Fantasy Football: Week 18 first edition rankings plus how commissioners can handle Week 17
On Monday morning, I laid out my plans for this week’s newsletter, but when Bills safety Damar Hamlin went down with a cardiac event during that night’s game against the Bengals, fantasy football was absolutely the last thing I wanted to think about. And I know I’m not alone in this.
This game we spend so much time thinking about can at best serve as a distraction from reality. And some of my favorite emails I’ve ever received have come from listeners and readers telling us how what we do has helped them through tough times. It always lifts me up. I know Fantasy Football isn’t even close to the most important thing in the world, but it has definitely helped me maintain a sense of normalcy during difficult times, both in my own life and in the wider world.
But this game felt more important than normal. We were all tuned into Monday’s game with high expectations — two of the best teams in the league and some of the game’s brightest stars on the biggest stage, with big stakes for the NFL playoffs and countless Fantasy championships to be determined. But it all became so meaningless so quickly.
Monday’s game couldn’t have gone on after that — the reactions of Hamlin’s teammates and opponents made that clear to anyone watching. It crystallized what can sometimes be hard to keep in mind as soccer fans: That as invincible as these men seem, they’re still men, playing a dangerous game that puts them at risk of serious injury every time who step on the field. It’s something they have to put aside every time they step on the pitch and it’s only natural that we do the same as fans. Occasionally, but inevitably, that illusion is shattered.
Hamlin remains hospitalized in critical condition as of Tuesday night, and I know you’re okay with me sending positive vibes his way throughout this ordeal. It’s been amazing to watch as the sports world has rallied around Hamlin, with nearly $6 million raised for Hamlin’s Chasing M Foundation – originally created to give back to the McKees Rock and Pittsburgh communities where Hamlin grew up.
In setting up the GoFundMe page, Hamlin wrote, “As I embark on my NFL journey, I will never forget where I came from and am committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me.” It’s been incredible to watch the entire soccer community and the sports world in general use that platform that Hamlin created to lift him up and spread that good message even further. Consider making a donation with some of those Fantasy league earnings. I can’t wait for Hamlin to see what has been done in his name.
Game on, of course. It’s not clear at this point if Monday’s game will be complete, but there will be games in Week 18. Big games. Games that matter for starting and playoff draft position, and for some of you, your Fantasy leagues. That sense of normalcy will return, including in tackles and kickoffs, but not without keeping Hamlin in our thoughts and prayers as he continues to battle.
And this newsletter will also be back to normal. In fits and starts. I’ve made some changes to my content schedule since I left yesterday, but I’ll be looking ahead to the 2023 rankings later in the week. Today’s newsletter has some Week 18 tips for you before then, and some thoughts on how to handle the unprecedented situation of a championship week gone incomplete. I’ll be honest, it’s weird to talk about all of this in light of what we saw Monday night, and if you don’t have any interest in reading about it, that’s okay. understand.
But we will move forward with week 18 and beyond. Things are not normal right now, but we will do our best.
How the commissioners should handle the 17th week
There is no one right answer for how to handle postponed games. I can tell you how I’ve handled it in the leagues where I’m the commissioner — We split the championship. I was in the championship in both leagues and predicted to win, but I suggested just calling it a tie – the last thing I wanted to deal with was trying to find a tiebreaker or cheat the schedule. It just didn’t seem worth it, and I honestly didn’t feel like it.
But that’s just me. Your league may be different. I’ve had other leagues declare the projected winner the outright winner; I have others who will manually enter the Week 18 scores of the Bills and Bengals players into their Week 17 lineups to determine the championship. I think this is an imperfect option because the circumstances for those games are completely different than they were in Week 17. But imperfect options are all we have here.
I’ve even seen some suggestions on Twitter about using projected score margins to determine how to distribute the winnings: You split the pot and, if a team was 70% favored, they get 70% of the winnings, and so on. I’ve seen some suggest you use average player scores for the season instead of week 17 scores. You can even put the players performance in every game so far this season into a hat and draw one for the result. It’s casual, but also fantastic football in many ways.
The thing is, there’s no perfect answer to how to handle this. It is an unprecedented situation, born out of a terrible incident, and trying to find the “right” or “right” answer to award the “real” winner is not only impossible, but also more or less, if ask me Whatever works best for your league should be how you approach it. As commissioner, I’m trying to do whatever is best for my league, and that meant finding a way to resolve the championship in a way that would take it out of anyone’s hands. That was what felt right to me.
Week 18 Rankings
If you’re looking for players to add for Week 18, Jamey Eisenberg’s Waiver Wire column is right here for you. But remember that a lot will change between now and the first games of the week on Saturday as we learn who will be out and who will be playing.
For what it’s worth, the following teams enter Week 18 with relatively little at stake beyond possible playoff seeding or draft order positioning: Vikings, Buccaneers, Giants, Texans, Broncos, Colts, Raiders, Browns, Jets, Bears, Cardinals Rams, Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Commanders. This doesn’t mean that all of them will be holiday beginners, but some of them certainly will be. Hopefully we’ll have a pretty good understanding of that by Saturday and Sunday, but it’s harder to say right now.
That means those waiver targets may be out of date by then, and these rankings may be as well. More than any other week, competing in Week 18 requires you to stay as up-to-date as possible as late in the week on news as possible to know who will be available. This is why we do not recommend playing in week 18!
Here are my rankings so far:
QB RankingsPatrick Mahomes @LVTrevor Lawrence vs TENJosh Allen vs NEJoe Burrow vs BALTom Brady @ATLGeno Smith vs LARKirk Cousins @CHIJustin Fields vs MINJustin Herbert @DENDaniel Jones @PHIAsdysck ARIDeshaun Watson @PITMike White @MIAGardner Minshew vs NYGRussell Wilson vs LACKenny Pickett vs CLEJarrett Stidham vs. KCDavid Blough @SFJosh Dobbs @JAXMac Jones @BUFSkylar Thompson vs. NYGRussell Thompson vs. Dalton vs. CARDavis Mills @INDDesmond RIdder vs. TBSam Darnold @NORB RankingsAustin Ekeler @DENChristian McCaffrey vs. ARIDerrick Henry @JAXJames Conner @SFJosh Jacobs vs. KCDalvin Cook vs. Harris vs CLENick Chubb @PIDTavid Montgomery vs MINSaquon Barkley @PHIAlvin Kamara vs CARKenneth Walker vs LARTyler Allgeier vs TBLeonard Fournette @ATLJerick McKinnon @LVRachaad White @ATLEzekiel Elliott @WASD’Andre Swift @GBIsiah Pacheco @LVLatavius Murray vs LACDevin Singletary vs NEAJ Dillon vs. DETMiles Sanders vs. NYGCam Akers @SEABrian Robinson Jr. against DALJ.K. Dobbins @CINDeon Jackson vs. HOU Zack Moss vs. HOURaheem Mostert vs. NYJ Cordarrelle Patterson vs. TBD’Onta Foreman @NOMichael Carter @MIAZonovan Knight @MIAJames Cook vs. NEChuba Hubbard.Sc. NYJJamaal Williams @GBDamien Harris @BUFJonathan Williams vs. DALRoyce Freeman @INDKareem Hunt @PITDare Ogunbowale vs. ARISamaje Perine vs. BALWR RankingsJustin Jefferson @CHIJa’Marr Chase vs. .J. Brown vs NYGChris Godwin @ATLKeenan Allen @DENDavante Adams vs KCTee Higgins vs BALDK Metcalf vs LARCeeDee Lamb @WASDeVonta Smith vs NYGGarrett Wilson @MIAMike Williams LACAmari Cooper @PITTyler Lockett vs LARChristian Kirk vs TENMike Evans @ATLChristian Watson vs DETDiontae Johnson vs CLEZay Jones vs TENDrake London vs TBCourtland Sutton vs LACD.J. Chark @GBJakobi Meyers @BUFChris Olave vs. CARBrandon Aiyuk vs. ARIBrandin Cooks @INDAdam Thielen @CHIDarius Slayton @PHIMarquise Brown @SFDonovan Peoples-Jones @PITRichie James @PHITerry McLaurin vs. J. Moore @NOCurtis Samuel vs. DALGreg Dortch @SFRomeo Doubs vs. DETJosh Palmer @DENKJ Osborn @CHIElijah Moore @MIACorey Davis @MIATE RankingsTravis Kelce @LVTJ Hockenson @CHIMark Andrews @CINGeorge ENDERT Kittle vs.no. PITTyler Higbee @SEADalton Schultz @WASCole Kmet vs. MINPat Freiermuth vs. CLEDawson Knox vs. NEGerald Everett @DENJuwan Johnson vs. CARDarren Waller vs KCRRobert Tonyan vs. BALAlbert Okwuegbunam vs. LACTyler Conklin @MIATaysom Hill vs. czar