Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 18

Starts and Sits to consider for Week 18

Aaron Rodgers

The vast majority of fantasy football leagues have concluded. However, there are a few holdouts that play into the final week. For those still active, our Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 18 can help navigate the most difficult slate of the season. 

Editor’s note: This article is written by Bradley Stalder

QUARTERBACKS 

Start ‘Em

Sam Darnold (Carolina Panthers)

The Panthers may have been eliminated from the playoffs last week with a loss to the Tampa Buccaneers, but that doesn’t mean they won’t play their hearts out in Week 18 against the Colts. Darnold has played well as of late, finishing as the QB8 and QB6 each of the last two weeks. He’s thrown 7 TDs and only 1 INT on the season. The Panthers have a 26% PFF Pass Block projected advantage over the New Orleans Saints. Darnold is on the streaming radar for Week 18.

Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

This is a must-win game for the Packers, as their fate rides in the hands of Aaron Rodgers. The last time Rodgers played the Lions, he set a season-high with 291 passing yards and tied for his 3rd best weekly finish on the season. The Packers have a 20% PFF Pass Block projected advantage over the Detroit Lions. Also, David Bakhtiari practiced on Wednesday, which bodes well for his availability in Week 18.

Sit ‘Em

Mike White (New York Jets)

The Jets were eliminated with a loss last week. White is still suffering from the ribs injury that cost him two games earlier in the season. Now he’s limited in practice and questionable. White threw for his fewest yards on the season and had his worst weekly finish at QB31. That, and along with a Miami defensive line projected to have a 46% Pass Block advantage over the New York Jets, it could be ugly as Miami needs to win and needs the Patriots to lose to make the playoffs.

Daniel Jones (New York Giants)

The Giants have zero playoff motivation to win this game. They are locked into the 6th seed, and while a divisional win would be nice, depriving the Eagles of a 1st round bye may not be worth it come the 2nd half of the game. The Eagles are going all-out to win, and have a 33% projected Pass Block advantage over the Giants’ offensive line. It could get ugly quickly. UPDATE: Reports out of New York are that Tyrod Taylor has a good chance to start. Finding an alternative to Jones is imperative.

RUNNING BACKS

Start ‘Em

Tyler Allgeier (Atlanta Falcons)

Allgeier needs exactly 100 yards to get to 1,000 rushing yards this season. And he has a chance to do it on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While Allgeier only went 13-45 the last time the Bucs and Falcons matched up, the Bucs give up 117 rush yards per game. The Falcons have a projected 53% Run Block advantage over Tampa’s defensive line per PFF, and the Bucs have nothing to play for as they are locked into the 4-seed in the NFC. Since Week 13, Tyler Allgeier has posted the highest PFF RUN grade among all running backs.

Jamaal Williams (Detroit Lions)

For the Lions to make the playoffs, the Seahawks must lose and the Lions must defeat the Packers on Sunday night. Enter Jamaal Williams’ revenge game. Williams is coming fresh off a monster game: 22-144-1 and caught his only target for 13 yards. His RB4 finish on the week tied for his best weekly finish this season. And Williams will get room to run against the Packers, as Green Bay allows over 140 rush yards per game, 7th worst in the league. Finally, the Lions’ OL also projects to have a 34% Run Block advantage over the Packers.

Sit ‘Em

Travis Etienne (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Etienne has posted three straight games over 100 scrimmage yards. Why fade in a must-win game for Jacksonville? Tennessee has allowed the 2nd fewest rushing yards to opponents this season and has only allowed 77 rush yards per game over the last 3 games. Even worse, this game is in Jacksonville, and Tennessee allows only 62.4 rush yards per game on the road. PFF projects a 63% Run Block advantage for the Titans over the Jaguars. And we’ve seen this before. Etienne rushed 17 times in Week 14 against the Titans but only mustered 32 yards at a 1.88-yards-per-carry clip. 

James Conner (Arizona Cardinals)

Conner left the Week 17 game against the Falcons early, playing his fewest snaps since Week 5. He’s sat out of practice all week so far and doesn’t look like he’s trending to play. Even if he were to play, Conner faces a San Francisco 49ers team that needs to win for a chance at a #1 Seed in the NFC. The last time Conner faced the 49ers, he went 14-42-1 on the ground and 2-17 receiving. Not to mention the 49ers allow the fewest rush yards to opponents on the season.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Start ‘Em

Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers)

Aiyuk seems to have found his chemistry with Brock Purdy. In Purdy’s first three games, Aiyuk went 9-157-1 on 14 targets. In the Week 17 game against Las Vegas, Aiyuk caught 9 passes for 101 yards and a TD on 12 targets and sprinkled in a rush for 16 yards. It was Aiyuk’s first 100-yard receiving game of the season. Aiyuk projects to line up most of his snaps across from Jace Whittaker, who has allowed a crisp 69% of his yards after the catch– a Shanahan specialty. Arizona allows the 8th most passing yards on the year and look to be without Budda Baker in Week 18.

Deebo Samuel (San Francisco 49ers)

Game After Returning from Injury

Scrimmage Yards
Snap %
Opportunities
Week 10, 2022
51
87%
10
Week 13, 2021
59
77%
9
Week 12, 2020
133
88%
13
Week 4, 2020
45
34%
4
Week 8, 2019
48
69%
5

When Deebo Samuel returns from injury, he is not normally eased in. Almost every game in the table above where he returned from an injury resulted in almost 70%+ snaps played and the most three recent such games have resulted in 9+ opportunities (rushes + targets). Deebo has practiced this week, with both full and limited. If he’s ruled “good to go”, Deebo is a start. He’s projected to line up most against Christian Matthew, the 32nd worst (of 147) coverage-graded CBs.

Kadarius Toney (Kansas City Chiefs)

A deeper league consideration, Kadarius Toney has either scored a TD or recorded 70+ receiving yards in the last three games he’s played at least 30+ of snaps. Toney has a 27.3% target rate on the season, and even with Mecole Hardman returning to play, Toney plays primarily in the slot– a role he’s been splitting with Skyy Moore. However, Moore is dealing with a hand injury that has officially ruled him out for Week 18. Toney gets the slot to himself.

Sit ‘Em

D.J. Chark (Detroit Lions)

Chark should get the Jaire Alexander– whom he missed due to injury– shadow treatment in Week 18. Also, Chark is matchup dependent– bust games against William Jackson & Sauce Gardner– but boom games against Dantzler, Henderson, and Tyson Campbell. QB Jared Goff’s home-road splits are well documented. This may be a must-win game for Detroit, especially if Seattle loses. However, the Lions may lean on more trustworthy players such as Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jamaal Williams to move the ball against the Packers. 

Michael Gallup (Dallas Cowboys)

Gallup has more than 50 yards receiving just once since Week 4, despite playing 64% of snaps or more in all but one game. The surprising renaissance of TY Hilton – 5 receptions for 102 yards on 6 targets with only 40% snap share across two games– seems to be nibbling into Gallup’s workload. Gallup is projected to line up across from Kendall Fuller for the majority of the game. Fuller has allowed only 18 receiving yards per game over his last 5. The last time Gallup faced Washington, he caught 2 passes on 3 targets for 24 yards. 

Christian Kirk (Jacksonville Jaguars)

The last time Kirk faced off against Tennessee, he went 5-45 on 7 targets, one of his worst games of the season. In three of Kirk’s last four games, his aDOT has dropped below 6.5. There was only one such game thru Week 13. Kirk projects to line up the majority of his snaps across from Amani Hooker, who hasn’t allowed more than 47 yards in a game, and on average only allows 21 yards per game. Hooker is the 23rd best coverage graded DB of 157 CB/S with at least 300 snaps played. This may once again be an Evan Engram game.

TIGHT ENDS

Start ‘Em

Robert Tonyan (Green Bay Packers)

The Lions give up the 6th most fantasy points to opposing TEs on the season. Tonyan is coming off his 2nd best weekly finish of the season – TE7– catching 3 passes for 52 yards and a TD. Also, Tonyan has an 83% catch rate on the season, and Alex Anzalone allows 80% receptions to TEs on the season.

Cade Otton (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Cameron Brate was a healthy scratch in Week 17, which got Otton back up to 87% of snaps– his highest since week 8. Otton also commanded 6 targets in Week 17, something he’s done on 4 other occasions this season. Troy Anderson, the LB projected to matchup against Otton most, allows the 2nd most yards per route covered on the season and is a positive matchup. Otton only has two TDs on the year, but went 6-43 on 7 targets and finished as the TE14 in his last matchup against ATL.

Sit ‘Em

Trey McBride (Arizona Cardinals)

McBride had a nice game in Week 17, catching 7 passes for 78 yards and a score on 10 targets, against the Atlanta Falcons who allow the 4th most fantasy points to opposing TEs on the season. McBride faces a much more difficult task against a stingy 49ers defense which allows the 7th fewest TE fantasy points. San Francisco’s weakness is their secondary, which may mean a bigger day for Hollywood Brown or Greg Dortch, but McBride has the 2nd worst yards/ route run among TEs on the Week 18 slate.

Hunter Henry (New England Patriots)

Death, taxes, and fade your TEs against Buffalo’s Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds has allowed less than 30 receiving yards in each of the last 6 games and hasn’t allowed a TD since Week 4. Edmunds is PFF’s No. 1 coverage linebacker. Buffalo allows the 2nd fewest fantasy points per game to opposing TEs and hasn’t allowed a TD to any TE this season. And, the last time Hunter Henry and the Patriots played Buffalo, Henry went 2-13 on 5 targets.

 


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About Jody Smith 273 Articles
With over a decade of winning experience, Jody is a well-known fixture in the fantasy football community. He was named Fantasy Pros’ **Most Accurate Ranker** previously and was the site’s Top NFL over/under totals picker with a record 65% accuracy in 2020, while also ranking 5th in the country with a 55% against-the-spread hit rate. Jody has written for many sites over the years including Pro Football Focus, FantasyPros, CBS Sportsline, FantasyData, and is a regular contributor to the Fantasy Index magazine expert’s poll, draft, and auction.Jody’s experience ranking and projecting player performance will help prepare the Fulltime Fam for their big draft days as well as answers they can trust on Sunday for those ever crucial Who Do I Start questions.