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Rams vs. Cardinals Week 14 Monday Night Football Showdown Game Breakdown and NFL DFS Picks




Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Week 14 Monday Night Football. Here we will provide a quick overview of the game’s key storylines and highlight some of the key insights from Awesemo’s world-class suite of tools to find the best NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel Showdown lineups. Let’s dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Week 14 Rams vs. Cardinals Monday Night Football matchup.

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Week 14 Monday Night Football NFL DFS Showdown Picks

In one of the most highly anticipated games of the season, the 8-4 Rams Glendale, Ariz., to take on the first-place Cardinals, who are 10-2 and atop of the NFC standings. The Cardinals enter Week 14 sporting a plus-119 point differential, best in the conference and third best in the NFL, and they have held their opponents to under 25 points in nine of their last 10 games. They are now second in the NFL in defensive expected points added per play, and their offense has been equally elite, also top two in offensive EPA. They are the only team in the top five of that metric on both sides of the ball. Not to be completely outdone, the Rams are one of just four teams whose offense and defense both are in the top 10. With immense talent in all phases, this could be one of the best games of the year. While lineups assuming one team will pull away are certainly viable, the most likely game script involves this being a tight game throughout, and fantasy gamers should build lineups accordingly.

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The Rams come into this game a bit short-handed on offense. After missing Week 13 with an injury, Darrell Henderson will once again miss tonight after being placed on the COVID-19 list on Saturday. That means Sony Michel ($7,200 DraftKings/$12,000 FanDuel) will once again handle a majority of the workload in the Rams’ backfield this week. Michel had 28 total opportunities, including four targets, and finished with 129 total yards in Week 13. And while the matchup against Arizona is not nearly as tantalizing as facing the Jaguars, as Michel did last week, Michel’s modest salary on both platforms makes him the clear top value option based on projected workload. In Awesemo’s Top Plays Tool, Michel appears in the optimal FanDuel lineup 40% of the time, and on DraftKings he has a coin flip’s chance of being in the optimal lineup as well.

Even with Michel’s rosy projection compared to salary-based expectations, fantasy gamers will not be surprised to see Cooper Kupp ($12,000 DraftKings/$15,000 FanDuel) near the top of Awesemo’s DraftKings’ projections. However, Kupp has not seen fewer than nine targets in a game this season, and he outpaces both quarterbacks in median projection and has the second-highest probability of being the optimal Captain on the slate. Kupp is first among wideouts in targets, red-zone targets, receptions, yards after catch, yards, touchdowns and fantasy points per game. Michel and Kupp should dominate the touches for Los Angeles and could easily earn a 45% target share between the two, with Van Jefferson ($8,000 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) the most likely third option. Jefferson has earned 17 targets over the last two weeks, just three targets short of Kupp, and Jefferson’s 88% snap share is third among Rams skill position players during that span. Kupp, Jefferson and Odell Beckham Jr. ($6,200 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) have combined to receive 68% of team targets and nearly 84% of the team’s air yards over their last two games. The receiving trio plus Michel were responsible for 80% of Los Angeles’ total opportunities last weekend. It is a luxury for fantasy gamers to know that so much of an offense, especially one as capable as the Rams’, will be concentrated on just a few players. So while Matthew Stafford ($10,400 DraftKings/$15,500 FanDuel) has a decent projection, if creating rosters that heavily feature the Rams, it would be better to take skill position players than the relative safety of Stafford in tournaments. Still, Stafford has a positive leverage score, indicating his chances of being in the optimal lineup outpace his current projected ownership.

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On the Arizona side, Murray ($11,200 DraftKings/$17,000 FanDuel) will make his second start after a multi-week absence with an ankle sprain. While Arizona was lucky enough to maintain their place in the NFC standings without him, Murray was immediately impactful against the Bears last Sunday, rushing for a touchdown and hitting DeAndre Hopkins ($9,600 DraftKings/$12,500 FanDuel) for a 30-plus yard strike all before the first quarter was in the books. Murray finished with just 123 yards passing but threw for 8.2 yards per attempt, his third straight game over the 8-yard threshold, and had four total touchdowns en route to his sixth top-10 quarterback finish in nine starts. Murray looks like an ideal utility play, especially on FanDuel, where quarterback scoring is even more valuable. Even better, Murray’s rushing upside has not taken away from James Conner ($9,800 DraftKings/$13,500 FanDuel), who topped 90 total yards for the third time in four games. Conner has averaged 22.5 opportunities and nearly four targets per game during that span. With Chase Edmonds ($4,600 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) being a game-time decision, Conner’s projection doesn’t look quite as good as it has in recent weeks. However, if the Cardinals ultimately decide to hold Edmonds out one more week, Conner will be an extremely strong tournament play despite having a salary 36% higher than the Rams’ starting running back.

Update: Chase Edmonds was not activated off of injured-reserve, making James Conner a high-quality albeit much more popular option this Monday night.

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Tight end Tyler Higbee ($5,000 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) is second on the Rams in snap share since Robert Woods went down with a season-ending injury, playing on 96% of snaps, nearly the same amount as Cooper Kupp. And Higbee is the only Rams’ skill player besides the aforementioned big-three wideouts to earn double-digit targets during that span. Higbee, by nature of his position, plays a unique role within the Rams’ offense, earning a 7.1 aDOT, the lowest of any full-time Rams’ player, but Higbee has not been utilized in the red zone of late, earning just 6% of team targets inside the twenty, making him a viable-yet-risky play at a middling salary. Ben Skowronek ($1,000 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) has played on nearly a quarter of team snaps and is playable in large-field GPPs. He is seen seven looks over his last two games played.

Edit: Higbee is in health and safety protocol

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The Arizona auxiliary weapons seem much more enticing in this contest, as the Cardinals have multiple capable playmakers outside of DeAndre Hopkins, who likely still is not 100% healthy. In Week 13, Kyler Murray’s first game back from injury, the Cardinals continued to spread the ball around, with six different players earning between 13% and 20% of team targets. Surprisingly, it was Christian Kirk ($5,600 DraftKings/$10,500 FanDuel) who led the team in looks last weekend, but Awesemo’s projections do not think that is very likely to repeat this week against Los Angeles. Awesemo’s top plays tool instead points to Rondale Moore ($2,000 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel), who has seen 27 targets over his last five games, one shy of the team lead, as a quality value option, especially on DraftKings. Zach Ertz ($5,400 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) and A.J. Green ($4,800 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel) are the other two Cardinals’ players to earn 20-plus targets during that span. Even considering salary, all three of Green, Ertz and Moore are positive-leverage spots, meaning they are ideal contrarian tournament plays with surprisingly high ceiling projections.

The Bottom Line

When these two squads met in Week 4, the Cardinals took a 7-3 lead and never looked back, ultimately leading 34-13 until late into the fourth quarter, when a Rams’ touchdown made the final outcome look more respectable than the game actually was. The Cardinals were dominant on both sides of the ball in that game, and since that time, the Los Angeles offense has lost a key weapon in Robert Woods, and has shown significantly more fallibility than many expected, even if they did take care of business against a putrid Jaguars team while short-handed in Week 13. If the Cardinals’ rushing attack, which includes Murray, is able to control the possession and mix in some explosive plays, they have a chance to dominate their divisional opponent once again. But most likely, Matthew Stafford and company find a way to keep this game close, which could lead to a high-scoring thriller to end Week 14.

Week 14 Monday Night Football Prediction: Cardinals 31, Rams 27

Check out OddsShopper when making your NFL betting picks tonight, where you can find game totals, against the spread picks and player props in less than 30 seconds.

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View our FanDuel NFL rankings and our DraftKings NFL DFS rankings. We also have NFL showdown projections and DraftKings showdown ownership projections. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL tools for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, daily fantasy football rankings, and daily fantasy football stacking. Take a look at our inactive players, NFL depth chart list and starting line-ups.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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