FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 18 (Saturday Slate)
The final weekend of the NFL regular season kicks off on Saturday. The slate starts at 4:30 p.m. EST with clash between the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) in Vegas. That's followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars (-6.0) hosting the Tennessee Titans at 8:15 p.m. EST.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools. Our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values -- you'll need to change the slate to Saturday only on the slate tab -- 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.
Let's dive into each position and see which players stand out as good options.
The matchup and game environment boxes are checked. The total in the Chiefs-Raiders game is 52.5 points, which is 13.0 points above the 39.5-point over/under in the Jags-Titans contest. KC's 31.0-point implied total is a slate-best mark by 8.75 points. This game is in Vegas, too, so it's indoors. The matchup is a great one the Raiders have allowed the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to signal-callers (19.1). According to our schedule-adjusted metrics, the Raiders are dead last in pass defense and second-worst in overall D.
Mahomes torched Las Vegas for 30.48 FanDuel points earlier this season, and with KC going for the top seed, we don't need to worry about the Chiefs' motivation. We project Mahomes to score 24.5 FanDuel points -- a slate-best mark by 7.3 points.
If you're not using Mahomes, Trevor Lawrence ($8,000) is the logical alternative.
Lawrence also has a dope matchup as he gets the Titans, a defense that has surrendered the third-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (20.5). Jacksonville is in a win-and-in scenario, so the Jags will have their foot on the gas all game. Lawrence has blossomed as the campaign has progressed, and he offers some rushing juice, going for at least 20 rushing yards in 7 of his previous 12 outings, including two games of 50-plus rushing yards. We have him scoring 17.3 FanDuel points versus the Titans.
Joshua Dobbs ($6,400) and Jarrett Stidham ($7,000) are value dart throws who have favorable matchups. Of the two, I prefer Stidham, and our model agrees as we peg him to score 16.7 FanDuel points compared to 11.6 for Dobbs.
Stidham was excellent last week, lighting up a good San Francisco 49ers defense for 365 yards and three touchdowns en route to 28.0 FanDuel points. While it's hard to know how much we can buy into that, he's surrounded by quality weapons, and this isn't a bad spot for him. Stidham is likely to face a pass-happy game script, and Kansas City's defense has given up the third-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (20.5). Although there's plenty of risk, Stidham's salary opens up things for the rest of your lineup.
Henry paces the position with a projection of 17.1 FanDuel points. Considering how vital this game is for the Titans and that they're starting Dobbs at quarterback, we're likely in for a huge dose of Henry. He has at least 104 rushing yards and a tuddy in each of his past three games -- all of which were losses -- including an outing of 121 rushing yards and 34 receiving yards against the Jags. Henry is averaging a career-best 25.3 receiving yards per game, which helps him stay relevant if the underdog Titans get into a hole, and we know he'll see a ton of work if Tennesee plays with a lead.
Jacobs -- who is questionable -- has been outstanding this season and has parlayed big-time volume into top-notch fantasy production. He's logged at least 20 total opportunities (carries plus targets) in eight of his past nine games. The efficiency has waned in recent weeks, but he rocked KC for 154 rushing yards and 39 receiving yards earlier this season. As long as there are no reports of Jacobs' workload being lessened in what is a meaningless game for Vegas, he's a superb play. We project him for 14.5 FanDuel points.
If Jacobs can't go, Zamir White ($4,800) will be a locked-and-loaded value play. Luckily the Raiders play in the slate's first game, so we'll know Jacobs' status and can plan around it.
Etienne is easy to love at his $7,300 salary. Prior to last week -- when he was rested some in what was a fairly worthless game for the Jaguars -- Etienne had handled 25 and 22 total opportunities in his previous two games. He should see plenty of work in a must-win game against Tennessee.
There are reasons to be wary of Etienne, though. He figures to be very chalky, and Tennesee has been good against the run (fourth-best by our metrics). Etienne struggled mightily in his first meeting with the Titans, turning 17 carries into only 32 rushing yards while going without a target in the passing game. Our projections have him at 11.6 FanDuel points, which ranks Etienne as a worse point-per-dollar play than both Henry and Jacobs.
I think Etienne is a major decision point on this slate, and I understand both sides of it. Volume usually trumps matchup at running back, and Etienne should get good volume at a modest salary. If you don't love playing him and his likely high draft percentage scares you, I see that side of it, too.
McKinnon has turned his pass-game role and some touchdown luck into really good fantasy numbers, scoring at least 11.3 FanDuel points in five straight games on the back of getting into the end zone seven times in that five-game run. He's played at least 47% of the snaps in all five games in that stretch, and he's been targeted at least six times in three of the five outings. He has, however, seen just eight total opportunities in each of the past two weeks.
I like Pacheco more for his salary. Even during McKinnon's emergence, Pacheco has played at least 43% of the snaps in four of the past five. Only one game in that span was a comfortable KC win; in it, Pacheco totaled 16 opportunities (14 carries). The Raiders have allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to backs (24.0), and I could see Pacheco handling a lot of rushing attempts if the favored Chiefs jump out front.
Davante Adams is in his own tier at what is a fairly meh receiver position.
He went off in Stidham's first start, making seven catches for 153 yards and two scores last week. He hauled in three passes for 154 yards and two tuds in the first meeting with Kansas City. With Vegas a 9.5-point 'dog, a negative game script should be on the cards on Saturday. We project Adams for 15.2 FanDuel points -- 4.2 more than any other receiver. Despite his lofty salary, Adams rates as the best point-per-dollar play at wideout.
Christian Kirk has topped double-digit FanDuel points in only two of his past six games, and he is second on the Jags in both target share (18%) and air yards share (22%) over the past four games. This is a really good spot for him, though, and if you don't use Etienne, you'll want exposure to the Jags' passing attack. Tennessee has permitted the most FanDuel points per game to receivers (33.5). A Kirk-Lawrence stack is fully in play, and we project Kirk to score 11.0 FanDuel points.
The wideout who paces Jacksonville in target share (18%) and air yards share (32%) over the last four games is Zay Jones ($6,600). He's produced just four receptions for 38 scoreless yards across the last two weeks and has been targeted nine times (16% target share) in that span. He gets the same great matchup and is capable of a spike week. At a projection of 9.2 FanDuel points, Jones rates out very similarly to Kirk in terms of points per dollar.
I am interested in both JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,000) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,400) -- either as one-offs or stacking partners with Mahomes. Our algorithm has them scoring 9.4 and 6.8 FanDuel points, respectively. The potential return of Mecole Hardman ($5,500) could steal a few looks away from both of these two.
I am intrigued by MVS more than JuJu. While Valdez-Scantling has seen just an 11% target share over the past four weeks, he has a 21% air yards share in that time. He's more appealing on a smaller slate as he can get into the optimal on one long score. The matchup with the Raiders is a good one, too, and the salary is handy.
Rounding out the position, Marvin Jones ($5,500) is plenty viable and has been targeted 17 times over the past three weeks. Treylon Burks ($6,400) has big-play upside and led the Titans with 66 receiving yards last week in Dobbs' lone start. Robert Woods ($5,700) had team-high marks in targets (nine) and catches (five) in that one but went for just 39 yards. I prefer Burks as a bring-back to Jaguars stacks. Mack Hollins ($5,800) has played at least 86% of the snaps in all three games since Hunter Renfrow ($5,300) returned. I like Hollins as a low-salary bring-back to KC stacks.
To Travis Kelce ($8,200) or not to Travis Kelce? That is the question.
Kelce has a salary that is $2,200 clear of anyone else's at the position, and according to our model, he has a projection of 14.6 FanDuel points, which is a slate-best clip by 6.9 FanDuel points. Despite the salary, he's the best point-per-dollar play at tight end by a mile, per our numbers, and Kelce is the premier stacking partner for Mahomes. The high salary will likely keep him from being over-the-top popular, and he tagged the Raiders for a four-touchdown day in the earlier meeting.
It's a two-man second tier of Darren Waller ($6,000) and Evan Engram ($5,800) after Kelce. On this slate, I think you can justify using two of Waller, Engram, and Kelce, meaning you'd put one at flex.
Engram gets a Tennessee D that has surrendered the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (12.1). He shredded them for 11 catches, 162 yards, and a pair of touchdowns in the first matchup. That outing -- coupled with his modest salary -- could make Engram the slate's most popular tight end.
Waller played 57% of the snaps last week, his most since coming off the shelf. He tallied three grabs for 72 yards and a score. He's a big-play threat who figures to see a negative game script. There's a lot to like.
Jacksonville has given up the ninth-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (10.7). These two are cannibalizing each other a bit with each usually playing between 45% and 60% of the snaps. We have Hooper forecasted for 4.9 FanDuel points and Okonkwo for 4.8. Both had good games against the Jags a few weeks ago, combining to catch all 11 of their targets for 113 yards and a touchdown (68 yards for Hooper, 45 and the score for Okonkwo).
If you have the salary, the Jacksonville D/ST ($4,700) checks some boxes. They're at home versus Dobbs, a quarterback who is making only his second start for the Titans. If the Jags are able to play with a lead and force Tennessee to air it out, the Jacksonville D/ST could make some noise. We project them for a slate-leading 8.0 FanDuel points.
You can say a lot of the same things for the Kansas City D/ST ($4,400) except KC is on the road. Stidham was really good a week ago; it remains to be seen if he can play like that again. If Kansas City lives up to their 31.0-point implied total, the Chiefs' defense should have plenty of chances to get sacks and turnovers. Our model has them at a projection of 7.2 FanDuel points.
I won't prioritize having the salary to get one of KC or Jacksonville, which means I'll likely wind up punting with the Tennessee D/ST ($3,800) or Las Vegas Raiders ($3,000). Admittedly, it's hard to get excited about either -- KC and Jacksonville have given up the fewest and second-fewest fantasy points to defenses, respectively -- but fantasy defense can be super random. Mahomes has committed a turnover in 9 of his last 11 games, including five turnovers across the last four weeks. Lawrence has a turnover in three straight.