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NFL Picks Fantasy Football Values: Top DraftKings DFS Bargain Plays for Week 18

Steve Buchanan goes position-by-position to find the best affordable plays for this week’s main DraftKings NFL slate.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Week 18 is going to be flushed with value with teams resting players. However, we are tasked with finding the best of the best. Let’s do that here.

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($6,000 and under)

Andy Dalton, Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings, $5,300 — I’m going under the assumption that Justin Fields ($5,400) will be ruled out of this game after being placed on the COVID list on Thursday. If that is indeed the case, Dalton is likely to draw the start once again in Week 18. He’s been great, relative to his salary, in these situations this season. The matchup is a very favorable as well against the Vikings, who have allowed an average of 20.5 DKFP, 269 passing yards and 28 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. The Vikings don’t generate much pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which will be key for Dalton. With a clean pocket, he’s completed 66.2% of his pass attempts (72.7% adjusted completion), 6.5 YPA and five of his seven touchdown passes.

For what it’s worth, over the past three games that Dalton has started, Darnell Mooney ($5,900) has been his top option with 25 targets.


($5,000 and under)

Michael Carter, New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, $5,000 – Per the usual, barring a major injury, finding a running back in this area can be brutal. Carter lands right on the $5K mark and returned to a full practice on Thursday from a concussion. Thus, he’s slated to take the RB1 role for the Jets as massive underdogs.

Carter had a solid game against the Bills back in Week 10, going for 82 scrimmage yards on four catches, 16 carries and added a rushing touchdown for 18.2 DKFP. Carter is being used in both positive (which doesn’t happen often) and negative game scripts, as he’s averaging 30% of the Jets’ total touches per week. The Bills have been strong at limiting the damage on the ground but at least as of late, they’ve seen teams go over 100+ rushing in two of the last four. With Carter grabbing a handful of targets out of the backfield and likely on tap for at least 10 carries, he’s one of the better values at this position.


($5,000 and under)

Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $4,900 – We’ll be seeing Tyler Huntley ($5,700) under center for the Ravens once again in Week 18. This will be his fourth start of the season and when he’s been under center, he’s gone to Bateman often. In the four games he’s started, Huntley has targeted Bateman on average 6.5 times, including 10 last week against the Rams. Huntley’s style can clash a bit with Bateman, as he doesn’t go downfield as much as Jackson, but the overall targets have flowed this way. While Bateman has been much of a red zone threat, he does have three of his six targets with Huntley under center.

Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets, $4,900 — Last week, the Bills were without Emmanuel Sanders, who is looking doubtful to play this week as well. Davis didn’t exactly take advantage of the added snaps but still caught all three of his targets for 40 yards. Not a big game by any means but his usage in the red zone has been massive as of late. Dating back to Week 13, Davis has seen nine targets in the red zone! He even missed Week 16, so this is through just four games. For someone to get that type of heavy usage in the red zone, it’s hard to not like him to score against a very poor Jets secondary. He wasn’t overly involved in Week 10 against the Jets but he turned his three catches into 105 yards that week. With the Bills as massive favorites and Stefon Diggs ($7,800) only needed six catches to hit his contract incentive, Davis could be in for a big week.


($4,000 and under)

Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals, $3,600 – In a game that means nothing for the Browns, I like this spot for Hooper. David Njoku ($3,200) is currently questionable to play in this game and his absence would open up more for Hooper. I also like the Browns WAY more now that Case Keenum ($4,800) is set to make the start. Someone who can throw the ball will make a big difference.

Hooper is second on the team in total targets with 61, which averages out to just over four per game. He’s been one of the favorite targets in the red zone, accounting for 12 total, which is 22.6% of the team total. The Bengals have not been a strong team against opposing tight ends, allowing an average of 16 DKFP (3rd highest, 66 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.


($2,900 and under)

Cardinals DST, Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks, $2,900 – I’m not usually big on taking a D/ST in what is projected to be the highest scoring game but I can make an exception. The Seahawks offensive line has been abysmal and the Cardinals are going to get pressure on Russell Wilson ($6,300). He’s taking an average of 2.4 sacks per game while the Cardinals are averaging 2.5 per game. Despite missing multiple games, Wilson has been under pressure on nearly 37% of his drop backs, which has seen him complete just 47% of his pass attempts (57.3% adjusted). He’s taken 33 sacks, which even with missing multiple games, ranks him 12th in the league.

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