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Top Saturday NFL DFS Plays Week 18

Alisha takes an early look at this week’s two Saturday NFL games, sharing her favorite DFS plays for both.

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 10: Najee Harris #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates a touchdown during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field on October 10, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

How did we get to Week 18 already?! This season has had its ups and downs, but it is not over just yet. There are a number of games that really do not matter this week, but there are also games that have a ton of meaning. Let’s take a deep dive into the two Saturday games on the slate to determine the strategy that will help us win in DFS.

Steelers @ Ravens Week 18 DFS Breakdown

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be in Baltimore playing the Ravens in the first of the two games on this slate. The last time these teams met, the Steelers won 17-10 over the Ravens. The only ways the Steelers can clinch a playoff berth is if they win and the Bills lose, they win and the Jags lose or tie, or they win and the Texans and Colts tie. They still have something to play for, but on the other side of the ball, the Ravens have clinched the AFC North division title, the No. 1 seed, and the lone first-round bye and homefield advantage. With that in mind, the Ravens may or may not play their starters, so I would not look to roster their players in DFS this week.

The Ravens resting their starters is what makes the most sense, but there has been no confirmation as of now that they will do so. As I write this article, we are going to assume they rest. On the Steelers’ side of the ball, we have a couple of guys who will be a critical part of whether this team advances or not.

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Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers

Coach Tomlin has noted that the availability of Kenny Pickett is, “less in question this week,” but also confirmed that Rudolph would still be the starter in the Week 18 game against the Ravens. In the last two weeks, Rudolph has awakened this Steelers team, leading them to wins in both contests. Mason will have a challenge against the Ravens’ defense, but he may have a bit of a break if they sit their starters.

Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

With Rudolph under center, Najee has rushed for 200 yards and three TDs in the last two weeks. He hasn’t been involved in the passing game like Jaylen Warren has, but he will see a ton of attempts as the Ravens’ run defense is not as stingy as their pass defense, which is ranked first in DVOA and first in yards allowed per pass. If Pittsburgh wants to beat the Ravens, I think they will need to lean heavily on the run game.

Texans @ Colts  Week 18 DFS Breakdown

The second game on the Saturday slate is the Houston Texans in Indy to take on the Indianapolis Colts. Both teams have the division and seeding to play for, so they should be starting their top players with no question. The Colts are currently coming in as home favorites at -1.5. Way back in Week 2 of this season, the Colts beat the Texans 31-20.

The team that wins this game would win the AFC South division if the Jacksonville Jaguars lose to the Tennessee Titans. The winner would also have a shot at the No. 5 or No. 6 seed even if Jacksonville were to win. If the Texans don’t win, they are out. Simply put, there is a lot to play for here, and all players should be considered. The following are my favorite pieces to take down this slate:

C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

Stroud made his return to the field in Week 17 after he was out in Weeks 15 and 16 due to a concussion. He completed 24 of 32 passes for 213 yards and a TD against the Titans, keeping Houston’s postseason hopes alive. The Texans’ defense played very well, so the offense did not need to be as aggressive as they could have been in this game. The Colts’ pass defense ranks 14th in DVOA and 19th in yards allowed per pass, so they are middle of the road and have been decent this season. In Week 2 this season, Stroud completed 30 of 47 passes for 384 yards and two TDs. Prior to Stroud being out for two weeks with the concussion, he was really playing well. I expect to see Stroud back to play for the win in this game. 

Nico Collins, Houston Texans

When these teams met in Week 2, Collins had a great game with seven receptions for 146 yards and a TD. Tank Dell is on IR, Noah Brown is questionable with a hip injury and still nursing a nagging knee injury, and Robert Woods is also questionable with a hip injury. This leaves Nico to be the alpha receiver on this Texans team. As I stated earlier, the Colts’ defense is no pushover, but the Stroud/Collins chemistry should be too much for the Colts to handle.