Fantasy Football Week 18: Final Rankings, Projections, Early Waiver-Wire Tips

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 3, 2022

Fantasy Football Week 18: Final Rankings, Projections, Early Waiver-Wire Tips

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Many fantasy football leagues will have completed their seasons by the end of Week 17. But there are some that don't wrap up until the final week of the regular season.

    With an extra week added to the NFL schedule this season, some fantasy leagues will be utilizing Week 18 for their championship matchups. It can be tricky to know which players to use in these situations, though, as some teams that have already clinched postseason berths will be resting starters ahead of the playoffs.

    Keeping that in mind, here are early fantasy rankings for Week 18, along with some waiver-wire options to consider if your league is still going.


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    John Hefti/Associated Press

    1. Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen vs. NYJ

    2. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes at DEN

    3. Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray vs. SEA

    4. Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert at LV

    5. Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford vs. SF

    6. Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott at PHI

    7. New Orleans Saints QB Taysom Hill at ATL

    8. San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance at LAR

    9. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson at ARI

    10. Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill at HOU


    Waiver-Wire Option: San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance at LAR

    Assuming that Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb injury) is out again in Week 18, Trey Lance could be a worthwhile streaming option at quarterback. He's capable of using his legs to make plays, and he nearly had a rushing touchdown in Week 17 against the Houston Texans.

    Lance's rushing score may have been wiped out by a penalty, but he still threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns and looked better than he did when he got playing time earlier in the season. The rookie seems to have improved, and that should continue as he gains more experience.

    The Los Angeles Rams have a solid defense, but the 49ers will be looking to win and secure their spot in the playoffs. Plus, San Francisco beat Los Angeles in Week 10. So Lance could be in a position to have success.

Running Backs

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    1. Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor at JAX

    2. Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler at LV

    3. New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara at ATL

    4. Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb vs. CIN

    5. Chicago Bears RB David Montgomery at MIN

    6. Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook vs. CHI

    7. Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris at BAL

    8. San Francisco 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell at LAR

    9. New England Patriots RB Damien Harris at MIA

    10. Los Angeles Rams RB Sony Michel vs. SF


    Waiver-Wire Option: Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Le'Veon Bell vs. CAR

    Ronald Jones II suffered an ankle injury in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Week 17 win over the New York Jets. And considering Tampa Bay has already clinched the NFC South title and can't get the No. 1 seed, it could opt to sit Jones in Week 18 to let him get ready for the playoffs.

    That would mean a larger role for Le'Veon Bell, who is still getting adjusted to his new team. He got more playing time in Week 17, when he had three carries for five yards and three catches for 30 yards. Bell also scored a two-point conversion on a run to help seal the victory in New York.

    With Bell likely to be involved in the passing game, he could have a good bit of points-per-reception value. So it may be worth taking a chance on him in Week 18 depending on the Bucs' plans for player rest.

Wide Receivers

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    1. Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp vs. SF

    2. Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill at DEN

    3. San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel at LAR

    4. Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs vs. NYJ

    5. Tennessee Titans WR A.J. Brown at HOU

    6. Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson vs. CHI

    7. Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson at BAL

    8. Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen at LV

    9. Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf at ARI

    10. Indianapolis Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. at JAX


    Waiver-Wire Option: Las Vegas Raiders WR Zay Jones vs. LAC

    In recent weeks, Zay Jones' role in the Las Vegas Raiders offense has grown. He's been targeted at least eight times in each of the past three games, and he's turned that into 20 catches over that span.

    Jones recorded his first 100-yard game of the season in Week 17, when he had eight catches for 120 yards in a win over the Indianapolis Colts. Both of those numbers were season highs. His 10 targets comprised another season-high mark. And there's a good chance he will stay involved during Las Vegas' regular-season finale.

    The Raiders will be looking to secure a playoff berth in Week 18, so they need to play to win. Perhaps it will be an opportune time for Jones to score his first touchdown since Week 1, which could give his fantasy value an even bigger boost.

Tight Ends

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    Justin Rex/Associated Press

    1. Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce at DEN

    2. Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews vs. PIT

    3. San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle at LAR

    4. Buffalo Bills TE Dawson Knox vs. NYJ

    5. Arizona Cardinals TE Zach Ertz vs. SEA

    6. New England Patriots TE Hunter Henry at MIA

    7. Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts vs. NO

    8. Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant vs. KC

    9. Pittsburgh Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth at BAL

    10. Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee vs. SF


    Waiver-Wire Option: Los Angeles Chargers TE Jared Cook at LV

    In Week 17, Jared Cook had three catches for 44 yards, his highest yardage total over his past seven games. However, it usually requires him to score a touchdown for him to put up big fantasy numbers.

    There's a chance that Cook could get back into the end zone in Week 18 after not scoring the past two weeks. The Chargers and Raiders are playing a high-stakes matchup that could feature plenty of offense, so Cook has the potential for a strong showing.

    At this point, not many tight ends on the waiver wire are good streaming options. But if Cook is available, he's worth taking a chance on for Week 18.