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HAPPY DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY. Please join us in celebrating a great, great man.
Before I talk Draft Kings Showdown strategy & picks, I just want to mention – if you aren’t watching Monday Night Football with Peyton & Eli on ESPN 2 during the games, with their alternate commentary and guests … give it a shot tonight, especially if you are a fan of Duane “The Rock” Johnson.
Well here we are, at the end of the Wild Card Round. To recap it was an exciting week of football, though somewhat predictable. The surging Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and the Bengals beat the underdog Raiders. Josh Allen and The Bills beat the Patriots at home in a blowout. Tom Brady and his Buccaneers beat the Eagles at home and Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce & The Chiefs sent Big Ben into retirement and the rest of the Steelers home. I am pretty sure most people saw all of these outcomes, coming. What I didn’t see coming was the 49ers going into Dallas and winning against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. It gives me some hope for tonight’s game where “anything can happen”.
Truthfully though in this game between the Rams and Cardinals – I really can’t say for certainty who is going to win. I just think both of these teams are really good and I think this is a toss up, a coin flip if you will. There isn’t any question you have two high powered offenses squaring off – but you also have two solid defenses matching up as well. It does make it a little tricky in building your DFS Showdown lineups. So right out of the gate, I am mainly focusing on 2 build types: 4-2 (4 from one team, 2 from the other) and 3 3 (balanced). 4 – 2 in the event it is a track meet with one QB-Receiver or Receiver-RB stack from the dominant team all you need while the other team spreads the ball around in trying to come back. The Balanced Build is all about this being a lower scoring defensive struggle, so my 3-3 builds will have defenses and kickers in it.
I am intrigued to see how the Rams deploy Jalen Ramsey tonight. In the earlier meeting between these two this season, which the Rams won (remember AJ Green not turning around to bother snatching a gimme winning touchdown at the end of the game), Ramsey spent a lot of time in the middle of the field and a lot of time on secondary receivers and not a lot of time shadowing Deandre Hopkins. Now with Hopkins off the field, where will we see Ramsey most of the time. I think that is an important piece to consider…
Kyler Murray $16,800 Captain. Murray will be the most popular Captain tonight at over 50% ownership and it is interesting, considering the last time these two teams played he finished with 22 Fantasy Points throwing for 383 with two picks and NO touchdowns, while also running for 61 yards with a fumble and no touchdowns. It’s not that I don’t like Kyler tonight but (call me crazy) I don’t like him at Captain. Did you know that only once this year he finished a game with an average Depth of Target of over 9 yards. Over his last 5 games he hasn’t exceeded an average depth of target over 7 yards. Additionally, on the whole this season the 60+ yard rushing game is far from the norm. He has gone over 60 on the ground 3x and across the rest of the season he averages 38.6 rushing yards. If the Cardinals have a chance to win, he can go more interceptions than touchdowns either. He is a fine flex play at $11,200 and if you are multi-entering you will end up with a few Kyler Captain lineups, but I’m not crazy about it.
James Connor $14,100 Captain. Connor will be a game time decision. If he doesn’t play, I slide Chase Edmonds right in at Captain consideration and even if Connor plays, especially if you are multi-entering, I think keeping Edmonds in your player pool at flex is smart. Anyway back to Connor, 5 Multiple Rushing touchdowns this season including 2 in Week 14 against these Rams. Connor has 16 rushing scores on the season. He’s also caught 3 touchdown passes. This is why you are playing James Connor at Captain – multi-touchdown potential. I love it every week he is on the field and if he happens to run for 75 or better and catchers 3 or more passes while scoring multiple touchdowns, he could bust the slate open. At 26% ownership, if we get news he is playing that might jump. But I like Connor here and again, Chase Edmonds is very interesting whether Connor is in or not.
AJ Green $8,700 Captain. Week 14 against the Rams represented the most yardage of the season for Green in his new Arizona Home. It could have resulted in a game winning score, but having that chip on his shoulder is one I want to bank on. Should he find salvation with touchdown or two, I’ll be glad to have him at Captain. Certainly he benefited by double teams on Deandre Hopkins. Could that happen to Green or will it be Christian Kirk? I love the stack of both guys with or without Kyler and I love playing one or the other in a single stack with Kyler. Mix and Match. Kirk also had 74 yards in that week 14 game too. Both guys are solidly in the flex for me too.
Christian Kirk $10,500 33% ownership at Captain is very warranted here. Since Deandre Hopkins has been limited or out, Kirk has been the safety outlet and down field guy for Kyler Murray. Last week against Seattle aside, Kirk has averaged 7.8 targets per game and gone 79 or more 3 out of the last 5. His touchdowns really haven’ t been there this season (1 over the last 5 games) but we all know with Kirk’s speed he could only need 3 catches down the field to hit 100 and a score. If the Cardinals want to win this game they will need Kirk to step up and with his target share he has to be in consideration at Captain.
Antoine Wesley $2,700 16% ownership. This is a dart throw, I get it. But look – 3 touchdowns in 3 weeks for a guy who since Week 15 has been the WR4 and hasn’t seen less than 4 Targets per Game! since then hasn’t seen less than 4 targets per game. This is a touchdown or bust play sure but $2,700 at Captain … play whoever you want in the rest of the lineup and if he goes 4 for 40 and 2 as well – man will you be in great shape in your contests. Now this likely all hinges on if Rondale Moore plays in this game. Moore has missed the last 3 and is currently questionable. If Moore doesn’t play I like the Wesley Captain play. If Moore does play, I prefer both guys in the flex and I still would have a slight lean to Wesley.
Definitely I think you can consider the Kicker Matt Prater at $6,000 at Captain. He’s consistenly seen 3+ Field Goal all season including 3 in the last time these two teams played each other. I really like the Prater – Kyler – Connor contrarian stack, basically saying all of the Cardinals scoring will come from these 3. I’ll also have at least one lineup with the Cardinals DST at Captain – it is Matthew Stafford on the other side of the ball after all.
We are all well aware that Cooper Kupp has had a career making season this year. But what I think is going partially over looked is the chemistry that has developed with Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr who is doing his best Robert Woods impression (kidding). In 6 of his 8 games with the team he has seen 5 or more targets and caught 5 Touchdowns – his most in any of his last 3 seasons. OBJ finished week 14 against Arizona with 6 Catches for 77 yards and a score. At 23% ownership (literally half the Ownership Kupp is seeing) and at $10,200 I think he is phenomenal pick for Captain and a bit under the radar too
More Rams Captain Picks
Cooper Kupp $19,500 your most expensive Captain on the slate and the 2nd highest owned, Kupp is nothing short of electric. Find a way to get Kupp in your lineups tonight. Only once this season has he finished with under 95 yards. 11 games over over 100 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season he is the unquestioned #1 offensive weapon for this team. Week 14 against this team he saw 15 targets, caught 14 of them for 123 and a score. Lately he has added at least one rushing attempt per game too as if he wasn’t already doing enough. The only downside of Kupp at Captain is the pricing but if you can figure it out, it may be the best decision you make all season in DFS.
Matthew Stafford $16,200 at 40% ownership at Captain I like Kyler more due to the rushing yardage but here’s a few fun facts about Stafford that makes me want to play him at Captain tonight. First, h threw at least 1 touchdown pass in EVERY GAME this season. Second in 13 games this season he has thrown 2 or more touchdowns including 2 in Week 4 against Arizona and 3 in Week 14 against Arizona. Third arguably week 14 against Arizona is arguably his best game of the season. 26 of 30 for 287 yards, 3 Touchdowns and NO interceptions. Now the downside. He has thrown 17 interceptions this season (1 more than Kupp has Touchdowns) and that includes one in Week 4 against Arizona. Moreover over the last 5 games of the season, he threw 8 picks. YIKES. I’ll have at least one Stafford Captain Lineup with both Kupp and OBJ in the flex – but I won’t have multiple
Sony Michel $11,700 at 41% ownership I think Michel is a solid play at Captain. Since really taking over the backfield in Week 13 he has seen no less than 18 carries in any game including taking 20 for 79 yards in Week 14 against the Cardinals. In the last 3 games of the season he also has seen no less than 4 targets per game too. Now Cam Akers is back, so it is possible that he cuts into Michel’s workload… but with the season and playoffs on the line, my gut says that they stick with one of the guys who helped get them here down the stretch. He is also a sold stack play in the flex with the Rams DST in lineups you use the DST in.
Cam Akers $9,900 15% ownership. Yes this is a dart throw at Captain and yes his price is awful high for a dart throw but on the off chance they are ready to let Akers loose tonight I will have at least one lineup with him in it and I also do not mind using Akers in the Flex on Sony Michel Captain’d lineups. I also have a suspicion that if the Rams are playing catchup, we could see the Rams use Akers as pass catcher a bit more than they may have planned on. Anyway, my gut says we will see a fair share of Akers tonight and again I will have at least 1 lineup with Akers at Captain.
Similarly to the Cards, I think you can consider the Kicker Matt Gay at $6,300 at Captain. He’s saw 3 Field Goal attempts in Week 14 against the Cardinals and he could have a repeat performance tonight. Playing Gay in your Kupp – Stafford stacks is a way to save money and be different. I’ll also have at least one lineup with the Rams DST ($5,700) at Captain at 12% ownership if the Rams D shuts the Cardinals down at low ownership, you could be sitting pretty. I’ve already mentioned a Michel-Rams stack – but no one is playing an Akers-Rams stack, or a Kupp-Akers-Rams stack either!
DART THROWS (Flex or Captain):
Van Jefferson (if he plays) $7,800/$5,200
Rondale Moore (if he plays) $6,900/$4,600
Chase Edmonds (Especially if Connor doesn’t play) $7,500/$5,000
Ben Skowronek (if Van Jefferson is out) $1,800/$1,200
Zach Ertz $9,300/$6,300
Tyler Higbee $8,100/$5,400
Antoine Wesley $2,700/$1,800
Eno Benjamin (only if Connor is out) $3,600/$2,400
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR CONTESTS!