Week Eighteen! The final week of the NFL regular season. We made it! While a good portion of teams in the league have already booked ski villas for an earlier than wanted winter vacation, there are other teams with a lot on the line this weekend. Playoff berths, seeding and home field are still to be determined for some teams so it's not a complete throwaway weekend, especially on Saturday.
Saturday features three teams fighting for the post-season as Houston, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh have one last chance to make the playoffs. The fourth team of the Saturday doubleheader, Baltimore, is safe and secure as the number one seed in the AFC and won't have to leave Charm City until early February should they make the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.
Coach Harbaugh is sitting stars like Lamar Jackson and Odell Beckham Jr, but the other three teams on Saturday's tilt will be in "all hands on deck" mode as they strive for a playoff berth. Strategy will be key for building your DFS roster so let's take a peek at some solid Saturday value plays.
Jaylen Warren, Pittsburgh Steelers, RB
Najee Harris is still the main man in Pittsburgh's running game, but Jaylen Warren is far from a guy who gives Harris a quick breather. The 5'8" 215 pound running back has doubled up on his rookie numbers from last season and been an integral part of the Steelers offense during the 2023 campaign.
With Pittsburgh in a fight for their playoff lives combined with what is expected to be wintry weather conditions in Baltimore there should be a lot of carries to be had. Since week nine Warren has averaged 10.5 carries a game and has shown that he can hang with the big boys in the AFC North. In the week eleven game in Cleveland Warren ran for 129 yards on just nine carries while also scoring a touchdown in a 10-13 loss to the Browns.
The week prior against the Packers the second year back out of Oklahoma State (via Utah St) rushed for 101 yards on fifteen carries and a touchdown so he's certainly no slouch. Just last week in another must-win game for the Steelers on the road in Seattle Warren had 75 yards rushing and a touchdown on thirteen carries even with Najee Harris rushing twenty-two times for 122 yards and two scores.
The weather in Baltimore Saturday may drastically curb the passing game, but if Mike Tomlin let's Mason Rudolph sling it around ye olde ballyard Warren could rack up some extra fantasy points for your DFS roster. Over the past four games Warren has seen 5.5 targets per game while averaging 27.5 receiving yards.
Should Pittsburgh win and make the post-season they'll need Warren, but if they can get a sizeable lead going against Baltimore backups then Tomlin could rest Harris for a large chunk of the second half and give Warren the nod to finish out the game and rack up numbers for the stat sheet and your DFS roster. Warren is holding a $5400 price tag on DraftKings.
Xavier Hutchinson, Houston Texans, WR
To say rookie Xavier Hutchinson hasn't done much in the NFL wouldn't be an understatement. Through the first sixteen games of his professional career, the sixth round pick out of Iowa State has only compiled seven receptions for eighty-four yards.
The reasons for Hutchinson's low rookie output are clear and are called by name Noah Brown, Nico Collins, Tank Dell, Dalton Schultz and Robert Woods. With that many weapons in the passing game for Quarterback C.J. Stroud snaps, never mind targets, are going to be hard to come by for a sixth-round pick. So how is Hutchinson in play for DFS with the season on the line for the Texans in the final week of the regular season? The answer is easy. Injuries.
Young stud receiver Tank Dell has been out since early December with a broken leg and declared done for the season. Fellow wide receiver Noah Brown has been ruled out for the game against the Colts due to a hip injury and Robert Woods could be on the sideline with Brown due to similar hip injury suffered last weekend in the win versus the Titans.
With quarterback C.J. Stroud poised to have a big game against a mediocre Colts defense indoors without any weather concerns this could be a breakout game for Hutchinson who likely will be elevated to a starting role. Hutchinson has been getting snaps lately and has three targets in three of the last four games.
At 6'3" 205 pounds Hutchinson is a big target on the field for Stroud. Hutchinson's size also makes him a threat in the running game where he's tallied five carries for forty-nine yards on the season. In a game where Houston is going to unload the arsenal in hopes of winning the AFC South, Hutchinson makes for a great value play with a $3000 price tag on DraftKings leaving plenty of room to have guys like Nico Collins and Stroud on your DFS roster.