Early Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Week 18: Rhamondre Stevenson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Dalton Schultz remain must-starts

With fantasy football championships set to continue, who makes the list of the top start 'em and sit 'em options for Week 18?

As we head into the final week of fantasy football and championships wrap up, every start ’em or sit ’em decision carries more weight than ever. It can become the difference between taking home the glory or coming up just short. With not all matchups being equal, here are our top start ’em and sit ’em plays for Week 18.

NFL Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 18: Quarterbacks

While the focus in the majority of fantasy leagues falls on skill positions, quarterbacks — in most cases — consistently bring the highest weekly total. Which QBs are must-starts, and who should remain on the bench in Week 18?

Start ‘Em | Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints (vs. ATL)

This week’s key is finding guys on teams with something to play for, as we have no idea when players will be pulled or who will even play in Week 18. That’s the danger of playing fantasy in the final week. I’m targeting Taysom Hill this week as the 8-8 Saints are still on the bubble and need a win to get in.

Hill put together a decent game last week after being activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list, completing 17 of 28 passes for 222 yards and a TD while adding 45 yards on 12 carries. The Falcons are 30th on the season in fantasy points allowed to the position, and Hill comes in as a low-end QB1.

Sit ‘Em | Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)

The wheels have come off for the Dolphins and their offense. After a seven-game win streak, Miami’s offense did basically nothing, scoring just 3 points in a 31-point loss to the Titans. Tua struggled just as badly, completing 18-of-38 for 205 yards with an interception while fans called for him to be benched.

That’s seven of the last eight games with less than 250 yards passing, and Tua has 300 or more yards in just one game. Taking on the Patriots is never easy, as they sit No. 2 in points allowed to QBs (12.53). I would avoid Tua in Week 18. If he struggles again, don’t be surprised if he is pulled for Jacoby Brissett.

Running Backs

While these RBs found themselves with adjusted roles following injuries to surrounding players and poor play from others, they are on opposite sides of start/sit debates for Week 18. Let’s look at the top start and sit options from RB committees around the league for this week.

Start ‘Em | Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots (@ MIA)

It’s early in the week, so we don’t have all of the information, but Rhamondre Stevenson could be the lead back for the Patriots this week. After rushing 9 times for 35 yards with 2 touchdowns, Damien Harris tweaked his hamstring. We don’t know if he was kept out due to the injury or the Patriots scoring 50 points on Jacksonville.

Either way, this is a heavy Stevenson game. Stevenson rushed 19 times on Sunday for 107 yards and 2 TDs. Harris and Stevenson were splitting reps early in the game, which tells me the rookie would have had a role regardless. Back in Week 10 in his start against Cleveland, Stevenson rushed 20 times for 100 yards and scored twice. Miami is a solid run defense (No. 6 on the season), but Stevenson has RB2 upside in Week 18.

Sit ‘Em | Derrick Gore, Kansas City Chiefs (@ DEN)

Coming into Week 17, I thought Darrel Williams would be the lead back with Derrick Gore as the RB2. What I did not expect was the disparity between the two. Williams out-snapped Gore 49 to 8 and ran 26 routes to his 4. Gore rushed just 3 times for 27 yards.

Williams became the first KC RB to play on 80% or more of the snaps and is cemented as the No. 1 RB anytime Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out. Gore should not be rostered or trusted in Week 18 against Denver.

NFL Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 18: Wide Receivers

The WR position is the deepest in fantasy football, with a plethora of quality starting options to choose from every single week. As matchups can be the final deciding factor, here are some of our start ’em or sit ’em recommendations for Week 18.

Start ‘Em | Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions (vs. GB)

Normally, I try not to repeat names in these start ’em/sit ’em articles. But you know what? It’s Week 18, and I’m doing what I want. One last time talking up one of my guys: Amon-Ra St. Brown has become everything I could have asked for as a No. 1 option for the Lions.

In Week 17, St. Brown caught 8 of 10 targets for 111 yards and a touchdown. He has double-digit targets in five consecutive games. Over that span, he’s caught 43 of 56 targets for 451 yards and 4 TDs while averaging 25 PPR points along the way. Oh yeah, and he did it with multiple QBs. Even against the Packers, I am still starting St. Brown. Anything less would be disingenuous.

Sit ‘Em | Kenny Golladay, New York Giants (@ WAS)

In a game where Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, John Ross, Collin Johnson, and Dante Pettis were all out, Kenny Golladay recorded zero receptions and saw 1 target. Honestly, that’s impressive.

As a team, the Giants completed just 4 passes. Mike Glennon’s season is over after he underwent wrist surgery on his non-throwing hand, leaving Jake Fromm as the QB1. Golladay has finished as a WR2 or better just once (Week 4) and has yet to score in 2021. Save yourself the headaches and stay away.

Tight Ends

It’s notoriously hard for fantasy managers to find consistent production from the tight end position. In Week 18, start ’em or sit ’em decisions could mean the difference between a win or loss as the margins are razor-thin.

Start ‘Em | Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (@ PHI)

Dalton Schultz was slated to have a big game last week, and he did, hauling in 6 of 10 receptions for 54 yards. With the season-ending ACL tear to Michael Gallup, Schultz is the No. 3 target in a Dallas offense that has the potential to be an offensive juggernaut anytime they step on the field.

Week 18 should be similar, with Schultz as a mid-TE1 against an Eagles defense that ranks 31st in points allowed to the position (17.24) and is tied for last in TDs allowed (12).

Sit ‘Em | Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (vs. SF)

Tyler Higbee took advantage of a great matchup against a vulnerable Ravens defense. He recorded a season-high 6 receptions on 9 targets for 69 yards. The only problem? Week 18 will not be Higbee’s game — it’ll be Cooper Kupp’s game.

Kupp needs 12 more catches to surpass Michael Thomas’ single-season reception record (149) and 136 yards to surpass Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving record (1,964). He is going to do it. That means Kupp will be hyper-targeted, and guys like Higbee will take a backseat to history. The 49ers are also No. 5 vs. TEs on the season, allowing 8.36 PPR points per game.

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