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NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Best Wild Card Monday Night Football DraftKings & FanDuel Lineup Advice

Eric MacPherson

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For each of the featured playoff games, this column will provide free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Wild Card Monday Night Football slate featuring the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Arizona Cardinals.

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NFL DFS Picks Wild Card Monday Night Football

Arizona has several questionable players on both sides of the ball, including running backs James Conner (ribs), Jonathan Ward (knee), wide receiver Rondale More (ankle), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (calf), defensive lineman Jordan Phillips (knee) and cornerback Marco Wilson (shoulder).

Los Angeles is listing wide receiver Van Jefferson (shoulder) as questionable and safety Taylor Rapp (concussion) as out.

Arizona Cardinals: 23.25 Points

Quarterback

Kyler Murray will have his work cut out for him against one of the best defenses in the league. Los Angeles ranks in the top five for both run and pass DVOA and logged the third-most sacks and 1.5 takeaways per game. The teams split the regular-season meetings, with the visitors winning each game. The variables have changed dramatically from these tilts in Week 4 and Week 14 to Monday. There have been a variety of players missing those games who are available tonight and vice versa.

The key takeaway is that in these games Murray was able to move the ball, averaging 325 yards passing and 50 yards rushing, though he logged only a pair of touchdown passes, both of which came in the first meeting. Both of his interceptions came in the second matchup, and his seven sacks were split between the two contests. Tonight the Awesemo projections have Murray for 267.9 yards passing and 1.74 touchdowns, with another 36.4 yards on the ground and a 20% chance of a touchdown rushing.

Running Back

The one silver lining with James Conner and Chase Edmonds is that their missed games have been staggered nicely. Through the first eight weeks of the season this was a split backfield. In Week 9 Edmonds logged one snap before leaving with an injury. The only other time both players were healthy in the same game was in Week 15 when they shared snaps. Both are capable runners and receivers, though Conner has the proverbial nose for the end zone, with 15 touchdowns rushing and three receiving in his 15 games. In his 11 healthy games, Edmonds has only scored twice. Conner is dealing with rib injuries but expected to play. Edmonds has just a 10% discount on FanDuel, but he is nearly half the salary of Conner on DraftKings. Eno Benjamin will likely be active, though it will take an injury to one of the veterans before he sees many, if any opportunities on offense.

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Wide Receiver

Christian Kirk and A.J. Green have stepped up nicely to fill the void left by DeAndre Hopkins, who missed the last four games of the season with injury and only saw the field in 10 games total. They are easily the top two receivers, though undrafted rookie Antoine Wesley has surpassed fellow rookie Rondale Moore with 21 targets over the last four weeks, compared to just three for Moore. Even worse for Moore, he did not see the field in the final three games, and he is questionable tonight with an ankle injury. If Moore is inactive, then consider Wesley as the third wide receiver, with Greg Dortch being the tournament dart throw. All three of Dortch’s targets coming in the final two games.

Tight End

Zach Ertz was a tremendous in-season trade acquisition, and he has become one of the most trusted options for Murray. In six of his last seven games he logged seven or more targets, including three games with double-digit opportunities. Though he has not seen the end zone since scoring a pair of touchdowns in Week 11 against Seattle, that could easily change tonight.

Defense/Special Teams

Arizona is sixth in the league in takeaways with 27, including league-leading 14 fumble recoveries. They are averaging a middle-of-the-pack 2.4 sacks per game, which tend to ebb and flow based on the quality of the opposing offensive line.

Los Angeles Rams: 27.25 Points

Quarterback

Matthew Stafford is the highest-projected quarterback by Awesemo for the whole Super Wild Card Round. He was the only quarterback to surpass 300 yards, and he also is projected for 2.18 touchdowns passing. Stafford has multiple touchdowns in six of his last seven outings, 17 touchdowns total, and he also had multiple touchdowns in each of the prior meetings with Arizona.

Running Back

Sony Michel has proven himself to be a capable running back, and he has even contributed as a receiver after Darrell Henderson was lost for the season. Last week Cam Akers returned from his preseason injury and had five carries for 3 yards and three targets for three receptions and 10 yards. Akers played on 20% of the snaps, though it would seem to be a stretch for him to get more than half of the overall workload tonight. Unless told otherwise, the logical conclusion would be a 70/30 or 60/40 split, with Michel getting most of the rushing work. However, as was the case last night with Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon, coaches are under no obligation to tip their hand when it comes to starters and workloads … but now it seems like it is OK to obfuscate the actual injury designations.

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Wide Receiver

Cooper Kupp has been amazing this season, and even though he had just seven targets in each of the last two games, he still averaged 6.5 receptions and 106.5 yards and scored a touchdown in each. He has a lofty salary once again, but this is nothing new. Van Jefferson is dealing with a shoulder injury and expected to play. He and Odell Beckham Jr have been splitting the non-Kupp workload, which has kept both of them productive from a fantasy perspective. If anything is amiss with Jefferson, Ben Skowronek would be the next man up, and he is still likely to get a target or two either way, which keeps him in the mix as a discount dandy on DraftKings with his $1,200 salary.

Tight End

Tyler Higbee was outstanding last week with a pair of touchdowns, and he has 17 targets, 12 receptions and 164 yards over the last two games. The rest of the tight ends are seemingly invisible, with just nine total targets on the year. Five of those came in the two weeks that Higbee was on the shelf.

Defense/Special Teams

Arizona gave up seven combined sacks in the two prior meetings with the Rams. Last week Seattle somehow got to Murray for five sacks, though he had suffered just three sacks in the three preceding games.


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Wild Card Sunday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy

The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.

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Wild Card Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Kyler Murray: The budding superstar can get it done through the air and on the ground. The only thing lacking is consistency in big games.
  2. Matthew Stafford: He will be the maestro conducting the Los Angeles offense, and on DraftKings he has a solid discount from Kupp. While it is not as large on FanDuel, the half-PPR scoring format brings them closer there.
  3. Cooper Kupp: For his salary he needs half a dozen receptions, over 100 yards and a touchdown just to break even. Fortunately, that is pretty close to his average level of production.
  4. James Conner: Seems to have the touchdown variance in his favor with 18 this season.
  5. Christian Kirk: His role is clear, and he is more dynamic than Green. Returning punts with Moore sidelined.
  6. Sony Michel: This ranking assumes 60-70% of the workload.
  7. Zach Ertz: Volume has been there; touchdowns are fickle.
  8. Matt Prater: 7-for-10 from beyond 50 yards in his first season for the Cardinals and a 74% career success rate from that distance.
  9. Matt Gay: 32-for-34 on field goal attempts this season, including 4-for-5 from 50 or more yards and 7-for-8 between 40 and 49 yards.
  10. Antoine Wesley: Take the DraftKings savings as long as Moore is out.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. A.J. Green: If Moore is in, move Green to Wesley’s slot above.
  2. Chase Edmonds: Better option on DraftKings than Akers; he should get some passing work and likely half the overall touches.
  3. Cam Akers: Assumes 30-40% of the workload; worth the risk on FanDuel at $7,500, becomes tougher on DraftKings at $6,600 with the lower salary floor.
  4. Van Jefferson and Odell Beckham Jr: Coin flip.
  5. Tyler Higbee: Really came on strong the last two weeks, we have seen him exceed expectations down the stretch the last couple of seasons.

Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Los Angeles D/ST: Should be the potential for fantasy production, keep in mind the DraftKings caps out at negative four with regards to opponent scoring.
  2. Arizona D/ST: Stafford does seem to throw his fair share of interceptions.
  3. Ben Skowronek: If we get word that Van Jefferson is going to be limited, move Skowronek even with the other LA receivers for his DraftKings salary relief.
  4. Eno Benjamin: Has been returning kickoffs along with Dortch while Moore has been sidelined, hard to see more than a touch or two unless something befalls Conner or Edmonds.
  5. Rondale Moore: Hard to know what to expect if he is active, may no longer be primary kick returner.
  6. Brandon Powell: Returns both punts and kickoffs for Los Angeles.
  7. Kendal Blanton, Greg Dortch, Darrell Daniels: If they beat us, so be it.

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

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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