Fantasy News & Analysis

Immediate fantasy football takeaways from NFL Week 18 Saturday Night Football

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Ced Wilson (1) celebrates with Cowboys running back Corey Clement (32) after catching a touchdown pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Week 18 started off with a pair of games with playoff seeding on the line.

Injuries highlighted Kansas City Chiefs-Denver Broncos, as Tyreek Hill injured his heel in pregame warmups while Darrel Williams missed the second half with a toe injury. Kansas City’s inability to stop the run made this a much closer game than many anticipated.

The Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles game had playoff seeding on the line for both teams, but the Eagles opted to rest many players rather than fight for a slightly better playoff seed.


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PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success for any NFL playoff contests as well as the 2022 season.

Table Notes
  • Snaps include plays called back due to penalties like offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.
  • Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.
  • Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.

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Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

  • Melvin Gordon III: 12 carries, 110 yards, 1 TD (7 avoided tackles), 1 reception, 6 receiving yards
  • Mecole Hardman: 8 receptions, 103 yards (99 yards after the catch), 1 carry, 10 rushing yards
Kansas City Chiefs Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
WR
Mecole Hardman 65 45 11 1
Byron Pringle 55 41 8 0
Demarcus Robinson 41 29 5 0
Josh Gordon 21 16 1 0
Tyreek Hill 14 11 3 0
Marcus Kemp 10 4 0 0
TE
Travis Kelce 60 43 5 0
Blake Bell 21 5 0 0
Noah Gray 18 8 0 0
HB
Darrel Williams 31 22 4 7
Derrick Gore 24 11 1 7
Jerick McKinnon 23 16 3 5
Total 78 51 41 23
Denver Broncos Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
WR
Tim Patrick 42 25 9 0
Courtland Sutton 41 25 2 0
Jerry Jeudy 36 22 4 0
Seth Williams 6 3 0 0
Kendall Hinton 4 0 0 0
Tyrie Cleveland 3 2 0 0
TE
Noah Fant 52 28 2 0
Albert Okwuegbunam 16 3 0 0
Eric Saubert 14 2 0 0
HB
Javonte Williams 30 16 2 12
Melvin Gordon III 26 11 1 12
Total 54 30 20 24

Monitor Tyreek Hill‘s injury: Hill injured his heel in pregame warmups, although there was no announcement until after the first quarter. Hill was still able to play sparingly near the end zone or in other short-yard passing situations. Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle benefited the most from Hill's part-time role, as both stayed on the field for the majority of Kansas City's pass plays. They led the Chiefs in targets, receptions and receiving yards. If Hill is unable to play in the wild-card round, Kansas City would likely follow a similar strategy.

Monitor Darrel Williams injury: Williams hurt his toe at some point in the first half and was unable to play in the second half. He played the vast majority of Kansas City's offensive snaps in the first half, losing one drive to Derrick Gore and a few third downs to Jerick McKinnon. Gore took roughly two-thirds of the early-down snaps in the second half while McKinnon played the remaining early-down snaps as well as the third-down snaps.

There is a chance Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be able to return to Kansas City next week. If only one player between Edwards-Helaire and Williams is healthy for the wild-card round, that player would likely play most of the snaps. The further those players are from 100%, however, the more Gore and McKinnon will be part of the game plan.

Melvin Gordon III enters the offseason on a high note: Gordon was a big reason why Denver was able to keep this game close. Denver has used its running backs the same way all season, as both backs played close to 50% of the team's offensive snaps. One of the biggest questions in free agency for fantasy football will be if the Broncos re-sign Gordon. Javonte Williams has top-10 RB potential if Gordon heads to a new team. Even if the former Wisconsin Badger returns to Denver, there will be debate about how the playing time in Denver's backfield will be distributed for the 2022 season.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas Cowboys Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
WR
CeeDee Lamb 49 28 2 0
Amari Cooper 46 26 6 0
Cedrick Wilson 42 25 6 0
Malik Turner 13 1 0 0
Noah Brown 12 3 0 0
TE
Dalton Schultz 38 18 3 0
Jeremy Sprinkle 22 1 1 0
Blake Jarwin 11 9 2 0
Sean McKeon 3 0 0 0
HB
Ezekiel Elliott 37 13 2 18
Corey Clement 17 8 4 7
JaQuan Hardy 6 0 0 3
Ito Smith 5 1 0 1
Total 62 29 26 32
Philadelphia Eagles Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
WR
Jalen Reagor 69 38 3 3
Greg Ward 43 25 1 0
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside 42 20 3 0
Quez Watkins 31 21 6 0
DeVonta Smith 14 9 4 0
TE
Tyree Jackson 39 24 4 0
Richard Rodgers 38 14 2 0
Noah Togiai 24 6 0 0
HB
Kenneth Gainwell 39 23 7 12
Jason Huntley 31 13 1 13
Total 74 40 31 30

The Cowboys' new third receiver: Michael Gallup tore his ACL last week, which pushed Cedrick Wilson into the starting lineup. He was clearly third in terms of offensive snaps and routes, but Dallas targeted him more than anyone else. The other backup wide receivers mostly played in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys put their backups in. Wilson had a career day in terms of both yards and touchdowns.

Wilson will run a high number of routes next week, but his production is largely dependent on the matchup.

Blake Jarwin‘s return: The Cowboys' backup tight end returned from injured reserve earlier Saturday. He last played for Dallas in Week 8, when he suffered a hip injury. Jarwin had a few opportunities, particularly in the end zone, but couldn’t capitalize.

This had an impact on Dalton Schultz’s playing time. Schultz played between 68-84% of Dallas' offensive snaps to start the season when Jarwin was healthy. His playing time jumped above 90% of Dallas' offensive snaps without Jarwin, and it fell again with Jarwin back. Schultz ran a route on 65% of Dallas' pass plays with the starters Saturday night.

This didn’t matter much for Schultz's fantasy value, as the Eagles are one of the worst teams at stopping tight ends. Jarwin’s return could cost Schultz some targets in the playoffs.

Eagles interesting wide receiver rotation: The Eagles rested a number of starters due to injury, COVID, or just wanting to give them a break. This greatly impacted their running backs and tight ends, but all of their typical wide receivers were active for the game. DeVonta Smith started and played just long enough to break the Eagles' rookie record for receiving yards. He stopped playing shortly after that. 

Quez Watkins also started, as usual, but then moved to the bottom of the Eagles' depth chart, which allowed the backups to play more. Smith and Watkins led Philadelphia in receiving yards. Watkins was mostly used during two-minute drills, which led to his touchdown in garbage time.

Smith and Watkins should play a normal allotment of snaps next week.

Monitor Tyree Jackson‘s injury: The Eagles tight end suffered a knee injury late in the game and was quickly ruled out. Jackson had been the backup receiving tight end in recent weeks but became the starter when  Dallas Goedert and blocking tight end Jack Stoll when on the COVID-19 list. If Jackson misses time, Goedert might play slightly more, and since he rarely leaves the field, this might just mean he runs one or two more pass routes.

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