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NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Best Week 18 Sunday Night Football DraftKings & FanDuel Lineup Advice

Eric MacPherson

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Awesemo's Week 18 NFL DFS Showdown Picks for Raiders vs. Chargers | Week 18 DraftKings & FanDuel NFL Lineups, optimizers picks & projections

For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, this column will provide free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 18 Sunday Night Football slate featuring the Las Vegas Raiders hosting the Los Angeles Chargers.

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NFL DFS Picks Week 18 Sunday Night Football

Los Angeles is coming into this game mostly healthy with pandemic related issues having run through the team last month. Defensive lineman Joe Gaziano (ankle) is out and linebacker Drue Tranquill (ankle) is questionable. Tight end Donald Parham Jr. (concussion) is on the injured reserve.

Las Vegas may get tight end Darren Waller (knee) back and Josh Jacobs (ribs) is questionable, though expected to play. Linebacker Marquel Lee, defensive linemen Jonathan Hankins and Kendal Vickers and offensive lineman Kamaal Seymour are all in the health and safety protocol.

Los Angeles Chargers: 26.0 Points

Quarterback

The Chargers can secure their postseason reservation tonight with a win or a tie. The Raiders can also guarantee a game next week if they win tonight, or get some help from the earlier games (tie + Colts loss OR Colts + Steelers losses).

Justin Herbert has been excellent this season and he has contributed multiple touchdowns in 11 games with 35 aerial scores and another three on the ground. The 14 interceptions while not great, are manageable considering the passing proclivity of the Los Angeles offense. Las Vegas has the 25th passing DVOA and they are going to have a hard time containing Herbert and his stable of playmakers.

Running Back

Austin Ekeler has taken up residence in the end zone with 11 rushing and seven receiving touchdowns. His 18 scores are behind only the 20 recorded by fellow running back Jonathan Taylor. Ekeler piles up the yardage as well with 190 carries for 847 rushing yards and he has turned 82 targets into 65 receptions for another 612 yards.

Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley will fill in for a combined 35-40% of the snaps, but they are unlikely to see any high leverage touches. Jackson is the preferred option of this duo, though Kelley is in play as a large-field tournament differentiator.

Wide Receiver

Keenan Allen (149) and Mike Williams (112) have dominated the wideout targets with a massive 75.2%. Allen is thought of as a possession receiver in the DFS world, though he does have four touchdowns in the last five games. Williams of course is the big play and red zone threat though he tailed off down the stretch with only one touchdown and one 100+ yard game from Week 12 onward.

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Rookie third rounder Josh Palmer has seen an increase in his opportunities over the latter half of the season and he should get a handful of targets tonight. Jalen Guyton likely will get one or two deep targets, though he is redundant with Williams healthy.

Tight End

Jared Cook is fourth on the team with 76 targets and he has cleared the health and safety protocol after missing last week. Stephen Anderson is in the mix for a target or two, but as we saw last week when he was the featured tight end, there is a reason he is a deep reserve. Tre’ McKitty has a great name, however we do not get any fantasy points for his moniker and he has only seven targets on the season.

Defense/Special Teams

The Chargers have one sack in each of their last three games with an interception and two fumble recoveries. The Raiders have allowed 2.3 sacks per game over their last eight and despite being on a three game winning streak, they have ceded four interceptions in this span.

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Las Vegas Raiders: 23.0 Points

Quarterback

Derek Carr has slowed down the stretch, but he could reach the 5,000 yard milestone with 382 yards. While Los Angeles has been one of the worst teams against the run all season, the Raiders are better through the air. It has been five games since Carr last reached the 300 yard plateau, however, he has seven games of 296 or more passing yards.

Running Back

Josh Jacobs continues to dominate the carries for the Raiders and he has also been regularly seeing a handful of targets. That should continue today with Kenyan Drake out of commission, though Jacobs is still very touchdown dependent for his fantasy production. Peyton Barber and Jalen Richard have each been getting 15-20% of the snaps in the four games without Drake, with the former seeing more rushes and the latter being the receiving back. Richard is better in pass protection, though Barber does keep a dual-threat aspect alive when he is on the field.

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Wide Receiver

Hunter Renfroe is having a career year and he has even been a touchdown threat with three in his last four games. Journeyman Zay Jones actually leads the team with 27 targets over the last three games while Bryan Edwards continues to disappoint and disappear. DeSean Jackson is always lurking and he has coaxed Carr into throwing a couple deep targets per game. All it takes is one to connect for Jackson to end up in the optimal lineup.

Tight End

Darren Waller has been out for the last five weeks with a knee injury, though he is expected to play tonight. It is hard to know how effective he will be and if this was not a must-win game would he even be suiting up. Waller’s return will push Foster Moreau back into a spoiler role, which of course means somehow he will be relevant tonight.

Defense/Special Teams

Las Vegas has 13 total takeaways which is the second fewest in the league and they are in the bottom-third of the league with 2.0 sacks per game.


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The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.

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Week 18 Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Austin Ekeler: Contributes in all facets of the game and has 18 touchdowns.
  2. Justin Herbert: Anything less than 300  yards and multiple touchdowns will be a disappointment.
  3. Derek Carr: Never fun to roster, but still is a steady contributor.
  4. Keenan Allen: Gets the slight nod over Williams, but just barely.
  5. Mike Williams: Only $1,000 less than Allen on FanDuel, however the $3,200 discount on DraftKings is very intriguing.
  6. Hunter Renfrow: He has certainly earned his lofty salary. Also returns punts.
  7. Zay Jones: Quietly resurgent, trending to be on fewer than 25% of lineups.
  8. Josh Jacobs: Should get opportunities against the porous Chargers defense if the game stays close.
  9. Daniel Carlson: Nailed 9 of his last 10 from beyond 50 yards, 93.1% success rate over the last two seasons.
  10. Jared Cook: 13-year veteran still getting it done, missed last week in the health and safety protocol.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Darren Waller: Hard to know what to expect after the long injury layoff.
  2. DeSean Jackson: Looking for lightening in a bottle, we have seen it many times before, though does he have any more tricks left in the bag.
  3. Dustin Hopkins: Accuracy falls off dramatically beyond 45 yards.
  4. Peyton Barber: If anything happens to Jacobs, he is the next man up. Returns kickoffs.
  5. Josh Palmer: Differentiation option who should see a few targets.

Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Justin Jackson: Needs something to befall Ekeler.
  2. Foster Moreau: In play but needs Waller to be less than 80% effective.
  3. Bryan Edwards: Mr. Invisible.
  4. Jalen Guyton: Deep threat who is even a longer shot than DeSean and at a much higher salary.
  5. Los Angeles D/ST: Hard to get overly excited, but a return could happen at any time.
  6. Las Vegas D/ST: See above.
  7. Jalen Richard and Joshua Kelley: Flat $200 on DraftKings.
  8. Tre’ McKitty: Play him right Meow!
  9. Stephen Anderson: Troll touchdown would be epic after last week’s dud.
  10. Jason Moore, Andre Roberts and Larry Rountree: Unlikely to see the field on offense. Roberts does return kickoffs.

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If you’re interested in other DFS NFL football picks for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL rankings, and NFL DFS stacks. Take a look at our depth charts for NFL games, inactives and NFL starting lineups. We also have showdown projections and showdown ownership projections. View our FanDuel DFS NFL ownership rankings and our DraftKings DFS NFL ownership rankings.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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