Week 18 Hansen's Hints


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Week 18 Hansen's Hints

Here’s my very quick look at the week.

If you want more information and analysis, you can always read our Week 18 Game Hubs.

Green Bay Packers (13-3) at Detroit Lions (2-13-1)

Packers Notes: You can’t use any of the key Packers with any confidence, so this squad is an avoid for the finale. I don’t even think you can use AJ Dillon with any confidence. It could be Patrick Taylor time at RB for Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers could surprise and play 1-2 quarters or more, but I can’t endorse him or Davante Adams. I’d feel a little better looking at guys like Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Allen Lazard. Backup QB Jordan Love should handle the majority of work against the Lions throwing mostly to guys like Equanimeous St. Brown, and Juwann Winfree while Taylor should lead the backfield in work this week. The matchup is beatable, at least.

Lions Notes: Jared Goff has missed the last two games with COVID and a knee injury, but he’s been decent down the stretch with 2 TDs in three of his last four, so I’ve seen worse options this week. Amon-Ra St. Brown is on fire with 8+ catches, 10+ targets, and 70+ yards with 4 TDs overall in his last five. I don’t really trust Josh Reynolds, but he did return last week from the COVID list, so he’s got a chance as their top outside WR with a game post-covid under his belt. D’Andre Swift’s role is expected to remain the same as last week, when he played 57% of the snaps but put up only 4/32 rushing and 2/7 receiving on three targets. I’d think with a game under his belt, he can do a lot more than that with half the snaps this week. Jamaal Williams led the backfield with 11/22/1 rushing and 3/22 receiving with 32% of the snaps last week, so he’s in the mix, as is Craig Reynolds who played 22%.

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) at Cleveland Browns (7-9)

Bengals Notes: Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon won’t play, and it’s going to be rainy and windy! Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are likely to watch all or most of this contest from the sidelines with QB Brandon Allen throwing to guys like Mike Thomas, Stanley Morgan, and Drew Sample. With Mixon out, the Bengals could roll with Samaje Perine, but even that’s not a lock. They still have deep backup Trayveon Williams and rookie Chris Evans. I’d go Perine out of those three, for what it’s worth.

Browns Notes: With the Browns out of playoff contention, and after we saw Nick Chubb’s lack of snaps last week (a season-low 42% snap share) due to his chest issue in Week 17, I’m not even sure we can be sure Chubb will play a ton, since Chubb was limited all week. Kareem Hunt was also limited with his ankle, and I’d guess he’ll miss the finale (check inactives to be sure). D’Ernest Johnson was placed on the COVID list this week but removed on Saturday, so he should play a lot. Baker Mayfield is out and Case Keenum is probably an upgrade, which helps their top receivers. Jarvis Landry matched a season-high with 10 targets last week and Donovan Peoples-Jones has 5+ targets in eight of his last nine games. David Njoku is banged up with a hand injury, so Austin Hooper isn’t a terrible reach play.

Carolina Panthers (5-11) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)

Panthers Notes: Even though Sam Darnold (who may not play the whole game) continues to stink, I like DJ Moore this week. Robby Anderson has missed practice all week, so there could be a huge role for DJ this week. Moore posted 5/55 receiving on 12 targets in this matchup two weeks ago while Robby turned in 5/58 receiving on 10 targets, but Moore could get more than half of those Robby targets. I’ll take my chances with Moore potentially getting 12+ targets against a Bucs team that should be disinterested in the second half thanks to their big lead. Despite a strong game last week, I’d like to forget Chuba Hubbard exists in this tough matchup. He did see 20 touches last week with his 52% snap share, but Hubbard had only 6/9 rushing against the Bucs two weeks ago. I’d like to not use him and Ameer Abdullah.

Buccaneers Notes: Tom Brady tends to play in meaningless season finales and he might be inclined to play 3-4 quarters to work in with Antonio Brown’s replacement, Cyril Grayson. Grayson has a pair of 81-yard games in the last two weeks playing with Brady and he caught the game-winning TDs in the closing seconds last week. Mike Evans should play, and his chances are improved with CB Stephon Gilmore out, but we can’t count on a full game for any of these guys, especially Rob Gronkowski, who finished with just a 23-yard catch on two targets in this matchup two weeks ago. Ronald Jones is out, so it’s a great opportunity for Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who is dealing with a rib injury but who practiced all week. Le’Veon Bell will be in line for a lot of snaps, but Vaughn’s a good flyer to take a shot with if you need a RB.

Washington Football Team (6-10) at New York Giants (4-12)

FT Notes: I may be alone on this one, but with Antonio Gibson being removed completely from the injury report, I have to think he’s good-to-go, and the Giants are one of the most pathetic offenses I’ve ever seen, so why can’t Gibson end the season with a blowup game with 100+ total yards and 1-2 TDs? There’s downside, but if things go relatively well, Gibson can easily come through. He’s 109 rushing yards shy of 1000 on the season and has definitely shown he can play hurt. Terry McLaurin had his best fantasy performance of the season with 11/107/1 receiving against the Giants in Week 2, and the Giants are so dead and playing out the string that I’m willing to play this volatile option on the chances he hits. Also, rookie John Bates has already been playing over Ricky Seals-Jones, but with RSJ out this week, it’s all Bates, and I know they like him. He should be in the 3-4 catch and 40-50 yard range this week, and if he scores, he goes off. He also almost scored last week. Taylor Heinicke is at least coming off his best showing in more than a month last week, and Heinicke posted 21.0 FP against them back in Week 2

Giants Notes: You can use Saquon Barkley if you need him, especially since he’s coming off season-highs in carries (21) and rushing yards (102). The Giants may run him if they’re down 40-nothing in the fourth quarter. Jake Fromm will get another start this week, so it’s hands off all the Giant “receivers,” who rarely receive anything.

New Orleans Saints (8-8) at Atlanta Falcons (7-9)

Saints Notes: There’s a lot to be said for a stud with no playing time issues and a beatable matchup, and Alvin Kamara got it done in the passing game last week with 5/68/1 receiving on six targets. He’s also a good bet for 15-20 carries, so this could easily be a big game. He’s averaged 4.6 YPC in this matchup in his last three games. Taysom Hill has seen 11+ carries in four straight games as a starter, and Josh Allen posted 15/81/2 rushing against the Falcons, and I can see Taysom also going little in the passing game but coming through on the ground.

Marquez Callaway is clearly the top guy at WR and the only receiver you can try out here.

He has six catches and 95+ yards in two straight games playing with Hill, and Callaway did score in this matchup back in Week 9. I can’t say I love him, though, with shutdown CB AJ Terrell on the field, but Calloway should avoid Terrell more often than not.

Falcons Notes: The Falcons have some viable guys this week, since they have nothing to rest for, but Kyle Pitts is dealing with that ankle injury, so he’s not easy to totally trust. Pitts does need only 59 receiving yards against the Saints to break Mike Ditka’s rookie record for TEs, so that’s one angle that could help. Matt Ryan has thrown for 1 TD or fewer touchdowns in eight straight, but he does know this defense well and he went 23/30 passes for 343 yards (11.4 YPA) and 2 TDs and 28.5 FP in this matchup in Week 9. Russell Gage has cooled off the last two weeks after he posted 60+ yards in four straight games in Weeks 12-15, but you could do worse, since he’s their #1 WR and could be the #1 receiver if Pitts has issues. Cordarrelle Patterson has really fallen off down the stretch, and it’s not a good matchup. He has fewer than 30 rushing yards in three straight and he’s fallen below 30 receiving yards in seven straight, so if he doesn’t score, he’s done next to nothing.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1) at Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

Steelers Notes: If you’re still playing and you have Najee Harris, you’re using him after he looked very good last week with season-highs in rushing yards (188), YPC (6.7), and FP (29.6). Najee didn’t have a big game against the Ravens in Week 13, but he had 26 touches. Ben Roethlisberger looks awful, but the matchup is at least great. Diontae Johnson is coming off the covid list, but Diontae was pulled from the list just one day after he was placed on it, which means he’s vaccinated and was asymptomatic, and the Ravens right now have the worst pass defense in the league, and they will be down another starting corner with the shaky Anthony Averett out. Johnson has 14+ FP in 13 of his 15 games, and he ripped the Ravens for 8/105/2 receiving on 11 targets when these teams met in Week 13. Hopefully, this being Roethlisberger’s last game increases Big Ben’s juice. James Washington is out, which helps Chase Claypool’s chances a tiny bit, but he’s hard to trust over another solid option.

Pat Freiermuth has scored 6 TDs in his last nine games, and the Ravens have been shaky against TEs all year.

Ravens Notes: Rookie Tyler Huntley struggled a bit in Week 17 and posted only 12.3 FP in a loss to the Rams, but this is a better matchup. Lamar Jackson posted 253/1 passing and 8/55 rushing when the Ravens played the Steelers in Week 13, and that’s about what I I think Huntley can do in this one. Lamar was the QB12 that week. With Huntley under center, the Ravens have generated a score (FG or TD) on a respectable 41.8% of their possessions this year, so he should be good for 17+ FP. Rashad Bateman has become a full-time player with 81% of the snaps or more in the last three weeks, and he’s been at 12+ FP in three of his last four games. He’s clicked with Huntley, and with the Steelers usually doing a good job against Mark Andrews, Bateman could be a nice producer in the finale. Marquise Brown has failed to clear 55 receiving yards in seven straight, which is hard to believe, but he’s just under 1000 yards and doesn’t have playing time or injury concerns, so use him if you need him. Devonta Freeman is on his last legs, but got volume last week with 14 carries for 76 rushing yards and he also had a season-high 20.7 FP against the Steelers back in Week 13 with 14/52/1 rushing and 5/45 receiving on eight targets. The Browns failed to run the ball much last week, but the Steelers are still getting rolled over in the running game, giving up 30/153/.8 per game to RBs the last four weeks, so Freeman could end the season with a bang.

New York Jets (4-12) at Buffalo Bills (10-6)

Jets Notes: Zach Wilson has definitely shown progress and we’re told his work ethic this year has been good, but he’s also down his top targets with a tough matchup, one in which backup Mike White threw four INTs in back in Week 10. Braxton Berrior is out, as is Elijah Moore, so the desperation WR play is Jamison Crowder, who practiced all well and will return from his calf injury. He’s risky, though, and hasn’t played since 12/15 and has a touch matchup with slot CB Taron Johnson. Rookie Michael Carter suffered a concussion in Week 17, but he’s cleared protocol and is set to play. He’s a desperation play only, though, since he’s put up 4/17 TOTAL receiving with Wilson his last three games. Tevin Coleman, Austin Walter, and Ty Johnson are also in the mix. Oh joy!

Bills Notes: Josh Allen was bad last week, but they are still playing to win with a chance to lose the AFC East still, so you’re using Allen and Stefon Diggs, who is six catches away from reaching 100 for the season. Diggs’ best game of the season came against these Jets in Week 10 when he finished with 8/162/1 receiving on 13 targets. With Emmanuel Sanders doubtful, Cole Beasley doing little, and Dawson Knox disappearing last week, I like Gabriel Davis again this week. Davis has been the second-best option in this passing attack ever since he went for 3/105 receiving against these Jets in Week 10. Knox is certainly worth using if you need him, and it is a good matchup, as the Jets have given up the fourth-most FP per target to TEs the last eight weeks. Devin Singletary has clearly emerged as the guy in this backfield and he has scored 14+ FP in four straight games with 68% of the snaps or more in five of his last six games. The Jets will be light-handed at receiver this week, so the Bills should cruise to an easy home win while sealing it with Singletary late.

Tennessee Titans (11-5) at Houston Texans (4-12)

Titans Notes: The Titans really don’t have a passing game, so I’d expect a lot of D’Onta Foreman, who has one more chance to show the team that he needs to be Derrick Henry’s backup in 2022. Dontrell Hilliard is in the mix and could ruin things for Foreman, but Foreman is the clear top option with 26/132/1 rushing on a season-high 65% snap share against Miami last week. The Titans enter as 10.5-point favorites, and the Texans are still giving up a healthy 5.4 YPC to RBs the last four weeks (20/108/1.3 per game in that span). When Ryan Tannehill throws it, it’ll be to AJ Brown, of course. Brown has fewer than 10 FP in four of his last five, but last week’s matchup was bad and the Texans give up the second-most FPG to outside WRs the last eight weeks, so ASB could easily have a small blowup game in the finale. The last time he did back in Week 16, Julio Jones played, and Julio may play this week. Ryan Tannehill has been a Texans killer in the past, but he actually had his worst game of the season against the Texans back in Week 11, but it’s still a good matchup and Tannehill actually averages 24 FPG against the Texans in his last three games.

Texans Notes: Brandin Cooks has been tremendous with rookie Davis Mills with 18+ FP in three straight with 7+ catches, and the Titans defense is still giving up the most FPG to slot receivers, so Cooks should be in good shape here as the Texans will likely get contained running the ball against this stout run D. That’s bad news for Rex Burkhead, who had 18 carries against the Titans in late November, but for only 40 rushing yards. That’s all I got on the Texans other than Nico Collins may be due for a decent game.

Indianapolis Colts (9-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)

Colts Notes: Our projection for Jonathan Taylor is actually a little light, since I don’t think they need to give Taylor 25+ carries this week, but they easily could, and he can still destroy them on only 18-20 touches. Taylor easily dropped 21/116/1 rushing (5.5 YPC) against Jacksonville back in Week 10, and the Jags have allowed a combined 454 rushing yards in the last two games against the Jets and Patriots, so Taylor’s looking good. Michael Pittman has 6+ catches in three of his last four games, and he caught all five of his targets for 71 yards against the Jaguars in mid-November. Jacksonville just allowed three different Patriots’ WRs to reach 14+ FP last week, so I could see Pittman having a really nice game here. Parris Campbell may play this week, so I wouldn’t mess with any other Colts receiver. Carson Wentz has thrown for multiple TDs just twice in his last seven, and they didn’t need him to do much in the first meeting, plus the Jags pressured him well. Wentz at least has something to play for this week.

Jaguars Notes: He’s been a pretty good compiler the last two years when he’s received volume, and Dare Ogunbowale will once again receive volume this week. His matchup is a little better than last week, but the Colts are also a tough matchup. But Dare is looking at 60% of the snaps with 12-14 opportunities at least likely, and he’s solid in the passing game and in short-yardage. Laquon Treadwell has six consecutive games with 4+ catches and 50+ receiving yards now after catching all six of his targets last week against the Pats. The Colts are stingy, but they will be down a starting CB in Xavier Rhodes, so Treadwell can certainly catch another 4+balls for 50+ yards. TE Dam Arnold is very risky just coming off the covid list and he hasn’t played in weeks, but he’s all they have at TE and it’s a good matchup.

New England Patriots (10-6) at Miami Dolphins (8-8)

Patriots Notes: The Pats can still win the AFC East, so they will play their guys, making them all viable this week. Damien Harris left early with a hamstring injury last week, though, so check his status. It could work out for Rhamondre Stevenson again and the Titans rolled over the Dolphins for 40/198/2 rushing in a 31-point victory last week. I don’t think Mac Jones will have to do much, but Mac did throw for 281/1 in the season opener and he has a nice number of solid weapons to produce. Jakobi Meyers has 5+ catches in four straight and he had a decent 6/44 receiving on nine targets when these teams met back in September. Kristian Wilkerson came out of nowhere to play over N’Keal Harry last week, but Nelson Agholor is back and Kendrick Bourne is the best play, anyway. Hunter Henry has fallen below seven FP in five of his last six games, but he’s at least scored 9 TDs in his last 13 games, so he could always score.

Dolphins Notes: I’m not feeling Tua Tagovailoa this week in a tough matchup and in a tough spot on a team with no OL or running game. Tua has thrown for fewer than 210 yards in three straight, and Tua completed 16/27 passes for 202 yards (7.5 YPA), one TD, and one INT when these teams met all the way back in the season opener. DeVante Parker will see a lot of top corner JC Jackson, so Jaylen Waddle is once again looking like a good play. Waddle even dropped 4/61/1 receiving on five targets on the Patriots way back in the season opener. Mike Gesicki is one of the most underwhelming fantasy players in the league, and he hasn’t scored since Week 7. The Patriots are giving up a league-low 6.9 FPG to TEs this season and Gesicki goose egg’d his fantasy owners in the season opener against New England. Duke Johnson is the top back right now if desperate, but anything can happen in a meaningless game for Miami. Still, Johnson does look good and the Pats are giving up a generous 4.6 YPC and the fourth-most receiving yards per game (51.5) to RBs this season.

Chicago Bears (6-10) at Minnesota Vikings (7-9)

Bears Notes: The Vikings will be playing for HC Mike Zimmer’s job, but do they care? The shaky Justin Fields completed 26/39 passes for 285 yards (7.3 YPA) and one TD in this matchup less than a month ago, and he should have had 2 TDs. Andy Dalton actually threw 3 TD passes against this defense as a Cowboy last year, so 16+ FP should be easily attained. David Montgomery has 16+ touches in eight straight games with 24 touches last week plus 2 TDs. Montgomery managed 18/60 rushing and 5/23 receiving when these teams met just three weeks ago, but Minnesotat likely won’t have DT Michael Pierce, and Montgomery’s averaged a healthy 20.8 FPG in his last two games in this matchup. Darnell Mooney is 71 yards away from hitting 1000 yards for the first time, and I’m confident he’ll get there. He posted 5/63 receiving on seven targets against the Vikings three weeks ago, and he just missed a touchdown in that contest on two different plays. Cole Kmet and Allen Robinson are desperation options, but they’re not horrible ones. Kmet had 4/49 receiving on five targets in this matchup three weeks ago.

Vikings Notes: Dalvin Cook might be sneaky this week coming off his terrible performance in Week 17 (a season-worst 4.3 FP last week with Sean Mannion at quarterback). Kirk Cousins will be back, but he’s coming off Covid, so they may lean on Cook a little more than usual, and they lean on him heavily. Cook needed 28 carries to get to just 89 yards (3.2 YPC) against the Bears in Week 15, but DT Akiem Hicks was bullying him around per usual in that game, and Hicks is OUT. This week. I like Cook’s potential for 100+ rushing yards and multiple TDs in this one. Cousins may be more risky than usual, and he has fallen below 18 FP in his last three games without Adam Thielen, and he completed only 12/24 passes (50%) for 87 yards (3.6 YPA), two TDs, and one INT against the Bears three weeks ago. It’s in Minnesota, so Kirkie may be okay, and you’re not sitting Justin Jefferson, who can crush them. K.J. Osborn and Tyler Conklin are also very useful plays this week for those who need them.

Seattle Seahawks (6-10) at Arizona Cardinals (11-5)

Seahawks Notes: Hey, be happy if you’re still playing and you need these guys because they have five viable fantasy starters led by Rashaad Penny, who had five rushing TDs and three performances with 100+ rushing yards the last four weeks. The Cardinals can be run on. Russell Wilson is actually coming off his best fantasy performance of the season, and the Cardinals have allowed 20+ FP to QBs in three of their last four games, so you’re using D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, who put up 4/115 receiving on five targets against the Cards back in late November. Gerald Everett has 3+ catches in 7-of-8 games since Wilson returned to action, but the Cards are still giving up the second-fewest FPG (7.9) to TEs.

Cardinals Notes: The Cardinals are obviously still playing for something, so Kyler Murray is a top option this week. Backup Colt McCoy shredded the Seahawks in Week 11 with 328/2 passing for 22.9 FP, which bodes well for Murray. I really like Christian Kirk in this one, as Seattle is giving up the fifth-most FPT to slot receivers. Kirk is 61 yards away from reaching 1000 yards for the first time in his career and he’s rolling with a 25% target share the last six weeks. A.J. Green can still run and get open downfield, but his target volume isn’t great with just a 15% target share the last six week. Green did have 4/78 on seven targets in the first matchup. Seattle's defense can be tough on the outside, but vulnerable inside and to slot receivers, and Zach Ertz is basically a slot receiver. Seattle is giving up the second-most FP per target to TEs the last eight weeks, so Ertz is looking good. Chase Edmonds (ribs/toe) won’t play, so James Conner (heel) has to do well, even though he’s banged up.

San Francisco 49ers (9-7) at Los Angeles Rams (12-4)

49ers Notes: All signs point to Jimmy Garoppolo getting the nod in a big game, and Jimmy G has 5 TD passes in his last two games against the Rams. Elijah Mitchell got it done last week and now has 21+ carries in his last four, including 27/91 rushing against the Rams back in Week 10. It’s not the best matchup, but he’s one of the top RB options this week. Deebo Samuel has crushed the Rams in the past, including 30.3 FP against the Rams in Week 10 when he finished with 5/97/1 receiving and 5/36/1 rushing. He also posted 11/113 on 13 targets in his second game against them in 2020. It’s a tough matchup for George Kittle, but he did have a solid 5/50/1 on seven targets when these teams met in mid-November. Brandin Aiyuk had just 3/26 receiving on four targets in that game, but he’s certainly viable.

Rams Notes: Cooper Kupp needs 136 yards to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yards record, but I don’t think Kupp is pushing for it because it’s a seventeen game season. Of course, he posted 11/122 receiving on 13 targets when these teams met back in mid-November, so he could come close. Matthew Stafford has 6 INTs in his last three, but not all of the picks are his fault. He did struggle in this matchup back in Week 10, but not much you can do but use him if you’re still playing, since they are still playing to win. Van Jefferson has been getting hurt by Odell Beckham, actually, and he’s hit 4+ catches just twice in his last nine. Still, he’s a viable play if you’re considering him, as is OBJ. Tyler Higbee has 11/110 receiving on 15 targets the last two weeks, and he did score in the first matchup, so you could do worse.

Sony Michel has 20+ touches in each of his last five games, so I’d keep using him even if Cam Akers (Achilles) is in the mix this week.

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) at Las Vegas Raiders (9-9)

Chargers Notes: Obviously, with this being a huge game, there are no playing time issues, and a bunch of good fantasy options led by Justin Herbert, who is 369 passing yards away from reaching 5000 yards. Herbert completed 25/38 passes for 222 yards (5.8 YPA) and three TDs in this matchup in Week 4. Keenan Allen had just 7/36 receiving on 11 targets in this matchup in early October, but slot corner Nate Hobbs just got popped for a DUI, so he might not be as sharp. Mike Williams got stopped in the first matchup, catching just one ball for 11 yards, but I’d still use him. Jared Cook had his best game of the season against the Raiders in Week 4 with 6/70/1, and I do like him again this week. Austin Ekeler has 14+ FP in seven straight and he posted season-highs in rushing yards (117) and scrimmage yards (145) when these teams met in Week 4.

Raiders Notes: It doesn’t seem like Derek Carr has been good for fantasy for two months, but he’s 382 yards away from 5000 yards. But he completed 21/34 passes for 196 yards (5.8 YPA), two TDs, and one INT when these squads met in early October, and I don’t know if we can count on Darren Waller to do much, assuming he even plays. Waller had 4/50/1 receiving on seven targets against Los Angeles back in Week 4. As usual, it’ll be a bunch of looks for Hunter Renfrow, who had a decent 6/45/1 receiving on eight targets when these teams met in Week 4, which was before Renfrow exploded. Zay Jones’s appeal is reduced with Waller back. Josh Jacobs has looked really good the last two weeks, so he’s damn near a must-play at this point.

Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Famer John Hansen has been an industry leader and pioneer since 1995, when he launched Fantasy Guru. His content has been found over the years on ESPN.com, NFL.com, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded FantasyPoints.com.