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Fantasy Football Picks: Rams vs. Bengals DraftKings NFL DFS MNF Showdown Strategy

Hunter Skoczylas preps you for Monday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Rams and the Bengals with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Rams vs 49ers in Inglewood, CA.

For tonight’s second game of the NFL’s exciting (but unnecessary) Monday Night Football doubleheader, we have a rematch of Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals. Both teams seem to be heading in opposite directions as this season has started with the Bengals looking for their first win of the season after dropping two divisional games while the Rams have somewhat shocked the league with their offensive efficiency without Cooper Kupp through the first two weeks.

Tonight’s matchup is shaping up to be a good one except for one thing — Joe Burrow (calf) is listed as questionable. I’m operating under the assumption that Burrow will suit up and play because he reportedly took first-team reps during Sunday’s walkthrough practice after appearing in practice in limited fashion and with the scout team earlier in the week. But, what does that change? Can this Bengals squad bounce back?

Let’s break it down.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $600K Monday Night Showdown [$200K to 1st] (LAR vs CIN)


Captain’s Picks

Puka Nacua ($15,000 CP) - While Nacua is listed as questionable with an oblique injury for the second straight week, Sean McVay said he expects him to suit up and play. What’s there not to like about Nacua, though? The 23-year-old rookie has been targeted a whopping 35 times by Matthew Stafford ($10,200) across two games and has averaged a cool 29.0 FPTS as a result. The only thing I can complain about is his inability to find the endzone thus far but entering Week 3, the Bengals rank 29th in defensive DVOA (21.5%) while the Rams rank 5th in offensive DVOA (20.3%). Now, that’s a good matchup on paper. There are plenty of positives from rostering Nacua in the captain’s spot but his $15K price tag isn’t that daunting and allows you to create a far more optimal lineup with much better options.

Kyren Williams ($14,500 CP) - While I am all for an exciting game with tons of passing, the possibility of both teams’ running backs controlling this game seems rather high. Williams has taken full advantage of the internal dissatisfaction of Cam Akers, finding the endzone three times already and even carving out a role in the passing game in Week 2 (6-48-1). This Bengals defense has struggled to get off the field this season, allowing the 6th-highest third-down conversion percentage (46.4%), so the Rams will likely keep long and sustained drives with lots of carries going to Williams. If that isn’t enough to convince you, the Bengals have allowed a league-worst 192 rushing yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry to opponents so far this season.

Value FLEX Plays

Tyler Higbee ($6,200) - This is probably going to burn me, but let’s ride. Higbee has not lived up to expectations thus far, hauling in just six catches for 61 yards for an unimpressive average of 6.1 FPTS per game. While he saw seven targets in Week 2, he didn’t do a whole lot with them, hauling in just three for 12 yards but the willingness to get him the ball was promising. The emergence of Nacua and Tutu Atwell ($7,000) in the passing attack has hindered any chances of Higbee producing consistently but the matchup is shaping up to be a great spot for a bounceback game. Higbee is no Mark Andrews but the Bengals did just allow him to put up a 5-45-1 stat line in Week 2, and I have a good feeling he sees more production tonight.

Tyler Boyd ($5,200) - For the sake of rostering a Bengals player tonight, let’s roll with Boyd, who caught 6-of-8 targets for 52 yards last week vs. the Ravens. As always, he’ll operate as the WR3, but given Cincinnati’s offensive line woes, quick passes will be the game plan, and that benefits Boyd immensely. He’s posted a 72.7% catching percentage through two games and will see more looks from the slot, whether it’s Burrow or Jake Browning ($8,000) under center. I do think Tee Higgins ($8,600) could have another big game simply because he’s the hot hand and is coming off 28.9 FPTS in Week 2, but for cash-saving purposes, roll with Boyd’s relatively safe floor. I don’t know how safe that floor is when Browning is QB1, however.


Joe Burrow ($11,400) - Please don’t roster Burrow tonight. Did I really just type that? Listen, it hurts my heart just as much as it does yours, but it’s a pass for me. Despite logging limited practices throughout the week, his participation in Sunday’s walkthrough suggests he’ll likely give it a go tonight — which is probably a bad idea. Yeah, you start the season 0-3, but is that more important than the health of your franchise quarterback? Plus, he’s the most expensive player on the slate. Even if we ignore his lingering calf strain and his salary, Cincinnati has been flat-out boring on offense. The playcalling seems off and they aren’t getting the ball to their playmakers consistently, and it has cost them two divisional games already. If anything, they’ll lean more on the running game as the game script should be even throughout, barring a collapse.


It’s tough to gauge this game. Teams that start their seasons with a 0-3 record historically don’t make the playoffs. It’s been reported that the Bengals organization is split on the decision to play Burrow, so where are they leaning? The Rams have looked rejuvenated on offense but will their defense apply enough pressure to Burrow or slow down the running game?

It’s going to come down to the wire I think, and I’m rolling with the Rams. Even if Burrow suits up, he won’t be playing at 100% and it’s hard to trust Browning to get the job done against a team that’s playing good football thus far. I don’t normally like rolling with road underdogs but this situation feels like an exception.

Final Score: Los Angeles 26, Cincinnati 20

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $600K Monday Night Showdown [$200K to 1st] (LAR vs CIN)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.