So, here we are in playoff Fantasy Football territory with our Week 18 start or sit column. We have left the cozy confines of season long leagues and enter a world that is familiar, yet different during the playoffs. There a few things to keep in mind while playing daily games or playoff leagues during this time of the year.
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First, the slate of games is much more limited. During the season we get 16 games in a typical non-bye week. For the wildcard round of the playoffs we get just four to choose from. As a knight once said to Indiana Jones, “choose wisely” with these limited options.
Teams play to their strengths in the live or die mentality of the playoffs. If Green Bay can’t run the ball, don’t expect them to keep hammering away. Teams know that if they lose they go home, so this time of year teams are going to the approaches they are best at as long as it keeps working. Expect things like 16 targets for someone like Antonio Brown and 25-plus carries for Adrian Peterson when game flow allows. The trouble this week is that we have a lot of tough defenses to contend with, so offense could be limited. Vegas seems to agree with no games predicted to go over 50 total points.
Keep these things in mind when looking at cash games vs. tournament set ups since a smaller player pool will mean more overlap between teams you are competing against. Head over to FanPicks to throw together a lineup this week if you are missing the thrill of some Fantasy Football!
For those in playoff leagues, feel free to use this information to decide on players for the week. Since formats vary quite a bit during the playoffs, we’ll just focus on a few players with higher stock and a few with lower for this week. Also, if you are playing in a one and done league, look for players that have good matchups, but ultimately are likely to lose their games. You want to save some players for later on down the road, so the ones you use getting eliminated from the pool is a good thing!
Week 18 Start or Sit
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers
Cousins has thrown 12 TDs in his last three games and that’s with him taking a seat last week for much of the game after throwing his three scores early. Taking out last week, he’s also topped 300 yards passing in four of the last five, so it’s safe to say he’s been putting up some numbers. Finally, Cousins has the fortune to play the worst defense possible this week, so he’s got that going for him too.
Many are going to assume that the old Packers will fix all their problems and blow out the Redskins in this game. However, unless the Pack pulls a miracle out of Aaron Rodgers’ helmet, look for this game to be much closer with Cousins eventually getting Washington into the next round.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
This pick is dependent on the return of Beast Mode, but things look promising for him to play this weekend. Some may remember back in 2011 during the wildcard matchup against the Saints that Lynch broke a 67-yard TD run by running over, through, and around eight different defenders and iced the game. This is one of the best single running plays in history, in my humble opinion.
For this week I expect the Seahawks to dominate the game with Lynch getting carries often to help control the clock. My only concern is that if Seattle gets up too big, Lynch may rest for part of the second half, so hope the Vikes can keep it within a couple scores if you dial up Seattle’s running back.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Hopkins looks like he could be headed home early with the Texans three point dogs against the Chiefs. While this may be it for him, this looks like a great week to play him. He’s sure to be the focus of Houston’s offense playing against a good defense that is still somewhat vulnerable against the wide receiver position.
All the better if the Chiefs are able to put up some points against the Texans. They will just have to throw more to Hopkins to try to keep up. I wouldn’t target Hopkins in a playoff league in which you keep players through the Super Bowl, but for a daily game or one and done pick ‘em leagues, Hopkins looks like an excellent option.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Big Ben has been playing a little off the last few weeks. He still threw for 349 yards and three scores in Week 17, but he also turned the ball over twice on a couple very ugly picks. Four weeks ago against a good Bengals secondary, Ben went for 282 with zero TDs and an interception. Losing DeAngelo Williams puts more pressure on the Steeler’s passing game, so we are either going to see Ben light it up statistically or struggle as the Bengals key on stopping Antonio Brown.
I’m guessing while Brown puts up a nice day, Ben struggles overall and finishes as something like the sixth best Fantasy QB for the week. However, he will still put up more points than Teddy Bridgewater, so it could be worse.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks
While AP may have won the rushing title, his value is limited in the playoffs. The Vikings are the biggest underdogs of the week at minus six against an extremely hot Seattle team. Seattle happens to match up very well defensively against Minnesota’s offense as evidenced by the shellacking the Seahawks gave the Vikings earlier this season.
They are the toughest team in football to run against, even for Peterson. The Seattle offense happens to be on fire as well so if they get up on the Vikes early, Peterson will have game flow going against him in addition to all the other negatives. This all looks ugly for Minnesota and points towards avoiding the entire offense in all types of leagues if possible.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins
After a bunch of hype this pre-season, Cobb ends up with 829 yards receiving and six scores on the season. This is not what owners were hoping for when they spent a second or third round draft pick on him. While he should get targets this week and could even be the primary chain mover for the Packers in this game, I just can’t trust him anymore.
Cobb has gone over 100 yards receiving exactly once this season, in Week 2 and hasn’t scored a TD since Week 11. He’s failed to top 50 yards receiving in four of his last five games. I’m just not going there again no matter what this season, let him finally have that big game for someone else, or not…
Good luck this weekend in your daily games! Hopefully our week 18 start or sit column can help you make a tough decision easier and put some dollas in your pocket.