Week 14 of the 2021 NFL season wraps up with Monday Night Football as the Arizona Cardinals play host to the Los Angeles Rams. Here is my fantasy football preview to the game, offering up my starts and sits and DFS plays for Monday night action.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Over/Under Points Scored: 51.5
Los Angeles Rams
QB Matthew Stafford – MNF offers a tough matchup for Stafford’s downfield passing style of play. The LAR QB’s average depth of target (8.8, PFF.com) is 10th in the NFL and the Cards’ are the league’s 2nd best team at limiting explosive pass plays (24 total, SharpFootballStats.com). He’s a safe QB1.
WR Cooper Kupp – Arizona’s done a good job of limiting Kupp over their last two contests. Week 4, 2021: 5 receptions on 13 targets for 64 yards. Week 13 of 2020: 8-of-9 for 73 yards. Given the year he’s having, Kupp retains elite WR1 consideration for this one but his chances of finishing as a top-6 WR for the 7th time this year are perhaps slightly less than normal.
WRs Van Jefferson Jr. and Odell Beckham Jr. – Pre-snap, these two have clearly defined roles. Jefferson operates as an inside/outside guy while Beckham hogs snaps on the perimeter. In LAR’s two weeks since the bye though, they’ve rotated between downfield and intermediate roles.
|LAR WR||Week 12||Week 13|
|Van Jefferson Jr.||19.0||7.8|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||11.8||22.8|
WR Ben Skowronek – Not redraft relevant.
TE Tyler Higbee – Tough matchup but Higbee’s lack of positional target competition brings a largely stable floor. High-end TE2 who should be able to match (and likely surpass) his Week 4 stat line of 4-of-6 for 36 yards.
Update 12/13/21: Tyler Higbee is out after being placed on the COVID-19/Reserve List on Monday afternoon. Backup rookie TE Kendall Blanton will start in his place but is likely to be shutdown by ILB Isaiah Simmons.
RB Sony Michel – Darrell Henderson Jr. was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve List on Saturday so it’s the Sony Michel Show for the second week in a row. Last week, Michel took 24 carries for 121 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. He also ran a season-high 29 routes, catching 3-of-3 targets for 8 yards. It was full on bellcow treatment for Michel. Backup RB Mekhi Sargent played on just 3% of the snaps, taking 2 carries for 5 yards. Since Arizona lost standout DLs J.J. Watt and Rashard Lawrence to Injured Reserve, the Cards have allowed 23.7 .5PPR RB PPF, T-9th most in the NFL. Lawrence is officially a game-time decision but on the whole, this is a great matchup for Michel. He’s a locked-in RB1 and should be considered for the Captain/MVP DFS spot.
QB Kyler Murray – Any concerns over the health of Murray’s ankle were answered in his return last week. The shifty, diminutive passer finished as Week 13’s top-scoring QB. His performance was keyed by 10 carries for 52 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s an elite fantasy QB1.
Update: 12/13/21: The Rams have placed No. 1 CB Jalen Ramsey and fellow inside/outside (rotational) CB Dont’e Deayon on the COVID-19/Reserve List over the last 24-hours. Starting CB Robert Rochell was placed on Injured reserve within the last 48-hours. Kyler Murray has a good chance of posting career-best “vs. LAR” numbers tonight.
WR DeAndre Hopkins – The Rams do a fantastic job of covering Arizona’s No. 1 WR. Over their last 3 games, Hopkins has averaged 10 targets, 5.33 receptions, 51.33 yards, and 0.33 touchdowns.
Update: 12/13/21: With the aforementioned triple-cornerback absence the Rams are now facing, Hopkins is suddenly a fantasy WR1.
WR Christian Kirk – The team’s primary slot receiver has a brutal matchup on deck. Jalen Ramsey, one of the league’s premier lockdown corners, is frequently kicking inside to cover the slot this year.
Update: 12/13/21: As mentioned above, slot CBs Ramsey and Deayon are out due to COVID-19. Kirk’s now a fantasy WR3.
WR A.J. Green – With the Rams’ game plan focused on Hopkins and Ramsey focused on Kirk, Green has a chance to make some noise. Last time these teams played in Week 4, Green caught 5-of-6 targets for 67 yards and 1 touchdown. It’s not unreasonable to think he can do that again. Green’s a high-floor WR3.
Update: 12/13/21: Green no longer has the benefit of running against LAR’s softer perimeter CB with the defensive absences mentioned in updates above. He’s still a high-floor WR3 play.
WR Rondale Moore – The backup slot receiver is a WR7.
Update: 12/13/21: Becomes a WR5/6 with the aforementioned updates.
TE Zach Ertz – Ertz faced LA as an Eagle last year, catching a respectable 5-of-7 targets for 42 yards. He’s a usage based, back-end TE1.
RB Chase Edmonds – Edmonds (ankle) is expected to play on Monday night but James Conner’s been a machine in his absence so it’s unlikely Kliff Kingsbury will feel the need to pile touches high on his plate. Edmonds is a high-floor RB2.
RB James Conner – Since Edmonds injured his ankle early in Week 9, Conner’s averaged 22.1 .5PPR PPG, 3rd most in the NFL. He’ll keep lead back duties tonight which gives him a chance to mimic his gaudy Week 4 sums vs. the Rams: 18 carries, 50 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 receptions on 2 targets for 16 yards. Mid-to-high RB2 with top-12 upside.