Week 18 of the 2021 season is here, and so is the Saturday DraftKings slate. The last week brings extra wrinkles to the games. Players motivated to push for that extra yard to try and hit a bonus, while coaches look to get to the playoffs with the core of their team intact. The first game on Saturday has more on the line, which is why I’m leaning more towards ownership in that game, but there are pieces in the second game that you may be forced to rely upon.
The important thing is to have fun! I’ve previewed both games with players that you should consider for your lineups.
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Kansas City @Denver Broncos
The Chiefs have a path to getting the top seed in the AFC with a win and a Titans loss. That motivation should give them enough to beat the Broncos, who have little to play for.
It’s hard to look past Patrick Mahomes ($7.500), Tyreek Hill ($8,000) and Travis Kelce ($7,000) on your lineups. You could create some with all three, but stacks of those players are likely a popular play with good reason. All three have been impressive down the stretch, and are prime selections at the top of their positions for the slate.
Outside of them, Darrel Williams ($5,900) is worth a consideration at running back. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire missing practice this week, he is set to have another week as the bell-cow back for the offense. Especially given the limited touches that Derrick Gore ($4,500) and Jerick McKinnon ($4,000) have in the offense.
If you want to get some other exposure to the game, if you’ve spent up elsewhere you could pick up exposure to Byron Pringle ($3,900), Mecole Hardman ($3,800) or even Demarcus Robinson ($3,400). Pringle has found himself making big plays for the team, seeming like he is the more ‘reliable’ option, but Hardman’s speed gives him a constant home-run threat.
Finally, on a short slate, the Chiefs DST ($3,100) is worth picking up. Drew Lock is inconsistent at best, and the Chiefs unit as a whole has put offenses under pressure.
From the Broncos side, it’s hard to look outside just a few pieces. The running back tandem of Javonte Williams ($6,100) and Melvin Gordon ($5,800) are both worth consideration. The two have split carries quite evenly, but Williams has started to carve himself a larger split of the passing plays. Then I’m not looking at too much outside of Noah Fant ($5,000). Even then, I’m not overly sold. There aren’t any receivers that are really putting themselves ahead of the others, and I don’t want to be hoping for Drew Lock to be completing passes- that’s never a good place to be.
This matchup is a harder one to predict, with both teams able to get through it and not too much change for either team.
Dak Prescott ($6,800) is a decent pivot option from Mahomes on the slate, given the strength of his performances in recent weeks. The running game is one that is hard to really decide on Ezekiel Elliott ($6,700) and Tony Pollard ($6,000) are likely to split carries, with Elliott getting the bulk of them. But in recent weeks the team has abandoned the run at times. Against this tough Eagles defensive line, I could see the same thing happening. **UPDATE: Tony Pollard has been ruled out of the game. That boosts the value of Ezekiel Elliott in this slate**
The receivers of CeeDee Lamb ($6,800), Amari Cooper ($6,500) are worth considering due to their ability to make big-plays at any time. The thing is, the Eagles secondary is one of the better units in the entire league, so it could be a quiet night for one (or both).
With those two receiving a lot of attention from the defense, I’d be more tempted by Cedrick Wilson ($4,200) who is likely to see additional work in the slot with Michael Gallup out for the season.
You could also opt for Dalton Schultz ($5,300), who I could even make a case for including in the flex position. The Eagles defense has struggled to limit production to the TE position, and Schultz has really established himself in the middle of the field.
The Eagles are truly limping to the playoffs, with alot of players on the bench with injuries or COVID. The team don’t really have much to play for at all, with a road-game playoff awaiting them either way.
The lack of options hits in the backfield, with Kenneth Gainwell ($4,100) the only body that is truly available to the play. With the way this game is likely to go, his pass-catching ability could be needed early. Otherwise, Boston Scott ($5,300) is the only other player really considering, but he still needs to be cleared from the COVID list.
The receivers are really a roll of the dice. Devonta Smith ($6,100) is the top target for the team, especially with Dallas Goedert on the COVID list. If he plays the full game, he is likely to hit value, but there is no guarantee that will happen.
So, it then becomes a roll for Quez Watkins ($3,800), Greg Ward ($3,300) and Jalen Reagor ($3,000) are worth cycling through- especially if you opt for that pricy triple-Chiefs stack. There isn’t much between them, but I’d be leaning away from Reagor. I can’t rely on his hands. Watkins has electric pace, and Ward is used in the RZ.
Both defenses are worth considering if you don’t want to go for the Chiefs, but of the two Dallas ($2,900) are the stronger option. As mentioned above, the Eagles could be putting out their backups everywhere on the field.
Image Credit: Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports