The finale of the 2021 NFL regular season is upon us. Congratulations to those owners who captured their respective league’s championship a week ago. For those fantasy managers who play into the last Sunday of the regular season, Week 18 offers many unique challenges. With nearly every playoff spot clinched in both conferences, many franchises will be holding out their star players or playing them on a reduced snap count to give them rest before the postseason. However, with seedings and matchups still left to play for, expect many coaches to look to win their games.
Back with our last weekly sleepers article of the year, our picks delivered last week. Ryan Tannehill helped put the Tennessee Titans in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The veteran quarterback completed 18 of his 23 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s blowout win over the Miami Dolphins. Furthermore, Boston Scott helped the Philadelphia Eagles clinch a wildcard spot in the NFC. The 26-year-old running back amassed 47 yards on the ground while adding in two rushing scores.
Davis Mills, Houston Texans
Mills has turned heads after being named the starter of the Texans. The 23-year-old has led the team to two wins over the season’s last month. He has finished as QB15, QB13, and QB10 over that period. Struggling in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers a week ago, the former third-round pick tossed for just 163 yards while adding in a touchdown score. Looking to play spoiler against the Titans on Sunday, play Mills. Struggling to find consistency on the defensive side of the ball throughout the course of the season, Tennessee has given up more than 260 passing yards per game.
Furthermore, they have also given up 1.3 passing touchdowns on average, leading to 18.7 fantasy points surrendered per contest. Remaining the stingiest unit across the league against the run, look for the rookie signal-caller to be forced to air the ball out. With potential top 15 upside, he can be viewed as a boom or bust QB1 option this week.
Samaje Perine, Cincinatti Bengals
Perine has seen his role in the offense diminish down the stretch. The 26-year-old has carried the ball just nine times over the last month. A week ago, he had just one rushing attempt, playing a minimal role in the Bengals win over the Kansas City Chiefs. However, in a matchup with the Cleveland Browns, stream him.
Carved up on the ground all year long, Kevin Stefanki’s team has given up the 14th most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. The unit surrenders more than 91 yards per game on 20 attempts. Furthermore, they have also allowed 10 rushing touchdowns through 17 weeks. Providing a comfortable floor for owners with Joe Mixon already ruled out for Cincinnati, Perine is a RB2 for the week.
Zay Jones, Las Vegas Raiders
Jones finally broke out in the Raiders win over the Indianapolis Colts a week ago. He broke the 100 yard mark for the first time this season. The 26-year-old hauled in eight receptions for 120 yards to finish as WR11 for the week. Set to square off in a win or go home game against the Los Angles Chargers on Sunday Night Football, start him. Seeing his usage rate rise in Greg Olson’s offense of late, the former second-round pick has averaged more than six targets per game over the last three weeks. This has led him to eclipse more than 10 PPR points in each contest. Owned in just one percent of Yahoo leagues and six percent of ESPN leagues, he is a low-end WR2.
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Johnson has continued to play a more significant role in the Buccaneer’s offense over the past few weeks. The sophomore wide receiver saw his snap count rise from 54 percent in Week 16 to 66 percent in Week 17. This led him to put together one of the strongest performances of his 2021 campaign last Sunday. The 23-year-old caught four passes for 50 yards to help Tampa Bay hold off the New York Jets.
Play him in a divisional showdown with the Carolina Panthers in Week 18. Limping down the stretch to close out their 2021 season, Matt Rhule’s team has surrendered 135.4 yards per game to opposing wideouts. Furthermore, the group has given up 1.2 passing touchdowns on average during their last four contests. Destined to benefit from the absence of Antonio Brown, Johnson is a comfortable WR3 in your lineup.
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
Fresh off a five-catch performance in the Rams Week 16 win over the Minnesota Vikings, Higbee followed it up in Week 17 with a season-high 69 receiving yards. Taking advantage of a depleted Baltimore Ravens secondary, the 29-year-old finished as TE8 for the week. He has now seen at least six targets in three straight games, leading to over nine PPR points in each of those contests.
Aiming to help clinch the NFC West with a win over the 49ers on Sunday, start Higbee. Strong against tight ends all year long, Kyle Shanahan’s team has given up just 32.9 yards per game to the position on average. However, the six-year veteran hauled in three balls for 20 yards and a touchdown during their last meeting in Week 10. A safe option for owners, he is a low-end TE1.
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