Hello! There is no football on the agenda this Thursday, although we have the first Week 18 of the NFL season this weekend to look forward to alongside the national college football championship Monday night. Prepare for both and get your NBA fix in today’s newsletter.
The longest regular season ever ends this weekend, and there’s still a lot to work out at the NFC and AFC standings before the postseason begins.
Six NFC teams have already secured a playoff berth and five teams have clinched it in the AFC. Technically, there are 18 teams whose playoff hopes are either sealed or still alive heading into Saturday, although some need more help than others. The only thing that has already been determined is that the Packers are the top spot in the NFC; the remaining seeds in both conferences are up for grabs. Ben Pickman laid out the current standings and all the tricky playoff scenarios (how to play for a tie?) In play in Week 18.
Offensive Rookie of the Year betting breakdown: Ja’Marr Chase has overtaken Mac Jones as the favorite to win Rookie of the Year after a historic performance in Week 17. Frankie Taddeo shares whether he’s ditching his initial investment in Jones or riding the Chase hype.
Many fantasy leagues ended a week ago. Punishments were handed out for the losers, trophies and / or rings were awarded to the winners. But some Fantasy managers are leaning on the mantra of the longest season in the NFL and have championships that run through Week 18. And as long as games are played, the SI Fantasy team has you covered.
Fantasy players to avoid during week 18: With berths secured in the playoffs and injured players needing to rest before the postseason, Jen Piacenti highlights players who may have reduced roles, or not play at all, late in the regular season.
Start ‘Em, Sit’ Em: The Saints have something to play for this weekend and Michael Fabiano likes Taysom Hill as his start to the week at quarterback in a positive meeting against the Falcons.
Fantasy Football Stat Projections: Devin Singletary is in the top five in Shawn Childs’ latest player screenings. See who else is among the top projected scorers.
End of Season POI Report: Matt De Lima recaps the fantasy season for IDP managers, picking out those who outperform and those out, and offers his takeaways on the year.
Kyrie Irving’s return to the Nets was the main story Wednesday night, and it was shown in his season debut with 22 points from a win, but it wasn’t the only highlight with 22 teams in action.
Kevin Porter Jr. game winner for the Rockets in their first game after suspension. Kelly Oubre drained eight triples from the fourth quarter in a great victory for the Hornets. The Mavericks beat the Warriors by 17 on the night the team retired legend Dirk Nowitzkishirt. Just another night in the league.
Kyrie Irving’s effect on networks’ title hopes: Before Irving’s return to the court, our writers discussed how his part-time presence impacts Brooklyn’s championship opportunities.
Zion Williamson Rehab Update: The Pelicans announced that their star will continue his foot injury rehab away from the team. Williamson suffered a setback in December following his foot surgery.
That’s it for today, folks. I’ll be back in your inbox on Sunday morning. You should know the drill by now, but be sure to establish your lineups before Saturday’s NFL games.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.