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DraftKings Fantasy Football Tournament Picks: NFL Week 18 Top High-Upside DFS Targets, Sleepers

Geoff Ulrich shares his top high-upside targets, stacks and contrarian options for this week’s main fantasy football slate on DraftKings.

Welcome to the weekly tournament plays article for Sunday’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate. I’m going to focus purely on high-upside plays and stacks that are likely to be low-owned in the largest tournaments on the slate. There will be a lot of bust potential found here on most weeks, but big GPPs are generally not won by making the popular moves.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $3M Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry]


Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks

Kyler Murray ($7,400) — Christian Kirk ($6,000) — Tyler Lockett ($6,400)

The Cardinals and Seahawks have played in multiple high-scoring affairs against each other over the last few years and this week’s game does have one of the highest totals on the slate at 48.0. The Cardinals’ Kyler Murray has looked healthy and more composed in his last couple of starts and completed just under 70% of his passes last week against a tough Dallas defense. The Seahawks present a far less talented secondary for Murray to worry about and have the seventh-worst yards per pass attempt mark in the league. Murray has run for over 44 rushing yards in four of his last five games since returning from injury as well.

The Cardinals project for a 27.25 implied team total, so pairing Murray up with one of his receivers makes sense especially from an upside perspective. Kyler could rush for a couple of touchdowns, but his receivers are cheap enough that even a decent day by someone like Christian Kirk means they’ll have a great chance of factoring into the top lineups of the week. Kirk has averaged 10 targets in his last three game since DeAndre Hopkins got ruled out for the year and takes on a Seattle defense who has been roasted by fellow slot receivers, Cooper Kupp and Amon-Ra St. Brown, of late—allowing games of over 100 yards and a touchdown to both receivers. Kirk should benefit from the matchup and is likely to continue to see heavy targets against a solid rush defense in Seattle.

On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson could have easily made our stack as a value quarterback option, but his improved play of late should help his receivers out. Using Tyler Lockett, who is now coming off a couple of muted games, seems like a great GPP strategy. Teammate DK Metcalf is likely to garner more ownership this week (after scoring three times last week) but Lockett has been the one to dominate the Cardinals during his career. Lockett’s gone over 100 yards twice against Arizona, and scored three-times versus them too—all in his last three matchups. With Seattle set as +7.0 underdogs, expect Lockett’s target share to rise and his ability to get free against this Arizona defensive scheme to pay dividends for fantasy purposes as well.

Just Missed: Kirk Cousins ($6,100) — Justin Jefferson ($8,100)


Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons ($6,200)

The player pool at quarterback this week feels littered with non-playable options, which makes this choice of Taysom Hill, much easier to legitimatize. Hill may not be a top-end passer (he’s not even average to be honest), but his rushing ability brings in so many different ways to pay off for us in fantasy that his lack of big passing days becomes an inefficiency we can live with. Hill has now rushed the ball 11 or more times in four straight starts since taking over as the starter and has averaged 20.3 points per game, despite finding the end zone as a rusher in just one of those four games.

Hill’s upside is also heightened by the fact he’s facing the Falcons, a team who has the worst pass rush in the league and has given up the third-most rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks this season. Hill’s start last year against the Falcons resulted in 51 yards and two rushing touchdowns, and similar results here should almost be expected. He’s a high upside option on a week where you’ll have to hold your nose and use potential third-string talent, if you want to go any cheaper at quarterback.

Just Missed: Brandon Allen ($5,100)

Running Back

Eli Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams ($6,000)

The 49ers have made it clear all season long that when Eli Mitchell is heathy, he’s the one who will lead this backfield in touches. It’s for good reason too, as the rookie comes into this game averaging 4.7 YPC on the season but also ripped off 119 yards last week on just 21 carries for 5.7 YPC. The couple weeks of injury-related rest seems to have helped Mitchell out enough that he’ll be able to gut it out again against the Rams this week, but his questionable tag is likely to draw some ownership off him as well.

Mitchell has now gone for 19.0 DKFP or more four times on the season and all four of those fantasy performances came in games the 49ers won. While they enter as +4.5 underdogs in this game, the 49ers are 5-0 against the Rams over the last two and a half years and certainly have a path to winning this game. Part of that path goes through Mitchell, who put up 91 yards against them in the 49ers’ Week 10 romp (31-10 win over L.A). With all the minefields we have to watch for in Week 18, Mitchell’s big usage rate shouldn’t go overlooked, and he makes for a solid target in GPPs, especially if you’re looking to double down on 6k-range running backs this week.

Just Missed: Saquon Barkley ($6,000)

Wide Receiver

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings ($5,900)

The Bears’ Darnell Mooney has quietly taken over as the lead receiver in Chicago this season and enters this game having seen 29 targets over his last three games alone. While just about every piece of this Bears offense has been inconsistent from a performance standpoint in 2021, Mooney has posted four games with 120 yards or more. The chance for a big finale is certainly on the table too, as the Vikings pass defense actually rates out as one of the worst in the league and have been terrible at guarding opposing wideouts.

Minnesota has allowed the most fantasy points to the position this year and have allowed the last two WR1s they’ve faced to go for over 10 catches and 100 yards. Mooney remains cheap, has one of the biggest team target shares over the last three weeks of any wideout in the league and will likely be playing with a quarterback in Andy Dalton who targeted him 13 times last week. Mooney rates out as an elite GPP option for the year’s final regular season slate.

Just Missed: Amon-Ra St. Brown ($6,800)

Tight End

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens ($4,600)

The Steelers will almost certainly be without target hog Diontae Johnson in this game, who was found to be positive for COVID early Thursday. Johnson has a small chance to play but likely misses this game against Baltimore, a team who has rated out as one of the worst pass defenses in the league over the last two months.

Freiermuth was already in a pretty spot here, considering the Ravens also don’t cover tight ends well at all and have allowed the third-most receptions and fifth-most touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year. His ceiling could be quite a bit higher though with no Johnson, who has averaged 10 targets per game this year. The Ravens are also likely to be in “play out the string” mode after being eliminated from the playoffs last week. Freiermuth’s 18 red-zone targets is second on the team, and with no Johnson, he’s got a great chance to set some single game career highs and add to his season long touchdown total.

Just Missed: Brevin Jordan ($2,700)

Defense/Special Teams

New Orleans Saints ($3,400) at Atlanta Falcons

The Saints have a big opportunity this week. A San Francisco loss and a win on their end gives the Saints the final playoff spot in the NFC. They face a degrading Matt Ryan who has been sacked the fifth-most times in the league (and has lost two fumbles in his last three games).

The Saints defense should be able to get tons of pressure on Ryan this week. They rank out third in sacks per game over the last three games, having averaged 4.7 sacks in that span. The Saints have also been a better DST unit on the road, where they’ve averaged 9.0 points per game this year and have landed 15.0 or more DKFP in two of their last three games. Despite all that, New Orleans doesn’t seem likely to be heavily rostered at all making them a great pay-up option in GPPs.

Just missed: Tennessee Titans ($3,300)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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