DraftKings Reignmakers | Week 18 Main Slate Breakdown
This NFL season, we are pleased to have partnered with DraftKings as a content provider, covering their exciting new NFT-powered fantasy football game, DK Reignmakers! Each week in this space, we will be breaking down the upcoming Reignmakers NFL slate. Be sure to check out our Fair Value Card Estimates and Contest EV tool as you build your lineups.
- The Ravens appear to be calling off the dogs in Week 18 after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the team will hold J.K. Dobbins out of the lineup today in preparation for the wild-card round. Additionally, the team is not expected to announce its starting quarterback until pregame warmups. We know Lamar Jackson (knee) will not play, but Tyler Huntley (shoulder) still remains questionable. If Huntley is unable to play, it would be Anthony Brown under center for Baltimore. The Ravens are the AFC’s likely sixth seed, but they do have a path to moving up to the five spot.
- Locked into the NFC’s sixth seed, the Giants will start Davis Mills in place of Daniel Jones at QB today against the Eagles. Don’t expect to see much from New York’s starters today.
- The 49ers activated Elijah Mitchell (knee) from injured reserve yesterday, putting him on track to suit up today against the Cardinals. Mitchell compiled rushing shares of 44%, 32% and 24% in the three games he has played with Christian McCaffrey in the backfield.
- The NFL has announced the previously suspended Bills-Bengals Week 17 game will not be rescheduled and the league has approved changes to the upcoming AFC playoffs. Specifically, the AFC Championship will be played at a neutral site this year, and a coin flip will be held to determine home-field advantage in a potential Bengals-Ravens matchup should the teams meet in the opening round of the playoffs.
- Jalen Hurts (shoulder) remains on track to start Week 18 for the Eagles, after head coach Nick Sirianni said that Hurts is “trending in the right direction” today. The Eagles can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win.
- Deebo Samuel (ankle) will play in Week 18, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. For Deebo, this will be his first game action since Week 14. San Francisco is in contention for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but they’d need a win over the Cardinals and an Eagles loss to the Giants in order to clinch. Eagles-Giants and 49ers-Cardinals will both kickoff at the same time, and with Philly listed as a 14-point favorite in their game, it’s possible San Francisco takes their foot off the gas if the results aren’t breaking favorably for them.
- The same caution should be exercised with Christian McCaffrey (ankle/knee), who will also start for the 49ers after missing the first two practice sessions this week with his injuries.
- The Ravens ruled out Lamar Jackson (knee) for Week 18, while backup QB Tyler Huntley (shoulder) “has a chance to play,” according to head coach John Harbaugh. If Huntley is unable to go, Baltimore would start undrafted free agent Anthony Brown at QB.
- D’Onta Foreman (knee) is questionable to play this weekend after being added to the Panthers’ injury report today. As an impending free agent on a team that has been eliminated from playoff contention, Foreman will be difficult to trust if he is active this weekend.
- After a one-game absence, Tony Pollard (thigh) will be back in the lineup this weekend. Pollard was a full practice participant throughout this week.
- The Commanders will be without both Brian Robinson (knee) and Antonio Gibson (foot) this weekend at running back. The team will turn to Jonathan Williams and Jaret Patterson in the backfield in rookie QB Sam Howell’s pro debut.
- Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) will miss the regular season finale, and if Teddy Bridgewater (finger) is active, it will only be in a backup capacity. Seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson will start for the Dolphins in a must-win game this weekend against the Jets. The Dolphins need a win and a Patriots loss to the Bills in order to qualify for the postseason.
- On the other side of that game, the Jets will start Joe Flacco – not Zach Wilson – at QB after Mike White (ribs) was ruled out for Week 18.
- As has been the case for the last five weeks, Trevor Lawrence is listed as questionable to play with a toe injury on the Jaguars’ final injury report. Expect to see Lawrence under center for Jacksonville in a must-win game against Tennessee.
- James Conner (shin/knee) will be held out of Arizona’s season finale after missing practice all week. The Cardinals will deploy a backfield platoon of Keaontay Ingram and Corey Clement against the 49ers.
- While Josh Jacobs (hip) has not yet been ruled out for Week 18, The Athletic’s Vic Tafur speculates that Jacobs could miss his first game of the season on Sunday. If that’s the case, it would open up an opportunity for rookie Zamir White against the Chiefs.
- For the Patriots, Jakobi Meyers (shoulder) and Jonnu Smith (concussion) are both questionable to play, while DeVante Parker (concussion) has been removed from the final injury report, putting him on track to see his first game action since Week 14. Meyers has been able to practice as a limited participant throughout this week, and he has played through a “questionable” tag multiple times this season already. In a must-win spot for New England, I’d anticipate him playing, but we’ll have to wait for an official word from the team.
Week 18 Headlines
- The suspended Week 17 contest between the Bills and Bengals remains in flux while Damar Hamlin recovers from a cardiac episode suffered during the game. We send our best wishes to Damar and his family.
- Joshua Dobbs will make another start in relief of Ryan Tannehill (ankle) as Tennessee takes on Jacksonville with first place in the AFC South on the line.
- Tampa Bay has clinched the NFC South, but the Bucs are not planning to rest their starters for the whole game, according to head coach Todd Bowles.
- Lamar Jackson's single season rushing record by a QB will remain intact with Justin Fields ruled out for Week 18
- Jalen Hurts (shoulder) is expected to play this week as the Eagles can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win over the Giants.
Chiefs @ Raiders, Saturday 4:30 PM ET
The No. 1 seed and a first-round bye are still in play for the Chiefs, who will visit the Raiders as 9.5-point favorites on Saturday. Playing in the first game to kickoff in Week 18, Kansas City will not know the results of Buffalo/New England while facing the Raiders and I’d expect them to go all out here.
Kansas City has a couple of injury situations to track after Mecole Hardman (abdomen) suffered a setback last week that forced him to miss another week of action, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) is eligible to come off IR at any time after missing the minimum four games.
With CEH’s return looming, I’d have a hard time buying in on Isiah Pacheco, who has led Kansas City in rush attempts in each of the last eight games. The Chiefs are simply not running the ball enough for Pacheco to weather a potential threat to his workload. Jerick McKinnon’s value would be less affected as he has generated most of his fantasy value through the air, but it would still not be great news for him either.
Hardman’s potential return would be bad news for Kadarius Toney, whose tenure in Kansas City has overlapped with Hardman’s injury. Until we get more news on these two players, I’m probably limiting my buys to Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce in this offense.
Eliminated from playoff contention, the Raiders made a change at quarterback last week to get a look at backup Jarrett Stidham and the results were positive. In his first start, Stidham racked up 365 passing yards against the league’s No. 2 rated defense with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Unfortunately, Stidham’s player cards are fairly expensive in the marketplace currently and I don’t think you can justify paying these prices for a one-week rental. It remains to be seen whether Davante Adams and free-agent-to-be Josh Jacobs will see playing time in the season finale. Both have the upside to make sense as one-week plays, but I would want clarity from head coach Josh McDaniels before pulling the trigger.
Best Buy: Patrick Mahomes ($13.80, $47, $499.99, $3,999, $39,420.69)
Titans @ Jaguars, Saturday 8:15 PM ET
The winner of this game will clinch the AFC South and its automatic playoff berth, with the Jaguars currently favored by 6.5 points at home.
I’m not sure we can take away much from the Titans’ Week 17 performance in a game the team rested Derrick Henry (hip), as Tennessee should look much different this week with Henry back in the lineup. When these two teams faced off in Week 14, Henry racked up 155 scrimmage yards with two touchdowns on 22 opportunities, and we should expect an even heftier workload this week in a must-win scenario.
Joshua Dobbs should get another start with Ryan Tannehill (ankle) out of the lineup this week. Dobbs was an upgrade over Malik Willis last week, but nothing to write home about. Treylon Burks does have some appeal here as a contrarian option on the Saturday two-game slate after leading the team with 66 yards in Dobbs’ first start of the season.
Last week, the Jaguars let their foot off the gas and pulled the starters late in an easy win over the Texans. Travis Etienne Jr. still got there with massive usage on a season-low (excluding one game he left with injury) 24 snaps played, but for the most part, everyone else was game scripted out. Etienne had one of his worst games of the season (32 yards on 17 carries, no targets) against the Titans in the teams’ first meeting, but I would still expect him to be a popular option on the Saturday slate with better results this time around. Trevor Lawrence is the obvious QB2 behind Mahomes on the Saturday slate, and he’s in play on the Saturday-Sunday slate as well.
With all that being said, this is a situation where I’m looking to play the cards I already own from these two teams instead of looking to the marketplace for help. If you guess wrong and buy players from the losing team, you run the risk of buying cards at elevated prices and only getting one game of utility in return.
Best Buy: None
Buccaneers @ Falcons, Sunday 1:00 PM ET
The Falcons have been in evaluation mode for three weeks now after turning the offense over to rookie Desmond Ridder in Week 15. With Ridder under center, the team has still struggled to move the ball through the air, and Ridder’s rushing ability has not yet shown up with only 17 rushing yards over his past two games.
Tyler Allgeier posted a career-high 59 percent rushing share last week, and he may have made sense as a one-week rental in Reignmakers this week under different circumstances. But Allgeier is currently priced among the top 10 running backs, and he did briefly leave last week’s game with an injury. I’m probably not pulling the trigger on Allgeier here as a result. I’m not going out of my way to purchase Drake London’s cards either. London has retained a large target share with Ridder under center, but I’d rather take a chance on a player with multi-week playoff upside if turning to the marketplace this week.
With last week’s win, the Bucs are now locked in as the No. 4 seed in the NFC, but the team is not planning to rest their starters in Week 18, according to head coach Todd Bowles. Bowles said the team “can get better at a lot of things, so right now, we plan on playing him (Brady)." While it seems certain that Brady and company will start the game, I think there is still some risk that the starters are pulled at some point, especially if the offense looks good early on. I’m probably not going to be playing my Bucs cards this week in my best lineups for that reason, but I do have interest in this offense ahead of the playoffs and I’ll be monitoring prices on Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette throughout the week.
Best Buy: Tom Brady ($7.50, $20.98, $175, $650, $3,300)
Texans @ Colts, Sunday 1:00 PM ET
The Texans have long been eliminated from playoff contention, and the only player with any fantasy relevance whatsoever over the past two weeks has been Brandin Cooks. If you’re looking for someone to fill the last spot in your Week 18 lineup, Cooks is a fine bet as he is still seeing consistent targets and his player cards are dirt cheap (CORE: $0.40, RARE: $2), but it would obviously be a single week rental.
After Nick Foles (rib) was knocked out of last week’s game, Sam Ehlinger will be the likely Week 18 starter for the Colts. In Ehlinger’s two starts this season, Michael Pittman Jr. has averaged only 37.5 yards, taking him out of play on this slate for me.
The workload has been there for Zack Moss ever since Jonathan Taylor was sidelined with an ankle injury. Moss is currently priced as RB24 in the Reignmakers Marketplace, and at those levels, I’d prefer another option with the potential for multi-week playoff upside.
Best Buy: None
Patriots @ Bills, Sunday 1:00 PM ET
It’s a bit hard to forecast this week’s Bills/Patriots game following Damar Hamlin’s scary injury and subsequent suspension of play in the Bills/Bengals game on Monday. The Bills do have a shot at the AFC’s No. 1 seed, but they are half-game behind the Chiefs and it’s currently unclear what will happen to the suspended game from Week 17. There is a lot of short-term uncertainty for Buffalo and I’ll do my best to update this article as more information is released throughout the week. In the meantime, everyone at Lucky Trader and DraftKings wishes Hamlin a speedy recovery.
After beating the Dolphins last week, the Patriots are in a win-and-get-in spot in Week 18 against the Bills. With that being said, FiveThirtyEight has given New England only a 22 percent chance of qualifying for the playoffs, and the Patriots are currently listed as 7.5-point dogs to the Bills.
Furthermore, even if we were confident in the Patriots’ chances of qualifying for the playoffs, it’s hard to know where to go in this offense. Rhamondre Stevenson had been a premier running back option while Damien Harris had been out of the lineup, but in Harris’ first game back, he out-carried Stevenson 9-8. In the receiving game, Jakobi Meyers is the safest option, but the Patriots could welcome back DeVante Parker (concussion) and Jonnu Smith (concussion) to an already murky target tree. Rookie Tyquan Thornton led the team in yardage last week on seven targets, and he has some appeal with the potential for a late-season rookie breakout at a cheap price point. But outside of that, I’m going to wait and see whether New England qualifies for the playoffs before looking to buy into this offense.
Best Buy: N/A
Panthers @ Saints, Sunday 1:00 PM ET
The Panthers were eliminated from playoff contention with last week’s loss to the Bucs, meaning they’ll have nothing to play for against the Saints in Week 18. We could theoretically see the team rest starters in order to get a look at its younger players, but that becomes more difficult in Carolina since their rookie quarterback Matt Corral (foot) is out for the year. Without a good read on the situation, I’m not planning to factor Carolina into my Week 18 Reignmakers plans.
The Saints are also out of playoff contention despite last week’s win over the Jalen Hurts-less Eagles. Alvin Kamara is moderately interesting as a one-week rental at his RB21 price tag in the marketplace, but I would want confirmation that New Orleans will be playing its starters for the full game before buying his cards, and I doubt we will get that news given the Saints’ position.
Best Buy: None
Vikings @ Bears, Sunday 1:00 PM ET
UPDATE: the Bears have officially ruled out Justin Fields for Week 18. This is an offense we can ignore in Reignmakers.
The Bears obviously have been eliminated from playoff contention for quite some time, but Justin Fields needs only 64 rushing yards to break Lamar Jackson’s single-season rushing record by a QB. There is some uncertainty on whether the team will play Fields at all in this game, but Fields has already said he wants to break the record.
Assuming Fields does play, the problem is that if Fields gets to 65-70 yards, he will have set the record, but may not necessarily have returned value in Reignmakers due to the Bears’ anemic passing attack. And at that point, Chicago would have little incentive to leave Fields in the game, especially since he has been banged up over the past several weeks with a variety of minor injuries. Fields’ ceiling in any given week is QB1 in fantasy, but it’s not a play I’m looking to make in Week 18.
The Vikings no longer have a path to the No. 1 seed in the NFC after losing last week to the Packers, but they can still move up or down in seeding pending Sunday’s results. Entering the week, the Vikings have the same record as both the Cowboys and 49ers, whose games both kickoff at 4:25 PM ET. That means the Vikings won’t know if the No. 2 seed is out of reach or not when they are playing the Bears on Sunday afternoon. How Minnesota chooses to balance seeding versus veteran rest remains to be seen, but they are currently listed as 4-point road favorites in the betting markets.
Moving beyond playoff seeding, Justin Jefferson has his own personal motivation this week, as he needs 193 yards in Week 18 to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving record. Between the personal and team incentives, I’m projecting Jefferson for his normal usage in Week 18 barring further news from the team.
I’ve praised Dalvin Cook in this space many times since he lost his SuperStar designation in late October. On the season, Cook ranks No. 8 in terms of fantasy scoring at the running back position, and his ability to be paired in lineups with other SuperStar players will be especially important in the playoffs with shorter slates and most SuperStar players still active.
Best Buy: Dalvin Cook ($5.43, $30, $389.99, $1,500, $7,999.99)
Ravens @ Bengals, Time TBA
The Bengals still have a path to the AFC’s No. 1 seed, but it’s hard to tell exactly what needs to happen while the status of the suspended Bengals/Bills Week 17 game hangs in the balance. Cincinnati is currently a game and a half behind Kansas City and one game back of Buffalo pending the final results of last Monday’s game. As with Buffalo, it’s hard to forecast how the Bengals will move forward in the short term until we know more about Damar Hamlin’s recovery and the NFL’s plan for rescheduling or finalizing the suspended Week 17 game.
The Ravens have already clinched a playoff spot and they can fall no lower than the No. 6 seed, even with a loss in Week 18. They can, however, move up to No. 5 with a win and a Chargers loss. That doesn’t sound like much, but it may be the difference between facing either the Titans/Jaguars or Bengals/Bills in round one of the playoffs. Head coach John Harbaugh has already said that playoff seeding won’t impact the team’s decision to play or sit Lamar Jackson (knee) in Week 18. With so much up in the air between the team’s motivation and Jackson’s injury status, the only player I’m looking at in the short term is Mark Andrews, but I’d be looking to buy low on Jackson if we receive positive news on his return timeline this week.
Best Buy: N/A
Jets @ Dolphins, Sunday 1:00 PM ET
To clinch a playoff spot, the Dolphins need to beat the Jets, and they also need the Patriots to lose to the Bills. The Dolphins will play at the same time as the Patriots, so there is a possibility that if the Patriots jump out to a big lead, the Dolphins will know they have nothing to play for late in the game, but I am treating this game as though Miami will be going all out to win.
If Miami is going to win though, they will need to do so without Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) after head coach Mike McDaniel said Tua is not part of the team’s Week 18 plans. Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater broke a finger last week and his Week 18 status is not yet known. If Bridgewater is unable to go, Miami would turn to Skylar Thompson against New York. Because of all the uncertainty around Miami’s playoff fate and its situation at QB, I’d prefer to take a wait-and-see approach here. In other words, I don’t foresee myself playing any Dolphins this week unless we get word that Bridgewater will play, but I will be looking for opportunities to buy cards from Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle Sunday afternoon if it’s looking like Miami will clinch a playoff spot.
The Jets have been eliminated from playoff contention and their Week 18 game plan is currently unclear. Head coach Robert Saleh has said that the team does not plan to trade Zach Wilson this offseason, so is it possible the Jets go back to Wilson in the last game of the season? While we may expect a team that has been eliminated from the playoffs to play its young players in a meaningless game, the Jets have already been playing their younger players like Garrett Wilson, Zonovan Knight and Michael Carter heavily. Until we know more about the Jets’ plans, I’m not interested in making any purchases here.
Best Buy: None
Browns @ Steelers, Sunday 1:00 PM ET
The Browns are now 3-2 over Deshaun Watson’s five starts after the team knocked the Commanders out of the playoff chase last week. While Cleveland has already been eliminated from playoff contention, I’d expect them to play the starters here as Watson continues to shake off the rust. Because Reignmakers is a season-long game and we have playoff slates to prepare for, I’m still not going out of my way to buy Browns players, but Watson, Amari Cooper and Nick Chubb are all under $8 at the RARE tier, and I can’t imagine any of them will be popular on this slate.
With last week’s win, the Steelers are still alive for a playoff spot…technically. In order to qualify, Pittsburgh would need to beat the Browns, and they would also need both the Patriots and Dolphins to lose their matchups against the Bills and Jets. Heading into the week, FiveThirtyEight has assigned a 21 percent probability of that scenario playing out.
Based on those odds, I’m treating the Steelers as single week plays for now, but I’ll be ready to head to the marketplace if Pittsburgh’s odds improve based on how the week plays out. Should things break right for the Steelers, Najee Harris would be the main player I’m interested in. After a slow start to the season, Harris has now exceeded 80 scrimmage yards in six of his last eight games, and he has distanced himself from Jaylen Warren as the lead back over the second half of the season.
Best Buy: None
Chargers @ Broncos, Sunday 4:25 PM ET
The Broncos gave the Chiefs a run for their money in Week 17, in the team’s first game since firing former head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Despite the valiant effort, the team’s fantasy production still left a lot to be desired, as Latavius Murray and Chase Edmonds operated as a committee in the backfield and Albert Okwuegbunam led all receivers with 45 yards. Courtland Sutton is cheap enough (CORE: $0.50, RARE: $3.75) to consider as a one-week fill-in, but other than that, I’m passing on Denver.
The Chargers have already clinched a playoff spot, but they are not yet locked into their seeding. Los Angeles is currently tied with Baltimore at 10-6, and if they’re able to stay ahead of the Ravens in the standings, they’d be matched up with either the Titans or Jaguars as the AFC South winner instead of the Bills/Bengals in round one. How much that matters to the Chargers is currently unclear, and I’ll be on the lookout for clues from the coaching staff throughout the week. For now, I’m taking a wait-and-see approach with the Chargers in Week 18 until we have more clarity on the team’s motivations.
Best Buy: None
Cowboys @ Commanders, Sunday 4:25 PM ET
The Cowboys can still clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but they’d need a win over the Commanders, along with losses by the Eagles and 49ers. If Dallas wins and one of those two teams loses, Dallas would be the No. 2 seed. I think there is probably enough motivation here, but it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cowboys pull their starters if things don’t break in their favor early on.
The main player to watch heading into Week 18 is Tony Pollard, who missed last week’s game with a thigh injury. Pollard was unable to practice in any capacity last week, and I’m considering him questionable to play in Week 18 pending further news. Last week in Pollard’s absence, Ezekiel Elliott’s snap share (66 percent) and rushing share (59 percent) were up slightly, with most of Pollard’s workload going to Malik Davis.
Dallas is an attractive target heading into the playoffs as the likely No. 2 or 3 seed in the NFC. They’ll have a strong chance of advancing deep into the playoffs and are unlikely to lose a game to a bye week. For that reason, I’d be looking at Dak this week in preparation for the playoffs.
The Commanders were eliminated from playoff contention with last week’s loss to the Browns and it’s somewhat difficult to predict how they’ll treat Week 18 against the Cowboys. It wouldn’t be shocking for the team to get a look at Sam Howell at QB, who they drafted in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. If the team does go that route, it will be hard to endorse any of Washington’s passing game options against a Cowboys defense that ranks within the top 10 in terms of fewest passing yards allowed this season. Based on what we know early in the week, it sounds like the current plan is for both Taylor Heinicke and Howell to split time at QB. Howell has not yet been added to Reignmakers, for what it’s worth.
Brian Robinson Jr. carried the ball 24 times with Antonio Gibson (knee) out of the lineup. But without knowing Gibson’s Week 18 status or Washington’s intentions in this game, it’s hard to endorse Robinson as a one-week play.
Best Buy: Dak Prescott ($8.88, $39.99, $400, $1,499, $4,299)
Cardinals @ 49ers, Sunday 4:25 PM ET
Eliminated from the playoffs and down to their third-string QB, the Cardinals are not an appealing offense in Week 18. The one mildly interesting name is rookie tight end Trey McBride, who posted a 7-78-1 receiving line on 10 targets in Week 17. But realistically, you probably don’t have to go this deep in Reignmakers.
The No. 1 seed in the NFC is still in play for the 49ers, who would need a win over the Cardinals and an Eagles loss to clinch the top spot in the conference. There is about an 11 percent chance of that scenario playing out, according to FiveThirtyEight with both San Francisco and Philadelphia currently listed as 14-point favorites in their respective matchups. The 49ers could also fall to the No. 3 seed with a loss and a Vikings win.
The other storyline to watch in San Francisco is the status of Deebo Samuel, who continues to work his way back from an ankle injury he suffered in Week 14. Deebo was able to return to practice for the first time since the injury last Thursday and I’m considering him questionable to play for now. Whether or not Deebo plays this week, it seems likely that he’ll be back for the playoffs, and that makes him an attractive buy-low target for me. Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle have both played well with Deebo out of the lineup, but I’d be hesitant to buy either player at elevated costs with Samuel’s return seeming imminent. Deebo’s return could also negatively impact Christian McCaffrey, who operates in the same areas of the field as Deebo. With that being said, CMC still has the highest ceiling of any running back heading into the playoffs and I don’t want to overreact here.
Best Buy: Deebo Samuel ($1.75, $13, $200, $666.66, $7,000)
Rams @ Seahawks, Sunday 4:25 PM ET
The Seahawks enter Week 18 with a 22 percent chance of qualifying for the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. With a win over the Rams, those chances would improve to 38 percent, but Seattle would also need a Detroit win over Green Bay to clinch a spot. Since that game will take place on Sunday night, Seattle will not know their fate during their game.
From a portfolio standpoint, I’m probably looking to sell any Seattle cards I hold here based on their relatively long odds of the team qualifying for the postseason. With that being said, if the Seahawks do win, I’ll be looking to buy back in on DK Metcalf and Kenneth Walker if the Lions pull ahead of the Packers on Sunday night. Whether or not a team qualifies for the postseason obviously has massive implications on the marketplace value of that team’s player cards, and I’m interested to see how quickly the market reacts to the shifting odds in real-time in our collective first time experiencing a Week 18 slate in Reignmakers.
The Rams have long been eliminated from playoff contention, but I would assume they want to continue getting a look at Baker Mayfield as they consider him as a candidate for backup QB duties next season. With nothing to play for and limited fantasy options, I’m steering clear of the Rams’ passing game this week, but assuming we don’t get any news of him being rested, Cam Akers remains one of my favorite “one-week rental” options on the board in Week 18.
Akers has now racked up 280 scrimmage yards over the past two weeks and he’s still fairly cheap with floor prices of $1.50 and $6.90 in the CORE and RARE tiers. With that being said, it would not be shocking for Los Angeles to get a closer look at its fifth-round rookie running back, Kyren Williams, in the season finale. Any uptick in usage for Williams would essentially take Akers out of play.
Best Buy: None
Giants @ Eagles, Sunday 4:25 PM ET
With last week’s win over the Colts, the Giants are now locked into the No. 6 seed in the NFC, making Week 18 meaningless for their playoff outlook. It’s possible that the team may rest their starters, and that expectation is reflected in the spread which currently lists the Eagles as 14-point favorites. Until we know more, I don’t think you can have any expectations of playing Giants players in Week 18, but I will be watching the markets for Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones. If they get cheap enough, I wouldn’t mind buying their cards and holding one week to be played during the playoffs.
After dropping each of the last two games started by Gardner Minshew, the Eagles need a win this week to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC and a first-round playoff bye. According to FiveThirtyEight, Philadelphia does still have a 22 percent chance of retaining the No. 1 seed with a loss, but the team will not have the results of the Cowboys/Commanders game in advance with the two games both kicking off at 4:25 PM ET. Early in the week, the expectation is that Jalen Hurts (shoulder) will be active for the game, and his status will be one of the major storylines to watch throughout the week.
After missing two games, Hurts is now priced as the QB8 in the DraftKings Marketplace, and I’m certainly a buyer at those prices. You could make the argument that an Eagles loss here would actually be more beneficial to the team’s value in Reignmakers, as the team would then likely be forced to play an additional game in the playoffs. Whatever the outcome of this weekend is, I’ll be keeping a close eye on A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, along with Hurts, over the next couple of weeks.
Best Buy: Jalen Hurts ($7, $34.99, $534.99, $2,600, $15,000)
Lions @ Packers, Sunday 8:20 PM ET
For the Lions to make the playoffs, they need a win over the Packers along with a Rams win over the Seahawks. FiveThirtyEight has placed a 17 percent probability of those two things happening, and because of that, I am treating Lions players as though I’ll only be able to use them for one week. That means I’m probably not looking to buy any of their cards right now, and I’m probably a seller of Amon-Ra St. Brown cards while his floor prices are still elevated. Furthermore, because Seattle plays at 4:25 PM ET on Sunday, Detroit may already be eliminated from contention by the time this game kicks off Sunday night.
With that being said, this is another spot where I’m interested to see how Reignmakers players react to the playoff picture shifting around in real-time. If it is looking likely for Detroit to make the playoffs as Week 18 winds down, I’ll at least do a price check on the key players and may consider buying at that time.
After winning four straight games, the Packers have clawed their way back into the NFC playoff hunt, and they find themselves now in a win-and-get-in scenario at home against the Lions in Week 18.
The player I’m most interested in from Green Bay is Christian Watson, whose recent poor performance can be attributed to a hip injury he suffered in Week 16. Watson was uncertain to play in Week 17 after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday of last week before returning as a limited participant on Friday. Because of the injury, he has played only 38 and 60 percent of team snaps over the past two games, down sharply from the previous five contests where he had sat above an 80 percent share in each game. Now another week removed from the injury, I’d expect Watson to be closer to his regular snap allotment in Week 18.
AJ Dillon has been a valuable fantasy asset since Thanksgiving, but the value has been mostly touchdown-driven. Dillon has scored a touchdown in five straight games, with six total touchdowns over that span. Usage-wise, he is still entrenched in a committee with Aaron Jones, who has out-carried Dillon in five of the last seven games. The market is wise to this though, as Jones’ cards are about 2X more expensive than Dillon’s in each tier.
Best Buy: Christian Watson ($2.60, $19, $150, $600, $2,500)
Be sure to check our Lucky Trader’s Player Card Estimate and Contest EV tools throughout the week, then head over to the Reignmakers Marketplace to start building your teams!