Rival Fantasy: NFL Week 18 DFS Recommendations

Rival Fantasy: NFL Week 18 DFS Recommendations

This article is part of our DFS NFL series.

With a lot of teams having nothing to play for, we have a bit of a tricky Week 18 slate. Still, there are a lot of appealing options on Rival Fantasy. In addition to its season-long fantasy leagues, Rival offers a Fantasy Bingo contest and a Challenges contest. For new users, click here for a first deposit match of up to $200.

Let's focus on the Challenges contest for Week 18. Challenges put two players in a head-to-head matchup. The player who scores the most fantasy points wins the contest.

Jaylen Warren, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars

Warren had one of his best performances of the season last week, rushing 13 times for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks. He also caught all four of his targets for 23 yards. While his rushing opportunities have been mostly limited behind Najee Harris, he does have at least four receptions in four consecutive games. Week 18 brings a matchup with the Ravens, who will rest several starters with the top seed in the AFC playoffs wrapped up. When he faced them at full strength in Week 5, he finished with 79 total yards.

With Trevor Lawrence (shoulder) out in Week 17, Engram still caught six passes for 60 yards against the Panthers. That marked the fourth time in the last five games that he had at least 60 receiving yards. The problem for him in the Jaguars' regular-season finale is that he faces the Titans. They have allowed just 65 receptions for 665 yards and two touchdowns to tight ends this season. When he faced them in Week 11, Engram only had four receptions for 29 yards. Given the matchup, let's lean toward Warren for this Challenge.

Aidan O'Connell, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Tyler Huntley, Baltimore Ravens

This is not exactly the most exciting quarterback battle. O'Connell has shown flashes since taking over as the Raiders' starter, including a four-touchdown performance against the Chargers in Week 15. Last week, he threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts. However, he has also struggled mightily in some games, such as in Week 16 when he only threw for 62 yards against the Chiefs. Week 18 brings a matchup against the Broncos, who have allowed the 11th-most passing yards per game in the league.

Huntley will start for Lamar Jackson, who will get the week off for rest. Huntley brings a similar skillet as Jackson, considering that he can also provide contributions on the ground. However, he has a difficult matchup against the Steelers, who are still playing for a playoff spot. He started against them in Week 17 last season and threw for 130 yards, one touchdown and one interception. They also limited him to 24 rushing yards. Also factor in that Huntley could have limited weapons around him because of other players also resting and O'Connell is the way to go.

Blaine Gabbert, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers

We again dive into a battle of backup quarterbacks. The Chiefs have locked up the third seed in the AFC, so they will give Patrick Mahomes Week 18 off. Kansas City will turn to the veteran Gabbert, who has mostly served in a backup role since leaving the Jaguars. A matchup against the Chargers looks good on paper, but with some of the other veterans on the Chiefs possibly joining Mahomes on the sidelines, Gabbert might not have a lot of weapons with which to work.

Initially buried behind Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky on the depth chart, Rudolph has worked his way into a starting role for the Steelers. His first start of the season came against the Bengals in Week 16. He emerged from that matchup with 290 passing yards and two touchdowns. While he didn't record a touchdown last week against the Seahawks, he threw for 274 yards. This game actually means something for the Steelers, so Rudolph will his full compliment of weapons against a Ravens team that could rest key defenders, which makes Rudolph the player to roll with in this challenge.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Mike Barner plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: mbarner, DraftKings: mbarner51.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Barner
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Mike also won the 2022-23 FSGA NBA Experts Champions league. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.
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