FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Rams at Packers
The over/under for this game is just 45.5 points, a full 4.0 points lower than any other game on the weekend. That doesn't matter nearly as much on a single-game slate, but it does suggest that touchdowns could be a little scarcer. The Packers are a solid 6.5-point favorite, indicating an implied score of 26.0 to 19.5.
High-Level Simulation Results
I simulated this game a thousand times -- using numberFire's projections -- to see some high-level takeaways. Here's what I found.
Here's a snapshot of how these two teams stack up, based on numberFire's opponent-adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) metric.
Using numberFire's projections as the base, it's unsurprisingly Aaron Rodgers who rates as the most likely MVP pick (i.e. the slate leader in FanDuel points). Rodgers will face the NFL's best adjusted pass defense (and overall defense -- and rush defense). Since getting Allen Lazard back in Week 11, Rodgers has faced only one top-10 adjusted pass defense. In that game, he went for 311 yards and 3 touchdowns. In total, Rodgers has put forth 0.41 Passing NEP per drop back since Week 11, which is 0.30 per drop back higher than expected based on the opponents he has faced. NFL average on the season is 0.13. He can obviously succeed but isn't in a can't-miss spot.
Jared Goff last week was simultaneously better and worse than I expected. I didn't anticipate downfield work, but he had a 10.9-yard average depth of target despite his thumb surgery. He threw downfield (16-plus yards) on 15.8% of his 19 attempts last week. His rate prior this season was only 12.7%. However, the passing wasn't efficient. He put up a per-drop back mark of -0.06 Passing NEP, well off the pace of the league-average of 0.13 and 0.18 points below what the Seattle Seahawks typically allow. There are plenty of reasons to be cautious with Goff against a top-12 adjusted pass defense. That reduces the ceiling for the Rams' offensive players overall.
The lead running backs are both extremely interesting and are obvious pivots away from Rodgers as the MVP. Our algorithm is higher on Aaron Jones than on Cam Akers. Since the offense got Lazard back in Week 11, Jones has averaged 13.9 carries and 3.4 targets for 103.8 scrimmage yards per game and 15.2 FanDuel points per game. He'll be running against the best rush defense in football, however, and it does sound as though Aaron Donald will play but possibly won't be 100% healthy. Akers, meanwhile, gets a much easier matchup. He had 28 carries and 2 targets for 176 scrimmage yards a week ago. He should also come with some MVP leverage as an underdog running back.
Of course, we also have Davante Adams to roster at MVP. Receivers are historically undervalued as MVP picks. Since Week 11, Adams has been targeted on 31.6% of the team's attempts. He'll have to face off with Jalen Ramsey, which could lower his MVP rate even further, but his workload relative to the other receivers in this game is obviously elite.
Behind Adams, it's very dispersed. Lazard is second in this sample all the way down at a 13.7% target share. Robert Tonyan (12.7%), Jones (11.3%), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (9.6%) round out the top five on the team. Valdes-Scantling surely has appeal just from a high-leverage standpoint. He has averaged 1.3 downfield targets per game with a 15.9-yard average target depth in his six games since Week 11 with Lazard back and has run 61.0% of the routes.
The Rams' pass-catchers depend a good deal on Kupp's injury. Since their Week 9 bye and in eight games with Kupp, Robert Woods leads the team with a 26.3% target share, a sizable lead over Kupp's second-place target share of 21.2%. Then, things disperse: Josh Reynolds (12.6%), Tyler Higbee (11.6%), and Gerald Everett (9.6%). There are minimal downfield targets overall, and nobody is averaging more than 58.6 air yards per game in this span.
Reynolds and Higbee did run 20 routes (69.0%) last week, though Reynolds didn't get a target. He could be an overlooked option if Kupp winds up playing but not being his usual self. Still, it's probably best to keep your pass-catcher exposure to one Ram -- unless you're playing the assumption that the Rams' passing game erupts or they have to chase a huge deficit. Playing it straight up (i.e. that it's close to six- or seven-point game throughout) probably means capped ceilings overall if you're heavy on Rams receivers.