The Player Models are the lifeblood of our NFL product. They house our projections for each player, but that’s just the beginning of what you’ll find inside. After all, a projection is just part of the equation: salary, ceiling and projected ownership all factor into which players stand out as the best plays each week.
Let’s dive into our models and look at a few players with the highest ceilings, value ratings and projected ownership for the 18th and final week of the 2021 NFL season.
We’ll use the Koerner Model as the foundation.
Also, don’t forget you can use our Trends tool to test your DFS theories. And for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your teams.
Keep an eye on injury and COVID-19 news throughout the weekend.
Top Ceiling: Josh Allen vs. New York Jets – $8,100 on DraftKings, $8,800 on FanDuel
Josh Allen projects for the highest ceiling to close out the regular season in what looks to be a prime matchup facing the New York Jets. Having already clinched a spot in the playoffs, motivation may not be a factor for Allen, with the Bills able to clinch an AFC East title with a win. In a prime matchup facing a Jets defense ranked last in DVOA (per Football Outsiders), the Bills will likely rely on the throwing strength of Allen, using a 60%/40% pass-to-run play calling ratio (per RotoViz), but should also benefit from the rushing ability of their dual-threat quarterback, with Allen responsible for 27% of the share of carries this season.
Opening with the highest team total at 31.25-points may suggest the Bills should score at will against the Jets, with Allen likely to reach an 85th-percentile outcome.
Top Value: Kyler Murray vs. Seattle Seahawks – $7,400 on DraftKings, $8,400 on FanDuel
Currently, with the highest total on the slate at 48-points, the season finale between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks looks to have shootout potential. Kyler Murray projects as the top value among the quarterback position this week and can reach fantasy relevance easily given his dual-threat ability.
Arizona looks to close out the season as the fifth seed in the playoffs, with a chance to clinch the NFC West with a win and look to be in a prime matchup, facing a Seattle defense ranked 25th in DVOA. An effective passer, Murray is third in the league in completion percentage at 69%, leading an Arizona Cardinals offense that takes a more balanced approach to their play-calling, using a 56%/44% pass-to-run play calling ratio. The league leader in no-huddle rate, the Cardinals should keep the foot on the pedal and should easily match the Seahawks lightning-fast pace (averaging 25 seconds per snap).
Per the Trends tool, in matchups with a total above 48-points, Murray averages 23.91 actual DraftKings points with a +1.31 Plus/Minus rating.
Top Rostered: Taysom Hill vs. Atlanta Falcons – $6,200 on DraftKings, $7,700 on FanDuel
Projected for 16.7%, Kyler Murray looks to be a popular choice for rosters this week. However, New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill looks to make his way into lineups this week, too, currently projected for 16.2% ownership. Hill took over under-center duties after the Saints lost quarterback Jameis Winston with a knee injury for the year. The utility player led a Saints offense that prefers to lean on Hill’s strengths, using a 53%/47% pass-to-run play calling ratio.
Despite one of the worst offenses in the league (ranked 25th per PFF), the Saints face a terrible Atlanta defense, ranked 29th in DVOA and 30th in rush DVOA. Given a discounted price tag on DraftKings and ideal matchup, Hill opens access to higher-priced skill-player options and should easily reach fantasy relevance in the season finale.
Top Ceiling: Jonathan Taylor vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – $9,300 on DraftKings, $10,200 on FanDuel
Jonathan Taylor has had an absolute smash season, leading the league in rushing yards (1,734), attempts (317), touchdowns (18), and is third in yards per carry (5.47). This week, Taylor projects for the highest ceiling, facing a Jaguars defense ranked 31st in DVOA. Facing the Jaguars in Week 10, a 23-17 win, Taylor rushed for 116 yards and one touchdown, carrying the ball 21 times. Taylor can easily reach his 85th-percentile outcome, given his volume and big-play upside.
This week, the Colts have motivation, with several teams depending on a Jacksonville win to keep their playoff hopes alive, all of which can be dashed through Taylor’s high involvement in the passing game.
Top Value: Dalvin Cook vs. Chicago Bears – $7,800 on DraftKings, $8,700 on FanDuel
Even with a disappointing season for the Minnesota Vikings, running Dalvin Cook remains one of the top backs in the league and projects as a top value among running backs this week. Cook, who is responsible for more than 75% of the workload in the Vikings backfield, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Chicago’s run defense is among the worst in the league, ranked 23rd in rush DVOA, and should set Cook for an opportunity to reach fantasy relevance. Minnesota is a 5.5-point favorite in this classic NFC North matchup and may opt to skew their 59%/41% pass-to-run play calling ratio to favor a more run-dependent game script, especially if ahead toward the end of the game, signaling an additional opportunity for Cook.
Top Rostered: Devin Singletary vs. New York Jets – $6,000 on DraftKings, $6,700 on FanDuel
Devin Singletary should be a popular choice in rosters this week, currently projected for 29.8% ownership. As the lead back for the Bills, Singletary is responsible for 39% of the share of carries in the backfield, averaging 4.63 yards per carry. The Bills, who are vying for the AFC East crown, face a Jaguars defense ranked 21st in rush DVOA and will likely lean on the running back in a clock-killing situation as a 17-point favorite. Per AddMoreFunds, Buffalo will likely use Singletary in goal-line rushing work, seeing 32 red zone attempts this season, making him a viable option to close out the regular season.
Top Ceiling: Cooper Kupp vs. San Francisco 49ers – $9,700 on DraftKings, $10,000 on FanDuel
Cooper Kupp has taken the NFL by storm and has been one of the more dominant players in the league. When the Rams are on the main slate, you can almost guarantee a ceiling performance from Kupp, even in the last week of the season. A favorite target for quarterback Matthew Stafford, Kupp averages 11.5 targets per game and leads the league in receiving yards (1,829).
Although San Francisco ranks eighth in DVOA, a weakness appears to be their pass defense, ranking 18th in pass DVOA this year. When the Rams are looking for an NFC West title, look for Stafford to rely on Kupp for his big-play ability.
Top Value: Justin Jefferson vs. Chicago Bears – $8,100 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel
A dynamic playmaker, Justin Jefferson, has had a breakout sophomore season, projecting for as a top value in the season’s final week. Responsible for 28% of the Vikings target share, Jefferson is second in the league in receiving yards (1,509) with nine touchdowns, averaging 14.7 yards per reception. With quarterback Kirk Cousins likely returning to action and Adam Thielen out for the year, look an uptick in production for Jefferson, who already averages 10 targets per game.
Given his volume and big-play upside, Jefferson should easily reach fantasy relevance, despite the lofty price tag on DraftKings.
Top Rostered: DJ Moore vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $5,800 on DraftKings, $6,100 on FanDuel
Justin Jefferson project as a trendy play this week. Another roster choice is Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore, who projects for 24% ownership. The primary target in the Panthers’ receiving corps, seeing 28% of the target share, Moore averages 9.6 targets per game with 12.4 yards per reception. The season finale for the Panthers looks daunting, facing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense ranked eighth in pass DVOA.
Still, Moore should be an easy stacking option with Buccaneers’ skill-position players, especially with a discounted salary on DraftKings and high volume in the Panthers’ passing game.
Top Ceiling: Mark Andrews vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – $7,500 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel
Mark Andrews projects for the highest ceiling among the tight end position this week, in a classic AFC North matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hanging on to their playoff hopes by a thread, the Ravens will likely root for chaos Sunday and need to involve Andrews to make their vision a reality. Andrews handles 24% of the Ravens’ target share and is second in the league in red-zone targets (per AddMoreFunds).
Look for Tyler Huntley to focus on Andrews as a scoring option, facing a mediocre Steelers defense, ranked 13th in pass DVOA.
Top Value: Zach Ertz vs. Seattle Seahawks – $5,300 on DraftKings, $5,900 on FanDuel
Zach Ertz projects as the top value this week in a matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Since arriving in Phoenix in Week 7, Ertz has seen an uptick in production, including a season-high two-touchdown, 88-yard performance in a Week 11, 23-13 win over the Seahawks.
Responsible for 20% of the target share in the Cardinals receiving corps, Ertz can reach fantasy relevance given his workload and makes a perfect stacking option with Kyler Murray, facing a weak Seahawks defense ranked 27th in DVOA.
Top Rostered: Cole Kmet vs. Minnesota Vikings – $3,400 on DraftKings, $4,900 on FanDuel
At 22.8% projected ownership, Zach Ertz looks to be the most popular choice among tight ends this week. However, at 18.7%, Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet should find his way into lineups, too, especially given a discounted price on DraftKings and workload in the receiving corps. Since Week 12, Kmet has seen five or more targets in every game, averaging more than 10 yards per reception.
The salary relief makes Kmet a perfect correlated piece with Justin Jefferson, who should also have a ton of volume in the Vikings’ passing game.