NFL DFS Picks: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Week 18 Sunday Baller

NFL DFS Picks: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Week 18 Sunday Baller

The Week 18 NFL main slate consists of 13 games scheduled after 1 p.m. EST on Sunday. The only teams excluded from this slate are the ones playing Saturday (Chiefs-Raiders and Titans-Jaguars) and the Sunday Night Football participants (Lions-Packers). With many teams either locked into their playoff seed or out of playoff contention, some will not play their starters, so make sure to double check the status of your lineup selections prior to kickoff Sunday.

Yahoo will be running plenty of NFL DFS contests for Week 18, but the biggest will be the NFL $100K Sunday Baller. The Sunday Baller has a $12 entry fee and pays out a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000 to the top 1,470 finishers, including $25,000 to the winner. You can submit up to 150 entries into this contest, which has a maximum total capacity of 9,800 entries but will still run if it doesn't fill, potentially providing you with enhanced odds of winning, also known as overlay.

Playing in guaranteed prize pool (GPP) contests is about chasing upside, while lineups geared towards head-to-head, 50/50 or double-up formats should prioritize high floors. The players you want to target for these different contest types aren't mutually exclusive, but winning a GPP tournament usually requires finding a hidden gem or going against the grain in a spot or two, while building a solid base of the same chalk plays you would use anywhere. Against-the-grain plays typically consist of big-name players in tough matchups or boom-or-bust types with uncertain roles.

Keep in mind that Yahoo DFS contests use 0.5 PPR scoring rather than full PPR, which lowers the comparative value of wide receivers and running backs (in that order) while especially affecting high-volume pass-catchers. Your NFL $100K Sunday Baller lineup will consist of one QB, two RBs, three WRs, one TE, one FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and one D/ST unit. Suggested Week 18 options include a quarterback-tight end stack few would have predicted to start the season, a pair of running backs whose teams need to win for a shot at the playoffs, and some wide receivers who have been surging down the stretch.

QUARTERBACK

Brock Purdy, SF vs. ARI ($30): The 49ers still have playoff seeding to play for, as they can finish atop the NFC standings if the Eagles — who play simultaneously in the late window — are upset by the Giants. Purdy has established a high floor, winning each of his first five starts while throwing multiple touchdown passes in each and scoring over 15 fantasy points in every game. He's likely to build on that success against a Cardinals team that's struggling on both sides of the ball. Arizona's offense is starting David Blough ($20) under center, while the defense is allowing 25.7 points per game — third-most in the NFL.

Honorable Mentions

Jalen Hurts, PHI vs. NYG ($40); Joe Burrow, CIN vs. BAL ($38); Sam Darnold, CAR at NO ($22)

Against the Grainers

Mike White, NYJ at MIA ($31); Geno Smith, SEA vs. LAR ($29); Deshaun Watson, CLE at PIT ($21)

RUNNING BACK

Kenneth Walker, SEA vs. LAR ($25): To make the playoffs, the Seahawks need to win at home against the Rams, then hope the Lions win in Green Bay. Seattle thus has no reason to limit Walker's workload. The rookie running back has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of his last two games, and he was ripping off 12 yards per carry against the Rams before hurting his ankle in their Week 13 meeting. Walker should serve as the focal point of Seattle's offense in a must-win game against a Los Angeles defense that just allowed 192 rushing yards and two touchdowns to the Chargers last week.

Najee Harris, PIT vs. CLE ($24): Like the Seahawks, the Steelers need a win and some help — specifically from the Bills and Jets against the Patriots and Dolphins, respectively. Pittsburgh's likely to ride Harris against a Cleveland defense that's had trouble stopping the run; the Browns have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards (1,877) and third-most rushing touchdowns (15) to running backs. After playing through injuries early in the season, a healthier Harris has surged recently, notching at least 86 rushing yards in five of the past eight games while scoring six scrimmage touchdowns over that span.

Honorable Mentions

Cam Akers, LAR at SEA ($25); Miles Sanders, PHI vs. NYG ($25); Zack Moss, IND vs. HOU ($21)

Against the Grainers

Rhamondre Stevenson, NE at BUF ($21); Alexander Mattison, MIN at CHI ($15); Jordan Mason, SF vs. ARI ($13)

WIDE RECEIVER

Tee Higgins, CIN vs. BAL ($25): With the AFC North crown on the line, Higgins and the rest of Cincinnati's high-powered offense should see their usual workloads. Higgins has found the end zone in each of the last four Bengals games that counted, and he's racked up at least 93 yards in six of his last 11 games. A Ravens secondary that's allowed the fifth-most yards to wide receivers (2,719) will have a hard time slowing him.

DeVonta Smith, PHI vs. NYG ($24): Philadelphia's entire offense should find success here, as Jalen Hurts (shoulder) is expected to return, and the Eagles can secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win against a Giants team that's locked into the sixth seed and expected to rest key starters. Smith's playing like a star down the stretch of his second NFL season, as the 2021 first-round pick has topped 100 yards in four of the past five games while scoring four touchdowns over that span. He has also drawn at least eight targets in eight consecutive games.

DJ Moore, CAR at NO ($19): Moore's one of the few suggested options whose team doesn't have anything to play for in Week 18. Nonetheless, he's a strong value play after notching at least 73 yards and a touchdown in four of the last five games. Sam Darnold will be looking to improve his case for the starting job next season with a strong finish, and Moore should continue to work as Darnold's top target in a Panthers passing attack that's been quietly effective down the stretch.

Honorable Mentions

Amari Cooper, CLE at PIT ($25); DK Metcalf, SEA vs. LAR ($21); Chris Olave, NO vs. CAR ($20)

Against the Grainers

Tyreek Hill, MIA vs. NYJ ($30); Garrett Wilson, NYJ at MIA ($22); Brandin Cooks, HOU at IND ($18)

TIGHT END

George Kittle, SF vs. ARI ($28): Kittle should be worth paying up for as this slate's top tight end. The Cardinals have allowed the most catches (97), second-most touchdowns (10) and third-most yards (1,055) to tight ends, while the teams with the most touchdowns (Detroit) and yards (Tennessee) allowed to the position aren't playing in the main slate. Kittle has five touchdowns in his last three games and should stay hot in this favorable matchup for the motivated 49ers. He's basically a must-start if you're rolling with Purdy under center, but Kittle's a strong standalone play as well.

Honorable Mentions

Dallas Goedert, PHI vs. NYG ($19); Tyler Higbee, LAR at SEA ($18); Taysom Hill, NO vs. CAR ($16)

Against the Grainers

Mark Andrews, BAL at CIN ($19); Pat Freiermuth, PIT vs. CLE ($17); Trey McBride, ARI at SF ($12)

DEFENSE

Atlanta Falcons, ATL vs. TB ($10): Week 18 presents some wonky matchups for defenses, and Atlanta's poised to provide nice value against a Buccaneers team that's locked into the No. 4 seed and thus likely to rest its starters for most or all of the game. Tampa Bay's elite skill players have helped cover for a shoddy offensive line, but an offense led by Blaine Gabbert and/or Kyle Trask with backup receivers is likely to struggle mightily against a Falcons defense that's quietly held its last five opponents to 21 points or fewer.

Honorable Mentions:

San Francisco 49ers, SF vs. ARI ($20); Houston Texans, HOU at IND ($15); New Orleans Saints, NO vs. CAR ($11)

Against the Grainers:

New England Patriots, NE at BUF ($19); Minnesota Vikings, MIN at CHI ($17); Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT vs. CLE ($11)