8/116). He set career highs in catches (103), receiving yards (1,509), touchdowns (9) and targets (160). The Bears held him to four catches for 47 yards and one touchdown in Week 15. Minnesota looked his way 92 times over the past eight weeks (11.5 per game).

Chicago inched up to 11th in wide receiver defense (175/2,347/19). Five offenses gained over 200 yards at wideouts (LAR – 14/236/2, DET – 16/224/2, TB – 16/203/4, SF – 13/275, GB – 19/216/3). The Bears struggled against four wide receivers (Cooper Kupp – 7/108/1, Chris Godwin – 8/111/1, Deebo Samuel – 6/171, Davante Adams – 10/121/2).

Jefferson is the fourth-highest scoring wide receiver (19.4 FPPG). Both of his impact games (8/169/2 and 11/182/1) came against division opponents. He projects to catch seven passes for 110 yards with a touchdown.

More: Cooper Kupp – 28.56 fantasy points

Value: Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans ($6,300/$7,100)

Considering the quarterback play in Houston and the overall receiving corps, Cooks has had another impressive season (87/1,011/6). In addition, he’s played well over his last three starts (8/101, 7/102/2, 7/66/1). Cooks gains 14.4 yards per catch at home (9.5 on the road). Despite playing for four different franchises, he gained over 1,000 yards in six of his previous seven seasons. However, the Titans held him to two catches for 18 yards in Week 11.

Texans Brandin Cooks Fantasy Football

Tennessee ranks 31st against wide receivers (232/2,966/17) despite improvement over the past six weeks (8/74, 13/179/2, 17/189, 9/86, 15/218/1, 8/93). Despite their struggles, only three wideouts gained over 100 yards (Tyler Lockett – 8/178/1, Corey Davis – 4/111/1, Deebo Samuel – 9/159).

The Titans are 10-point favorites this week, pointing to a chaser game for Cooks. He looks to be on a path for seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.

More: Terry McLaurin – 19.45 fantasy points

Tight End

Top Tier: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers ($6,700/$6,900)

After an excellent three-game run (9/181/2, 13/151/1, 6/93), Kittle was a no-show over the past two weeks (2/21 and 1/29) while receiving only five combined targets. In Week 10, he finished with five catches for 50 yards and one touchdown against the Rams. Most of his production has come over five starts (41/618/4).

Los Angeles is about league average against tight ends (85/868/4), but they haven’t allowed a touchdown over the past six weeks. In two matchups, the Rams struggled vs. tight ends (TB – 9/101 and HOU – 8/94/1).

The change to Trey Lance at quarterback points to more runs by the 49ers. Los Angeles has a top cornerback (Jalen Ramsey), who should be focused on covering Deebo Samuel. Kittle should regain a bounce in his step this week. I set his bar at six catches for 72 yards with a 25% chance of scoring. He needs a touchdown to fill his salary bucket.

More: Mark Andrews – 17.99 fantasy points

Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills ($5,400/$6,000)

Knox has been quiet over his past three games at home (2/14, 4/38 and 0/0). However, he has a touchdown in his last three games on the road (3/32/2, 7/60/1, 2/11/1), pushing his production to 21 catches for 279 yards and six scores away from home. The Jets held him to one catch for 17 yards in Week 10.

New York fell to 26th vs. tight ends (90/1,066/9). Four teams gained over 100 yards (ATL – 16/189/2, MIA – 10/106, PHI – 6/105/2, TB – 9/120/1), but each of those outcomes came at home. Tight ends have a 74.4% catch rate while gaining 11.8 yards per catch.

Knox works best in a stack with Josh Allen. His best value should come in scoring when the Jets try to cover their weakness against the run in the red zone.

More: Zach Ertz – 13.24 fantasy points

More fantasy and NFL coverage: