Week 18 Sunday Morning Update


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Week 18 Sunday Morning Update

Hello and welcome to the Week 18 Sunday Morning Update. What is this article? Mostly it’s a follow-up to yesterday’s big DFS piece – Scott Barrett’s Week 17 DFS Breakdown. But this article should also offer some utility of its own for redraft and dynasty players.

Each week Graham Barfield and I will be breaking down the key injuries, news, and notes from Saturday / Sunday and will be updating this article up until kickoff (1PM EST). And we’ll also be providing a sort of TL;DR to yesterday’s big DFS article. Who are my core cash game plays? Who are Graham’s preferred low-owned plays for tournaments? You can find that at the end of this article.

Key News, Injury Updates, & Notes

Sunday Morning Update

(11:30 AM)

Aaron Jones is OUT. The Packers only have two active RBs today: AJ Dillon and Patrick Taylor. I think we’ll see Dillon for at least two quarters, which might be enough for him to get there against the Lions.

(11:20 AM)

– Slight bump to Michael Carter

(9:45 AM)

– Despite locking up the No. 1 seed last week, NFLNetwork’s Ian Rapoport says that Aaron Rodgers will start and play. He added that it might not be the whole game if they build a lead. It kind of feels like Rapsheet is just guessing here. Rodgers could play two drives, go up 14-0, then rest.

(9:30 AM)

– Jets-Bills and Bengals-Browns have some wind concerns today. It looks like sustained winds of 22-24mph in Buffalo and 15-20mph in Cleveland. It’s a slight ding to Josh Allen and his pass catchers, but I wouldn’t over-adjust. If anything, it’ll just make them slightly lower-owned. The total (40.5) is only down a point.

– There was basically no overnight news, which is rare in general but especially for this week. This is going to be a wild morning around inactives – so be prepared to pivot…

Here are the key guys we’re still waiting for news on:

Aaron Jones

– Browns RB situation (how much will Chubb play if at all?)

– Bengals RB situation (all Perine? How much will Chris Evans play?)

James Conner (pretty confident he’s in)

Damien Harris (Stevenson is a pretty strong play regardless)

Mark Ingram (Kamara is a great tournament play regardless)

Kyle Pitts (Hurst becomes a great punt if Pitts sits)

Robby Anderson (didn’t practice all week… Terrace Marshall on I.R… Brandon Zylstra is minimum price on DK)

CJ Uzomah (didn’t practice all week… if he doesn’t play, Drew Sample becomes an interesting punt at minimum price)

Chris Conley (didn’t practice all week… was the Texans WR2 in routes last week… bump to Brandin Cooks / Nico Collins if he sits)

Josh Reynolds (thigh injury and coming off COVID… Amon-Ra St. Brown is already a good play, could be a great one)

Saturday Update

- Per Adam Schefter, "There’s a “strong lean” that 49ers’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who is listed as questionable for Sunday due to a torn ligament in his right thumb, will start vs the Rams, per source."

- Lions QB Jared Goff WILL PLAY.

- Browns RB D’Ernest Johnson WILL PLAY.

- 49ers FS Jimmie Ward (COVID), CB Ambry Thomas (COVID), CB K’Waun Williams (COVID), CB Dontae Johnson (COVID), and CB Emmanuel Mosely (IR) WILL PLAY.

- Browns QB Baker Mayfield is OUT.

- Bengals QB Joe Burrow is OUT.

- Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is OUT.

- Bears QB Justin Fields is OUT.

- Giants QB Mike Glennon is OUT.

- Bengals RB Joe Mixon is OUT.

- Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds is OUT.

- Giants QB Mike Glennon is OUT.

- Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones is OUT.

- Jets WRs Braxton Berrios and Elijah Moore are OUT.

- Washington WR Curtis Samuel is OUT.

- Giants WRs John Ross and Kadarius Toney are OUT.

- Cardinals WR Rondale Moore is OUT.

- Steelers WR James Washington is OUT.

- Jaguars TE Dan Arnold is OUT. (I’m pretty sure.)

- Jaguars TE James O’Shaughnessy is OUT.

- Washington TE Ricky Seals-Jones is OUT.

- Ravens TE Nick Boyle is OUT.

- Bears DT Akiem Hicks is OUT.

- Washington CB William Jackson III is OUT.

- Panthers CB Stephon Gilmore is OUT.

- Seahawks S Bobby Wagner is OUT.

- Bills WR Emmanuel Sanders is DOUBTFUL.

- Packers RB Aaron Jones is QUESTIONABLE.

- Saints RB Mark Ingram is QUESTIONABLE.

- Cardinals RB James Conner is QUESTIONABLE.

- Falcons RB Qadree Ollison is QUESTIONABLE.

- Patriots RB Damien Harris is QUESTIONABLE.

- Browns RB Nick Chubb is QUESTIONABLE.

- Lions WR Josh Reynolds is QUESTIONABLE.

- Ravens WR Devin Duvernay is QUESTIONABLE.

- Patriots WRs N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers are QUESTIONABLE.

- Panthers WR Robby Anderson is QUESTIONABLE.

- Falcons TE Kyle Pitts is QUESTIONABLE.

- Seahawks TE Will Dissly is QUESTIONABLE.

- Cardinals TE Demetrius Harris is QUESTIONABLE.

- Washington TE Sammis Reyes is QUESTIONABLE.

- Texans TE Jordan Akins is QUESTIONABLE.

- Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah is QUESTIONABLE.

- Browns TE David Njoku is QUESTIONABLE.

- Lions TE Brock Wright is QUESTIONABLE.

Things I Think

I think this week doesn’t feel at all like a typical Week 17. It feels like a 2019-throwback, when pricing was much tighter. Though we’ve historically done really well in weeks when pricing is especially tight (and in Week 17s), this is undoubtedly yet another tough slate.

Usually, in the final regular season week of the year (formerly Week 17), we’d get a high-number of near-minimum priced players you can feel amazing about. WRs projected for a 20% target share but at a salary of just $3,000. RBs at $4,100 you can realistically project for 90-plus percent of the snaps and 16.0-plus fantasy points. (I mean look at this list of names scoring 20-plus.) But for whatever reason, I’m seeing very little (cheap) value this week. Who is the best cheap RB you can feel good about? Devonta Freeman and Michael Carter? Neither are especially strong values, neither have anything close to week-winning upside, and neither are really that cheap. Is there any WR-punt even in play this week? Khadarel Hodge at $3,200 is probably your best option within that price range, and he’s barely a top-50 WR value per our projections.

But who knows, hopefully some more value opens up for us Sunday morning. So, keep an eye on Schefty bombs and inactives. (We’ll have to pay close attention to inactives anyway, as the injury report is littered with fantasy-relevant names this week.) I suspect there’s going to be a lot of mad scrambling and tweaking lineups near lock. There’s a possibility we find out all of RB Damien Harris, RB Nick Chubb, and TE Kyle Pitts are inactive this week, but don’t hear that news until about an hour before lock.

If no extra value opens up, we’ll be forced to get more creative. Something like a Case Keenum to Donovan Peoples-Jones stack for tournaments on DraftKings — at 4% combined ownership and a combined $9,100 in salary — would become legitimately enticing.

Updates From Yesterday’s Article

To my literal shock, Adam Schefter is reporting Jimmy Garoppolo will play through pain and start this week, over the rookie QB the 49ers traded three Round 1 picks for this offseason. So, this means we’ve lost our top cash QB on DraftKings (pivot to Taysom Hill or Tyler Huntley). But this news boosts [email protected] on the whole, making it the top gamestack of the week. ([email protected] is a close second.)… George Kittle is now a phenomenal play on FanDuel. Garoppolo is in play for tournaments on DraftKings. And Deebo Samuel is a great tournament option on both sites… Both Kittle and Samuel (Ramsey has never shadowed him) average over 20.0 DK FPG in their last three games against the Rams. Kittle averages 9.0 targets and 24.8 FPG over Garoppolo’s last four starts. Samuel averages 21.3 FPG in Garoppolo-starts this season.

It appears Jaguars TE Dan Arnold is out. Unless I’m mistaken, he needed to be activated from I.R. on Saturday and wasn’t. So, with James O’Shaughnessy also out, rookie Luke Farrell is the only TE Jacksonville has left. He’s locked into nearly 100% of the team’s snaps, but he wasn’t involved in the passing game at Ohio State, and posted a meager 1-7-0 (2 targets) line on 72% of the snaps last week (65% of the routes)… So, I don’t like him as much as Cole Kmet, Brevin Jordan, or John Bates. Those are your punt-TE pivots, and I have them in that order. If, somehow, I’m wrong, and Arnold is active, he’d be my top cash TE on DraftKings.

Browns RB D’Ernest Johnson was activated from the COVID list on Saturday. He’d be an amazing play on DraftKings (RB50, $4,800) if we get news Kareem Hunt is out and Nick Chubb is either out or will be severely limited. He can be avoided otherwise.

After much debate with Johnny and Graham (following our Livestream), we’re now more confident Aaron Rodgers does not play the full game. So, I’m pivoting off of him outside of maybe one lineup in the Milly Maker. But A.J. Dillon is still an extremely strong super-contrarian super-boom/bust play for large-field tournaments. With Aaron Jones banged up, “he could be the stone-nuts” if he continues to play in the second-half with Jordan Love under center.

In this tweet here, Buccaneers beat reporter Rick Stroud (who has proven to be reliable) replied “Count on it.” to Adam Schefter’s tweet saying Rob Gronkowski needed only 7 catches for 85 receiving yards to earn an extra $1M in incentives. If he were truly a lock to reach exactly and only those numbers (15.5 fantasy points), he’d be the clear best TE value on DraftKings. But, if only 70% odds, he’d be the 4th-best TE value… He’s in play in the same way A.J. Dillon is, only with significantly less risk… There’s a decent chance Tom Brady and Gronkowski both play the full game. We’d just need the Panthers not to get blown out. (Admittedly a longshot.) But a really good chance they play three quarters or more. So, Brady is also in play (a much better play than Rodgers) as a super-contrarian option for large-field tournaments.

On the off-chance James Conner gets ruled out or is severely limited, Eno Benjamin would become a must-play on both sites.

I’m now liking Ke’Shawn Vaughn significantly less than the rest of the industry. HC Bruce Arians went out of his way to praise Le’Veon Bell and Kenjon Barner in his Friday press conference, saying “[I’m] anxious to see what they can do.

Similarly, based on Ron Rivera’s comments, it’s worth seriously downgrading RB Antonio Gibson and WR Terry McLaurin. “We want to try and set the tone early on and see what happens, but at some point, just understand we’d like to see some guys… You want to play to win, but you also want to play for the future.”

Graham Barfield’s Contrarian Angles

Contrarian Plays With Slate-Breaking Upside

(Projected ownership in parenthesis).


Alvin Kamara (5%) tough week for value, so Kamara seems like the odd man left out up top. He played on 78% of the snaps last week, which is the highest rate since Week 7. Has 5 > 6 > 6 targets in Taysom’s starts.


Amon-Ra St. Brown (3%) getting no buzz for some reason despite running hotter than the sun.

KJ Osborn (2%) Justin Jefferson is an amazing play, but don’t forget about Osborn. Has strong TD equity.


George Kittle (4%) huge boost with Garoppolo under center. Has destroyed Rams in his career (5/98/1, 9/149/1, 8/103, 5/79/1, 7/109/1, 5/50/1).

Drew Sample (<1%) it’s thin for sure, but I’m scrounging for punts. If CJ Uzomah sits, Sample becomes an every down player.

Chalk Plays (Ownership Projections)

  1. Christian Kirk, WR (21.7%)
  2. Jonathan Taylor, RB (20.2%)
  3. Josh Allen, QB (18.0%)
  4. D’Onta Foreman, RB (18.0%)
  5. Devin Singletary, RB (18.0%)
  6. D.J. Moore, WR (17.2%)
  7. Justin Jefferson, WR (16.0%)
  8. Brandin Cooks, WR (16.0%)
  9. Zach Ertz, TE (16.0%)
  10. Rashaad Penny, RB (15.5%)
  11. Dalvin Cook, RB (14.3%)
  12. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB (14.3%)
  1. Christian Kirk, WR (27.1%)
  2. Justin Jefferson, WR (24.8%)
  3. Jonathan Taylor, RB (23.6%)
  4. D.J. Moore, WR (21.5%)
  5. Dalvin Cook, RB (21.2%)
  6. D’Onta Foreman, RB (20.0%)
  7. Josh Allen, QB (18.6%)
  8. Zach Ertz, TE (18.1%)
  9. David Montgomery, RB (17.7%)
  10. Brandin Cooks, WR (16.9%)
  11. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB (16.5%)
  12. A.J. Brown, WR (15.9%)

Cash Core (DK/FD)

Notes: Keep an eye on Sunday AM news. We could get some massive surprise values.

QB: Josh Allen (FD>DK), Taysom Hill vs. Tyler Huntley, Kyler Murray

RB: Jonathan Taylor, James Conner, David Montgomery, Devin Singletary, Elijah Mitchell (DK), D’Onta Foreman, Antonio Gibson, Dalvin Cook (FD)

WR: Cooper Kupp, Christian Kirk, Gabriel Davis (FD>DK), Justin Jefferson, Brandin Cooks, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Russell Gage (FD), Darnell Mooney

TE: Zach Ertz, George Kittle (FD), Cole Kmet vs. Brevin Jordan vs. John Bates (DK)