Week 18 Start/Sit PLUS: AJ Dillon, Davante Adams and Dynasty Stash/Sell/Scrub Advice
And so we’ve reached the end! I’m going to take it for granted that if you’re reading this, you either have a Week 18 matchup (and I’m sorry to hear that’s the case), or you’re here for some dynasty/keeper tips. Either way, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get into some Start/Sit plus: We’ll be looking at six categories (which are described in detail here in our Week 1 article). And to ensure total transparency, I’ll also note at the bottom of each section how I went in last week’s article (I’ve logged it as 31 hits and 19 misses, meaning a 69% success rate so far this season, but you be the judge). If you disagree or have start/sit questions, hit me up on Instagram or Twitter.
(Ordinarily, these would be players who you can confidently lock in moving forward. Of course, there is no moving forward after this week. For that reason, I’m listing some confident starts here.)
Taysom Hill (QB – NO)
The Saints QB has been disappointing the last couple of weeks, but he has a fantastic matchup against the Falcons. The Saints need a win (and a 49ers loss) to make the playoffs, so Hill should provide a few TDs or some rushing yardage as the Saints chase the game. Either way, he’s a strong option in Week 18.
Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)
This is getting into the realm of being obvious. The Bills face the Jets, Singletary is the leading man in their backfield (for better or worse), and the Bills need a win to clinch the division and a vital home game against the Patriots (probably). Singletary should be very busy.
AJ Dillon (RB – GB)
We’ve regularly seen AJ Dillon get a lot of work late in blowout games and the Packers face the Lions this week. The only issue is whether the Packers sit their starters and whether that includes Dillon, so it would be worth checking on reports closer to the weekend.
Michael Pittman (WR – IND)
He’s hard to trust, but Pittman has a juicy matchup to end the regular season. The Jags have been unable to stop anybody of late, and it’s likely the Colts won’t want to push Jonathan Taylor too hard once the game is in hand. Hence the receivers may get a bit more action than usual.
Darnell Mooney (WR – CHI)
The Vikings are the most generous WR defense, and Mooney is the clear WR1 in Chicago. He’s on a bit of a roll, too, with a big game against the Giants last week after a solid effort against the Seahawks, despite questionable quarterbacking. He’s certainly a worthwhile start in Week 18.
Dawson Knox (TE – BUF)
He’s had an awful few weeks, but Knox remains a starting option in your title matchup. The Jets are a very generous tight end defense, and Knox will have plenty of chances to get a touchdown or two. He’s risky, but he could be worth it.
Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR)
D’Andre Swift (RB – DET)
Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – NE)
Christian Kirk (WR – ARI)
Noah Fant (TE – DEN)
Tyler Bass (K – BUF)
Mason Crosby (K – GB)
Buffalo Bills (DST – BUF)
Washington Football Team (DST – WAS)
Hits: Joe Burrow, Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny, Devin Singletary, Elijah Mitchell, Odell Beckham Jr, Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, New Orleans Saints DST, Chicago Bears DST, San Francisco 49ers DST, Philadelphia Eagles DST
(Players you should consider benching if you have a viable alternative)
Russell Wilson (QB – SEA)
Well, what do you know, the Seahawks finally let Russ cook! This week’s opponent has a lot more to play for than the tanking Lions so expect Wilson to struggle more against the Cardinals. He’s not someone I’d risk at this stage.
Aaron Jones (RB – GB)
I think Aaron Jones may sit out some or all of the Packers’ Week 18 matchup with the Lions. For that reason, I’m not risking him.
Boston Scott (RB – PHI)
He had an impressive fantasy score last week, but a lot is standing against him in Week 18. Scott joins Jordan Howard on the Covid list, Miles Sanders is questionable for the Wild Card round (meaning they may need Scott), and the Eagles have little to play for in Week 18. It won’t be surprising if there’s a lot of Kenneth Gainwell for Philly this week.
DeVonta Smith (WR – PHI)
I think the Eagles may rest some starters, and that would be bad news for the rookie, who’s a risky start regardless. I’m not touching Smith in my title game.
Davante Adams (WR – GB)
Sitting Adams might sound insane, but the Packers have nothing to play for. I expect Adams to sit out much if not all of his Week 18 matchup.
Tyler Higbee (TE – LAR)
The Rams’ tight end was sensational in Week 17, but I don’t expect that to continue against a very strong 49ers tight end defense.
Derek Carr (QB – LV)
Cordarrelle Patterson (RB – ATL)
Rex Burkhead (RB – HOU)
Van Jefferson (WR – LAR)
Mike Williams (WR – LAC)
Gerald Everett (TE – SEA)
Tyler Conklin (TE – MIN)
Evan McPherson (K – CIN)
Chris Boswell (K – PIT)
Chicago Bears (DST – CHI)
Miami Dolphins (DST – MIA)
(Players you wouldn’t usually start who should have a good week. In alignment with the change to my ‘Start’ definition, I’m adjusting this to mean deeper options which could have a good week if things go right.)
Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN)
With Cousins presumedly back from the Covid list and taking on a beatable Bears defense, he’s a viable option if you’re stuck at the QB position.
Michael Carter (RB – NYJ)
If Carter is healthy, he’s still worth starting. He was excellent before leaving with a concussion in Week 17, and the Bills are best attacked on the ground. Keep your ears to the ground and use Carter if he’s good to go.
Kj Osborn (WR – MIN)
Osborn has four TDs in his last five games, and with Adam Thielen out, he is the clear WR2 for the Vikings, who will surely be better with Kirk Cousins back. Osborn is risky but could easily be worth it.
Jared Cook (TE – LAC)
This is gross, but Cook has the league’s best matchup and was sensational against the Raiders earlier in the season. If you’re desperate, he’s a viable option.
Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN) – In deeper leagues
Ronald Jones (RB – TB)
Cyril Grayson (WR – TB)
Foster Moreau (TE – LV)
OK: Kirk Cousins (Covid), Van Jefferson
Stash in Week 18
(Players to stash on your bench for championship week)
I will break from tradition here and pop in a quick explanation. I’ll start with an obvious statement: Don’t roster someone. You definitely won’t start this week. For example, if you’re starting 3 WRs, you don’t need that WR5! It’s worthwhile having one backup wide receiver, but you don’t need more. In addition, there are only two reasons to roster a backup QB or TE. A) Your starter is questionable for Sunday. B) Your backup is a better option than your opponent’s starter. Lastly, never roster a backup kicker or DST. These positions are so unreliable that you’d need a very specific situation to occur for your backup to help you in any way. So who are you rostering? Well, I’m glad you asked…
Backup Running Backs – The only Week 18 Stashes you need.
I’ve spoken all year about the importance of rostering backup running backs with the understanding that RBs get hurt at a very high rate, and a backup’s workload is more predictable than the backups in other positions. That has very much proven to be the case, with 15 of the top 20 running backs in ADP missing at least one game due to injury or Covid this year. This has led to some big weeks from some unexpected names, and that pattern will certainly continue in Week 18, especially with some starters sitting in the final game. So what can you do?
Well, it’s simple, roster as many backup running backs as possible in Week 17. If you have a 6-man bench, I’d personally have 5 RBs and 1 WR. No other player is going to suddenly become better than your starter mid-week. So which RBs should you roster? As usual, here’s my list of backups, ignoring the obvious guys. They already have the starting role: Tony Pollard, Alexander Mattison, AJ Dillon, Kareem Hunt, Mark Ingram, Justin Jackson, Jeff Wilson, Peyton Barber, Samaje Perine, Devontae Booker, Nyheim Hines, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Derrick Gore.
I also wanted to mention a couple of guys who could end up being starters out of nowhere, as their teams are playing in the playoffs but have little to play for in Week 17. I’d be considering Patrick Taylor of the Packers, Samaje Perine of the Bengals, Ke’Shawn Vaughn of the Buccaneers, Kenneth Gainwell of the Eagles, and most importantly, Tony Pollard of the Cowboys.
Stash In Dynasty
(Players you should stash in your dynasty league.)
Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC)
The Jaguars have been diabolically bad the last few years, and somehow they got worse this year. Their rookie QB wasn’t great, but what chance did he have? Lawrence remains a very talented prospect, and he’s dirt cheap at the moment. If his supporting cast gets better, he could easily become a startable QB in fantasy.
Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI)
It’s easy to forget that Cohen started his career with three consecutive Top 30 fantasy finishes. His knee injury may mean he’s never the same again, but given he’s only 26-years-old, he’s worth a deep stash to wait and see.
Terrace Marshall (WR – CAR)
The Panthers youngster has been a nightmare this year, but we’ve seen plenty of talented receivers have an awful Year 1 then break out in Year 2 or 3. It will be hard for the Panthers to get away from Robby Anderson after the idiotic contract they gave him, but Marshall could easily emerge as a strong passing option in 2022 or, more likely, 2023.
Irv Smith Jr (TE – MIN)
It’s easy to forget that Smith was expected to be the big breakout star for the Vikings in 2021. Sadly a torn meniscus ruined those plans, and Tyler Conklin managed a TE14 finish instead. Indeed Smith gets that role back in 2022.
Jordan Love (QB – GB)
Davis Mills (QB – HOU)
Jaret Patterson (RB – WAS)
Derrick Gore (RB – KC)
Zack Moss (RB – BUF)
Nico Collins (WR – HOU)
Joshua Palmer (WR – LAC)
Parris Campbell (WR – IND)
Brevin Jordan (TE – HOU)
John Bates (TE – WAS)
David Njoku (TE – CLE)
OJ Howard (TE – TB)
Sell in Dynasty
(Players who are likely to lose value in the future and could be sold now for a better player. This is primarily advice for dynasty teams who are looking to rebuild.)
Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN)
Somehow, Tannehill is the fantasy QB13 this year. That says more about him not missing a game than being any good for fantasy. It’s hard to see the upside moving forward with only four Top 15 weeks and no Top 6 finishes. Maybe you can find someone who’s excited by the QB13 number and hasn’t watched the Titans play recently.
Melvin Gordon (RB – DEN)
Flash has been impressive this season, but he’s now a 28-year-old free agent who doesn’t bode well for his long-term opportunities.
Tyreek Hill (WR – KC)
Twitchy receivers run out of puff a little bit earlier than the average WR, which could be the case for the Chiefs stud quite soon. His WR6 finish is deceptive due to his five Top 5 finishes, but he had even more dud weeks and looks headed for a lot more moving forward. I’d rather him on someone else’s roster.
Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN)
For many, he’s the WR1 in dynasty, and that’s not a crazy take. He’s got the most receiving yards of any player in their first two seasons, overtaking Odell Beckham Jr., But it’s also possible he takes the OBJ route and falls away. Kirk Cousins isn’t a sure-fire starter for the team moving forward, and you could easily sell Jefferson for a whole raft of strong players. He’s probably being over-rated just a little, and that makes him a viable sell.
Darren Waller (TE – LV)
Waller was poor this year, and he’s one of the older tight ends in the elite group. I’d instead work with one of the younger options with more upside.
Carson Wentz (QB – IND)
Leonard Fournette (RB – TB)
Cordarrelle Patterson (RB – ATL)
Stefon Diggs (WR – BUF)
Keenan Allen (WR – LAC)
Logan Thomas (TE – WAS)
Scrub in Dynasty
(Players you should drop, assuming a viable alternative is available, in dynasty leagues)
Ben Roethlisberger (QB – PIT)
It’s unknown whether Big Ben is planning on retiring or just leaving the Steelers, but there’s no way he will be a viable fantasy starter again.
Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA)
If you’re being out-snapped by guys who spent most of the season as a free agent, that’s a really bad sign for your long term upside in the league. Gaskin is headed for career backup status very quickly.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR – BUF)
Gabriel Davis has finally emerged as the Bills’ second outside receiver, relegating Sanders to a backup role. The former Bronco is already 34 and a 2022 free agent who’s unlikely to have much of a market. He can be dropped in all leagues.
Blake Jarwin (TE – DAL)
Dalton Schultz is the man in Dallas, and quite frankly, rightly so. Jarwin can hence be dropped in all but the deepest of dynasty leagues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB – WAS)
David Johnson (RB – HOU)
Latavius Murray (RB – BAL)
Devonta Freeman (RB – BAL)
Denzel Mims (WR – NYJ)
John Brown (WR – FA)
DeSean Jackson (WR – LV)
Hunter Long (TE – MIA)
Thanks for reading this column this year and for all the support you’ve been sending. I hope you have a fantastic 2022 and look forward to returning next season. As always, always feel free to message me on Instagram. Good luck and God bless.
Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with How to Manage Early-Season Injury Problems or head to more advanced strategy – like How to Effectively Assess the Quality of Your Team – to learn more.