Week 18 DFS - Battle Royale Underdog Strategy

Jan 6th 2023

Underdog Fantasy

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Week 18 Battle Royale Overview

You often hear DFS players talk about their favorite and most profitable slates being ones where the most variance and uncertainty resides. Citing slates like Preseason, Week 1 and Week 18 because they present the opportunity for great “I Know Better” leverage over the field. 

I lead with this because, in general, slates with the largest range of possible outcomes, the least defined common knowledge and the most unpredictable potential game environments tend to scare players away from drafting. When in actuality, it should do the opposite. These are the slates we should be diving head-first into and taking advantage of our knowledge and exploitatively leveraging it over the field. In short, we should be embracing the variance which Week 18 represents, not being deterred by it. 

We don’t definitely know how all the teams will utilize their starters but the best places to start are here: Graham Barfield's Playoff Cheat Sheet and Sosa Kremenjas' Incentives + Playing Time Condensing our player pool around certainty and strategically mixing in untapped pieces from the uncertain games is our leg up on the field. Strap on your big kid pants and throw ADP out the window this week. We’re seeking unique opportunities coupled with guaranteed playing time. In some regards, not even Vegas knows what to expect with every game total on the slate falling between 43.5 and 38. 

In short, focus on games with playoff berth and seeding implications. Focus on players with likely expanded roles because of resting starters. Focus on auxiliary starters on teams which will play full games. Focus on these opposed to elite starters on teams with uncertain playing time. 

Opportunity is king in Week 18. Seek snaps, touches and routes, and the box score stats will follow.

Best & Worst Plays

Favorite Game: Bills hosting the Patriots for an opportunity to clinch home field up to the AFCCG. The Patriots on the other side are fighting for a spot in the playoffs. On this slate, I’m prioritizing teams that are playing meaningful games. Josh Allen + Stefon Diggs are always a premium stack, and while they are difficult to pair in 6-person drafts, they’re not impossible. I will be prioritizing this combination in my lobbies this weekend. Gabe Davis and/or Dawson Knox make for nice consolation prizes as well. ... Additionally, the Patriots offer two concentrated offensive weapons in Rhamondre Stevenson and Jakobi Meyers. I expect them to be heavily involved in their attempt to upset Buffalo. For Goal Line Stands (12-person drafts), Tyquan Thornton and Damien Harris are also in play.

Expensive Stack: If there is one stack I'm going to prioritize early in drafts it’s Joe Burrow + Ja’Marr Chase. Other than Josh Allen + Diggs, this is the only early expensive stack with truly something to play for without the question marks(Philly). I side with the Bengals stack because of the ceiling Chase gives you compared to Diggs. This could be a fun stack to anchor and build a portfolio around. 

Cheap Stack: Since Sam Darnold took over at Qb for the Panthers in week 12, he has been revived by DJ Moores season. Darnold has 9 total TD, 1 INT, 1100 passing yards, and a 105.6 Passer Rating. In those five games Moore has 20 catches, 376 rec yards, 4 TDs, and a 15.9 aDOT.  The big thing is, Moore has doubled his season total in TDs in just his last 5 games. Both Moore and Darnold as 6th round picks offer great leverage as a stack or just a one-off Moore.

Player at ADP: I mentioned in my favorite expensive stack that I like the Burrow/Chase> Allen/Diggs. Well Gabe Davis gives me exposure to that game, with a last round pick 34.5 ADP cost. In the last three weeks Davishas logged snap counts of 92%, 97%, and 89%, while Diggs has logged 78%, 86%, 67% in the same weeks. We know both of them can put up slate breaking ceiling games, but one is a borderline 1st round pick(Diggs) and the other is a last round pick(Davis).

Late-Round One-Off Player: With Tight End being a flat landscape due to game environments, give me 6th round Hayden Hurst in a game that matters for both sides. By reaching a few picks for Joe Burrow, Hurst makes for an excellent stack partner or one-off if your QB doesn’t have a viable TE stack partner/that partner was taken by another team.

Player Largely Undrafted: Khalil Herbert has looked more explosive than David Montgomery all season, although this hasn’t translated to a changing of the guard. The argument for Herbert to receive more touches this game is that Justin Fields will not be playing, and the Vikings offer little by way of rush defense. I expect to see Herbert more involved as the Bears try to get a better look at who is likely their starting running back in 2023 with Khalil Herbert. We’re hoping for a touchdown + 60 yards rushing with some receiving volume. He can be drafted in 6-person drafts, but offers the most value in the 12-person Goal Line Stand.

Player to Fade at ADP: I do not expect Dalvin Cook to pay off at his current ADP. I find it difficult to not opt for the wide receivers at his draft range, let alone other running backs such as Najee Harris. There’s a non-zero chance that even though the Vikings have something to play for, their starters only play a few series. Sure if this is the case Dalvin could find the end zone on one or two of those drives but this feels like it’s shaping up to be the Alexander Mattison show. ... As 14-point home favorites, I think Gardner Minshew has shown enough that the Eagles can trust him to get the job done versus a Giants team that is going to be resting the majority of their starters. Despite Jalen Hurts’ current probable designation on the site, and the No.1 seed in the NFC on the line, I don’t think Hurts plays this week. Or if he does, I can’t imagine it’s more than a few series. Is a few series from Hurts verse a depleted Giants defense enough to pay off his current first-round ADP? Potentially. But I’m looking elsewhere after back-to-back limited practices and the prospect of the Eagles being able to give him two full weeks rest prior to a home playoff game.

Favorite Positional Targets 


  • Best Picks at ADP: Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Geno Smith.

  • Favorite Undrafted: Brock Purdy, Joe Flacco, Mac Jones, Sam Darnold.

Running Back

  • Best Picks at ADP: Kenneth Walker, Najee Harris, Tyler Allgeier, Joe Mixon, JK Dobbins.

  • Favorite Undrafted: Khalil Herbert, Alexander Mattison, Elijah Mitchell, Chuba Hubbard, Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

Wide Receiver

  • Best Picks at ADP: Ja’Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, DK Metcalf, Tee Higgins, Gabe Davis.

  • Favorite Undrafted: DJ Moore, Tyler Lockett, Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Drake London, Tyquan Thornton.

Tight End

  • Best Picks at ADP: Mark Andrews, Taysom Hill, Tyler Higbee.

  • Favorite Undrafted: Hayden Hurst, Pat Freiermuth, Hunter Henry.

Sneaky Stacks

  1. Brock Purdy + Brandon Aiyuk

  2. Kenny Pickett + Freiermuth, Pickens or Johnson

  3. Taysom Hill + Chuba Hubbard or DJ Moore runback

  4. Kenneth Walker + Cam Akers or Tyler Higbee

  5. Russell Wilson + Jeudy, Sutton or both