FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 18 (Saturday Slate)
Saturday action gives us a fun and different way to play NFL DFS on FanDuel via two-game slates.
This slate starts at 4:30 p.m. EST and features the Kansas City Chiefs at the Denver Broncos in a game in which KC is an 11.5-point favorite and the total is 45.5 points. The nightcap is a clash between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas is a 4.5-point road favorite, and the over/under is 43.5.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses. (Set the slate to Saturday only.)
Let's dive into each position and see which players stand out as good options.
Kansas City Offense
Surprise, surprise -- the Chiefs' offense is going to be the chalk stack of the slate, and it's hard to argue against it. Even in a tough matchup at Denver, KC carries a 28.50-point implied total, which paces the slate by 4.5 points. The Chiefs have a shot at getting the AFC's top seed if they win and the Tennessee Titans lose, so motivation shouldn't be a problem. We can't say the same for Dallas, the team with the slate's second-highest implied total (24.00), which locks in KC as the team to stack.
Patrick Mahomes ($8,500), Tyreek Hill ($8,200), and Travis Kelce ($8,000) are excellent plays, and our model has all three ranked as the top player at their position by a good distance. It takes some coin to stack all three, but it's definitely feasible and is something I expect to see a lot of.
With Clyde Edwards-Helaire ruled out, Darrel Williams ($7,000) will be the lead back once more. He's easy to like at the salary, and in this role a week ago, Williams racked up 14 carries and 3 catches on his way to 107 total yards and 2 scores (24.2 FanDuel points). Our algorithm projects Williams for 15.3 FanDuel points, tops among running backs. Sign me up.
The rest of the Chiefs are dart throws. If I had to roll with one, it would be Byron Pringle ($5,400). He's seen at least four looks in each of the last three games, and he got up to 80% of the snaps two weeks ago before falling back down to a 48% snap rate last time out.
Lastly, we project Kansas City D/ST ($5,000) for a slate-best 8.4 points. That's 1.5 more than any other defense. While I don't love the idea of forking over $5,000 for a defense, KC's defense is in a great spot this week.
Of the four offenses on the slate, I think Denver's winds up being the least targeted, with the masses likely looking to the Broncos for one (maybe two) run-back pieces for their Chiefs stacks.
It's another week of Drew Lock ($6,500) under center. Lock has thrown for 153 and 245 yards in a pair of starts over the last two weeks. He's pretty clearly the worst quarterback play on the slate, and our projections agree, forecasting Lock for 13.8 FanDuel points -- 4.4 fewer than any other signal-caller.
Running backs Javonte Williams ($6,000) and Melvin Gordon ($6,000) are fine options as the Broncos will likely look to run the ball as much as they can while the game is competitive. Both have played between 50% and 55% of the snaps the past two weeks.
Williams shredded KC for 178 total yards and a tud sans Gordon earlier this year. He's been great with the chances he's gotten this season, and we project him for 10.4 FanDuel points, which makes him the RB3 on a slate that's fairly blah for backs.
Gordon is splitting things evenly with Williams and probably won't see as high of a draft percentage as Williams does. That makes him a good game-theory play. We have Gordon going for 8.8 FanDuel points.
The Broncos' wideouts and Noah Fant ($5,900) make sense as run-back pieces.
With Lock under center the last two games, Courtland Sutton ($5,700) has logged a 20% target share while Fant has accounted for 19% of the looks. Sutton has also gotten 31% of the air yards. It's hard to know how much stock to put into that, though, since Jerry Jeudy ($5,900) and Tim Patrick ($5,500) were out in Week 17. Our model rates all three wideouts similarly, with Jeudy's projection of 8.1 FanDuel points holding a slim edge.
Despite it being a two-game slate, tight end isn't too ugly, so I think you can justify using two tight ends (one at flex) if you're locking in Kelce. Fant is only fourth in salary at the position and is coming off a game of 6 grabs, 92 yards, and a touchdown, so he should garner some decent popularity.
The Cowboys don't have much to play for this week, and that makes them risky. But owner Jerry Jones has said the team plans to "play to win," and coach Mike McCarthy said the same. So, as of now, I think we can approach Dallas as if their key guys will see normal workloads, but be prepared to change up things if we get other reports.
As long as Dallas is going to give their studs a full allotment of snaps, the Cowboys are the second-best offense to stack on Saturday, and they're really the only viable pivot off KC stacks. If Dallas ends up sitting their key players or playing them less than the full game -- and we get word of that ahead of time -- then it becomes much harder to justify going light on the Chiefs.
We do know for sure that left-tackle Tyron Smith (COVID) will be out, and that's a blow to this offense.
Our projections have Dak Prescott ($7,700) as the number-two quarterback, pegging him to score 18.8 FanDuel points. He's been much better fantasy-wise over the last two weeks, notching 23.04 and 31.30 FanDuel points. He's run for 20 and 21 yards in those games, and while that doesn't seem like much, those account for two of his three games of at least 20 rushing yards this campaign as Dak hasn't been running like he used to.
Ezekiel Elliott ($7,600) turned 10 touches into a mere 30 total yards last time out, but prior to that dud, Zeke had been trending up, with 14.7 and 16.7 FanDuel points across his previous two games. The workhorse volume just hasn't been there as Elliott has racked up 15-plus carries only once in his last nine games -- getting exactly 9 carries four times in that span -- but the touchdown equity is solid in a quality Dallas offense.
It helps that Tony Pollard has been ruled out, although it's hard to imagine Dallas giving Zeke a massive amount of touches in a fairly meaningless game one week before the postseason, especially if Pollard's playoff status is at all in doubt. At a projection of 14.3 FanDuel points, Zeke is our RB2.
Our algorithm slots CeeDee Lamb ($7,400) and Amari Cooper ($7,000) as the WR2 and WR3, respectively, on this slate, projecting them for 11.8 and 10.5 FanDuel points. Cooper has been targeted 18 times over the last two games while Lamb has just 9 targets in that time. Lamb's volume will bounce back at some point, and both are nice options as long as Dak is expected to be full-go.
I'm also intrigued by Cedrick Wilson ($5,600), who should inherit a lot of Michael Gallup's role. With Gallup going down mid-game, Wilson wound up with 6 targets last week, catching all 6 for 35 yards and a score. He had a 7-catch, 104-yard game on Thanksgiving when Lamb sat out. Wilson and Dak seem to have a good rapport, and Wilson's salary is handy if you're stacking KC's big three.
Philly is in the same boat as Dallas -- the Eagles have a playoff spot locked up, and there is little to gain in Week 18. They haven't been quite as forthcoming about their plans, with coach Nick Sirianni giving some vague quotes on the matter earlier this week.
As with Dallas, I think we assume Philly is playing their key guys in their usual roles until we know for sure that isn't the case.
Jalen Hurts ($7,700) really intrigues me. Mahomes is going to soak up a huge draft percentage, and while Hurts could burn us if he unexpectedly gets pulled early, we know what kind of floor/ceiling combination he offers.
Hurts has run for at least 38 yards in 9 of his last 10 games, basically locking in a free passing touchdown almost every time out. He's put up 10 games of 19-plus FanDuel points. Even if Mahomes has a big day, Hurts could post a comparable score, and he'll be nowhere near as popular. And using Hurts doesn't keep you from rostering Hill and Kelce. Plus, it's not a stone-cold lock that Mahomes has said big day as he's on the road against a Denver defense that gives up the third-fewest FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (15.4).
As long as reports have Hurts playing the full game, he's a superb target.
With Dallas Goedert (COVID) looking unlikely to play, DeVonta Smith ($6,000) is the top stacking piece with Hurts. The rookie wideout has seen a 21% target share and 39% air yards share over the last four weeks. Despite the juicy air yards share, Smith has topped 54 yards only once in that span, but he's due to hit on a downfield bomb. He could avoid Trevon Diggs, too, if Diggs -- who is questionable with an illness -- has to sit out. We project Smith for 9.3 FanDuel points.
Quez Watkins (5,200) and Jalen Reagor ($5,500) usually don't offer much as they split the number-two wideout duties in a run-heavy offense, but if Goedert is out, they're not bad dart throws. Watkins has an 11% target share and 11% air yards share over the last four weeks. Reagor clocks in with an 11% target share and 7% air yards share in the split.
The Eagles' backfield is a hot mess. Miles Sanders is definitely out while Jordan Howard and Boston Scott might not be able to test out of the COVID protocols in time for the game. If all three sit, Kenneth Gainwell ($4,800) would be thrust into a big role and would probably wind up being a very chalky value play. Lead-back volume at $4,800 is hard to pass up. If one or both of Howard and Scott end up being able to play, we're likely looking at a committee that I won't be going out of my way to get a piece of.
If Dallas ends up sitting or giving lesser roles to some of their top guys, the Philadelphia D/ST ($3,700) becomes a great value defense.