Week 18 waiver wire: Several unexpected names could have fantasy football value

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Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham (3) lines up against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The entire NFL was put on pause Monday night after Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s terrifying injury, which left several fantasy football leagues in limbo as far as who the champion is.

While most leagues were set to end last week, there are still leagues that play their championship all the way to the end of the regular season despite the risk of key players sitting out, so leagues that were set to end in Week 17 have the option to make this week the championship.

The NFL schedule is not expected to have any changes this week despite Hamlin’s uncertain health status, and while several stars are expected to sit, there are some new names to consider on the waiver wire for those still battling for a fantasy title.

Must be rostered in less than 50% of leagues to make the list

TOP QUARTERBACK

Jarrett Stidham, Raiders (0.6% rostered)

The Raiders offense didn’t miss a beat with Stidham under center last week, who put up strong numbers despite facing an elite 49ers defense. Stidham gets a much easier draw this week against a soft Chiefs defense and should be able to produce once again with the Raiders likely having to chase points against Patrick Mahomes and the elite Chiefs defense.

Also consider: Andy Dalton, Saints (11.2%); Tyrod Taylor, Giants (0.1%)

TOP RUNNING BACK

Jonathan Williams, Commanders (0.1%)

The Commanders could be down their top two running backs with Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson missing practice to start the week, which would leave Williams as the lone healthy running back on the roster. The Cowboys aren’t an easy matchup, but Williams should get enough volume to be fantasy relevant.

Also consider: Jaylen Warren, Steelers (8.4%); Matt Breida, Giants (2.2%)

TOP WIDE RECEIVER

Rashid Shaheed, Saints (2.4%)

The Saints’ passing game hasn’t lit the world on fire down the stretch, but Shaheed has quietly put up strong numbers and has gotten more involved in the offense each week. Shaheed is in line for another strong performance against a Panthers secondary that’s down their top two cornerbacks and just got torched by a Buccaneers passing game that had been struggling all season.

Also consider: K.J. Osborn, Vikings (7.4%); Robert Woods, Titans (44.4%); Treylon Burks (41.2%)

TOP TIGHT END

Trey McBride, Cardinals (3.3%)

McBride broke out last week with a season-best performance and has established himself as the Cardinals’ go-to receiving tight end in place of the injured Zach Ertz. McBride should be able to have another solid week since he received a high number of targets last week from fill-in quarterback David Blough, who’s set to get the start again.

Also consider: Juwan Johnson, Saints (22.9%); Albert Okwuegbunam, Broncos (2.1%)

TOP TEAM DEFENSE

Minnesota Vikings at CHI (21%)

The Vikings have been one of the worst defenses, but they project as a quality fantasy option this week against the Bears with Justin Fields having been shut down due to injury and replaced at quarterback by interception machine Nathan Peterman.

Also consider: Indianapolis Colts vs. HOU (30.9%)

Spencer ‘the Guru’ Urquhart (@spencertheguru) has been a fantasy football analyst since 2014, founding a community of over 6,000 followers on Instagram

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