DFS Week 8: Thursday night picks for Packers-Cardinals matchup

·6 min read

By Jeff Hicks, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Yahoo has expanded their daily fantasy football options with a single-game option, with a roster construction of one ‘Superstar’ that scores at 1.5 times while the remaining four spots accumulate points at the normal rate. This is half-point PPR scoring and the ‘Superstar’ salary does not change from the Utility. All scoring and rules can be found here.

It is vital to remember that single-game slates are not simply a “max salary, play as many big names as possible, and submit” format, especially in larger tournament fields. We need to identify players who can be pieces in their offense’s success, whether in the lead or trailing, as well as the players who could be focal points in a neutral game script. The ability to then take those players and identify which will succeed in the single-game format will put us in a better position to succeed as daily fantasy players.

Vegas Total and Spread

Arizona is a 6.5-point home favorite with an over/under of 50.5 points. The Cardinals have an implied team total of 28.5 points, while the Packers have an implied team total of 22 points.

[Play in Yahoo's $100K Single Game Baller for GB vs. ARI]

Potential Game Flow Scenarios

The big news and game flow-altering roster omissions come from Davante Adams and Allen Lazard. Both will miss this game due to COVID-19 protocols. That makes Randall Cobb ($13) and (insert receiver here) the starters in two-wide sets. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, $16) has a chance to play if he is activated from IR. Assuming he does not, that leaves Malik Taylor, Amari Rodgers ($10), and Equanimeous St. Brown ($10) as wideout options for Aaron Rodgers ($30) to target. Taylor is not in the player pool on Yahoo. That means Aaron Jones ($28), A.J. Dillon ($14), Robert Tonyan ($11), and Marcedes Lewis ($10) will see spikes in passing game usage as players that have Rodgers’s trust.

The Packers are pass-centric in neutral game scripts, especially in the red zone. Do not expect that to change without the services of Lazard and Adams (more importantly). As Sam Hoppen points out in his Week 8 Hoppen to Conclusions column, Green Bay passed the ball 5.8% over expectations in the six games that Adams missed in 2019 and 2020. Rodgers may not be as efficient as he is with Adams in the lineup, but he may also be less likely to take chances knowing that Adams is not only the other end of the pass attempt.

Jones and Dillon will also need to be successful on the ground. Arizona is first in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to running backs, but Green Bay will have to control the clock and keep Kyler Murray ($40) and company off the field. The only position Arizona is not top five against is wide receiver—go figure.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is worth the $40 salary in a smash spot against the Packers. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Murray has to be salivating at his matchup. The Packers are 25th or worst in aFPA against quarterbacks, receivers, and tight ends. DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring, $30) is expected to play despite the short week, but even at less than 100%, he is just one cog in one of the best passing attacks in the NFL. Christian Kirk ($14), Rondale Moore ($16), A.J. Green ($15), Chase Edmonds ($15), and Zach Ertz ($17) have averaged at least 4.4 targets per game in this offense. Ertz has only played one game but was immediately included in the rotation in the same role that injured TE Maxx Williams held.

The well-oiled passing game has opened a lot of room for James Conner ($20) and Edmonds in the running game. Conner is not the most efficient running back but he is being given every opportunity to score once the Cardinals are in the red zone. Conner is seventh in rushing attempts inside the 20-yard line, fifth inside the 10, and tied for fifth inside the 5-yard line. Edmonds’s usage in the red zone has led to him receiving nine, six, and two carries in the same scenarios as Conner. Nearly one-third of Edmonds’s touches have come through the air.

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Close, low-scoring game

  • Kyler Murray

  • James Conner

  • Chase Edmonds

  • Cardinals defense

  • Aaron Rodgers

  • Aaron Jones

  • A.J. Dillon

  • Packers defense

Close, high-scoring game

  • Kyler Murray

  • James Conner

  • Chase Edmonds

  • DeAndre Hopkins

  • Zach Ertz

  • Aaron Rodgers

  • Aaron Jones

  • Randall Cobb

  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling (if active)

  • Robert Tonyan

Blowout for home team

  • Kyler Murray

  • James Conner

  • Chase Edmonds

  • DeAndre Hopkins

  • Christian Kirk

  • A.J. Green

  • Rondale Moore

  • Zach Ertz

  • Cardinals defense

  • Aaron Rodgers

  • Aaron Jones

  • Randall Cobb

  • Robert Tonyan

Blowout for road team

  • Aaron Rodgers

  • Aaron Jones

  • A.J. Dillon

  • Randall Cobb

  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling

  • Equanimeous St. Brown

  • Robert Tonyan

  • Packers defense

  • Kyler Murray

  • Chase Edmonds

  • DeAndre Hopkins

  • Zach Ertz

Cheap/Unique Stacking Option

Traditional stacks such as QB/WR1 or WR2, QB/TE, and RB/DEF are stacks seen used in winning lineups. The obvious choice is not always the winning choice. Below is a cheap stack with at least one unique quality that could break the slate.

Aaron Jones ($28) and AJ Dillon ($14)

Single-game slates are a good time to utilize entire backfields, and with the Packers missing two vital receivers, the necessity for Jones and Dillon to perform is higher than normal. This stack covers all the rushing opportunities and a good chunk of targets coming from Aaron Rodgers.

Low-Salary Volatile Plays

Marcedes Lewis ($10)

Robert Tonyan showed out last week. It was great to see but his consistency in the passing game is low. Lewis has 4.7% of the Packers' target share but is a player that Rodgers trusts. The veteran has at least two targets in four consecutive games and has played at least 37% of snaps since Week 1.

Amari Rodgers ($10)

The other A-Rod in Green Bay has a chance to be a quick target for Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has a similar average depth of target as Randall Cobb and Robert Tonyan but has doubled the yardage after the catch.

Superstar Picks

Aaron Jones ($28)

Usage, usage, usage. The biggest concern with Jones in the Superstar slot is the Cardinals targeting him as the player to eliminate offensively. I would 100% be okay letting Cobb get his dink-and-dunk catches to keep Jones from making his splash plays.

Kyler Murray ($40)

With Adams out Murray is the most expensive player by $10. I do not care because I know what I am getting from Murray. It is difficult to predict how much work any one Cardinals receiver will get, so roster the syrup that goes over the pancakes.

Zach Ertz ($17)

Ertz may be the least athletic pass-catcher on the Cardinals, but five targets in his first game in Arizona is difficult to ignore. Ertz also makes sense if a "Hopkins usage will be down" narrative is in your realm of possibilities.

DeAndre Hopkins ($30)

The questionable target is almost ornamental but it can scare enough DFS players off of him in the Superstar slot. The Packers may have CB Brandon Stokes shadow Hopkins with bracket coverage from a safety over the top, but their secondary is leaky at best without CB Jaire Alexander shutting down top receivers.

This article originally appeared in its full form on 4for4.com

Jeff has played fantasy sports since 2001. He has covered fantasy and traditional sports at the pro, semi-pro, and amateur level for the better part of a decade. Born in Illinois and currently living where James Robinson made a name for himself in college, Jeff enjoys running (establish it), followed by doing absolutely nothing.

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