Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- A.J. Green was placed on the COVID list on Wednesday and is highly likely to miss this contest, while quarterback Kyler Murray has yet to practice this week following his late-game ankle injury last Thursday. We should find out more regarding his status on Friday.
- Antoine Wesley is the best comparable wide receiver to fill in for AJ Green. At 6’ 5”, expect him to fill the perimeter role opposite DeAndre Hopkins.
- No single player would be expected to see a significant boost to volume with the almost one-for-one, direct substitution from Green to Wesley.
- Two of the top six offenses in situation-neutral rush rates this season.
How arizona Will Try To Win ::
The glaring starting point for the discussion surrounding the Cardinals is the likely absence of AJ Green (COVID) and the possible absence of Kyler Murray (ankle). Murray has yet to practice this week after injuring his ankle late in last Thursday’s matchup with the Packers. We’ll need further clarification from the Cardinals Friday practice report before we can make any definitive plans, but it currently appears like Colt McCoy could be the starting quarterback for the Cardinals this week. The Cardinals are a fast-paced (ninth-ranked situation-neutral pace of play, fourth highest in the first half, 32nd in the second half, notable for sure), high rush rate team (47% situation-neutral rush rate on the season). We think of this offense as being a blisteringly fast-paced team when the reality is that they have slowed the game down significantly in the second half of games this season. If you take away the rushing potential from Kyler Murray (should he miss), we might see a slight hit taken to the hefty 4.62 yards per rush attempt their running backs have enjoyed this season.
Yes, the Cardinals are a spread offense that looks to incorporate downfield passing with a relentless rush game and high pace of play in the second half. That said, this offense has developed into a “spread offense” in more ways than just one, as all of Kyler Murray, Chase Edmonds, James Conner, DeAndre Hopkins, AJ Green (when active), Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, and now Zach Ertz are on hand to split snaps and production. We’ve also seen a decrease in the normally high rushing rates of Kyler Murray this season, which has led to the optimal way of playing him shifting to a pairing instead of as a naked one-off (which we’ve dissected completely this season). Okay, so what happens if Green and Kyler miss? What we’re likeliest to see is a heavy emphasis on the run game through Edmonds and Conner, with Antoine Wesley almost directly filling in for Green on the perimeter opposite Nuk. I wouldn’t expect a massive bump to the expectation for the remaining regular starters as far as volume goes, and we have to think the efficiency of the offense overall suffers a great deal with McCoy at quarterback. As for the matchup on the ground, the Cardinals are subject to a below-average 3.89 net-adjusted line yards metric against a San Francisco defense built to stop the run first.
We uncovered most of what to expect from the Cardinals through the air above, but the offense would gain a significant boost overall if Kyler can make his way back from that ankle injury. If he can’t, expect a lower drive success rate than we’re used to seeing from this offense, lowering the appeal of the game environment as a whole. Also, since we can’t confidently project any one player to see additional volume with the almost one-for-one swap from Green to Wesley, the pass-catchers remain low expected volume, bet on efficiency pieces. But Hilow, how do you so confidently expect Wesley to directly fill in for Green? Good question! The only other wide receivers on the roster (Andy Isabella and Josh Doctson) profile differently than Wesley, who is the closest match to what AJ Green provides at this point in his career.
How san francisco Will Try To Win ::
The return of JaMycal Hasty has meant at least some semblance of running back work through the air, which makes this offense a little less one-dimensional. For example, Hasty has seen 14 targets in the four games in which he played meaningful snaps this season (30% or more), compared to four total targets over five healthy games for Elijah Mitchell. Mitchell continues to be a 60-65% snap rate running back but should be thought of as a strict yardage and touchdown back in a difficult on-paper matchup. The absence of George Kittle and his run-blocking ability is a big deal for this Niners offense, considering how they would like to operate, so keep an eye on his status as the week progresses (he was activated off the IR on Wednesday, which opened his 21-day practice window). Jimmy Garoppolo has surpassed 30 pass attempts only once across his six games played this year, further indicating how this offense would like to operate.
The matchup on the ground yields a slightly above average 4.41 net-adjusted line yards metric and should be the likeliest way for the Niners to move the ball. That said, the threat of splash plays against the Cardinals is muted by a defense built to keep the game in front of them, which is such a massive part of how the 49ers operate on offense. Expect Elijah Mitchell to land in his standard range of 18-20 running back opportunities, almost all of which should be carries. JaMycal Hasty has returned to siphon eight to ten running back opportunities per game, with four to six expected targets.
Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Mohamed Sanu continue to operate as the primary pass-catchers in this offense, with only Deebo seeing a reliable weekly workload (eight to 13 targets in every game this season). Aiyuk has played between 67% and 88% of the offensive snaps for five weeks now, but the production has yet to follow. Interestingly enough, it has been Charlie Woerner who has emerged as the de facto lead tight end in the absence of George Kittle, primarily for his run-blocking chops (only five targets on the season). Arizona allows the fourth-lowest yards per completion in the league at only 9.2. Furthermore, they have allowed the second-fewest yards after the catch this season, denting the upside of Deebo and Aiyuk.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
When we consider the combinatorial heavy rush rates from each team, the injuries and COVID issues for the Cardinals, and the likely continued absence of George Kittle from the 49ers, we’re left with the likeliest scenario of a grind-it-out, slugfest style game environment here. Neither team is likely to separate substantially from the other, with the greatest chance of that occurring coming from the Cardinals defense. If they are able to create consistent short fields for their offense or even score a defensive touchdown, it could force the Niners into aggression earlier than they would otherwise like. The only other path I see to this game truly opening up is a broken play from Elijah Mitchell or Deebo Samuel, which carries an even lower percentage chance of happening here. When the best chance of the game opening up is from defensive production, it might be time to call this one a low upside game environment (lolz). Both offenses should be expected to largely struggle to sustain drives with a matchup between Colt McCoy and Jimmy Garoppolo on deck, meaning muted overall offensive production from both teams and low expected ceilings from all skill position players.
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Dwprix >>
- Fourth lowest total (46)
- ARZ is favored by 1 after opening 2.5 pt favorites
- These teams already played three weeks ago
- The total was the third highest (48.5) then
- ARZ won a low scoring game, 17-10
- Trey Lance started for Jimmy Garoppolo who was injured
- Lance had 16 rush atts to Eli Mitchell’s nine
- Since these teams met three weeks ago, both have run less plays/g
- ARZ came into the last matchup running the 9th most plays/g (66.5)
- ARZ now runs the 11th most (64.9)
- SF ran the 14th most plays/g (65.0) but have since moved down to 26th (60.9)
- ARZ scores the fourth most pts/g (30.8)
- SF scores the 16th most pts/g (24.0)
- SF/ARZ pts totals last five w/ Murray and Kingsbury: 27 // 32 // 44 // 62 // 53
- Last week, Jimmy snapped his streaks of eight games w/o 20+ DK pts & 16 games since a 30+ pt game
- Jimmy did so w/o a passing TD, instead rushing two in: 12:28:322, 5:4:2 TDs
- He has only one game w/ two passing TDs (Week 3 vs GB, 16.7 DK pts) and zero three TD games
- Garopollo’s price ($5.7k) has stayed in the $5.4k-$5.7k range all season
- Pass atts: 28 // 27 // DNP // 23 // 40 // 30 // 25
- ARZ allows the second least DK pts to QBs (15.7)
- ARZ vs QBs: Aaron Rodgers-15.66 // Davis Mills-4.40 // Baker Mayfield-15.16 // Trey Lance-15.58 // Matthew Stafford-20.30 // Trevor Lawrence 11.46 // Kirk Cousins-25.26 // Ryan Tannehill-17.18
- Elijah Mitchell only rushed nine times in this matchup three weeks ago
- That was his lowest rush att game so far
- Trey Lance took rush 16 atts
- Jamycal Hasty’s cut into Mitchell’s snap share since returning Week 7
- Haysty has been on the field to give them an option to throw to a RB
- Hasty snaps:routes run: 19:16 // 19:12
- This hasn’t cut into Mitchell’s rush atts
- Mitchell rush atts last two: 18 // 18
- Hasty rush atts: 3 // 3
- Mitchell’s price is a season high $5.8k, rising $400 from last week
- ARZ allows the 13th most rush yds/g (120.1) & second highest rush yds/att (4.9) but seventh fewest DK pts to RBs (21.1)
- Deebo vs ARZ: 3:58, 9 tgts // didn’t play in either 2019 matchup // 10:134, 10 tgts // 4:40, 7 tgts
- Deebo has 100+ yds in four of seven games & 10+ tgts in four of seven
- No other SF player has a 10+ tgt game or 100+ yd rec game besides George Kittle’s 10 tgt game Week 4
- Deebo’s targets since Kittle went down (35% tgt share): 9 (of 27) // 11 (of 27) // 9 (of 28)
- Deebo’s the third highest priced WR behind Tyreek Hill ($7.8k, highest price of career) & Davante Adams (Q)
- Other SF WRs w/o Kittle: Aiyuk-7, 1, 4 // Mohamed Sanu-4, 1, 3
- Brandon Aiyuk has yet to have a game over 7 tgts but had six last season in 12 games
- He also had six games with 20+ DK pts
- Aiyuk vs ARZ last season: 1:15 // DNP
- His price is down to $4.1k, cheapest of the season
- TE Charlie Woerner has seen five total tgts the last three w/ Kittle out
- ARZ allows the 13th least DK pts/g to WRs (35.9)
- Murray has 22+ DK pts in six of eight games
- He’s the second most expensive QB ($7.9k) behind Josh Allen
- The first four games of the season Murray avg 29.71 DK pts
- The last four he’s avg 18.23
- Murray DK pts vs SF: 13.66 // 23.04 // 26.7 // 27.3 // 16.38
- SF allows the fourth most DK pts/g to QBs (22.9) but third least pass yds/g (196.9) & fifth least pass atts/g
- SF vs QBs: Justin Fields-29.30 // Carson Wentz-21.30 // Kyler Murray-13.66 // Russell Wilson-22.56 // Aaron Rodgers-19.04 // Jalen Hurts-21.80 // Jared Goff-32.92
- Murray & Rodgers are the only QBs not to score 20+ vs SF
- AJ Green has been placed on the Covid list (doubtful)
- Hopkins tgts: 2 // 9 // 4 // 9 // 7 // 6 // 4 // 8
- With no Jaire Alexander on the the field, Hopkins still only saw two tgts last week vs GB
- Christian Kirk tgts: 6 // 5 // 8 // 5 // 1 // 8 // 4 // 5
- Rondale Moore tgts: 4 // 3 // 4 // 6 // 3 // 2 // 8 // 5
- Moore hasn’t topped 60 rec yds since Week 2
- Chase Edmonds tgts: 4 // 3 // 4 // 4 // 7 // 5 // 4
- SF allows the tenth least DK pts to WRs (35.2) & seventh least yds/comp (9.4)
- Since coming from PHI Zach Ertz has went: 4:42, 4 tgts // 3:66:1 TD, 5 tgts
- SF allows tenth least DK pts/g to TEs (10.1)
- Rush att: Edmonds-7, 12, 8, 11, 12, 6, 4, 15 // Conner: 5, 16, 8, 11, 18, 10, 16, 10
- Conner has eight TDs in eight games
- He has three games with two TDs
- Edmonds scored his first rush TD last week
- Rush atts were spread out vs GB last week: Edmonds-7 // Conner-5 // Murray-6
- Edmonds has four games w/ 10+ rush atts // Conner has six
- SF allows the sixth most rush yds/g (127.1) but 10th least DK pts to RB
- The last two weeks they’ve gotten lit up: Justin Fields 10:103:1 TD + Khalil Herbert-23:72 // Jonathan Taylor-18:107:1 TD + Carson Wentz 4:23:1 TD