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NFL DFS Showdown Spotlight: Week 14 Monday Night Football DraftKings & FanDuel | Rams vs. Cardinals

Eric MacPherson

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For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, 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 Week 14 Monday Night Football slate featuring the Arizona Cardinals hosting the Los Angeles Rams.

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NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 14 Monday Night Football

Chase Edmonds (ankle) has been out for a month, though he is eligible to return from the injured reserve and will be a game time decision. Darrell Henderson Jr. is in the health and safety protocol and he is unlikely to play, though it sounds like the quad injury that kept him out of the prior game is no longer an impediment to his return. Offensive lineman Brian Allen is unlikely to play after not practicing this week(knee) .

Los Angeles Rams: 24.5 Points

Quarterback

This is a crucial game for both teams, as a victory by Arizona would all but lock up the NFC West while in turn relegating Los Angeles into the murky morass that is the expanded Wild Card round. The Cardinals defense has been stout against the pass, with the third-best DVOA. However, they are short on depth, with eight defenders on the injured reserve, including three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.

Matthew Stafford has been stellar this season, ranking third in yards passing with 300.9 per game and second with 30 touchdowns passing. He was able to move the ball against the Cardinals back in Week 4, with 280 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and six carries for 21 yards in a 37-20 loss.

Running Back

Sony Michel will have his work cut out for him, though last week he had all but two of the running back touches with Darrell Henderson Jr. out with a quad injury. It was also nice to see him with four targets, as that is one aspect of the game where he has not typically received chances dating back to his New England days. Arizona has been league average against the run, and while they have allowed the fourth-fewest touchdowns rushing per game, they are allowing 4.7 yards per carry which is the fourth worst in the league. Mekhi Sargent was the only other running back to see action, and he had a carry on each of his two plays during the final possession of the 37-7 victory against Jacksonville.

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Wide Receiver

Cooper Kupp leads the league in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns receiving, and first downs, and he is second in catches of at least 20 yards with 20, behind the 22 of Justin Jefferson, who has played one more game. There is not much else to add here about the league’s leading receiver.

Van Jefferson has averaged eight targets in the three games since Robert Woods was lost for the season. Even with the increasing salary, he is very much in the mix on both sites tonight as a mid-tier option. Odell Beckham Jr. has seen his target volume bounce around in his three games, with three in his debut, 10 coming out of the bye week and five in the romp against the Jaguars. Beckham has scored in each of his last two outings ,which is good to see since he had touchdowns in only six of the 28 games prior to joining Los Angeles. Rookie Ben Skowronek would need something to befall one of his position mates before he would be a viable option.

With such a heavy workload, Kupp is in a prime spot to continue his brilliant production on the field, and gamers can take advantage of all of that usage in the NFL player prop betting market. Kupp’s over/unders have some great expected win rates and ROI on OddsShopper. Be sure to utilize those free projections before making NFL player prop bets tonight.

Also, see what our very own Awesemo betting expert Ben Rasa and Matt Gajewski are putting their money on with their Monday Night Football NFL betting picks tonight in The Breakfast Menu.

Tight End

Tyler Higbee has 62 of the 66 targets to this position this season. Unfortunately, he has not surpassed 51 yards since the opener, and with no games topping five receptions and a paltry three touchdowns, he is a dart throw at his current salary. Arizona has been tough against tight ends, with only George Kittle (101), Robert Tonyan Jr. (49) and Cole Kmet (41) compiling over 40 yards receiving, and they have ceded only three touchdowns to tight ends on the season.

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Edit: Higbee is in health and safety protocol

Defense/Special Teams

Los Angeles is averaging nearly three sacks per game, while Arizona is allowing 2.3. The Rams are recording just shy of 1.5 takeaways per game, though the Cardinals have suffered the second-fewest turnovers in the league.

Arizona Cardinals: 27.0 Points

Quarterback

Kyler Murray returned after missing a month with a high ankle sprain, and he was clearly rusty from the layoff. On a positive note, he rushed for 10 carries, 59 yards and two touchdowns, so at least he is still a viable threat on the ground. For the season, Murray has reached the 300-yard passing plateau only twice in his eight games, though he does have 19 touchdowns passing. The seven interceptions are somewhat concerning, though from a fantasy perspective the five touchdowns rushing easily erase those negative points.

Check out where Murray is stacking up with the other options as the Captain/MVP/Superstar play in Awesemo’s DraftKings NFL cheat sheet, FanDuel NFL cheat sheet and Yahoo NFL cheat sheet tonight. Check them out for all of the free NFL DFS showdown picks tonight.

Running Back

Chase Edmonds (ankle) is a game-time decision, and even if he plays, this will be a shared backfield with James Conner. While he is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry and has only two of more than 20 yards, Conner seems to have the proverbial nose for the end zone. Currently he is second in touchdowns rushing with a dozen despite logging 75 fewer carries than the competition. Additionally, he has two touchdowns receiving, and his 14 combined scores are behind only Jonathan Taylor (18) and Austin Ekeler (16), who have each played one additional game. If Edmonds is out, Eno Benjamin will see a handful of touches, though few if any will be of the high-value sort fantasy gamers seek.

Wide Receiver

On a positive note for Arizona, all of their wide receivers are healthy. However, for fantasy gamers that creates issues, with nobody standing out based on workload. DeAndre Hopkins has seen his targets fall by almost half compared to last season, and he has missed time with injuries. Christian Kirk leads the team in targets, but he has not missed any games either. A.J. Green has had his moments, and rookie Rondale Moore has shown flashes, though he typically plays less than half the snaps. This quartet is all live with touchdown equity, though it seems to be the savvy strategy to work one of them into rosters as the salary constraints allow, rather than making any a true priority.

Tight End

Since joining the Cardinals in a midseason trade, Zach Ertz has performed admirably as the Maxx Williams replacement. Ertz has 31 targets in his six games with Arizona, while Darrell Daniels has seen three and Demetrius Harris two. While he has only played three games with Murray under center, it is clear that Ertz is the main option at this position and seeing similar opportunities when compared to the wideouts.

Defense/Special Teams

Arizona is recording just under one takeaway per game, while Los Angeles averages just over one turnover. The Cardinals are averaging 2.7 sacks per game, and the Rams have allowed the second fewest in the league behind only Tampa Bay.


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Monday 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.

Week 14 Monday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Cooper Kupp: Still the best play on DraftKings, even with the eye-popping salary. With the half-PPR scoring on FanDuel, the quarterbacks both project for more points, though it is close and Kupp has a cheaper salary.
  2. Matthew Stafford: Slight nod over Murray, who is coming back from a long layoff.
  3. Kyler Murray: Timing with his receivers is the variable, but at least he was not afraid to run in his first game back from injury.
  4. Sony Michel: If Henderson is out as expected, it is full steam ahead with Michel.
  5. Rondale Moore: Just $2,000 on DraftKings and a reasonable $7,500 on FanDuel; he is getting solid opportunities when he is on the field. Primary return man for both punts and kickoffs.
  6. Zach Ertz: The way salaries are shaking out, and with the flat target distribution for Arizona, he makes sense here on both sites.
  7. Matt Gay: Impressive 23-for-24 this season but only three attempts beyond 50 yards in his last 19 games.
  8. Van Jefferson: Getting the looks; gamers are not happy with this salary increase and seem to be staying away.
  9. James Conner and Chase Edmonds: Move Conner into a tie with Michel if Edmonds remains out.
  10. Odell Beckham Jr.: Name value is leading to more popularity than the salary and projected production warrants. Of course, this is why they play the games.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Christian Kirk: Discount and talent keep him ahead of Hopkins and Green, respectively.
  2. Matt Prater: Rough two-season stretch, going 38-for-50 (76%), though he still gets to try the long ones at a higher rate than most kickers.
  3. Tyler Higbee: Arizona has been great against tight ends this season.
  4. DeAndre Hopkins: Salary seems to be based on two-year sample size rather than recent target share.
  5. A.J. Green: Meh, would be better off if someone were out.

Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Los Angeles D/ST: Soooooo many talented players, but they still need a return touchdown.
  2. Arizona D/ST: Homefield advantage is nice; somehow getting it done without Watt and several other key cogs.
  3. Ben Skowronek: If active, he gets his own line. Should be returning kickoffs.
  4. Eno Benjamin: If Edmonds remains out, move him above the defenses.
  5. Mekhi Sargent, Kendall Blanton, Darrell Daniels, Demetrius Harris and Antoine Wesley: If these guys lead to a loss, so be it.

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If you’re interested in other DFS NFL football for multiple game slates, head over to NFL ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, DFS NFL rankings, and NFL stacks. Take a look at our depth charts for NFL games, inactive player list and NFL lineups. View our DraftKings NFL rankings and our FanDuel NFL DFS ownership rankings. We also have FanDuel Single-Game slate tools and NFL single-game ownership projections.

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]mo.com.

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