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Daily Fantasy Football: Week 18 lineup picks and strategy

·5 min read
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By TJ Hernandez, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Whether you are playing in the biggest tournament of the week on Yahoo or prefer to play in smaller GPPs, there are some general positional strategies that you can implement in any size tournament. These concepts include stacking, finding pivots off of popular players, and looking for leverage in other spots. While it’s important to implement these into your lineup-building approach, the foundation of any tournament lineup is a solid core — usually players you would use in cash games.

Stacks to Target

QB Kyler Murray, Cardinals $35

WR Christian Kirk, Cardinals $17

TE Zach Ertz, Cardinals $20

The Cardinals can still clinch the NFC West with a win and some help so the should be all systems go despite already locking up a playoff spot. Arizona is favored by 6.5 points with the third-highest implied point total on the slate (27) and Kyler Murray is 4for4’s top value at his position, $5 less than Josh Allen despite projecting for just one fewer fantasy point. Murray is coming off of consecutive games with at least 20 Yahoo points and has at least 40 rushing yards in four of his five games since Arizona’s bye week — he didn’t reach 40 yards on the ground in any game before the bye.

Over the last three weeks with DeAndre Hopkins out, Christin Kirk and Zach Ertz have combined for 51% of Arizona’s targets with Ertz averaging 11 targets per game and Kirk getting 10 per game in that span. Despite their recent volume, they both have reasonable salaries with Kirk as the WR25 and Ertz as the TE4 on the slate. Both are top five in expected fantasy points among all pass-catchers over the last three games, according to the 4for4 Breakout Receiver Model.

[Visit 4for4, where 92% of subscribers made the playoffs, for more]

QB Tom Brady, Buccaneers $35

TE Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers $21

Tampa Bay can still improve to the No. 2 seed with a win so they should play their starters for the entirety of their season finale against the Panthers. This stack is more about individual incentives, though — for a full rundown of player incentives that can be reached in Week 18, check out this great thread on Twitter. If Tom Brady finishes top five in passer rating, completion percentage, or yards per attempt he can earn up to an additional $1,125,000. If he includes Rob Gronkowski heavily, Gronk stands to benefit as well. Gronk can earn an additional $500,000 for each of the following: seven more receptions, 85 more receiving yards and three more touchdowns.

With Antonio Brown no longer on the team, there is plenty of target share to go Gronkowski’s way. He already has 10 or more targets in two of his last three games and Tampa Bay should be in a positive game flow as 8.5-point favorites with an implied total over 25.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 26: Tom Brady #12 and Rob Gronkowski #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers react after a touchdown during the third quarter in the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are in position for a big final week of the regular season. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Contrarian Plays to Target

RB Alvin Kamara, Saints $30

New Orleans needs to win and get help to get into the playoffs so they should look to lean on their best player. Teams that pay up at running back this week figure to roster Jonathan Taylor or Dalvin Cook, leaving Alvin Kamara with a likely low rostered rate. Kamara’s touch totals have been down over the last three weeks but this is a matchup where his touches should be up as the Falcons rank in the bottom 10 in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs. Even if Kamara doesn’t exceed 20 touches, his numbers should be buoyed through the passing game as Atlanta has allowed the ninth-most receiving yards to running backs this season.

TE Dawson Knox, Bills $20

Buffalo is playing to win and clinch the AFC East meaning their starters will be all systems go against the Jets’ abysmal defense. Devin Singletary could be the most popular player on the slate while Josh Allen stacks with Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis will be among the most utilized correlation plays on the slate. Stacking Allen with his tight end or using Dawson Know as a one-off play is a great way to gain leverage on the field. Knox’s targets have plummeted in recent weeks but that will keep his rostered rate in check. Playing him is a bet on touchdown variance going in your favor and he should have plenty of opportunities near the goal line with the Bills’ 28.5-point implied point total.

[Play in Yahoo's Week 18 Million Dollar Baller DFS contest]

Cash Game Strategy

For the most part, cash game players should be leaning into games where they know starters will play their normal allocation of snaps — these situations are mostly teams that are playing for a playoff spot or can improve their seeding. There are some scenarios we can trust more than others, such as the Seahawks, where a team has already been eliminated from playoff contention but we’ve seen them continue to play to win with their normal starters.

  • QB: Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Tyler Huntley

  • RB: Jonathan Taylor, Devin Singletary, D'Onta Foreman, Ke'Shawn Vaughn, David Montgomery, Najee Harris

  • WR: Cooper Kupp, D.J. Moore, Christian Kirk, Gabriel Davis, Stefon Diggs, DK Metcalf, Amon-Ra St. Brown, A.J. Brown, Michael Pittman Jr. Brandin Cooks

  • TE: Zach Ertz, Cole Kmet, Rob Gronkowski, John Bates

  • DEF: Bills, Browns, Washington, Ravens

This article originally appeared in its full form on 4for4.com

TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.

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