Fantasy Football Week 18 Rankings: Matchups and Projections for Players We Love

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 6, 2023

Fantasy Football Week 18 Rankings: Matchups and Projections for Players We Love

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 01: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks for an open receiver during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on January 1, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
    David Eulitt/Getty Images

    Not all fantasy football champions have been crowned just yet.

    While many leagues have wrapped up already, some will conclude with Week 18 of the 2022 NFL season.

    If your league falls into that bucketβ€”a decent chance since you're still seeking out fantasy contentβ€”then you're in luck, as we're here to lay out our Week 18 rankings at the three marquee positions and spotlight a player with an exploitable matchup at each spot.


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    GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 01: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on January 01, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kayla Wolf/Getty Images)
    Kayla Wolf/Getty Images

    Top 10

    1. Jalen Hurts, PHI (vs. NYG)

    2. Patrick Mahomes, KC (at LV)

    3. Joe Burrow, CIN (vs. BAL)

    4. Josh Allen, BUF (vs. NE)

    5. Trevor Lawrence, JAX (vs. TEN)

    6. Aaron Rodgers, GB (vs. DET)

    7. Kirk Cousins, MIN (at CHI)

    8. Jared Goff, DET (at GB)

    9. Geno Smith, SEA (vs. LAR)

    10. Dak Prescott, DAL (at WAS)

    Favorable matchup: Aaron Rodgers vs. Detroit Lions

    Beyond the name and number on his jersey, Aaron Rodgers bears little resemblance to the signal-caller who once ranked among fantasy's best. If he was ever going to turn back the clock, though, this is the week.

    Detroit's defense has been a gold mine for opposing quarterbacks. The Lions have allowed a league-high 23.23 fantasy points to the position, per Yahoo. No other defense has given up 21-plus fantasy points per game, and only three others have cleared 20.

    Is that enough to get Rodgers going? Great question. He hasn't thrown multiple touchdown passes in a game since November and has only topped 260 yards once. That yardage outburst came against this same defense, though, as he threw for 291 yards the last time these teams squared off, albeit with only a single touchdown pass and three interceptions.

    Projected stats: 276 passing yards, two touchdowns

Running Back

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 17: Dalvin Cook #4 of the Minnesota Vikings runs with the ball in the fourth quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
    Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

    Top 20

    1. Christian McCaffrey, SF (vs. ARI)

    2. Derrick Henry, TEN (at JAX)

    3. Austin Ekeler, LAC (at DEN)

    4. Josh Jacobs, LV (vs. KC)

    5. Dalvin Cook, MIN (at CHI)

    6. Joe Mixon, LAR (at SEA)

    7. Aaron Jones, GB (vs. DET)

    8. Najee Harris, PIT (vs. CLE)

    9. Travis Etienne Jr., JAX (vs. TEN)

    10. Cam Akers, LAR (at SEA)

    11. Nick Chubb, CLE (at PIT)

    12. Miles Sanders, PHI (vs. NYG)

    13. Alvin Kamara, NO (vs. CAR)

    14. Tony Pollard, DAL (at WAS)

    15. Kenneth Walker III, SEA (vs. LAR)

    16. Tyler Allgeier, ATL (vs. TB)

    17. Rhamondre Stevenson, NE (at BUF)

    18. Leonard Fournette, TB (at ATL)

    19. James Conner, ARI (at SF)

    20. Jerick McKinnon, KC (at LV)

    Favorable matchup: Dalvin Cook at Chicago Bears

    Dalvin Cook isn't quite as consistent as you'd like for an early draft pick, but his cold spells usually aren't frigid.

    Of course, Week 17 might have been an exception, as he failed to tally 50 scrimmage yards and never sniffed the end zone. But Minnesota's entire offense malfunctioned early and often, so the best way to process it is by viewing it as an anomaly and expecting better things this time around.

    The Bears defense has had a dreadful season against running backs, yielding the second-most fantasy points to the position. No one needs to explain this to Cook, since he had a heavy hand in that ranking. When these two teams tussled in early October, he turned 20 touches into 121 yards and two touchdowns.

    Projected stats: 18 carries for 95 yards, three receptions for 16 yards, two touchdowns

Wide Receiver

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 22: Christian Kirk #13 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs with the ball against Quincy Williams #56 of the New York Jets during an NFL football game between the New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on December 22, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
    Michael Owens/Getty Images

    Top 20

    1. Justin Jefferson, MIN (at CHI)

    2., Ja'Marr Chase, CIN (vs. BAL)

    3. Davante Adams, LV (vs. KC)

    4. Tyreek Hill, MIA (vs. NYJ)

    5. Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET (at GB)

    6. Stefon Diggs, BUF (vs. NE)

    7. A.J. Brown, PHI (vs. NYG)

    8. CeeDee Lamb, DAL (at WAS)

    9. Keenan Allen, LAC (at DEN)

    10. DK Metcalf, SEA (vs. LAR)

    11. Chris Godwin, TB (at ATL)

    12. DeVonta Smith, PHI (vs. NYG)

    13. Amari Cooper, CLE (at PIT)

    14. Tee Higgins, CIN (vs. BAL)

    15. Mike Evans, TB (at ATL)

    16. Christian Watson, GB (vs. DET)

    17. Christian Kirk, JAX (vs. TEN)

    18 Garrett Wilson, NYJ (at MIA)

    19. Jaylen Waddle, MIA (vs. NYJ)

    20. Mike Williams, LAC (at DEN)

    Favorable matchup: Christian Kirk vs. Tennessee Titans

    On balance, Christian Kirk's first season in Jacksonville has been a smashing success. He could just use a big outing in Week 18 to remind everyone of that.

    Despite sitting top-20 in receptions (78, tied for 19th), receiving yards (1,009, 16th) and touchdown catches (seven, tied for 14th), he's had a few duds his last two times out.

    The 26-year-old has only caught five of nine targets in his last two games for 43 yards and zero scores. He also has failed to find the end zone since the middle of November.

    That could all change this week, though, as he gets a Titans defense that has been more generous than anyone to fantasy receivers.

    While Kirk was relatively quiet in their first meeting (five receptions for 45 yards), this passing attack was as loud as ever with Trevor Lawrence throwing for 368 yards and three scores.

    Expect Kirk to grab a bigger piece of the pie this time.

    Projected stats: Seven receptions for 91 yards, one touchdown