By Sean Weymouth
Here we are at the last Monday Night Football game of the season! The last time we’ll hear RPO on Monday Night for 9 ½ months! How will we live?
It’s a big game tonight as two long time NFC Rivals do battle … so let’s not delay;
– Aaron Rogers ($10,400)
– Davante Adams ($11,400)
– Aaron Jones ($10,800)
– Jamaal Williams ($5,200)
– Jimmy Graham ($3,209)
– Allen Lazard￼ ($5,400)
– Marquez Valdez-Scantling ($800)
– Jake Kumerow ($1,200)
– Geronimo Allison ($2,600)
– Mason Crosby ($3,800)
– Packers DST￼ ($4,400)
Before I get into my breakdown I just want to reference the severe difference in prices between the Packers big 3 of Rogers, Adams and Jones and literally every other offensive player on the team. I point this out because I think it will actually be which of these “other” Packers that you choose to pair in a stack that may be the difference in your lineup, assuming that any combination of the “big 3” will likely be the chalk plays of the night.
The most striking price tonight is that of Jamaal Williams who for a good portion of this season was seeing double digit touches and averaging 4 targets to boot. Who can forget the dramatic back of the end zone foot dragging touchdown from earlier this year. However over the last two weeks Williams touches have dropped slightly and so have his targets, only receiving 1 over two games. With his price so attractive I think he will be a very popular play but I am concerned that his last two weeks’ lack of production.
Part of this reasoning stems from the Vikings holding opposing teams rushing to just under 100 yards and being top 10 against the position. Aaron Jones is always in play as the lead runner here but I do think that to win this game, the Packers will need to air it out. While Jones always has the upside of 2 or more touchdowns, especially on every Packer’s Red Zone trip, I think the cheap price for Williams may be a bit of a trap. I’d prefer to pay for Jones and know that Williams may cut into the work load, just for the potential touchdowns Jones could account for. Additionally Jones has solidified himself as a core peice of this offense where earlier in the season a slight time share existed, that seems to have cleared with Jones taking the driver seat.
Davante Adams is easily the top Wide Receiver on either side of the ball. Adams has seen Double Digit Targets in 6 of the 10 games he has been active for and I’d expect that trend to continue tonight against a Vikings defense that the star receiver has historically performed well against. If there is a must play tonight I think Adams is the clear choice.
After that things get murky. Allen Lazard has become another favorite for Rogers in interviews but that has not translated on the field. Over the last three weeks Lazard has seen exactly 3 targets per game – however for the upside of him taking the 3 targets for 109 yards, I like him the best of the secondary pieces.
After Lazard it’s really a Wild West show. Jake Kumerow is interesting as a deep threat, after he took his one target for 49 yards last week. The curious case of Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdez Scantling isn’t one I’m going to try and solve tonight and while both guys will see snaps and of course anything can happen, I’ll just roster Rogers for the yardage.
Jimmy Graham has a tough matchup tonight against a Vikings team that has been stingy at times against Tight Ends. However I am going out on a limb here that Graham is good for a score tonight. Keep in mind he is a physically tall person and in the Red Zone is where he plays. If the Packers get down to the red zone and have trouble on the ground, Graham’s height will be to his advantage. I think he is worth a dart throw.
Mason Crosby has the knack for game winning field goals and in what has the makings of a high scoring game, he certainly could be busy so he is also worth a look. Spoiler: this will be the exact thing I say about Vikings Kicker Dan Bailey, so let’s save time and I’ll just say both kickers are in play. Correlate them with their respective QB and who you believe the top target of that QB will be and they both can make lineups work at their respective prices.
Lastly the Packers Defense and while I’m at it the Vikings defense. There is a narrative that exists where Kurt Cousins becomes a tomato can when put under the bright lights of prime time. That could happen. There also is a narrative that Aaron Rogers is not the same Aaron Rogers of the past. That also may be true. However, I am in the camp of a NFC shootout occurring between two teams in the playoffs and jockeying for position. And while Sacks and Interceptions and Fumbles can happen, I don’t see either defense really having an advantage in those categories over the other. I will go light on my exposure of either defense.
– Kurt Cousins ($10,200)
– Mike Boone ($9,000)
– Stefon Diggs ($9,600)
– Adam Thielan ($8,600)
– Kyle Rudolph ($6,400)
– Irv Smith ($3,000)
– Ameer Abdullah ($2,200)
– Olabisi Johnson ($1,600)
– Laquon Treadwell ($600)
– Dan Bailey ($4,000)
– Vikings DST ($4,600)
Alexander Mattison is inactive. Dalvin Cook is inactive. Mike Boone is your starting running back. Earlier today Kurt Cousins was the chalkiest player in the Captain’s seat. I’d expect that to shift dramatically in Boone’s favor.
Boone is in a great spot tonight against the Packers 19th ranked rush defense giving up 121 yards per game. Ameer Abdullah will be his second tonight, but I don’t expect that to slow Boone’s production. Last week Boone played after Cook left taking 13 carries 56 yards and two touchdowns to the house. I’ll eat that chalk tonight with Boone receiving the lion share of the workload.
With Adam Theilan on the shelf Stefon Diggs took on the lead role on the passing offense for Cousins topping off at 121 yards and a score against Denver in week 11. I bring this up because that is the last Touchdown Diggs has scored… even with Thielan’s limited snap count last week in his return, Diggs accounted for 76 yards but no scores. He has been incredibly efficient however as he got his 76 yards on only 4 catches. So Diggs is in play but I would only play him stacked with Cousins.
Let’s talk Kurt Cousins by the way. The last time Cousins threw for under 200 yards was Week 3. And over the last 3 weeks Cousins has been great – 93 Attempts, 725 yards, 4 touchdowns – let’s go. This is a very different Green Bay defense than he saw in Week 2 and I think Cousins is in a good spot – except, I do think that the Vikings will come out running first and often. For that reason I like Cousins in Captain – if he is only throwing a limited amount, let’s make every yard count 1.5x!
Adam Theilan will have his second game back and I expect snaps and targets to go up. How much? Possibly all the way back to when he was fully healthy. The Vikings need a win, fire up Theilan confidently.
After that – I can’t say I can predict where Cousins will go. Now with Thielan back Kyle Rudolph becomes a touchdown or bust play. Also I’d expect Irv Smith to continue as Cousin’s safety net but again with Theilan back and healthy, I’d expect the targets there to go down too. And do you really want to trust your hard earned cash with Laquon Treadwell? Yeah me neither.
Expect the Vikings to run, run reindeer all over the Packers tonight. We shall see if that equates a victory – hopefully it will for you!
Good Luck in your Contests!