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6 Fantasy Football Lineup Landmines: Week 18 Start/Sit Advice (2023)

6 Fantasy Football Lineup Landmines: Week 18 Start/Sit Advice (2023)

Arguably, the most frustrating thing in fantasy football is seeing someone in your starting lineup struggle that week. Therefore, the logic behind this article is simple – identify fantasy football lineup landmines.

These are players you’re leaning towards starting this week but could end up being a landmine that blows up and destroys your starting lineup, potentially costing you your matchup.

Brace yourself and take cover. These six players could blow up in your face this week.

Fantasy Football Lineup Landmines: Week 18

Baker Mayfield (QB – TB)

Mayfield has been an excellent streaming option for fantasy players in 2023. The veteran is the QB9 for the season, averaging 16.7 fantasy points per game, a higher average than Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow. Last week, he scored 16.3 fantasy points after saving his performance with two touchdowns late in the game. However, Mayfield did snap his three-game streak with over 19.8 fantasy points on Sunday. Unfortunately, he has an unfriendly Week 18 fantasy matchup in a win and get in the playoffs game for Tampa Bay.

While the Buccaneers are playing for the NFC South division title on Sunday, the Carolina Panthers are playing spoilers. More importantly, they have surrendered only 12.7 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, the second-fewest in the NFL. Furthermore, quarterbacks not named Jordan Love have scored fewer than 13 fantasy points against the Panthers in all but one game since the team’s Week 7 bye. Mayfield had only 9.9 fantasy points in the Week 13 matchup against the division rivals. Don’t be surprised if he has a similar performance in the rematch.

Chuba Hubbard (RB – CAR)

Many thought Miles Sanders would be a fantasy star as the featured running back in Carolina. Instead, Hubbard has been the better fantasy running back this season. The former Oklahoma State star was outstanding a few weeks ago, ranking as the RB8 from Week 12 through Week 14, averaging 16.9 fantasy points per game, scoring 17.7 or more twice. However, Hubbard has struggled lately, scoring only one touchdown over the past month. He is also coming off his first performance with single-digit fantasy points since Week 11.

When the Panthers faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13, Hubbard had 104 rushing yards, two touchdowns, and 22.4 fantasy points, all season-highs. However, Tampa Bay was without their top two linebackers – Lavonte David and Devin White. After missing a few games, both linebackers returned in Week 16. Over the past two weeks, the Buccaneers have held running backs to 3.4 yards per rushing attempt and 10.9 fantasy points per game. Tampa Bay makes the playoffs with a win over Carolina, so expect their defense to play at an elite level.

Jordan Mason (RB – SF)

It’s Week 18, meaning it’s time to figure out which teams are resting key starters. The one superstar who definitely won’t play is Christian McCaffrey. The future Hall of Famer suffered a minor calf strain last week. Since the 49ers have the No. 1 seed locked up, McCaffrey won’t play in Week 18. Furthermore, fantasy players might not see Elijah Mitchell get much work because of his extensive injury history. Therefore, Mason might be the featured running back in a meaningless game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Fantasy players have seen very little from the young running back in 2023. He has only 34 rushing attempts for the year, mostly from blowout games. More importantly, the Rams have held running backs to only 14.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game, the second-fewest in the NFL. Over the past seven weeks, running backs have averaged 3.7 yards per rushing attempt and 11.7 fantasy points per game against Los Angeles, totaling zero rushing touchdowns. With nothing to play for this week, don’t expect much from Mason or San Francisco’s offense.

Tyreek Hill (WR – MIA)

The superstar wide receiver has been outstanding this season. Hill is the WR2 for the year, averaging 19.9 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. While he has been unbelievable, the wide receiver has cooled off lately. Since suffering an ankle injury against the Tennessee Titans in Week 14, Hill has been the WR36, averaging 78.7 receiving yards and 11 fantasy points per game. He has scored fewer than 10.7 fantasy points in all but one game over the past month, failing to find the end zone.

By comparison, Hill averaged 123.4 receiving yards and 22.2 fantasy points per game over the first 13 weeks, scoring 20 or more in 75% of the contests. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills have held wide receivers to 24.5 fantasy points per game, the seventh-fewest in the NFL. They kept CeeDee Lamb in check a few weeks ago, surrendering only 53 receiving yards to the superstar. Hill had only 8.7 fantasy points in the Week 4 matchup against Buffalo. Fantasy players shouldn’t be surprised if he struggles again on Sunday night.

Tee Higgins (WR – CIN)

Last week, Higgins had only 2.4 half-point PPR fantasy points in Ja’Marr Chase‘s return to the lineup after a one-week absence. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury forced the former Clemson to play only 41% of the snaps in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. While he had over 20 fantasy points in the previous back-to-back games, Higgins did that as the No. 1 wide receiver. By comparison, the star wide receiver scored fewer than 9.5 fantasy points in all but one game that Chase suited up.

Unfortunately, Cincinnati was eliminated from the playoffs last week, making Sunday’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns meaningless for the Bengals. More importantly, the Browns have shut down wide receivers this season, giving up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to the position (21.8). They have held Garrett Wilson and DJ Moore to 14.6 combined fantasy points over the past three weeks. Expect Higgins to have a poor fantasy performance in what could be his final game with the team, if he plays at all.

Jake Ferguson (TE – DAL)

Dallas can secure the NFC East division title and the No. 2 seed in the playoffs with a win over the Washington Commanders. Therefore, fantasy players can feel confident starting most of their Cowboys in this fantasy-friendly matchup against their division rivals. However, the one exception is Ferguson. The second-year tight end has played well in his first season as the starter, averaging 8.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game, making him the TE8 for the year. However, he has scored single-digit fantasy points in six of the past seven games.

More importantly, Ferguson has struggled despite not seeing a drop in targets. The tight end has had at least six targets in five consecutive games, including eight or more in all but one. Meanwhile, Washington’s pass defense has been awful this season, except when covering tight ends, surrendering only 8.1 fantasy points per game, the fifth-fewest in the NFL. Furthermore, the Commanders haven’t given up a receiving touchdown to a tight end since Week 9. Ferguson had only one reception and four fantasy points in the Thanksgiving matchup against Washington. Expect another quiet performance.

Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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