Kickoff: Sunday, January 9th at 4:25 PM ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
Betting Odds: NE -6, 40 total via Oddsshark
New England Patriots
Mac Jones (Start, QB1)
Mac Jones should see a full complement of snaps this week, as the Patriots are still alive for the division title, and have an outside chance of finishing with the number one seed. With the Bills kicking off at the same time, both teams will be fighting for the division title. Jones has been solid for fantasy, outside of a couple of stinkers in but there are several quarterbacks that will be rested in preparation for Wildcard weekend. Jones threw three touchdowns last week for the second time this season, and for the seventh time on the season. He is a nice low-end QB1 this week that should have no problem returning value this week.
Rhamondre Stevenson (Start, RB1), Damien Harris (Sit, Injury)
Damien Harris has operated as the lead back for most of the season but Rhamondre Stevenson has come on strong in the second half. Harris left the game last week with a hamstring injury that he has battled for several weeks now. Stevenson has earned the trust of the coaching staff and it would not be surprising to see him take a full complement of the work in the final week of the season, while they rest Harris for the playoffs. Harris has been limited in practice and while he may be active he is not a player that managers should start in case he leaves the game again with the hamstring injury.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Jakobi Meyers (Start, Flex), Kendrick Bourne (Start, Flex), Hunter Henry (Sit), Jonnu Smith (Sit)
New England does not have a receiving corps that would frighten defensive coordinators but they have been productive as a unit. Both Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne have operated most of the season as solid WR3 options, but they each have been fairly consistent and have been healthy for the season. Each is decent low-end flex plays, with the chance of a touchdown. While neither will win you the week, both can be plugged in for managers looking for a flex play.
Hunter Henry has a few unbelievable weeks through the season but he is far from consistent and he has two stinkers in the last two games. Jonnu Smith has been a valuable addition for the Patriots but only because he is a great blocker and allows the team to run the offense they desire. Both are limited fantasy options and should be on the bench.
Tua Tagovailoa (Sit)
The Dolphins have been eliminated from playoff contention and without much to play for, they will just try to play spoiler to a division rival. Tua has finished as a weekly QB1 just 33% of his starts, a number that leaves much to be desired. Tua’s future with the team is in question and New England limited him to just 12 fantasy points in Week 1. The Patriots should have no problem shutting down the short passing game, leaving Tua as an unappealing fantasy option this week.
Duke Johnson Jr. (Sit), Myles Gaskin (Sit), Phillip Lindsay (Sit)
The three-headed monster of Duke Johnson, Myles Gaskin, and Phillip Lindsay will have difficulty finding production against a solid New England defense that should have no problem containing each of them. All are unappealing options, even in the final week of the season.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Jaylen Waddle (Start, WR2), Davante Parker (Start, WR3), Mike Gesicki (Start, TE1)
Last week Jalen Waddle likely cost many fantasy owner fantasy titles. Waddle, a fantasy star in his rookie season, already has 99 catches and is just 12 yards away from a 1000-yard season in his rookie year. However last week, Waddle was held in check with just 47 yards on three catches and failing to find the end zone. However, this week Waddle is a solid WR2 option and could have a bounce-back week. Waddle is an easy start in DFS, a player that could find the endzone. The Dolphins will look to concentrate their passing attack around their promising first-year receiver.
Davante Parker is a risky play after producing just 46 yards on 13 targets last week and failing to receive a target the week before. But in Week 18 you may need to use him, and despite the tough matchup, he did put up 81 yards against the Patriots in Week 1. His floor is hard to trust, but he should see some target volume.
Mike Gesicki has faded in the second half of the season. Gesicki has not finished as a TE1 since the Week 13 matchup against the Giants. However, Gesicki is earning nearly seven targets a game since and is heavily involved in the offense. He is a risky play but could be a sneaky Week 18 starter for a manager looking for a cheap option at tight end.
-Marc Salazar (@oldsnake77 on Twitter)