The final week of the regular season has arrived and, with it, numerous matchups with playoff implications and intrigue. The motivation to win for some teams will vastly outweigh that of superior opponents, and those factors merit consideration for managers trying to navigate the murky Week 18 waters.
Wide Receiver Starts
Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
Over the last two weeks, Brandon Aiyuk has settled in as Brock Purdy’s go-to wideout. The third-year pro has averaged nearly 10 targets and 91 yards, adding a score during last Sunday’s tilt with the Rams. Aiyuk draws another favorable matchup this week with the Cardinals and, with playoff seeding on the line, looks well-positioned for a big day.
Christian Watson, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
The last time the Packers saw the Lions, Christian Watson had a small, niche role, catching just two passes for 24 yards. Much has changed in the time since, with Watson blossoming into one of the NFL’s most explosive playmakers. A hip injury limited the rookie last week, but he hasn’t missed practice so far and should have the chance to deliver a nice performance against a bad Detroit defense.
Wide Receiver Sits
Jaylen Waddle, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
With both Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater on the shelf, rookie Skyler Thompson will run the Dolphins' offense this week. That doesn’t bod well for anyone involved, but Jaylen Waddle could have an even rougher outing for fantasy managers. Waddle’s production has varied wildly from week to week, and Thompson will presumably look to feed Tyreek Hill first when he does get the chance to attack vertically.
Terry McLaurin, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Commanders
The Commanders’ decision to start rookie Sam Howell under center could go in any number of directions. While Terry McLaurin has generally been QB-proof during his career, asking him to carry Howell and the passing game against the Cowboys seems a bit too much. McLaurin could prove us wrong as he has numerous times, but the risk of a letdown seems high this week.