Yahoo fantasy football is running a $1,000,000 contest with a $20 entry fee and 40,000 entries for Week 18 of the NFL season, which means they are adding $200,000 to the prize pool. Let’s get into some Yahoo Daily Fantasy Picks for NFL lineups, including Tom Brady, Jonathan Taylor and more.
Week 18 NFL Yahoo Daily Fantasy Strategy & Picks
The critical thing to remember is that Yahoo is a half-PPR site, and the minimum salary is $10, with an average salary per player of $22. This week, Cooper Kupp is at the top of the salary list at $41. The complete scoring parameters can be found here.
One of the most valuable features of the Awesemo.com premium content is the personal player rankings from Alex Baker, for all of the main sports. The players grade out separately for each DFS site with ratings for both “projected points” and “value,” receiving an A through E report card-style grade. This week, as a special treat, Awesemo is also adding in the “Roster%,” which is the projected percentage a player will be used in the large-field tournaments.
If you have played daily fantasy football on Yahoo or Yahoo fantasy baseball, you know that the strategy is to look for the cheapest quarterback or pitcher that is tolerable so you can look for more secure points and upside elsewhere. In the recommendations below, I will be highlighting several discount options at the other positions so you can build a framework that will allow lineup construction for a top-shelf quarterback, along with his favorite target and still have enough salary cap to run it back with the top option on the opposing team.
Tom Brady: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers – $35
Awesemo Grade: Points C, Value D, Roster% <2%
Yes, there is some risk when looking to Tom Brady, however, they can get the #2 seed if the 49ers beat the Rams who will also be playing in the afternoon game set. Brady is coming in at nearly a 15% discount from last week and after the whole Antonio Brown debacle that has continued to be the talk of social media with new wrinkles, interviews and developments every day, we could get “Angry Brady” which of course would make his fantasy backers happy. On a fun note Brady needs one more touchdown to break his Tampa Bay record from last season, 120 passing yards to become the single season franchise leader, 246 passing yards to set his personal season high and while unlikely, he could set the NFL single season record with 488 yards, of course it would be in 17 games instead of 16, but being the best is fuel for Brady.
Matthew Stafford: Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers – $29
Awesemo Grade: Points C, Value B, Roster% 6.8%
Los Angeles can win the NFC West with a victory or a loss by Arizona. These games will be played at the same time in the afternoon window which should keep the Rams playing to win throughout the game. San Francisco did handle the Rams31-10 back in Week 10 and are 6-2 in their last eight games. This should be a close game with the Rams just 4.0 favorites. Stafford is averaging 290.5 passing yards per game which is behind only the absurd 311.9 average posted by Brady.
Kyler Murray: Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks – $35
Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C, Roster% 18.7%
If Arizona wins and Los Angeles loses, the Cardinals will take the NFC West crown. Seattle has a bottom-five passing DVOA and they are allowing the second most yards per pass. Kyler Murray also has the added dimension of being one of the most effective scramblers in the league and he has 44, 74, 3, 61 and 59 rushing yards in his last five games.
We want to keep in mind that while running backs are very important, Yahoo fantasy uses half-PPR, which will not penalize running backs that are not as active in the passing game.
Jonathan Taylor: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C, Roster% 28.2%
Indianapolis will make the playoffs if they win on Sunday, if they lose they need help. Jacksonville is playing out the string on a dismal season, though they have already played the Colts tough earlier this year and have actually won the last five meetings at home. We know what we are getting with Jonathan Taylor who leads the league in rushing, and will be going against one of the worst defenses in the league.
James Conner: Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks – $31
Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value D, Roster% 13.2%
The last two weeks have seen James Conner sidelined with a heel injury, though now Chase Edmonds is out, so it looks like Conner will be stepping into a full workload if he is active. This season he has been worth of the moniker Mr. Touchdown as he has 14 rushing and two receiving touchdowns in his 14 games. Seattle has been a disaster against the run and this is a very advantageous matchup with a team playing to win.
David Montgomery: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings – $25
Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value B, Roster% 37.0%
Chicago and Minnesota are both playing for pride having been eliminated from the postseason. There is some risk that David Montgomery does not get a full workload, but that is offset by his low salary. It also may be a benefit that the coaches for both teams are on the hot seat, so we could see a lively affair. Montgomery has 20 or more Yahoo Fantasy points in three of his last five games and he has benefited from a heavy workload posting at least 18 carries and six targets in four of these games.
The top-shelf Yahoo fantasy options are typically priced in the low to mid-$30 range. Often, they are best paired with their quarterbacks for tournament upside rather than risking downside as solo plays.
Justin Jefferson: Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears – $34
Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value D, Roster% 21.7%
Kirk Cousins should be under center after missing the last game with COVID-19. Justin Jefferson needs five receptions to break record held by Michael Thomas for most receptions through two seasons. Adam Thielen is out and the coaching staff may be as well on Monday, so it is time to shoot the works against a mediocre Chicago defense.
Tyler Lockett: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals – $24
Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value D, Roster% 9.6%
Last week it was DK Metcalf ($22) in this article and he was phenomenal with a career high three touchdowns. While he is very much in play, teammate Tyler Lockett is coming in with half the popularity. For whatever reason, Lockett has a strong track record against the Cardinals with either 100 yards or a touchdown in the last three meetings. We should not expect anything like his 200 yard, three touchdown performance in Week 7 of last year, but 100 yards and a touchdown is very much in play as the Seahawks try to keep last week’s momentum going into the offseason where the head coach and franchise quarterback have cloudy futures.
There are plenty of top-shelf tight end options, so let’s take a gander at a couple who are getting lost in the shuffle.
Zach Ertz: Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys – $20
Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B, Roster% 34.4%
Volume has not been the issue for Zach Ertz who has 40 targets in the last four games. It has been the five game end zone drought that has kept his fantasy production muted and in single digits. Touchdowns can be fickle for sure, but without Deandre Hopkins and Chase Edmonds Ertz is one of the few trusted playmakers left for the team.
George Kittle: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value D, Roster% 4.6%
If the 49ers win, they are in the playoffs. If they lose they need New Orleans to fall as well in Atlanta. Jimmy Garoppolo will be under center which bodes well for George Kittle who is the defacto WR1 with Deebo Samuel moonlighting as the RB2. The volume should be there for Kittle and in his last three games against the Rams he has 100 yards or a touchdown in each of them.
This week we are picking on some inexperienced quarterbacks with some bad, but discounted defenses.
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets – $19
Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C, Roster% 13.2%
There are plenty of ways to work within the salary cap and still roster a luxury defense like Buffalo. They have an ace matchup against the Jets and their home field advantage only grows bigger at the end of the season.
Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals – $13
Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B, Roster% 20.1%
Cincinnati will be without Joe Burrows (knee), Joe Mixon (COVID) and likely C.J. Uzomah (hip) as they get healthy for the playoffs. That means journeyman Brandon Allen will be under center with Samaje Perine and Chris Evans as the running backs. The Bengals will likely be happy to just keep the clock moving and that is also the default strategy for Cleveland as well who will be without Baker Mayfield. It will be fun to see how much earlier this game ends before the rest of the first wave.
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