NFL DFS Week 18 (2021)

Final DFS slate for the 2021 NFL regular season! Of course I will still play the NFL playoff slates but today provides some interesting opportunities. The primary focus will be on players that have something to play for. Not just for a playoff spot/positioning but to achieve contract incentives and NFL records.

Let's break down this slate by position.

QB: Tom Brady

If the Bucs win today and the Rams lose (which they could since the 49ers pretty much need to win to get to the playoffs), the Bucs will earn the 2nd seed. That is a worthwhile goal since it would mean at least two home playoff games where the Bucs are 6-1 this season. Also, I firmly believe Brady has a chip on his shoulder with the Antonio Brown debacle. He will want to prove that the Bucs can still light up the scoreboard without him. Clearly Brown was a major distraction and now that distraction has been removed. I can see Brady slicing and dicing the Panthers for 300+ yards and 3-4 TDs. Do the math and that adds up to about 30 DK points which is 4x value. Sign me up!

RBs: Devin Singletary and D'Onta Foreman

I am simply playing the matchups as well as the volume here. Both the Jets and Texans allow the most and 4th most rushing yards per game, respectively. They also rank 24th and 26th with DVOA rush defense, respectively. Guess which two teams have allowed the most rushing TDs on the ground this year? You guessed it: Jets and Texans! The pricing for both RBs is very reasonable with neither one over $6K on DraftKings (DK) or $7K on FanDuel (FD). In terms of volume, both Singletary and Foreman have received at least 20 carries in 2 of their last 3 games. Given that we will be building a fairly pricey Tampa Bay stack, we will need to save some money with our RBs.

WRs: Mike Evans, Marvin Jones, Cyril Grayson, and AJ Green

If we are going to play Brady and he doesn't have Godwin or Brown to throw to, who do you think he will target? Evans is a no brainer for our stack. The correlation coefficient between Brady and Evans from the start of the 2020 season until now is 0.405. For just this season it's 0.589. Clearly Brady will look to Evans way often today.

Marvin Jones is risky but hear me out. If Jones grabs 4 receptions today, he will be due a $500,000 bonus. If he gets 14 receptions (far less likely), he gets another $500,000. For someone who has become an NFL journeyman and is on a short term deal on a bad football team, that extra money is meaningful for Jones. There is also a very good chance that the Jaguars will be playing from behind so Trevor Lawrence will need to throw it often. Jones is easily the most targeted receiver for Jacksonville with 112 targets. Next closest WR is Laviska Shenault with 93 targets.

On DK, I will go with Grayson but Green is my guy on FD. I don't like Green's pricing on DK and he seems better suited for FD which is more TD dependent than DK. Grayson is kind of a boom or bust play but can also serve as a good possession WR for Brady today, especially with Brown out of the picture. The guy is super fast so don't be surprised if he has 1 - 2 big plays which could put you over the cash line.

TE: Zach Ertz and Rob Gronkowski

The salary cap tends to be tigher on DK which means we will lean towards Ertz. I don't know if Ertz will get many red zone/goal line looks, especially with Kyler Murray's penchant to run it in and the return of James Conner. However, Ertz is a nice security blanket for Murray and the point per reception works in our favor on DK. On FD, I prefer Gronkowski. He is on a 1 year deal and has many incentives in front of him. If he gets at least 7 receptions, 65 receiving yards, and 3 TDs, he earns an extra $500,000 for each of those milestones. Could Gronk earn $1.5 million in bonuses today? The 3 TDs might be tough but the other two are very doable. I bet Brady will make sure his favorite receiver gets paid well today!

FLEX: AJ Dillon and Elijah Mitchell

Dillon is cheaper than Mitchell on FD and has a great chance of seeing the end zone once or twice (or maybe three times) against one of the weakest rush defenses in the NFL. There is also a good chance that Aaron Jones sits or is limited due to his recent injury and the fact that the Packers have home field advantage clinched. Dillon is no slouch and can easily start for most teams. He should shine today given that he is hoping to get paid in a couple of years once his rookie contract expires. As for Mitchell, he does nothing but produce for the 49ers. Like Dillon, he is early in his NFL career so he will make the most of his opportunities so that he gets a big pay day down the road. My only issue with Mitchell is that he faces a tough defense. Still, the 49ers need to win today to make the playoffs (unless the Saints lose to Atlanta which I don't see happening). With Jimmy Garoppolo limited due to a thumb injury, there is a good chance the 49ers run the ball often. In fact, they are one of the league leaders in rush play percentage. The volume will be there.

DST: Buffalo

Don't over think this one. The Jets are terrible. Consider the fact that Zach Wilson has been unable to complete 60% of his passes this season with a TD/INT ratio of 8/11 and a QB rating of 69.9. Mike White has not been much better with a 5/8 TD/INT ratio and a QB rating of 75.1. In terms of turnover differential, the Bills are 7th best at +8 while the Jets are 2nd worst at -13. Dig deeper and you will see that Buffalo has the 3rd most takeaways with 30. The Jets have given the ball away 27 times, 2nd worst in the league. Wilson has also been sacked 36 times in his 12 starts. That is an average of 3 sacks per game. Need more evidence? The Bills have allowed the 2nd least points while the Jets have scored the fewest points. Yardage is not that much different. The game will also be cold with high winds. With another AFC East crown in site, the Bills will surely be amped up at Orchard Park while the Bills Mafia goes nuts. I expect a 15-20 point effort on both DK and FD from this championship quality defense.

There you have it! Tampa Bay stack, Buffalo run game/defense, and players from other teams looking to bolster its playoff positioning and/or earn more money due to contract incentives. Sample lineups are below. Good luck!