This article is part of our DFS NFL series.
If we rewind about four months, it would be difficult to envision a Rams-Packers matchup as one between teams unlikely to make the playoffs (or that have already been eliminated). Yet that's the situation we find ourselves in, as the Packers need a win to keep their flickering postseason hopes alive; at 4-9, the Rams are in even worse shape, though they have not yet been eliminated from playoff contention. The sportsbooks project the Packers to win, as they enter Monday's matchup as seven-point home favorites. The game total is a fairly dismal 39.5, leaving the Packers with an implied team total of 23.25 and the Rams with an implied total of just 16.25.
Aaron Rodgers ($10,800 DK, $16,000 FD) gives us an interesting place to begin our analysis. He's the most expensive player on FD, and second to teammate Aaron Jones on DK. We've had Tom Brady on a couple island games this season, and there's a decent parallel between the two aging quarterbacks. Rodgers has scored 16.8-20.5 DK points in eight of his 13 games this season, with his best performance only 20.36 DK points. The number of performances in that range is identical on FD, even if the exact scores vary slightly. Simply, there are players — even in the projected muted offensive environment — who are quite likely to score higher than Rodgers. Translating that, he's fine in cash games, but look elsewhere in tournaments. For those seeking a reason for optimism, the Rams rank 23rd in pass defense DVOA. They'll also be without a number of key defensive players, highlighted by Aaron Donald.
Until the final possession of the Thursday Night Football game in Week 14, the idea of playing Baker Mayfield ($10,000 DK, $14,000 FD) in nearly any fantasy context was laughable. Even after the comeback win against the Raiders, Mayfield is extremely unlikely to deliver value at his price. He has reached double-digit fantasy points in only five of eight games this season and has surpassed 15 fantasy points in a game only once. That performance came in Week 1. The Packers rank eighth in pass defense DVOA and will play in front of what will almost certainly be an energized home crowd. Other than an MME context in a contest such as the Milly Maker, there's not a compelling reason to play Mayfield.
As noted, Aaron Jones ($11,200 DK, $13,500 FD) is the most expensive player on DK, and he's the third-most expensive player on FD. His recent workload has been notable, beginning with a foot injury that has landed him on the injury report beginning Week 9. In five games since, he has surpassed 12 carries just once. On the other hand, he's seen his involvement in the passing game tick back up. For example, in his last three contests, he's had a combined 16 targets. That makes him a more interesting play on DK, particularly when considering how goal-line work has been distributed. In that same five-game span, AJ Dillon ($6,200 DK, $11,500 FD) has had 56 carries as to Jones' 66. Dillon has had five carries inside the 10 as opposed to Jones' one (neither back has a target). What's interesting to note is that the relative difference in price between the two is more extreme on DK, but the site better built for his skillset is FD. I'd be comfortable playing him on either site. The Rams are a tough matchup on paper, but it's difficult to say that knowing Donald will be sidelined.
Cam Akers ($8,200 DK, $12,000 FD) has retaken the lead role in the Rams' backfield after leaving the team briefly in the middle of the season. Even with 14 and 17 carries in single games since his return, Akers has failed to top 60 rushing yards in each of his last four games. He has only two targets in that span. Green Bay has the worst run defense as measured by DVOA and has surrendered more than 20 PPR points to Tony Pollard, Derrick Henry and Miles Sanders in recent weeks. While Akers isn't the caliber of any of those players, the matchup does work in his favor. Rookie Kyren Williams ($5,800 DK, $7,000 FD) saw his role peak in Week 12, though he has just seven touches combined across his last two games.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Christian Watson ($8,800 DK, $13,000 FD) has been the talk of season-long fantasy circles for the last several weeks; rightly so after scoring seven touchdowns in his last four games. While he's had consistent volume in that time span — he's had at least six targets every game — his touchdown rate is obviously unsustainable. On the other hand, his ability to deliver explosive plays is perfect for a single-game contest format. Allen Lazard ($7,600 DK, $10,000 FD) is second on the team in target share since Watson's breakout, though he hasn't topped 11.7 DK points and 9.2 FD points in that span. With the return of Romeo Doubs ($6,800 DK, $6,500 FD), it's hard to make a case to play Lazard based on his projection. However, he has a consistent role in the offense and should be strong leverage off Watson. Prior to spraining his ankle, Doubs appeared to be the receiver most likely to emerge as Rogers' favorite target. It's unclear what type of role he'll see in his return, and coach Matt LaFleur said the team won't put too much on Doubs' plate immediately. That could very well be coach speak, and the price to find out is minimal on FD. Randall Cobb ($5,600 DK, $9,500) has had moments of productivity this season. Depending on any additional news regarding Doubs' workload, Cobb could be a nice relative value on DK. Robert Tonyan ($5,400 DK, $6,500 FD) is worth mentioning solely because this is a showdown slate, but he has struggled to gain a foothold in the Green Bay offense. The Rams haven't been an imposing secondary and, as has been covered, will be missing some of their best defensive players for Monday's game.
Since both Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson have been sidelined, it may come as a surprise that Tutu Atwell ($4,400 DK, $6,000 FD) narrowly leads the team in both target rate and air yards. He's simply mis-priced on both sites and is a nice value to lock in. Van Jefferson ($6,800 DK, $11,000 FD) likely would be the first name to come to mind for the top pass-catcher role, and he is only narrowly behind Atwell in both opportunity metrics. He's capable of providing explosive plays, but he comes at a significantly elevated cost as compared to Atwell. Ben Skowronek ($5,200 DK, $8,000 FD) has the underneath role to complement Jefferson and Atwell's deep targets and has an identical target share to Jefferson in the absence of Kupp and Robinson. He's a better option on DK thanks to the likelihood he racks up targets as opposed to big plays. The takeaway is I wouldn't pay up for any Los Angeles receiver. I'd also avoid any chalk among the Rams' pass catchers. While it's worth confirming based on those factors, it's likely that Atwell fits that description the best of the trio, though Jefferson could also be the most explosive player.
Tyler Higbee ($6,400 DK, $7,500 FD) is still priced up, but is in a part-time role and has been inefficient. He's priced aggressively on DK and is not a strong play on either site.
Mason Crosby (4,200 DK, $8,000 FD) has made 83 percent of his field-goal attempts this season, and has been a perfect 12-for-12 from inside of 40 yards. On attempts of greater than 40 yards, Crosby has made only three of his six attempts. Given his high team total relative to Los Angeles and the lack of punt options on this slate, Crosby could be a decent salary-saving option if needed.
Matt Gay ($4,000 DK, $8,500 FD) is very accurate, as his only two missed attempts this season have come from 50 yards or longer. His most recent miss came from 61 yards. The problem is that he's not likely to have many opportunities based on the state of the Rams' offense or the implied team total.
The implied team total and state of the Rams' offense makes the Packers ($5,000 DK, $9,000 FD) defense is a natural choice. Mayfield has a 2.5 percent interception rate, the 10th-highest rate among qualified quarterbacks. He also has an 8.7 percent sack rate, but the vast majority of that came during his time with the Panthers. It is worth noting that Matthew Stafford also had an 8.7 percent sack rate before his season ended, and the Rams' offensive line is buried by injuries. Unfortunately, Green Bay's defense is priced up considerably, though there is a lot of upside for sacks and turnovers based on matchup.
Rodgers has avoided turnovers at an elite rate throughout his career. However, that's changed this season, as he has a 2.1 percent interception rate. If the Rams ($3,400 DK, $8,500 FD) were at full strength, they would be an intriguing contrarian play. However, without Donald, and others, it's difficult to expect the Rams to be at their best.