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NFL DFS First Look: Week 18 DraftKings & FanDuel Picks

Matt Gajewski

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The NFL season continues to Week 18 with a full slate of NFL DFS action provided by DraftKings and FanDuel. This piece will examine the NFL DFS slate early in the week to find potential NFL DFS picks that will return the most value. Based on the salaries released by both DraftKings and FanDuel, we will go over some of the best Week 18 NFL DFS picks, but keep an eye on the news as the week progresses. A value play early in the week could turn into a bust chalk play due to injury or COVID-related illness. The best way to stay plugged in for all the news and notes throughout the week is by catching all the Awesemo NFL DFS Strategy and Picks shows on the Awesemo YouTube Channel.

NFL First Look: Week 18 NFL DFS Picks

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen, NYJ vs. BUF ($8,100 DraftKings, $8,800 FanDuel)

The Bills already clinched a playoff berth, but they can lock up the division with a win over the Jets. They enter this contest as a 17-point favorite in a game with a 45-point total. Josh Allen has been the top quarterback in the NFL from a DFS perspective over the last month. Allen has two 300-yard passing games in his last four games and six on the year. More importantly, he has at least 64 yards rushing in three of his last four games, including two above 80 yards. Allen averages 44 yards rushing per game in this offense, giving him an elite floor/ceiling combination. With a horrific New York Jets team on the other side, look for Allen to continue his recent success.

Kyler Murray, SEA vs. ARI ($7,400 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel)

The Cardinals enter Week 18 with a playoff berth locked up. They cannot be lower than the No. 5 seed, but a win and a Rams loss would secure the division. The Cardinals enter this game against the Seattle Seahawks as 6.5-point favorites in a game with a 48-point total. This suggests that the Cardinals will be competing to improve their playoff standing. After some initial struggles post-injury, Kyler Murray has shown improvement over the last month. He has at least 245 yards passing in each of these games while rushing for at least 60 in three of the four. Seattle ranks 25th in yards allowed per pass attempt, setting up Murray for increased efficiency in the week’s premier projected shootout.

Trey Lance, SF vs. LAR ($5,500 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel)

In a highly competitive game, the 49ers will clinch a playoff berth with a win or a Saints’ loss in Week 18. The Rams are also looking to clinch their division with a win, so expect a competitive effort from both teams. Jimmy Garoppolo‘s status is up in the air, but Trey Lance would be an attractive option again in Week 18 without Garoppolo. Lance has certainly struggled in a small sample this year. However, he showed improvement in Week 17, throwing for 249 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 23 attempts. That performance did come against Houston and Lance draws a more difficult matchup here. However, Lance is extremely mobile with at least 31 yards in three games where he saw at least seven carries. Still laughably priced below Jordan Love, Lance looks like the clear cash game quarterback, if Garoppolo misses this game.

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Running Backs

Devin Singletary, NYJ vs. BUF ($6,000 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel)

Running back looks like a position that could have some late value open with injury news this week. However, the position already has some value at the start of the week with multiple feature backs at $6,000 or below. Highlighting the group, Devin Singletary enters a game against the Jets with a slate-leading 31-point implied team total as a 17-point favorite. More importantly, Singletary is fresh off a 23-carry, 110-yard rushing performance against the Atlanta Falcons. Singletary failed to catch his only target, but he has games with six and seven targets within the last month. Buffalo has completely phased out Zack Moss and Matt Breida, leaving Singletary as the true feature back. While Allen will vulture some of Singletary’s touchdown production, this volume and matchup are too good to pass up at this price.

Elijah Mitchell, SF vs. LAR ($6,000 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel)

Elijah Mitchell is still $6,000 after regaining the San Francisco lead back role in Week 17. Mitchell missed the previous three weeks with injury, but he returned to handle 21 carries and a pair of targets in the pass game. He impressed with this workload, logging 119 yards rushing and 11 receiving, along with a touchdown. The 49ers increased their run rate with Lance under center last week and could look to do so again. The 49ers are five-point underdogs to the Rams, which is a concern. However, Mitchell has shown enough ability as a pass catcher to are in consideration in a must win game for the 49ers.

D’Onta Foreman, TEN vs. HOU ($5,700 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel)

The Tennessee Titans currently hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but they need a win to fully lock it up. With a loss, there is a chance the Bengals or the Chiefs could secure the first-round bye. Projected to play competitively, the Titans are ten-point favorites over the Houston Texans in a game with a 42.5-point total. Already run heavy, the projected positive game script should further elevate Tennessee’s rushing attempts. D’Onta Foreman has quietly assumed the Derrick Henry role in Tennessee’s offense. Last week, Foreman logged 26 carries and rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown against Miami. Foreman does not have much of a pass game role, but he now has at least 22 carries in two of Tennessee’s last three games. While riskier than some of the other backs on this slate, Foreman possesses elite upside against one of the worst teams in football.

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Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp, SF vs. LAR ($9,700 DraftKings, $10,000 FanDuel)

The top of the wide receiver position looks bleak. Tyreek Hill is not on the main slate. Davante Adams and Ja’Marr Chase are in non-competitive games. Deebo Samuel is rotating between running back and receiver in a glorified triple option offense under Lance. This leaves the Cooper Kupp in a tier by himself in Week 18. On the year, Kupp has a 32.3% target share and a 32.7% air yards share in the Rams’ offense. The Rams need to secure a win here for playoff seeding, keeping this game competitive. Kupp only has one game below 95 yards this year in the best WR season in recent memory.

Christian Kirk, SEA vs. ARI ($6,000 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel)

Mentioned above, the Cardinals are still expected to play their starters in the outside chance that they can improve their playoff seeding. Without DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk has emerged as Arizona’s top receiver. Kirk now has at least nine targets in Arizona’s last three games, equating to a 24.2% target share in that span. He has also recorded a 33.3% air yards share, giving him upside as the top pass catcher. Seattle’s secondary certainly does not inspire fear, making Kirk a solid price-adjusted DFS play here.

Cyril Grayson, CAR vs. TB ($4,400 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel)

With Antonio Brown unlikely to play in Week 18, Cyril Grayson appears to have locked up the WR2 role in Tampa Bay. With Brown departing mid-game, Grayson went on to play 64% of snaps, while seeing eight targets in the pass game. The Buccaneers do not have anything to play for, but they are still nine-point favorites over the Carolina Panthers in a game with a 42.5-point total. Until further notice, it appears Grayson will still play in this game, making him a solid value play.

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Tight Ends

Zach Ertz, SEA vs. ARI ($5,300 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel)

This is one of the worst tight end slate in recent memory, and Travis Kelce is off the main slate. Mark Andrews and the Ravens are all but eliminated from the playoffs. George Kittle saw three targets in a run-centric offense quarterbacked by Lance. Rob Gronkowski and the Buccaneers cannot improve their playoff seed, leading to lowered motivation. Even Kyle Pitts went down with an injury in Week 17. This leaves Zach Ertz as the top tight end in a competitive game this week. Since Hopkins went down, Ertz has slid into a high-volume role. The veteran tight end has at least seven targets in four straight games. This includes at least nine in his last three as well. While the upside is questionable, his volume brings a secure floor, making him a solid price-adjusted play.

Mike Gesicki, NE vs. MIA ($5,100 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel)

Listed as a tight end, Mike Gesicki actually exclusively plays wide receiver for Miami. The Dolphins are eliminated from the playoffs, so motivation is a question here. However, the Dolphins are evaluating multiple positions on offense, including quarterback, giving this game some importance. Gesicki has a solid role inside the Miami offense, with at least seven targets in three of Miami’s last four games. Like the other tight ends on this list, Gesicki’s upside is relatively capped without a touchdown. However, on a slate with poor tight end options, Gesicki’s role is strong enough to consider as 5.5-point underdogs to the New England Patriots.

John Bates, WAS v NYG ($3,000 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel)

Logan Thomas is out for the year and Ricky Seals-Jones left Week 17 on a stretcher. This leaves day-three rookie John Bates to play every snap for the Washington Football Team at tight end. Washington is already eliminated from the playoffs, but they are 6.5-point favorites over the inept New York Giants. The tight end injuries actually give Washington a chance to take a longer look at their rookie tight end. Bates saw four targets after Seals-Jones left last week and already looks like one of the preferred tight end options on this slate.

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Take a look at our depth charts for NFL games, NFL starting lineups and inactive player list. We also have single-game projections and NFL DFS showdown ownership projections. View our DraftKings NFL ownership rankings and our FanDuel NFL DFS ownership rankings. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL football picks for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, DFS NFL rankings, and NFL DFS stacking.

Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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