Fantasy Football Week 18 Rankings: Examining Lineup Options After Injury Reports
In Week 18 of the NFL season, there are going to be plenty of notable players who will be out of action. There are various reasons for that, as some are injured, some have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and some could get rest because they play for teams that have already clinched a playoff berth and have nothing to play for.
For fantasy football managers, the final week of the regular season can be difficult to navigate. That's why many leagues opt to wrap up the fantasy season with the penultimate week of the regular season, rather than try to figure out who will or won't be playing in the final week.
However, some fantasy leagues go to the end of the regular season. And some managers will be trying to win a championship during a Week 18 matchup.
Here's a look at flex rankings for Week 18, along with some potential fill-in options for players who may be out of action this week.
Week 18 Top-40 Flex Rankings
1. Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor at JAX
2. Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp vs. SF
3. Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler at LV
4. San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel at LAR
5. Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook vs. CHI
6. New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara at ATL
7. Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris at BAL
8. Chicago Bears RB David Montgomery at MIN
9. Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb vs. CIN
10. Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson vs. CHI
11. Las Vegas Raiders RB Josh Jacobs vs. LAC
12. Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill at DEN
13. Buffalo Bills RB Devin Singletary vs. NYJ
14. Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny at ARI
15. San Francisco 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell at LAR
16. Kansas City Chiefs RB Darrel Williams at DEN
17. Tennessee Titans WR A.J. Brown at HOU
18. Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs vs. NYJ
19. Los Angeles Rams RB Sony Michel vs. SF
20. Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce at DEN
21. Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf at ARI
22. Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen at LV
23. New England Patriots RB Damien Harris at MIA
24. Houston Texans WR Brandin Cooks vs. TEN
25. Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews vs. PIT
26. Indianapolis Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. at JAX
27. Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott at PHI
28. Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett at ARI
29. Detroit Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. GB
30. Las Vegas Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow vs. LAC
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans vs. CAR
32. Denver Broncos RB Javonte Williams vs. KC
33. Detroit Lions RB D'Andre Swift vs. GB
34. Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson at BAL
35. Dallas Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb at PHI
36. Los Angeles Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr. vs. SF
37. San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle at LAR
38. Washington Football Team RB Antonio Gibson at NYG
39. Chicago Bears WR Darnell Mooney at MIN
40. Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk vs. SEA
Samaje Perine, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals will be without one of their top offensive playmakers this week, as Joe Mixon tested positive for COVID-19 and has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Browns. That means Samaje Perine should be the top RB in the backfield for Cincinnati's offense in Week 18.
It's not a high-stakes matchup for the Bengals, as they've already clinched the AFC North title. They could still end up with the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but they need quite a bit of help for that to happen. In fact, Cincinnati has decided to rest quarterback Joe Burrow so that he's ready to go for the playoffs.
Still, Perine should be a viable fantasy option, especially because backup QB Brandon Allen could lean on him in the passing game. Perine has 27 receptions for 196 yards this season, and that's been with Mixon in action most of the time.
Perine will be a solid fill-in option for fantasy managers who have Mixon on their roster. And while Perine may not put up huge numbers, he should score a touchdown and get enough work to come through for a strong showing.
Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles' backfield is likely going to be depleted for their Week 18 matchup against the Cowboys. Miles Sanders has been ruled out with a broken right hand, while Jordan Howard and Boston Scott are both on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
If Howard and Scott are out, then rookie Kenneth Gainwell is likely going to get a ton of touches out of Philadelphia's backfield. It could be an opportunity for Gainwell to end his first regular season on a high note, especially with a matchup against Dallas, which has already clinched the NFC East and is no longer in the running for the No. 1 seed.
Gainwell's workload has waned in recent weeks, as he has only one carry and one reception over the Eagles' past three games. But he's had some solid showings when he's gotten opportunities, which is how he's scored five touchdowns this season.
It will be important to continue to monitor the status of both Howard and Scott throughout the weekend. But if Gainwell is the clear No. 1 back for the Eagles this week, he should be a strong flex play for fantasy managers.
Cyril Grayson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans won't have an injury designation for the Buccaneers' Week 18 matchup against the Panthers after he was eased back into action in Week 17 following a hamstring injury. Still, it's possible that Tampa Bay won't want him to play a lot so that he can be full strength for the playoffs.
The Bucs are going to need Evans, considering Chris Godwin (torn ACL) is out for the season and Antonio Brown was released earlier this week after his recent dispute with the team. For all these reasons, Cyril Grayson has emerged as a viable fantasy option for Week 18.
Grayson caught the game-winning touchdown in the Buccaneers' Week 17 win over the New York Jets, capping a game in which he had six catches for 81 yards. It was the second week in a row that Grayson had 81 yards, and he again showed his big-play potential, which he flashed with a 50-yard TD catch in Week 8 against the Saints.
Now that Grayson is getting more targets, he's becoming more of a valuable fantasy pick as part of a Tampa Bay receiving corps that has lost a good bit of star power in recent weeks. So if you want a flex option with big-play potential, take a chance on Grayson in Week 18.