4 FanDuel NFL Studs to Target in Week 18

Spending your available salary in any DFS lineup on a stud can make or break your lineup. These high-salaried players will take up the majority of your budget, so it’s critical to carefully consider which ones you’ll want for each slate. Whether it’s trying to capture a safe floor in a cash game or chasing a huge game to help you win a tournament, nailing the expensive players is one of the keys to making winning NFL lineups on FanDuel.

It's the last week of the regular season, so motivation will play a huge factor in our roster decisions on this slate.

Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

FanDuel Salary: $8,200
Projected Points: 19.8

The whole football world was looking forward to watching Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night before one of the scariest incidents we've seen in the NFL ended the affair early. With the status of that game still up in the air, the Bengals will have to go all out for the win this week while we all continue to wish the best for Damar Hamlin in his recovery.

Burrow is having a great season after many had doubts the Bengals could repeat last year's success. A lot of doubts were about the coaching and whether or not they would unleash Burrow and his weapons, and they have done just that. Cincinnati ranks second in the NFL in pass rate over expected. This elevated pass volume has led to Burrow being the QB4 by fantasy points per game.

The Bengals will face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. The Ravens also need to win this week if they want to improve their seeding, so it won't be an easy ride for the Bengals. However, the Baltimore pass defense isn't one to be afraid of, as they rank 17th in numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics.

There aren't a lot of high-salary options at quarterback despite it being a large slate, and Burrow stands out as one with upside and motivation.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

FanDuel Salary: $8,000
Projected Points: 13.8

It hasn't been the best season for Dalvin Cook, but he still is the RB8 in half-PPR scoring. The fact that he isn't having some kind of dominant season might keep his popularity down lower than it should be in this great spot this week.

The Minnesota Vikings are coming off of a complete embarrassment last week, losing 41-17. This week, they have a chance to go into the playoffs on a high note and can get the number-two seed. That would guarantee at least two home playoff games. This should quell any worries that the Vikings will limit Cook in any way. Among all backs this year, Cook has seen the highest share of team running back rushes and fifth-highest share of team opportunities.

Minnesota will play the Chicago Bears on the road this week. The Bears have nothing left to play for and will be starting Nathan Peterman at quarterback. That should allow the Vikings plenty of time of possession as well as plenty of chances to run at a defense that allows the fourth-most adjusted fantasy points per carry.

The Vikings are 7.5-point favorites in this game and have the slate's fourth-highest implied team total. Cook had his best fantasy game of the season against Chicago earlier this year and could beat that if things break right.

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

FanDuel Salary: $8,200
Projected Points: 14.0

There were people who doubted whether or not CeeDee Lamb could be a true number-one receiver on a good offense. Well, Lamb has quieted any of those questions with a really nice year and should be able to close out the regular season with a solid game.

Lamb is peaking at the right time, going for at least 100 yards in three straight games. He's the WR6 overall in half-PPR scoring, which is impressive when considering he played a chunk of the season with a backup quarterback. Lamb's 29.3% target share is the third highest for receivers on this slate.

The Dallas Cowboys can possibly get the one seed in the NFC, so they will be trying their hardest to win. That should mean Lamb is involved as much as normal, if not more so. Dallas will face the Washington Commanders in their regular-season finale. Washington's playoff hopes ended last week, and it will be hard for them to find motivation. This was going to be a good matchup for Lamb anyway as the Commanders are 21st in adjusted fantasy points per target allowed to wide receivers.

Dallas has a 24.0-point implied team total, and Lamb is one of the best plays at receiver on the slate.

Taysom Hill, TE, New Orleans Saints

FanDuel Salary: $7,000
Projected Points: 10.9

It's Week 18 -- it's time to get weird. That's why we need to consider Taysom Hill at tight end. He's obviously not a traditional tight end, but that gives him upside that isn't common at the position.

Hill's role has been increasing in recent weeks. Last week, he saw a season-high 14 carries, gaining just 46 yards but also scoring a touchdown. He also tossed two passes, completing both for 24 yards, and he caught his only target for 10 yards. On the season, he has seven rushing touchdowns, two receiving touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. That makes him a very interesting option at fantasy's thinnest position, especially without Travis Kelce on the slate.

The New Orleans Saints are at home this week against the Carolina Panthers. Both of these teams just got eliminated last week and have no motivation this week. The thing pointing to Taysom being a decent play this week is that this a chance for the Saints' play-callers to get deep into their bag of tricks with nothing on the line. New Orleans also doesn't have their first-round pick in the 2023 draft, meaning that losing doesn't benefit them in any way.

The Saints are 3.5-point favorites in this game, which is in a dome and has no weather concerns. We've seen Hill break a slate once before this season, and it wouldn't be the craziest thing if he did it again. He's actually our highest-projected tight end on the main slate and is definitely a good tournament option.

Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.