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

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

Savor this game, ladies and gentlemen. It’s the last good Monday Night Football matchup of the season. With no ability to flex out uninspiring contests — at least for now — we’ve got a few nationally televised slogs coming our way in late December and early January. However, tonight’s tilt between the Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals is perfect. Big names, skill everywhere and a lot on the line.

Let’s break things down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.25M Monday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry] (LAR vs ARI)


Captain’s Picks

Cooper Kupp ($18,000 CP) - I’m just not sure how you can fade Kupp and feel good about it at this point in the season. The wideout come into Week 14 leading all qualified receivers in catches (100), receiving yards (1,366), receiving touchdowns (11), 100-yard receiving games (7) and DKFP per touch (0.45). He’s managed at least seven receptions and 90 yards in every game he’s played dating back to Week 5. Simply put: There’s no other skill-position asset in the NFL as consistent and reliable as Kupp. The Cardinals have been stout against opposing wide receivers all season long, but if Kupp isn’t matchup proof, no one is.

Kyler Murray ($16,800 CP) - From an efficiency standpoint, no quarterback in the NFL has been anywhere close to as valuable as Murray so far in 2021. Not only does the former first-overall pick lead the league in adjusted completion percentage (81.3%), but he’s also averaging a stunning 0.71 DKFP per drop back — easily the top mark among all qualified QBs. This isn’t the most ideal spot for Murray, as the Rams D/ST ($3,600) has surrendered the seventh-fewest DKFP per game to opposing pivots, but this unit has had its issues defending the few elite quarterbacks they’ve faced. In fact, both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady hit the 300-yard passing bonus versus Los Angeles, while Murray racked up 22.62 DKFP the first time these two teams met back in Week 4. Murray looks healthy after an extended absence and I’m expecting big things on Monday evening.

FLEX Plays

Sony Michel ($7,200) - With the news that Darrell Henderson Jr. ($7,200; health protocols) is not expected to be activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list in time to play in this game, Michel vaults into fantasy relevancy. The 26-year-old saw 27 touches and logged a 97.1% snap share with Henderson also unavailable in Week 13, a contest that Michel would finish with 24.9 DKFP. Considering how stringent Sean McVay tends to be with personnel — heavy snap shares for the starters and a lot of three-wideout sets — I doubt we see much change in Michel’s role eight days later. Look for the RB to take advantage of a soft matchup if the Rams are able to stay within a normal script. Arizona’s allowing an NFC-worst 4.7 yards per opponent rushing attempt through 12 games.

A.J. Green ($4,800) - Green feels a little undervalued on this slate. Putting aside last weekend’s game in Chicago — a snowy mess where Murray only attempted 15 passes — Green’s managed double-digit DKFP in five of the last seven starts Kyler has made. The veteran has also logged the most snaps of any Cardinals’ wide receiver through 13 weeks (590), while his nine red zone targets between Week 1 and Week 8 were only two fewer than DeAndre Hopkins ($9,600) within the same span. With Hopkins sure to see a lot of Jalen Ramsey on Monday, I wouldn’t be shocked if Green has a few extra targets funnelled his way.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rams CB Jalen Ramsey has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and is out Monday vs. the Cardinals.


DeAndre Hopkins ($9,600) - This isn’t just about the presence of Ramsey, though that certainly doesn’t help Hopkins’ case for viability. One season after leading the NFC in targets (160), Hopkins’ volume has fallen off a cliff in 2021, with the wideout yet to record a performance with double-digit targets or 100 receiving yards. In fact, his 21.1% target rate currently ranks outside the top 50 in football. Hopkins has been able to save owners’ skin so far this season by far exceeded his expected touchdown total, yet that’s clearly an unstable path going forward — particularly in tonight’s matchup. The Rams have conceded just 0.6 touchdowns per game to opposing WRs, which is the lowest mark of any NFC squad. With so much star power on this slate, spending up for Hopkins isn’t overly appealing.


Los Angeles is a difficult team to trust right now, as its last impressive victory was over Tampa Bay back in September. The Rams are just 1-5 ATS over their past six games, while the team is also 1-4 ATS the last five times they’ve played an opponent with a winning record. Considering the Cardinals are 8-2 ATS in their past 10 contests and are 4-0 ATS in their last four divisional matchups, I’ll ride with the hot hand to close out Week 14.

Final Score: Arizona 27, Los Angeles 21

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.25M Monday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry] (LAR vs ARI)

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