Congratulations to everyone who won a fantasy football championship last week. Winning a fantasy championship is very hard to do, so if you won one last week or happen to secure the crown after this weekend, make sure to take some time and enjoy the moment. No one really knows or understands the time and effort that goes into building a championship team each season unless you have been playing fantasy football for a while.
So, with this week being the last week of the NFL regular season and the fantasy football finals for those playing in Week 18, I decided to put together what I am calling a golden ticket for each position group. These are players that are not widely owned and have the upside to help put you over the top in your fantasy matchup this week. These are not players you will start over a top-10 or top-20 player at their position, but they are players that if you need a fill-in starter for this week or just want to shoot for an upside play then you would want them in your lineup this week. I had the golden ticket list last week, and three of the four players had solid fantasy performances. I highlighted Joe Flacco, Khalil Herbert, DeMarcus Robinson, and Chigoziem Okonkwo, and Okonkwo was the only one who did not come through. I was between him and Juwan Johnson last week so if I had gone with Johnson they all would have hit. This week’s golden ticket players may be needed more this week than they were last week, with teams that have clinched playoff spots before this week resting most of their star players in Week 18.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles
Tyrod Taylor has a low ownership percentage in most leagues this year, so he should be widely available to pick up before the Giants’ game on Sunday. He had a nice game two weeks ago when these two teams faced off in Week 16; he came in during the second half of that game and almost led the New York Giants to a come-from-behind victory in Philadelphia. Taylor had 133 passing yards and two carries for 21 yards and one touchdown, but more importantly, he gave the offense a spark and they moved the football against the Eagles’ defense. The Eagles’ defense has struggled against the pass all season and has been struggling in general of late, and I believe Taylor will throw for 250 yards or more with two touchdowns this week.
Running Back: Jordan Mason, San Francisco 49ers vs L.A. Rams
Jordan Mason is my golden selection for the running back position. He could be an excellent pickup this week if you are in need of running back help as he is widely available and the San Fransico 49ers do not want to play their starters in Week 18. With Christian McCaffery injured, Elijah Mitchell is the 49ers’ starting running back right now. So I have a feeling that Jordan Mason is going to get a lot of touches in Week 18, where the 49ers will want to run the football, especially with Sam Darnold starting at quarterback this week. I expect Mason to have a nice week of over 125 total yards and a touchdown in Week 18. I will be starting him in all my DFS lineups this week and any Seasonal matchups as well.
Wide Receiver Darius Slayton, New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles
Daruis Slayton is my golden ticket selection for the wide receiver position. He has had a great three-week stretch. In his last three games played he had 11 receptions on 17 targets for 259 yards and two touchdowns. I would pick him up this week as there have been multiple wide receiver injuries over the last three weeks and he should be started with confidence, especially with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Like Taylor, he gets a very favorable matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense this week, so I expect Slayton to see a lot of targets and it is possible that he could go over 100 receiving yards with a touchdown. If you are in need of a starting fantasy wide receiver, he could be a player to put you over the top in your fantasy matchup this week.
Tight End Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
Noah Fant is my golden ticket selection from the tight end position for Week 18, and he is my biggest long shot of the week. One of Fant’s nicknames is the Fanta Claus, which means he starts to come through during this point of the fantasy season. I picked Fant as the golden ticket player this week because I watched him last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that was the best performance I have seen from Fant in a long time. Last week against the Steelers, he had five receptions on six targets for 59 yards. I am expecting the Seattle Seahawks to target him heavily this week against the bad Arizona Cardinals defense. The Cardinals’ defense is ranked 31st in DVOA versus the tight end position, so I can see Fant having six receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown; he might not win the week for you, but he is widely available and has the potential to put you over the top in your fantasy matchup.
Good luck to everyone in their fantasy championship matchups this week and hopefully you can find these Golden Ticket players of Week 18 on your waiver wire and they will help you take home the championship!