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Braxton Berrios
NFL & CFB Betting

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire/DFS: Play These Players In Week 18

  • Zach Cohen
  • January 4, 2022
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You know how Ferris Bueller tells the audience to go home at the end of his titular movie? That’s me to you right now if your league is still in play. With all the end-of-season injuries and news of players resting, there’s a reason few leagues stretch into Week 18. Luckily for those of you with title hopes still on the line, I’m here not only with good final pickups but also with players who have DFS value. How’s that for killing two birds with one stone? The caveat with this entire column is the ever-changing landscape of football. By the time the first game kicks off Saturday afternoon, half of these players may be in different situations. Like I said earlier, players will sit—on both sides of the ball. So I’ll keep the blurbs shorter than usual to try to compensate for the expected onslaught of updates that’ll come throughout the week. If you have any more fantasy questions ahead of the season finale, hit me up on Twitter @ZachCohenFB. I’m happy to help! Quarterbacks

Trey Lance (QB - SF)

Week 17 Stat Line: 19.1 points, 249 passing yards, 2 passing TD, 1 interception, 31 rushing yards Man, imagine drafting Trey Lance with hopes of him winning you a fantasy championship. The sad part is that moment likely never came because Lance made only two starts this season. Well, if you navigated the season without a reliable backup quarterback and you somehow snuck Lance into your lineup for the title, then congrats! May I suggest playing the lottery next? At first glance, Lance’s QB1 performance may look like an outlier because it was only against the Texans. Interestingly enough, the Rams have allowed a bit more fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Lance may not play as efficiently as he did against Houston, but I’d still consider him a starter against Los Angeles.

Davis Mills (QB - HOU)

Week 17 Stat Line: 8.9 points, 163 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 1 interception, 4 rushing yards This is only if you’re a) desperate or b) cheap. The only reason I’m including Mills is because I feel bad just giving you one quarterback to consider. He also may face a Tennessee defense that rests its starters. Prior to a meager 8.9 points at San Francisco, Mills averaged 16 points in three games. Obviously, Mike Vrabel could realize the Titans desperately want that No. 1 seed. The more plausible scenario, though, is the Titans rest their starters or pull them early. That helps to make Mills the ultimate sneaky start in Week 18. Other Players to Consider: Carson Wentz, Zach Wilson Running Backs

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB - NE)

Week 17 Stat Line: 22.7 points, 107 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD You know how I said teams will rest their players? That could be true for the Patriots, who face a helpless Dolphins defense in Week 18. We already know Stevenson has RB1 potential, even if Damien Harris doesn’t officially sit out. If Harris does rest, though, Stevenson could be a breadwinner in all fantasy formats. While Miami’s defense isn’t a walk in the park for running backs, New England’s run game is too potent to overlook. Stevenson could be slated for a similar workload he saw against Jacksonville. He has immense potential this week.

Dare Ogunbowale (RB - JAX)

Week 17 Stat Line: 14.8 points, 38 rushing yards, 2 catches on 2 targets, 32 receiving yards, 1 TD Ogunbowale is the exact opposite of Stevenson this week, yet he still provides good value in all formats. Like in Week 17 against the Patriots, Ogunbowale will be a bellcow running back with ample opportunity in the passing game. There is very, very, very little to like about the Jaguars’ offense, but Ogunbowale has a large enough role to be enticing in all formats. He should be a strong consideration as a flex or low-end RB2 this week.

Le’Veon Bell (RB - TB)

Week 17 Stat Line: 8.5 points, 5 rushing yards, 3 catches on 3 targets, 30 receiving yards What year is this? And what universe? Who’d have thought we’d be here considering Le’Veon Bell a few weeks ago—let alone a few years ago? https://twitter.com/zachcohenfb/status/1478034848342290433?s=21 When Ronald Jones left in the third quarter with an ankle injury, Bell shared the backfield with Ke’Shawn Vaughn pretty evenly. While Vaughn saw five more carries than Bell, Bell nearly doubled the number of routes Vaughn ran. Again, it’s too early to tell if Jones will play in a mostly meaningless Week 18 or what roles Bell and Vaughn will have. If Sunday’s any indication, Bruce Arians may trust Bell more in passing situations. And honestly, I just can’t confidently vouch for Vaughn at this point. Maybe that changes later in the week, but until then, Bell’s role as a receiver gives him sneaky fantasy value.

Duke Johnson (RB - MIA)

Week 17 Stat Line: 8.5 points, 49 rushing yards, 2 catches on 3 targets, 16 receiving yards Like, sure? We saw Johnson in a primary role three games ago, and he knocked it out of the park. Miami’s backfield is extremely frustrating, so Johnson may not be the most reliable option. However, he has enough upside and involvement as a receiver to be a sneaky cheap option in DFS. I’m not sure I’d rely on him in any other format, though. Other Players to Consider: Ameer Abdullah, Alexander Mattison, D’Ernest Johnson Wide Receivers

Braxton Berrios (WR - NYJ)

Week 17 Stat Line: 25.7 points, 8 catches on 12 targets, 65 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD  Berrios was my top waiver target and a sneaky start for me last week. Thanks for making me look good, Braxton! For the fourth straight week, Berrios produced double-digit points. What made this week different? His increased role as a pass-catcher. He led the Jets with a whopping 12 targets versus the Buccaneers. Berrios’ role in the short-to-intermediate game allows him to be Zach Wilson’s security blanket. As long as Jamison Crowder is out, Berrios is a WR2 in all formats. He’s someone I’d definitely look to add in all lineups.

Laquon Treadwell (WR - JAX)

Week 17 Stat Line: 14.7 points, 6 catches on 6 targets, 87 receiving yards Remember when I said this last week? “Don’t look now: Treadwell has been playing really well lately. Since Week 12, Treadwell has averaged 10.3 points while maintaining enough consistency to make him a low-ceiling flex option. He hasn’t been seeing the target volume of Marvin Jones Jr., but again, he’s been extremely predictable—in a good way. And he’s only owned in less than 2% of leagues, per FantasyPros’ consensus ownership stats. I’d rather have him on my team over guys like Julio Jones, Kenny Golladay… and even Terry McLaurin.“ Yeah, his performance in Week 17 solidified his place in lineups for Week 18.

Zay Jones (WR - LV)

Week 17 Stat Line: 19.9 points, 8 catches on 10 targets, 120 receiving yards Zay Jones is here, and he’s glorious! Not only did he lead all Raiders in targets, but he also hit 100 yards for the first time this season. His deep-ball prowess syncs up beautifully with Derek Carr, who’s currently fourth in league passing yards. Jones has also steadily seen his targets rise over the last few games. He has 34 targets in the last four games—10th-most among all wideouts in that span. Jones is my favorite play this week against the Chargers on primetime, and he won’t be expensive.

Rashod Bateman (WR - BAL)

Week 17 Stat Line: 12.8 points, 7 catches on 10 targets, 58 receiving yards With Sammy Watkins out, Bateman reclaimed his role as Baltimore’s WR2. And even with Watkins back in the lineup, Bateman proved he’s here to stay for at least the next week. He led the team in targets and snaps. Whether it’s Lamar Jackson or Tyler Huntley, Bateman has proved to be a positive chain-mover. He’s someone I really like for cheap in Week 18 against a suspect Steelers secondary.

Antoine Wesley (WR - ARI)

Week 17 Stat Line: 19 points, 4 catches on 5 targets, 30 receiving yards, 2 receiving TD  Wesley just keeps getting better and better. Or so it seems based on his rising weekly fantasy production. In Week 17, we were treated to a pair of touchdowns from DeAndre Hopkins’ replacement. It remains to be seen who suits up for Arizona in Week 18, but I like Wesley regardless of what receivers take the field. When you’re hot, you’re hot. Sounds simple, and it is. Wesley has legit upside to make you some big bucks in DFS this week, especially against Seattle’s woeful secondary. Other Players to Consider: Cyril Grayson, Cedrick Wilson, Allen Lazard, T.Y. Hilton, Freddie Swain Tight Ends

Cameron Brate (TE - TB)

Week 17 Stat Line: 8.5 points, 2 catches on 3 targets, 5 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD  I’ll save my underwhelming spew about tight ends to point out two facts. Fact 1: Brate has three touchdowns in five games. While he didn’t eclipse 10 points in any of those games, he could see more action than normal in Week 18 if Rob Gronkowski sits. Fact 2: We have no clue who will be catching passes for the Buccaneers on Sunday. We may not even know until the day of. And I doubt Brate is one of those players to rest much. If you want to swing for the fences, Brate is a sneaky, cheap option in all formats.

Tyler Conklin (TE - MIN)

Week 17 Stat Line: 9.7 points, 5 catches on 9 targets, 47 receiving yards Like with the quarterbacks, I feel bad giving you just one name for tight ends. I’m going with Conklin because we’ve seen him produce some solid games this season. On top of that, he was Week 17’s TE11 heading into Monday Night Football. With Adam Thielen out for the season, I’d expect Conklin to see a similar stat line as he did in Week 17. And that, my friends, closes this season’s chapter on waiver wire tight ends. Thank goodness we survived (barely). Other Players to Consider: None. It’s over. Go home.

Written By

Zach Cohen