Looking To NFL Week 18 When Mapping Out Your Survivor Picks

Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
NFL Week 17 schedule

The NFL schedules have dropped, meaning fans can implement them into strategies for NFL survivor pools and various fantasy football formats such as Underdog Best Ball. Naturally, games at the end of the schedule carry a particular weight. They’ll produce the most decisive money swings in these competitions. Let’s look at the NFL Week 18 schedule and see which games stand out.

Week 18 will lean more toward angles of the survivor variety as most fantasy competitions will have wrapped. Still, we’ll identify a spot or two that could be helpful if your league or contest of choice goes the entire way through.

Scroll to the bottom for a complete listing of every game, including early NFL odds from online betting sites. These odds can help inform the decisions referenced above.

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Cowboys Vs. Commanders

Sure, there are some bigger favorites projected on the schedule. But this game is quite the intriguing survivor spot in the big Circa contest.

That’s primarily due to the Thanksgiving slate. With only three games to choose from, bettors figure to be quite heavy on Dallas hosting the New York Giants. Compare that to the other two options, and it isn’t hard to see why:

  • Bears at Lions
  • Dolphins at Packers

Sure, the Lions will probably be decent favorites, but the Bears should be much improved. And if everyone gravitates toward the Cowboys in Week 13, they’ll be an excellent option hosting a Commanders team they thrashed twice in 2023.

Presumably, Jayden Daniels will have gained some experience by then. But Washington still doesn’t project as a good team.

Even in non-Circa contests, Dallas has enough attractive spots (@WAS, @CAR, and both Giants games) that they don’t figure to be widely available in the endgame.

Fantasy players would salivate over this matchup as well. The Cowboys dropped a combined 83 points in the two games against the Commanders last season. Dak Prescott tossed for 8 TDs against 1 INT. Washington’s defense was dead last in EPA/play allowed. They don’t look to have made any significant improvements, adding castoff DBs from the Panthers and Chargers, which are two poor defenses.

Falcons vs. Panthers

The biggest early favorite on the board, the Falcons jump out as a pretty obvious survivor option in the NFL Week 18 schedule. Unfortunately, that means everyone will be on them, right?

Well, not exactly. What makes the Falcons so fascinating here is that they have the easiest NFL schedule strength by opposing win totals. That implicitly means most survivor players will likely use them well before the endgame.

Therefore, anyone who manages to plot a course to the end without firing on the Falcons will be sitting pretty.

This presumes that Bryce Young doesn’t make a massive Year 2 leap with a newly bolstered supporting cast and coaching staff. That’s certainly within the realm of outcomes. Jared Goff, for one, stands out as a player who walked a similar path.

But if projections are correct on these teams, the Falcons will be large home favorites here.

As noted in our NFL Week 17 survivor picks, Carolina focused its entire offseason on adding pieces to help Young and the offense. That means a defense that essentially got trucked last year projects poorly again. Kirk Cousins and Co. should rack up some stats in an indoor game that’s even more attractive than usual, thanks to the winter weather season in outdoor venues.

Jets vs. Dolphins

Like the Falcons, the Jets made off with one of the easiest schedules when the NFL handed out assignments for 2024. Also like the Falcons, that means most survivor entries will largely use the Jets earlier. Home games against the Patriots and Broncos look particularly delicious.

Still, why would anyone use the Jets in a seemingly tough home matchup against the Dolphins?

Well, it’s important to remember that while Tua Tagovailoa made it through 2023 healthy, that was no guarantee. That counted as something of a surprise following prior injury-plagued campaigns.

Even if Tagovailoa does make it through healthy, perhaps the Jets realize their lofty ceiling. Aaron Rodgers holds up, the offense comes together, and the defense remains elite. They’ll probably be north of field-goal favorites at home.

While this game doesn’t scream fantasy goodness at first glance—an outdoor game in January featuring a strong Jets defense—keep in mind the Dolphins scored 64 points across two pretty easy wins last year. Mike McDaniel seems to understand how to attack this defense, as the passing game was pretty efficient.

On the flip side, the Dolphins lost quite a bit from their defense. The secondary still looks solid, but the front seven is a significant question mark. Top DT Christian Wilkins walked in free agency, and top pass rushers Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips suffered major injuries late in the season. Losing elite coordinator Vic Fangio to the Eagles will hurt as well.

A theoretically healthy Jets offense could drive more of a shootout than many expect.

NFL Week 18 — Full Schedule With Odds