Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams: Anyone Worth Starting for Thursday Contests?
We should have a real slugfest on our hands when the Cardinals and Rams square off in St. Louis on Thursday night. Somewhat predictably, the Rams are -3 with an O/U of 40.5. Even though pretty much every player on both sides of the ball is relatively cheap, are any of them worth starting this week?
(all salaries via FanDuel)
QB – Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton
Both QBs are essentially game managers. Neither are going to throw for big yards unless one is down significantly and racks up some garbage-time FPTS. While it’s a possibility, it’s fairly unlikely either of these QBs will get 20 FPTS since the Rams are 10th and the Cardinals are 11th in FPTS allowed to QBs. Plus, if you’re going cheap at QB, you’re better off using Jake Locker, Blake Bortles,whoever starts for the Redskins and Johnny Manziel if he finally gets the nod.
Answer = No
RB – Tre Mason and Kerwynn Williams
In the first meeting, the Rams ran it 22 times for 70 yards and 1 TD (Benny Cunningham) while the Cardinals ran it 22 times for 28 yards and 1 TD (Andre Ellington). The Cardinals rank 4th while the Rams are 9th in FPTS allowed to RBs. The Rams’ rush defense continues to climb the rankings as well with their defense finally healthy. Mason is at home, but $6,800 in a tough matchup isn’t very appealing. He does have breakout potential, but he’s only gone over 100 years twice this season and splits time in the red zone. Mason is at best a rare GPP play, but I still don’t like it that much. Stepfan Taylor was supposed to be the primary back last week, but Bruce Arians was up to his usual tricks and unleashed Williams. Despite 19 carries for 100 yards last week, the Chiefs rush defense has been slowly falling apart. The Rams’ defense is improving, and the Cardinals are the underdog.
Answer = No
Both teams are somewhat surprisingly average in FPTS allowed to WRs (Rams 24th, Cardinals 18th). But the Rams have improved recently by getting healthy (pass rush is unreal) and the Cardinals were 9-1, so naturally teams are going to throw more against them when trailing. Their pass defense isn’t as bad as that ranking indicates. In examining the prices, Stedman Bailey for $6,000 is the one I like the most. Along with his big-game potential, he’s also seeing a higher number of snaps. I don’t love the play and I like Marqise Lee more for $5,800, but Bailey is an occasional GPP play that could get you a nice head start.
Answer, GPP = Yes, Cash = No
TE – Jared Cook, John Carlson
The Rams are one of the best teams against TEs, and the Cardinals very rarely get the TEs involved, not to mention it’s random who it is a lot. The Cardinals though are one of the worst teams for FPTS allowed to TEs. Jared Cook has always been a fine option, and this matchup would warrant some plays. That’s especially true with Cook posting 2 TDs last week. Unfortunately, that does mean he’ll probably be overused and he only caught four passes in the game. Ultimately, Cook is a fine option, but I wouldn’t use him very much.
Answer = A little bit
K – Greg Zuerlein, Chandler Catanzaro
Both kickers are struggling, this is a low scoring game and the spread is small.
Answer = No
It’s really tempting to use one of these DSTs. The Rams are on fire with 27, 32 and 15 FPTS the last three weeks. They are 3-1 in the last four weeks (should be 4-0) with a dominant home victory over the Denver Broncos. The Cardinals have been in double digits FPTS wise five times over the last six weeks, which includes 25 FPTS against the Rams. Since the Rams are at home and the slight favorite, they are the more appealing play. Their pass rush has been inside. However, Bruce Arians has done a nice job as of late making sure Drew Stanton get rid of the ball quickly. Arizona also has fantastic special teams when it comes to coverage. Of course, a pick-six from Stanton could certainly happen. I don’t think this is as sexy of a start for the Rams as it may appear on paper, but it’s obviously a very safe play. Consider it an option for all formats, but primarily for cash games.
Answer, GPP = Okay, Cash = DefinitelyView all posts by Nick Juskewycz