7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 18
We all love a good fantasy football sleeper, and hey, even though it's Week 18, we may need some.
Perhaps your commissioner decided a Week 18 conclusion was best for your league, or perhaps you do something cool like a multi-week championship to reduce some variance and reward the best overall managers.
Whatever it is, if you need sleepers, I got some for this week.
There's a soft cutoff of a 40% roster rate to determine who is a true sleeper, but with fewer managers vying for pickups at this stage of the game, we might go above that a bit in places.
Target these options if you need them this week.
Taysom Hill (46%) - It's an overall bleak week for under-rostered quarterbacks -- simply because we have every team in action. That said, a few starters are out (e.g. Joe Burrow) or have nothing to play for (e.g. Aaron Rodgers).
And, yes, I know Hill's roster rate is above 40%, but you should be competing with fewer teams to scrap for Week 18 fantasy points with most of them eliminated.
Hill, simply, should be on more than half of rosters -- well more than half. He has run the ball 11, 11, 11, and 12 times in his four starts while clearing 220 passing yards in two of those games. That's led to at least 17.3 fantasy points in three of four.
If looking for a more traditional sleeper, it's tougher. Justin Fields would fit into that role, however, in a meaningless game against the Minnesota Vikings and should draw the primary sleeper tag if Hill is already rostered in your league.
Ke'Shawn Vaughn (4%) - Vaughn and/or Le'Veon Bell (5%) could be crucial Week 18 pickups. Ronald Jones would have to go from wearing a walking boot on Wednesday to suiting up on Sunday to render this duo entirely irrelevant.
With Jones leaving early in Week 17, Vaughn handled 8 carries and 3 targets on 24 snaps while Bell saw just 3 carries and 3 targets on his 25 snaps. The usage indicates we should prioritize Vaughn if we get a game without Ronald Jones.
Rex Burkhead (30%) - There are a handful of primary running backs on bad offenses (Burkhead, Dare Ogunbowale, and Samaje Perine -- without Joe Burrow) in the mix for sleeper love, but Burkhead seems to be in the best overall position.
The Houston Texans are 10-point underdogs against the Tennessee Titans, of course, yet their implied total is actually slightly higher than Ogunbowale's Jacksonville Jaguars (who are 15.5-point home underdogs to the Indianapolis Colts, who are in a must-win spot) and Perine's Cincinnati Bengals (6.0-point underdogs to the Cleveland Browns).
Last week, Burkhead played on 67.7% of the team's snaps and handled 16 carries (3 in the red zone) with 6 targets on a 57.1% route rate. His receiving work could really separate him from the pack of sleepers, given the negative script expected.
Gabriel Davis (25%) - What if I told you that the Buffalo Bills' leading receiver in terms of routes run from Week 17 was available in 75% of leagues? Pretty nice, eh? That's what we get with Davis, who ran a route on all 26 drop backs in Week 17.
Sure, he had just 3 targets (catching all 3 for 40 yards), but he also has a solid 17.1% target share (6.0 per game) in his past three while running virtually as many routes (87.6%) as Stefon Diggs (88.4%). Davis is part of an elite offense, and that gives him immense value that not all sleeper receivers have.
Tyler Johnson (7%) - Tyler Johnson stands to benefit from the absence of Antonio Brown. Johnson ran a route on 68.6% of the Buccaneers' drop backs in Week 17 and generated 6 targets for 50 yards on them. Of those 6 targets, 2 were at least 20 yards downfield, and 1 was in the red zone.
Johnson, over the past three games, has run a route on 79.1% of drop backs, trailing just Rob Gronkowski on the Bucs. That comes attached to Tom Brady, who is 488 yards from breaking the single-season passing record. Added volume from Brady should funnel to Johnson in Week 18.
Zay Jones (1%) - The Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers are in a crucial Week 18 matchup against one another. That should keep both sides competitive for all 60 minutes. That'll be good for Jones, who has had single-game target market shares of 25.0%, 32.0%, and 31.3% over the past three games.
In that three-game span, Jones has averaged 9.0 targets and 79.0 yards (for a 29.0% target share and 43.5% air yards share). Even against the Chargers, Jones is a volume-based sleeper in Week 18 for needy squads.
Conklin has been a key part of replacing the targets vacated by Adam Thielen. Conklin has averaged 5.6 targets (17.0%) and 1.2 red zone targets (21.4%) since Week 13 with Thielen barely playing.
The Chicago Bears are just league average against tight ends in terms of adjusted fantasy points per target allowed.