Each week of the NFL season, we identify fantasy football waiver-wire pickups specifically for those of you looking for streaming options in deeper formats, including IDP (individual defensive players) leagues. These are players available in a majority of ESPN Fantasy leagues (or close) who have enticing matchups in the week ahead that make them worthy of consideration for your lineups on championship weekend.
In his Monday news conference, head coach Matt Nagy said that Fields will start the Bears’ season finale against the Vikings. The Bears have been without him the past two weeks because of an ankle injury suffered in Week 15 against Minnesota. In that game, Fields completed 67% of his passes and finished with 17 fantasy points. In terms of pass block win rate, the Bears’ offensive line is ranked fifth, which bodes well for the rookie against a defense that allows the sixth-most points per game to quarterbacks (18.3). Fields has a high likelihood of meeting or exceeding that number, especially when you factor his ability to create additional yards via rushing.
After suffering a hamstring injury in the first half last week against the Jaguars, Damien Harris ceded the backfield duties to Stevenson. The Patriots simply steamrollered Jacksonville, so Harris’ health was not worth risking. New England clinched a playoff berth on Sunday, so it’s possible you’ll see Harris ruled out for Week 18 to get him ready for the playoffs. Stevenson has scored four touchdowns and averaged 95 rushing yards in three games in which he has exceeded 18 attempts this season. He can be considered an RB2 if Harris is out and a flex option if Harris is active.
Buffalo is in the playoffs but can win the AFC East and host a playoff game if it beats the Jets on Sunday. Fellow wideout Emmanuel Sanders missed Week 17 because of his knee injury, so keep an eye on practice reports this week for insight into his chances of playing this week. Considering that he can get an extra week off to prepare for the playoffs, I do not see any benefit to him playing. Davis has a mouthwatering matchup against the Jets’ secondary. No team allows more points per game (110.0) to offensive players than New York.
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears at Vikings (36%)
Despite having more than five targets in five straight games, Kmet hasn’t been able to convert that into success in the Bears’ anemic passing attack for most of the season. Jimmy Graham‘s red zone performance, which has seen him score three touchdowns in the past six games, has lowered Kmet’s ceiling. Fields’ return should significantly improve Kmet’s outlook. In Week 15, he caught six of nine targets for 71 yards against the Vikings with Fields under center. Kmet has the potential to repeat that performance.
Washington Football Team at Giants (24.5%)
Washington’s defensive front should have no problem consistently creating pressure against the Giants’ offensive line, which ranks 25th in pass block win rate. New York’s offense has struggled all season, but over the past three games, it has ranked last in yards per game (215.0) and points per game (6.3). With Jake Fromm starting in place of Mike Glennon, who will undergo hand surgery, the potential for this Washington defense is even higher.
In Weeks 15-17, Badgley averaged nine points per game for fantasy managers. The Colts can clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win over the Jaguars, who allow the third-most PPG (9.0) to kickers.
Individual defensive players (IDP)
Over the past four games, Sweat has accumulated 14 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble. He’s in a good position to play a ton of snaps since a win over the Cowboys could improve the Eagles’ playoff seeding. The Dallas offensive line ranks 23rd in pass block win rate and has allowed at least three sacks in three of its last four games.
Ernest Jones is out, so Reeder should continue to play a lot more snaps, and he had 11 tackles against the 49ers earlier this season. With a win, Los Angeles will earn the No. 2 seed in the NFC, so it is unlikely the Rams will sit their starters.
Williams has averaged 4.6 tackles per game over his past five games. During that period, he also recorded a sack, a forced fumble and an interception. Williams spends most of his snaps inside and will be responsible for covering receiver Cooper Kupp, who has averaged 11.5 targets per game this season. It’s going to be a busy week for Williams.