Though the NFL fantasy football ended for many managers last week, the most dedicated crowd is still going into Week 18. The final week of the regular season is daunting as we have to overcome teams resting their stars on top of the usual weekly roadblocks to winning. We’re digging deep to help find your roster a few difference-makers.
Two wide receivers who could produce are K.J. Osborn of the Minnesota Vikings and Greg Dortch of the Arizona Cardinals. We’re on top of all angles in this matchup for fantasy managers and bettors alike — let’s dive into whether you should start Osborn or Dortch in Week 18.
Should You Start K.J. Osborn vs. the Bears?
An important aspect of planning for Week 18 is considering which teams plan on trying to win and utilizing their full lineup for the entire matchup. The Vikings still have a crack at the No. 1 seed in the NFC, meaning they’re looking to finish the regular season with a win against Chicago. The Bears could land the No. 1 pick with a loss and Houston win, so this shouldn’t be an overly difficult victory for Minnesota.
However, their Week 5 battle came down to a close result. Minnesota won 29-22, and Chicago’s feisty nature has continued throughout the year. The Vikings may win comfortably but still have to try all four quarters.
This will affect Osborn directly. Ranked fourth in targets and receptions, Osborn is far from a guarantee to produce. He’s been a solid possession receiver as a speedy slot option for quarterback Kirk Cousins, averaging 9.7 yards per target and totaling five touchdowns.
The last month has been especially fruitful for Osborn. He’s accumulated three of those touchdowns in his last four games. With this in mind, take part in an Underdog Fantasy Best Ball league and throw Osborn into your lineup to help separate yourself from the pack!
Osborn is currently ranked as the WR54 in our Week 18 PPR fantasy football rankings. That makes him quite the unconventional play for standard-size leagues. But for deeper leagues, Osborn warrants fantasy consideration.
With only three games with eight targets or more, it’s hard to project a high-volume game for Osborn. He had 157 yards and a score in Week 15 but has otherwise been a touchdown-dependent option. It’s hard to have confidence he’ll again reach the end zone when he plays in an offense with Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Adam Thielen.
If you have to play Osborn, you’re hoping Jefferson sits early and the Vikings feature Osborn in the red zone once again. It’s possible, and Osborn is on a hot enough tear to believe he can produce for you, even if he’s not an ideal option in Week 18.
Should You Start Greg Dortch vs. the 49ers?
Whenever the Cardinals have needed Dortch to step into Rondale Moore’s role as a slot starter, he’s seen the type of volume that makes him a viable fantasy option for managers. Of the six games he’s received at least four targets, Dortch has produced at least 63 yards or one touchdown in all but one contest.
Last week was the first game Dortch caught less than 50% of his targets and failed to meet either benchmark when playing a significant number of snaps.
Usually, the prospect of playing a receiver who is catching passes from the team’s fourth-string QB against an elite defense is too daunting to even consider. But Dortch had a career-best game against San Francisco seven weeks ago. He caught nine of 10 targets for 103 yards in Week 11.
The 49ers are looking to clinch the NFC’s top overall seed this weekend, and they should have no trouble doing what they can to position themselves with a win. Stopping Dortch may be more difficult as he’s clearly the guy most worth ignoring amongst a group that has DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown active.
However, it’s still hard to trust a unit that has David Blough playing. Despite Dortch seeing 10 targets from Blough last week, he only reeled in four because so many were off-target. The 49ers can blitz Blough all game without fear of being beaten deep since Blough is barely NFL-caliber.
I’d lean away from starting Dortch at all costs this week. Though I like that he’s able to log a high number of targets, the Cardinals might get shut out as their franchise could undergo major changes this offseason after losing five straight entering this game. I don’t want to tie my fantasy boat to this sinking ship in any form.
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