Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- I left this writeup feeling like there weren’t many spots for guaranteed points. The Cardinals are full of touchdown-reliant plays, while the Texans all carry low floors.
- The one exception to that, and likely my top interest from this game, is the Cardinals defense.
- We don’t expect the Cardinals to fail in this spot, it’s simply that they have one quarterback, two running backs, four wide receivers, and one tight end (the bright and shiny-new Zach Ertz) who all should “get theirs.”
How houston Will Try To Win ::
Is that an oxymoron? I kid, I kid. Houston’s low 56% situation-neutral pass rate and 20th ranked situation-neutral pace of play paint a fairly telling picture with respect to how Houston is trying to win games this season. In stark contrast to our exploration of the Lions, and how they are willing to open up their offense if the situation calls for it (it has called for it quite often), the Texans hold a 55% situation-neutral pass rate in the first half of their games and a 57% situation-neutral pass rate in the second half of their games. Woof city. Not only are they barely increasing their pass rates when trailing, but their pace of play only jumps four seconds when they are trailing, compared to their normal situation-neutral pace of play. Double woof. So, the antiquated coaching staff of David Culley, Tim Kelly, and Lovie Smith think that the best way for them to try and win games is to hide their inadequacies on defense through high rush rates and a slow pace of play. Okay, Pete Carroll.
The problem with their run game (from a fantasy perspective, at least) is that four running backs continue to see weekly snaps. The four-headed head-scratcher has devolved a bit into primarily a two-man show of late, with David Johnson and Mark Ingram II splitting snaps at a near-even rate in three of the previous four weeks. The game where David Johnson took the clear lead was the Week 4 shutout at the hands of the Bills, but the team turned around and handed Ingram 33 snaps to the 32 of Johnson in their Week 6 game, in which they scored a whopping three points. Riddle me this, they fed Mark Ingram 18 carries and two targets in a game they lost by 28 points. I’m confused, and you should be too. David Johnson should see additional snaps in a game they are currently projected to lose by 17.5 points and score just 15, but who knows at this point. The matchup yields a laughable 3.93 net-adjusted line yards metric on the backs of Houston’s league-low marks (3.23).
The snap split amongst the pass-catchers is quite literally Brandin Cooks and then everyone else, as Cooks is the only player to play more than 65% of the offensive snaps with Niko Collins back in the fold. Both Collins and regular “starter” Chris Conley were limited in practice Thursday, but it seems as if it was simply to manage the health of the two. Danny Amendola practiced fully both days so far this week, furthering the muddy waters behind Cooks. The tight ends are also in muddied water, with all three of Pharoah Brown, Jordan Akins, and Antony Auclair typically playing more than 33% of the offensive snaps for an offense running 12-personnel at a 29% clip, and 13-personnel at the second highest rate in the league (second only to the Browns, who actually have a run game). As for Cooks, he holds three games of 11 or more targets and three games of seven or fewer targets through six weeks.
How arizona Will Try To Win ::
We have a pretty good idea of how the Cardinals are going to attack almost any opponent at this point, with an aim to spread the opposition out horizontally and mix an uptempo offense with high rush rates and short-area passing, designed to wear the opposing defense down over the course of a game. They will also mix in a handful of deep shots to Christian Kirk, AJ Green, and Rondale Moore. It will be interesting to see how the presence of Zach Ertz affects the volume expectation of the remaining members of the offense as he holds a long history of pass-catching efficiency. For as uptempo as we picture this offense to be, the Cardinals have run “only” 65.8 plays per game, which ranks 11th in the league. Their opponent runs only 59.0 plays per game, giving us a good idea of how many combined offensive plays to expect from this game.
The backfield continues to be relatively evenly split between Chase Edmonds and James Conner, with Edmonds typically landing in the 60-65% snap rate range, and Conner typically landing in the 40-50% snap rate range. It is worth noting that in the Cardinals 23 point victory over the Browns in Week 6, Conner out-snapped Edmonds 41 to 28. It is likely that story can be half attributed to the extreme positive game script, and half attributed to the nagging shoulder injury Edmonds has dealt with over the previous two weeks. Either way, we should expect a slight bump to Conner’s workload as the primary between-the-tackles grinder on this offense. The matchup on the ground yields a borderline elite 4.53 net-adjusted line yards metric for a Cardinals offense that ranks sixth in the league in total rushing. Quarterback Kyler Murray holds a tight range of expected pass attempts, as he has landed between 30 and 36 in every game thus far. The Cardinals have landed between 61 and 69 offensive plays run from scrimmage in five of their six games, a range that is unlikely to drastically increase considering their opponent. This means we shouldn’t expect more than 32-36 pass attempts from Kyler here, with those targets likely spread between six primary pass-catchers (Hopkins, Green, Kirk, Moore, Chase Edmonds, who has at least four targets in every game this season, and newcomer Zach Ertz). This leaves the most expected volume amongst one pass-catcher, likely to be Nuk with seven to eight targets. Can he smash on those looks? Maybe, but he’s going to need to score multiple touchdowns and break a play or two in order to hit a solid price-considered ceiling. Let me be clear, this offense is highly unlikely to fail here, it is just equally as likely that no one pass-catcher sees enough volume to crush their salary multiplier.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
It is likeliest we see the high-powered Arizona offense move the ball with ease (a massive drive success rate delta of 18 on the week, with Arizona ranking seventh on offense and Houston ranking 25th on defense) against an inferior opponent. On the other side, Houston (clearly) should struggle as Davis Mills sees yet another start (Houston ranks 31st in drive success rate on offense). This setup is night and day when compared to the Rams/Lions game, where we can expect the Lions to up their aggression, pace, and pass numbers as the game moves on. Houston just doesn’t alter much at all, regardless of game environment, score, or opponent. That puts a pretty massive dent on this game environment overall, as we shouldn’t expect additional plays for the Cardinals, hence relying on efficiency and touchdowns from all players.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- Despite averaging just 21.15 DK pts over the last four games, Kyler is more expensive than he’s been all season at $8500
- Pass att vs HOU: 51 // 24 // 34 // 30 // 30 // 20
- Kyler has thrown between 30-36 passes in every game in 2021
- HOU has faced the 4th fewest pass att/g
- ARI has the 4th lowest pass rate in the NFL
- The two biggest DK scores vs HOU were Lawrence (51 att in big trailing game-script) and Darnold (2 rush TDs)
- Kyler is rushing for significantly less yardage this year (20, 31, 19, 39, 1, 6)
- 10 of 30 QBs since 2014 on teams implied for 32+ pts have scored 30+ DK pts
- 3 of 23 QBs since 2014 on teams favored by 16+ pts have scored 25+ DK pts
- 2 of those 3 were Mahomes & Lamar vs the Gase-Jets in 2020 that ranked 8th in def rush DVOA but 28th in def pass DVOA
- HOU ranks 11th in def pass DVOA and 29th in def rush DVOA
- HOU has allowed the highest success rate to WRs
- WRs with 70+ yds vs HOU: Chark (86:1), MJJ (77:1) // Moore (126) // Diggs (114), Sanders (74) // Hilton (80)
- Hopkins score by salary multiplier in 2021: 3.4 // 1.9 // 0.6 // 1.4 // 2.7 // 2.6
- Hopkins is averaging just 6.3 tg/g
- HOU has allowed the 4th highest rate of explosive passes to WRs
- HOU has allowed 17 deep completions on 26 deep WR targets
- Hopkins, Kirk & Green are among PFF’s highest graded WRs on tg over 10 & 20 yds
- On 20 tg of 10+ yds, Hop has 14 rec for 257 yds, 4 TD (18.4 yds/rec)
- On 16 tg of 10+ yds, Kirk has 12 rec for 252 yds, 3 TD (21 yds/rec)
- On 18 tg of 10+ yds, Green has 12 rec for 277 yds, 2 TD (23.1 yds/rec)
- Only four of Moore’s 24 tg have come beyond 10 yds (16 behind LOS)
- Kirk & Green already have three strong games each::
- Kirk (5:70:2 // 7:104 // 5:75:1) // Green (5:112 // 5:67:1 // 5:79:1)
- TEs with 40+ yds vs HOU: O’Shag (48) // Bryant (49), Hooper (40) // Henry (75:1)
- HOU has allowed five TE TDs
- Williams tg before getting hurt: 1 // 7 // 3 // 5
- Ertz has been with ARI for a week
- Rush att: Edmonds (12 // 8 // 11 // 12 // 6 // 4) // Conner (16 // 8 // 11 // 18 // 10 // 16)
- Edmonds has 30 tg to Conner’s 5
- Conner has 6 att inside-5 to Edmonds 1, and 11 att inside-10 to Edmonds 5
- Backfields vs HOU are averaging 150.7 total yds; HOU allowed a league-high 190.9 yds/g in 2020 so that’s still a positive increase for the Texans
- Ten RBs in six games have topped 50 total yds vs HOU
- RBs with 14+ rush att vs HOU: Singletary (14:79), Moss (14:61:1) // Harris (14:58:1)
- Conner’s 71 yds last week were a season-high
- Edmonds has 75+ yds four times: 106 // 75 // 75 // 139
- Edmonds has yet to score a TD
- In 14 Quarters vs CLE/CAR/BUF/IND, Mills totaled 600 yds, 2 TD, 7 INT, 10 sacks, and HOU scored 19 total points
- In 4 Quarters vs NE, Mills totaled 312 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks, and HOU scored 22 points
- ARI has allowed just 9 TDs to 6 INT
- 280 yds to Stafford in a blowout is the most pass yds ARI has allowed in 2021
- Cooks targets on Mills pass att: 9/18, 11/28, 7/21, 5/29, 13/43
- Cooks in 14 quarters with Mills: 4:28:1, 9:112, 5:47, 3:23, 9:89
- Players with 8+ tg vs ARI: Brown (4:49:1) // Jefferson (6:65:1) // MJJ (6:62) // Kupp (5:64) // Deebo (3:58) // Odell (5:79)