Start of the Week: Adrian Peterson/Todd Gurley (Tie)
Turns out I was even being conservative, as Peterson went off for 134 yards, 2 TD’s and it could have been more if not for a penalty flag.
The Cardinals offense took off like it was a SpaceX rocket with Elon Musk watching, demonstrating balance and ease as it ran up the score on the Buccaneers in the first half 31-0 behind Peterson’s rushing attack and solid protection from Humphries, Boone and Watford. Of course, the defense ended up letting up but that’s another story...
The Rams offense has also exploded this season, outfitted by a newly retooled offensive line behind left tackle Andrew Whitworth and utilizing Todd Gurley in the passing game more than Jeff Fisher ever did. Gurley’s been a top 3 fantasy RB this season, only behind Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette. Those players have a combined 4 years of experience in the league....RB is a young man’s game. Well, except maybe not for Adrian Peterson.
Start both backs knowing that the Rams run defense is soft and the Cardinals pass defense should allow Gurley to gain some yards.
Cardinals Start: John Brown, WR
Brown got off to a great fantasy statline last week with a touchdown and could capitalize again on that this week as he plays a suspect Rams secondary. While Larry Fitzgerald could eat like he did last week, I think Brown gets involved a lot more as Palmer should be able to see more play-action like he did versus the Bucs.
Rams Start: Jared Goff, QB
I think Goff has a nice fantasy statline after playing two of the toughest NFL pass defenses in the Rams and Jaguars. The Cardinals have given up the 4th most fantasy points to QB’s per Yahoo Fantasy this year, and I think that even if Arizona gets after Goff early, they’ve proven vs. Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford and Ryan Fitzpatrick that they can’t hold a lead.
Goff will get plenty of ability to air the ball out as well, as Arizona ranks in the bottom third of the league in sacks despite Chandler Jones.
Cardinals Sit: Andre Ellington, RB
One Brown getting healthy might mean the other Brown could fit in here but after Andre Ellington basically vanished overnight, I’ll guess that he doesn’t see a lot of usage again this week. Arians likes RB’s who can play all three downs and while Peterson isn’t a good pass-catcher (like, at all) I think the Cardinals will be able to find a way to run enough on the Rams where they’ll be in 3rd and short rather than 3rd and long needing a check-down.
Ellington’s value might have disappeared because of the game flow, but it’s also because Arians has preferences. He’ll adapt (as he did with Ellington getting 24 targets in 2 games) but he has preferences. That preference would be to ride Peterson.
Rams Sit: Cooper Kupp, WR
I’m going to go against common thought and switch from what most people would think. Normally, people would expect Kupp to get the attention from the slot with Patrick Peterson on Sammy Watkins.
I, however, think that Kupp will be contained for the majority of the game as the Cardinals will see more playing time from Tramon Williams, meaning that they won’t be playing the slower Mathieu in the nickel as much. That and the size factor has me thinking that Kupp is the one who struggles this week, even in PPR leagues.
That switch leads me to...
Sleeper of the Week: Sammy Watkins, WR
I could put J.J. Nelson here with another touchdown (and think he will get one, so start him if you need a guy over a bye week) but I think Watkins has a chance to have a big game and a long touchdown.
Patrick Peterson is likely good to go and could be on Watkins all day, but despite Tavon Austin struggling this season I do think we’ll get a situation similar to Dallas/Tampa where the #1 receiver isn’t being covered by Peterson.
And I think that will mean a deep touchdown, something the Cardinals have given up a lot of this season by Bethel. If the Rams can find that matchup, I think they take it and I think that the Watkins/Kupp common knowledge will reverse itself this week.
What are your thoughts? Sound off who you think will go off like Big Ben’s chimes in the comments section!