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Fantasy Football Picks: Packers vs. Cardinals DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:20 p.m. ET contest between the Packers and the Cardinals with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

It wouldn’t be a proper Thursday night slate if we didn’t have to sort through some injury notes at the top, right? To catch everyone up: Davante Adams and Allen Lazard are on the reserve/COVID-19 list and didn’t travel with the Green Bay Packers, while DeAndre Hopkins ($10,600; hamstring) is questionable but expected to play for the Arizona Cardinals. Oh, Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($3,800; hamstring) is on injured reserve, yet is very likely to be activated in time to suit up.

Got all that? Perfect. Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

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




SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Kyler Murray ($18,000 CP) - There’s no other way to say it, Murray is simply a stud. Despite the fact that the former first-overall pick is finding less success rushing the football than in prior seasons — he’s averaging just 2.9 yards per carry — Murray has posted a league-leading 0.71 DKFP per drop back. He’s one of just five quarterbacks with at least 2,000 yards passing through seven weeks and his 9.5 adjusted yards gained per attempt is the third-highest mark in football. There isn’t a fault in his game. On the other side of the ball, Packers D/ST ($2,800) has been surprisingly decent at limiting opposing QBs to a mere 210.6 passing yards per contest, but when you dig a little deeper, it seems like a lot of that might be schedule dependant. In fact, Green Bay has mostly feasted on the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo, Jared Goff, Justin Fields and Taylor Heinicke. I doubt the unit will have the same level of success against Murray, especially with star corner Jaire Alexander still on the shelf.

James Conner ($11,700 CP) - Am I a little nervous about Captaining a running back that is only seeing 43.0% of his team’s offensive snaps? You better believe I am. However, if there were ever a spot to trust Conner, it would be on Thursday in this matchup. The Packers have been absolutely gashed by opposing RBs the past three weeks, as their defense has surrendered an ugly 5.5 yards per opponent carry — the worst mark in the NFL within that span of time. Heck, for the season as a whole, Green Bay has conceded a whopping 4.88 adjusted line yards per attempt, which clocks in as the seventh-worst mark in the league. Arizona are sizable home favorites and it currently ranks third in all of football in red zone scoring attempts per game (4.6). If that’s not an ideal script for Conner, who is the Cardinals goal line back, I don’t know what is.



Value FLEX Plays

Editor’s Note: Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) is not expected to be activated from injured reserve for tonight’s game vs. the Cardinals, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($3,800) - We haven’t seen Valdes-Scantling since all the way back in Week 3, a contest he actually finished with 14.9 DKFP thanks to a 12-yard touchdown reception. If MVS does end up active, his path to viability is pretty obvious. First and foremost, the Packers are missing Adams and Lazard, who have combined to see 43.5% of the team’s 216 targets so far this season. That’s the opportunity. Also, we’re talking about an asset that’s averaged 17.5 yards per reception for his career and has reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers ($11,400) passing him the ball. That’s the upside. There’s a chance that Randall Cobb ($3,600) ends up being the true beneficiary of this situation, but I’ll side with the youth and ceiling of Valdes-Scantling.

Cardinals D/ST ($3,000) - I’ll say it: The Cardinals defense is too cheap on this slate. While I can understand the hesitation to price up a unit that’s heading into a matchup with the aforementioned Rodgers, Arizona comes into Week 8 boasting the NFC’s best overall defense according to DVOA. This isn’t just a squad that forces a lot of three-and-outs, either. The Cardinals do everything you need a fantasy D/ST to do. They’ve allowed the fewest points per drive of any team in the league (1.34), they’re registered the fourth-highest adjusted sack rate (7.9%) and they’re one of only five defenses inducing at least 2.0 turnovers per game. Arizona checks every box.


Fades

Aaron Rodgers ($11,400) - Look, fading Rodgers on a single-game slate in terrifying, but as I just outlined, the Cardinals have a ferocious defense. In fact, it’s a defense that is the second-best unit in the NFL against the pass, per DVOA. It’s a defense that’s surrendering an NFC-low 6.0 yards per opponent pass attempt. It’s a defense that’s only allowed two passing touchdowns going back to the beginning of Week 5. Still, this obviously isn’t entirely about matchup. I mean, Rodgers is a matchup-proof QB. This is the culmination of a tough matchup, Rodgers’ hefty price tag and the absence of the No. 1 wide receiver in football. Maybe I’d be more inclined to grab shares of Rodgers if it were just two of the three, but as it stands, the veteran pivot has an uphill battle on Thursday.


THE OUTCOME

Both of these teams enter Week 8 with an impressive 6-1 ATS record. Isolating the Packers, the NFC North squad is 6-1 ATS in its past seven games against opponents above .500 and 4-1 ATS in its past five road contests. However, with Davante Adams on the reserve/COVID-list, I’m inclined to simply side with the last undefeated team in the NFL. Green Bay is going to have a hard time stopping Kyler Murray, while I think Arizona will have some answers for a shorthanded Aaron Rodgers.

Final Score: Arizona 30, Green Bay 20

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


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