Kickoff Monday, Jan 17th 8:15pm Eastern

Cards (
23.25) at

Rams (
27.25)

Over/Under 50.5

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Cardinals Run D
11th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per carry
Rams Run O
16th DVOA/25th Yards per carry
Cardinals Pass D
28th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Rams Pass O
21st DVOA/5th Yards per pass
Rams Run D
1st DVOA/6th Yards allowed per carry
Cardinals Run O
14th DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Rams Pass D
27th DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per pass
Cardinals Pass O
25th DVOA/10th Yards per pass

XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT

The highest-total game of the weekend comes on Monday night as the Cards visit the Rams for a 50.5 total match with Los Angeles favored by four. This should be a good one, as the Rams elite pass defense is somewhat weakened by missing both of their starting safeties, helping boost the odds of a more back-and-forth shootout. I’m excited about this one.

Showdown Ownership Projections!

Ownership updates automatically

Los Angeles

We’ll start with the Rams rushing game, where we have Cam Akers making a surprising return from a preseason injury that was expected to keep him out until next year. Akers played 20% of the snaps last week, carried the ball five times, and caught all three of his targets. Of course, that also means Sony Michel played 80% of the snaps and saw 21 carries and four targets of his own. So, what will it be in this one? I don’t have a really good handle on it, to be honest…Akers looked healthy, and before the season it looked like he was going to be a bellcow back for Los Angeles, but will they put him in that role after one game and eight touches? I’m not sure. I do think it’s highly likely that Michel stays involved in some capacity, but Akers’ workload should increase to some degree from last week. Is it enough to make him a viable play? I think so, but just recognize there’s a lot of risk here. Neither Akers nor Michel are priced like bellcow backs, so I’m okay playing them together in flex spots, but if using one of them at captain (and thus needing a disproportionate amount of scoring to go through that guy) I would exclude the other. The matchup here isn’t great, and this is something I’m personally wrestling with a bit: both teams are strong against both the run and the pass per DVOA, but the Cardinals have been getting hammered in the air in their past few games, while the Rams are without both starting safeties, which makes the passing games look like the path of least resistance. 

In the passing game, I have written up Rams Showdowns so many times now that there is really nothing left to write about Cooper Kupp. He’s been elite this year, his usage is absolutely ridiculous, he’s basically a lock for double-digit targets and he’s more likely than not to hit the 100 yard bonus. He’s also priced at a whopping $13,000 and, despite that, is still going to be one of the highest-owned plays on the slate (if not THE highest). Recognize as well that as we get into the playoffs, teams are less likely to use their ancillary plays – most teams focus on their core guys in the playoffs, which makes value options fairly thin. Kupp is a fantastic play if you can find a way to fit him that you don’t hate. Behind Kupp, Odell Beckham has clearly passed Van Jefferson for the WR2 role, outtargeting, outcatching, and out-touchdowning (new DFS vocabulary!) Jefferson since joining the team. On a point-per-dollar basis, Beckham is my favorite Rams receiver, as $6,800 is too cheap for the WR2 in the Rams high-octane passing attack (imagine if Robert Woods was $6,800 here!). Jefferson‘s a reasonable value option, but at just about the same price, I prefer Tyler Higbee who has seen his receiving role grow as the season has come to a close with 6, 6, 9, and 8 targets in his last four games, finally erupting for a big game last week. I don’t want to chase last week’s performance, but the underlying usage for Higbee has been solid all year as he’s averaging a red zone target per game to go along with a healthy (for a tight end) 15% overall target share, about the same as Jefferson. It’s a narrow edge between them, but I will want a little bit more Higbee exposure than Jefferson. Ben Skowronek will play a handful of snaps and you can always bet on a fluky touchdown to get a low-owned value play, but again, in the playoffs, we can expect teams to lean on their main guys so it’s a thin MME option. The matchup here looks tough at first glance against a Cardinals defense that is 6th in pass defense DVOA, but when we look a bit deeper, we see that they’ve been struggling of late…while they have yet to give up a 300-yard passer on the season, they’ve given up 14 passing touchdowns against just 1 interception in the past five games. The matchup isn’t a cakewalk, but it isn’t quite as rough as DVOA makes it look, either.

Arizona

On the Cardinals side, the backfield has a significant lack of clarity as Chase Edmonds has no injury designation but both James Conner and backup Jonathan Ward are questionable. If Conner misses, we can expect to see Edmonds in a full-on bellcow role: Edmonds saw 34 carries and 15 (!) targets in the last two games without Conner. At just $5,000, even in a tough matchup, Edmonds just isn’t priced for that kind of workload and represents a massive value. Neither Ward nor RB4 Eno Benjamin played much in those games, giving us confidence that if Conner is out, Edmonds should be The Guy. If Conner plays, we should expect a split similar to what we’ve seen earlier in the season, with Edmonds as the “lead back” and outsnapping Conner, but likely only getting to the 8-12 carry range and making the rest up with volume while Conner gets some 2-down and goal-line work. At $9,400, Conner is massively overpriced for a shared role with Edmonds and can only be considered as a highly contrarian option (tough on a slate without a lot of value), while Edmonds would still be a reasonable option for his passing-game role, especially in rosters built around the Rams winning the game. 

In the passing game, since DeAndre Hopkins went down we’ve seen Antoine Wesley step into a nearly full-time role replacing him, with Christian Kirk and A.J. Green as the full-time perimeter receivers. Rondale Moore looks like he’s going to return as well and should resume his role of around 30-40% of the snaps with a handful of schemed touches near the line of scrimmage. Kirk and Green are in very similar roles overall, with Kirk seeing slightly more targets and yards while Green has 14 red zone targets against Kirk’s 8 (though Kirk leads him in touchdowns, interestingly). Kirk is my preferred play as I’ll always bet on the younger, more talented receiver, but Green at a discount is plenty viable as well. The matchup is tough (as it is across the board for both offenses), but the lack of safeties and the Rams decision not to use Jalen Ramsay in shadow assignments both boosts the matchup a bit and means we don’t have to shy away from the alpha WR1 (Kirk). Moore is a bit of a trick player who has upside with the ball in his hands but generally has to make it all happen himself, as his touches happen right around the line of scrimmage…against a disciplined Rams defense, the chances of a broken play from scrimmage are pretty low, and at $4,600 I do not have much interest (he’s priced near the kickers, but I would prefer either kicker to him…in tournament terms, I generally aim to have about 15% or so of each kicker, so I’ll want to be under that on Moore). Wesley, however, is very interesting to me. He’s played 85%, 77%, 57%, and 75% of the snaps in the four games since Hopkins went down, seeing no fewer than four targets per game and catching three touchdowns. At just $1,800, he’s the clear best value play on the slate, as everyone priced around him is really in “MME dart throw” territory while Wesley is on the field for the majority of the snaps. I would want a lot of him, but just be aware that in these playoff Showdown slates that generally don’t have a lot of good value options, he’s going to be pretty popular. Alright, at tight end we have old man Zach Ertz. Ertz no longer has much yardage upside, as despite enormous volume he has yet to break 100 yards on the season, but in the four games since Hopkins was hurt he has seen 11, 13, 9, and 10 targets, leading all Cardinals pass-catchers. While he doesn’t have much “break away for a long touchdown” upside, he can get there on volume, and the volume is bankable. Ertz is also third on the team in red zone targets despite only having been with the team for 10 games. If you want more MME punt plays, you can take a shot at Demetrius Harris, who is back to health and should take back his TE2 role from Darrell Daniels. This role has only resulted in six targets on the season, so you’re drawing thin here. 


OWS For Life!

Memberships remaining :: 34*

* morning, 1/17/22

What Is This? Click To Understand

1. You buy OWS For Life.
2. We cancel your OWS Annual or Inner Circle membership (if applicable)
3. You never pay a dollar for OWS NFL content again

Current price of OWS Annual for new members: $129
Current price of Inner Circle for new members: $179
Current (limited) price of OWS For Life: $399

#math


Outlook

Ok, that’s a lot of pass-catchers, and there’s a whole chunk of them priced pretty similarly in the $4,600 (Moore) to $7,000 (Kirk) range, so it might be helpful if I ranked them. My overall favorite is Kirk, then Ertz, then Beckham, then Higbee, then Green, then Jefferson, then Moore. Whew. 

The way this game is likeliest to play out is a back-and-forth, relatively high-scoring affair as the Vegas total implies. Both teams are more likely to have success through the air than on the ground, so the “right” way to approach this slate is to focus on the passing games more than the run games (though Edmonds is basically a receiver – especially if Conner misses). But these are two strong defenses as well, so a high-scoring game is not a guarantee. Let’s look at some other ways we could build for this one:

  • These teams see each other a lot, which is generally viewed as an advantage to the defenses. Both teams possess strong defenses (advantage here to the Rams, plus they’re at home), so betting on one team failing to show up and score is entirely viable. While the Rams have the advantage on defense, Kyler’s dual-threat ability also makes him harder to stop, and while Matt Stafford posted a career-high in passing touchdowns this season, he’s also thrown a whopping eight interceptions in his last four games and hasn’t had a real ceiling game of 30+ DK points since all the way back in Week 7. 
  • When the field wants to bet on the scoring coming one way, we can bet on it coming a different way. I expect the field will be heavy on the passing games here (especially if James Conner is active), so we can be contrarian by betting that the scoring comes on the ground.
  • 4-2 underdog builds have long been a positive leverage spot in Showdowns, and they seem especially fitting here with Cooper Kupp as such a vacuum for the Rams offense. Kupp, one other Ram, and then four Cardinals would be betting that the Rams offense is highly concentrated while the Cardinals scoring is more spread out…which is exactly how these teams tend to play anyway. This is really a perfect slate for 4-2 underdog builds.
CASH Games

In cash games, my player pool consists of Murray, Kupp, Stafford, Edmonds (who would be an absolute cash game lock if Conner misses but is a fine play either way), the kickers, and then perhaps a mid-range receiver like Kirk or Ertz if I land there to finish it up.

Tournaments

In tournaments, I want to be overweight on Kirk, Beckham, Ertz, Higbee, and Edmonds (if no Conner) at captain. 

Some groups to consider:
  • At most 1 kicker
  • At most 1 defense
  • Pair captain pass catchers with their QBs (or consider boosting the QB if using a captain receiver if you don’t want 100% exposure to this pairing – discussed in further detail in the 2020 update to my Advanced Showdowns course)
  • If using an RB captain, apply a negative correlation to the opposing defense and kicker (you can see how to do so in my FantasyLabs tutorial video)
  • Pair captain Kyler with at least 1 pass catcher and captain Stafford with at least 2 pass catchers (full disclosure that I would not be using Stafford at captain at all in this one)
  • If using captain Michel or Akers, exclude the other one
  • At most 2 of Stafford, Michel, and Akers unless building 5-1 Rams onslaughts
  • At most 1 of Conner and Edmonds

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • Vegas total opened at 50.5 but has since dropped one point (as of Thursday night)
  • ARI’s points scored in the last four games: 12 // 16 // 25 // 30
  • Their opponents’: 30 // 22 // 22 // 38
  • LAR’s points scored in the last four games: 20 // 30 // 20 // 24
  • Their opponents’: 10 // 23 // 19 // 27
  • On the season, ARI averaged the 11th most ppg (26.4)
  • LAR averaged the seventh most (27.1)
  • ARI’s defense allowed the ninth fewest ppg (21.5)
  • LAR’s defense allowed the 16th fewest (21.9)
  • ARI averaged the eighth most plays per game on offense (66.2), LAR averaged the 18th most (62.2)
  • ARI’s opponents averaged the fourth fewest plays per game on offense (60.5), LAR’s opponents averaged the fifth most (65.8)
  • Per numberFire, ARI @ LA is the fourth ranked Week 19 match in average pace (29.4 seconds per play) and the second ranked in average pass rate (61.9%)

Kyler Murray

  • Career stat lines vs. LAR (passing & rushing): 19/34:163:0:1 & 4/28:1 // 26/42:325:2:2 & 2/0:0 // 21/39:173:3:1 & 5/15:0 // 8/11:87:0 & 2/3:0 // 24/32:268:2:0 & 6/39:0 // 32/49:383:0:2 & 7/61:0
  • Career highs in completion% (69.2%), passing yards (270.5), and TD% (5%)
  • 30.2 rushing yards per game is a career low
  • Scored 25+ DK pts four times in 14 games: 25.76 @ CLE in Week 6 // 30.82 @ CHI in Week 13 // 34.56 @ TEN in Week 1 // 38.1 vs. MIN in Week 2
  • On the season, LAR ranks seventh in DK ppg allowed to QBs (16.29)
  • They rank 17th in successful play rate of passing plays allowed (per Sharp Football)
  • Notable opposing QB scores: Kirk Cousins 20.3 // Kyler Murray 22.42 // Murray 22.62 // Davis Mills 24.4 // Aaron Rodgers 29.28 // Tom Brady 31.68

ARI Passing Attack

  • Snap share: Christian Kirk 76.2% // AJ Green 75.7% // Zach Ertz 74.3% // Antoine Wesley 39.2 // Rondale Moore 36.9%
  • Target share: Ertz 19% // Kirk 17.4% // AJG 15.6% // Moore 11% // Wesley 5.4%
  • DeAndre Hopkins has not played since Week 14 (missing the last four games) and will not be activated this week
  • Kirk’s target counts in the last four games: 12 // 9 // 9 // 3
  • Stat lines: 9:94:1 // 7:55:0 // 6:79:0 // 2:43:0
  • He’s scored 20+ DK pts three times in 17 games: 24 @ TEN in Week 1 // 24.4 @ DET in Week 15 // 20.4 @ JAX in Week 3
  • He has three other 15+ pt performances
  • Kirk’s career stat lines vs. LAR: 4/5:27:0 // 3/7:23:0 // 7/10:60:0 // 1/3:2:0 // 1/1:5:0 // 3/6:86:0
  • AJG’s target counts in the last four games: 8 // 3 // 6 // 9
  • Stat lines: 4:64:0 // 1:33:0 // 3:74:0 // 4:23:0
  • He’s scored 20+ DK pts once in 16 games: 20.2 vs. LAR in Week 14
  • AJG’s scored 15+ DK pts three other times
  • Moore hasn’t played since Week 15, but he did get in a limited practice on Thursday
  • He’s scored 15+ DK pts twice in 14 games: 16.1 @ SEA in Week 11 // 27.4 vs. MIN in Week 2
  • Moore’s scored double digits just four times in total this year
  • Wesley’s target counts in the last four games: 8 // 4 // 5 // 4
  • Stat lines: 3:19:0 // 2:29:1 // 4:30:2 // 2:17:0
  • He’s scored double digit DK pts twice: 10.9 vs. IND in Week 16 // 19 @ DAL in Week 17
  • LAR ranked 28th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (38.2)
  • There have been 11 instances of a 20+ DK pt performance by 10 different WRs vs. LAR (Deebo Samuel having scored the most and second most points against them)
  • Ertz’s target counts in the last four games: 11 // 13 // 9 // 10
  • Stat lines: 6:74:0 // 8:54:0 // 7:41:0 // 7:84:0
  • He’s scored 12+ DK pts five times in 11 games as a Cardinal: 13.4 @ DET in Week 15 // 13.4 vs. IND in Week 16 // 15.4 vs. SEA in Week 18 // 16 vs. HOU in Week 7 // 28.8 @ SEA in Week 11
  • LAR ranked 15th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (12.16)
  • Notable opposing TE scores: Geoff Swaim 12.9 // Jack Doyle 13.4 // Mark Andrews 14.9 // George Kittle 16 // Maxx Williams 17.6

ARI RBs

  • Snap share: Chase Edmonds 52.6% // James Conner 51%
  • Target share: Edmonds 9% // Conner 6.6%
  • Touches per game: Conner 15.9 // Edmonds 13.2
  • Conner missed Weeks 16 & 17, during which Edmonds saw 24 & 23 touches
  • Stat lines for Edmonds in those games (rushing & receiving): 16/56:1:0 & 8/9:71 // 18/53:0 & 5/6:29:0
  • Edmonds missed Week 18, during which Conner saw 21 touches
  • Conner’s Week 18 stat line: 15/52:1 & 6/6:41:1
  • Conner has scored 20+ DK pts five times in 15 games: 20.6 @ LAR in Week 4 // 20.9 @ SEA in Week 11 // 27.3 vs. SEA in Week 18 // 33.5 vs. LAR in Week 14 // 40.3 @ SF in Week 9
  • He did not practice on Thursday and will be a game-time decision Monday night
  • Edmonds has scored 20+ DK pts twice in 12 games: 20.9 @ LAR in Week 4 // 26.7 vs. IND in Week 16
  • He was limited in practice on Thursday but said he would be active on Monday night
  • LAR ranked 10th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (21.43)
  • They rank 21st in successful play rate of running plays allowed (per Sharp Football)
  • Notable opposing RB scores: AJ Dillon 20 // Giovani Bernard 20.1 // James Conner 20.6 // Chase Edmonds 20.9 // David Montgomery 21.8 // D’Andre Swift 28.4 // James Conner 33.5

Matthew Stafford

  • Stat lines this season vs. ARI: 26/41:280:2:1 // 23/30:287:3:0
  • Career high in TD% (6.8)
  • Tied career high in completion% (67.2%)
  • Lowest sack% since 2013 (4.8%)
  • Highest INT% since rookie year (2.8%)
  • Scored 20+ DK pts in 11 out of 17 games, including two 30+ pt performances
  • Only one single digit output (9.68 @ MIN in Week 16)
  • Dealing with a toe injury but practicing in full
  • ARI ranked 13th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (17.14)
  • ARI’s defense ranked ninth in pressure%
  • They rank 20th in successful play rate of passing plays allowed
  • Notable opposing QB scores: Matthew Stafford 20.3 // Jared Goff 20.64 // Jimmy G 23.34 // Stafford 23.48 // Dak Prescott 24.04 // Kirk Cousins 25.26 // Russell Wilson 26.02

LAR Passing Attack

  • Snap share: Cooper Kupp 94% // Tyler Higbee 81.1% // Van Jefferson 80.3% // OBJ 61.1% // Ben Skowronek 16.3%
  • Target share: Kupp 31.5% // Jefferson 14.7% // Higbee 14% // OBJ 13.5% // Skowronek 3.3%
  • Kupp’s career stat lines vs. ARI: 4/10:51:1 // 5/6:68:0 // 6/6:63:0 // 6/6:65:1 // 7/10:99:1 // 8/9:73:0 // 5/13:64:0 // 13/15:123:1
  • Kupp’s season low in DK pts came in Week 4 vs. ARI (11.4 DK pts)
  • Back-to-back seven target games heading into the playoffs, his lowest on the season
  • Scored 30+ DK pts in six games, 20-30 pts in an additional eight games
  • Jefferson’s target counts in the last four games: 2 // 6 // 5 // 3
  • Stat lines: 2:23:0 // 1:6:0 // 4:63:0 // 2:31:0
  • Hasn’t scored 15+ DK pts since Week 13
  • Season high 21 DK pts vs. ARI in Week 4
  • OBJ’s target counts in the last four games: 3 // 8 // 7 // 5
  • Stat lines: 1:7:0 // 4:37:1 // 5:39:1 // 2:18:0
  • Stat lines vs. ARI this season: 5/8:79:0 in Week 6 (as a Brown) // 6/7:77:1 in Week 14
  • Week 14 marked his season high in DK pts (19.7)
  • Skowronek’s target counts in the last four games: 5 // 0 (only played four snaps) // 2 // 2
  • Stat lines: 4:42:0 // 0:0:0 // 2:18:0 // 0:0:0
  • Yet to score double digit DK pts
  • ARI ranked 29th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (38.22)
  • Notable opposing WR scores: KJ Osborn 20.1 // Van Jefferson 21 // Amon-Ra St. Brown 23.5 // Tyler Lockett 27 // Donovan Peoples-Jones 29.1 // Cooper Kupp 34.3
  • Higbee missed Weeks 14 & 15 due to COVID issues
  • His target counts in his last four active games: 6 // 6 // 9 // 8
  • Stat lines: 5:48:0 // 5:41:0 // 6:69:0 // 6:55:2
  • Career stat lines as a starter vs. ARI: 3/3:13:0 // 1/1:6:0 // 1/2:3:1 // 1/1:16:0 // 7/8:107:1 // 8/12:84:1 // 4/6:24:1 // 3/4:41:0 // 4/6:36:0
  • Higbee’s scored double digit DK pts six times in 15 games: 10.1 vs. TEN in Week 9 // 11 @ SF in Week 10 // 11.8 vs. CHI in Week 1 // 12.9 @ BAL in Week 17 // 15 vs. TB in Week 3 // 23.5 vs. SF in Week 18
  • ARI ranked second in DK ppg allowed to TEs (7.83)
  • Only two opposing TEs have scored double digit DK pts vs. ARI: Dalton Schultz 11.4 // George Kittle 24.1

LAR RBs

  • Cam Akers returned from an achilles injury in Week 18
  • Sony Michel led in snaps (52-13), targets (4-3), and touches (22-8)
  • Michel’s touch counts in the last four weeks: 20 // 28 // 22 // 22
  • Stat lines (rushing & receiving): 18/92:0 & 2/2:23 // 27/131:1 & 1/4:4:0 // 19/74:1 & 3/5:25:0 // 21/43:0 & 1/4:6:0
  • Michel’s stat line @ ARI in Week 14: 20/79:0 & 0/1:0
  • Michel has scored 15+ DK pts three times in 16 games: 18.9 @ BAL in Week 17 // 23.5 @ MIN in Week 16 // 24.9 vs. JAX in Week 13
  • Akers ran three times for five yards in Week 18
  • His stat lines in two games vs. ARI last season: 21/72:1 & 1/1:22:0 in Week 13 // 21/34:0 & 4/4:52:0 in Week 17
  • Scored 15+ DK pts four times during his rookie year: 16.4 @ ARI in Week 13 // 18.6 @ GB in Divisional Round // 24.4 vs. NE in Week 14 // 28.6 @ SEA in Wild Card Round
  • ARI ranked ninth in DK ppg allowed to RBs (21.42)
  • They rank 13th in successful play rate of running plays allowed
  • Notable opposing RB scores: Aaron Jones 24 // James Robinson 25.4 // CMC 26.1 // Rashaad Penny 28 // David Montgomery 28.1