Green Bay Packers (6-1, 6-1 ATS) at Arizona Cardinals (7-0, 6-1), 8:20 p.m., TNF
Brolley’s Packers Stats and Trends
Green Bay is tied for the best ATS winning streak at six straight covers, which is tied with the Cowboys, who are 6-0 ATS this season.
The Packers are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven Thursday games.
Green Bay has played under the total in four straight games.
The Packers will likely be without Davante Adams (COVID) and his 10.4 targets per game this week, which is a massive blow to Aaron Rodgers and this passing attack. Rodgers has posted 19+ FP with multiple touchdown passes in six straight games since their season-opening dud against the Saints. Rodgers threw for 610 yards and seven TDs in two games without Adams last season against the Saints and Falcons. The Cardinals are giving up the fourth-fewest FPG (15.7) to QBs, and Matthew Stafford managed 280/2 passing in this matchup in Week 4.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling is eligible to return from the injured reserve after missing the last four weeks with a hamstring injury, but the Packers’ quick turnaround to play this week hurts his chances of playing. MVS had 3/59/1 receiving in his last game against the 49ers before he picked his hamstring injury in that contest. Allen Lazard (COVID) is also out this week, which leaves the Packers with Equanimeous St. Brown (20 routes in 2021) and Malik Taylor (10) as the top remaining perimeter options.
Randall Cobb may also play on the perimeter more with Amari Rodgers getting some run in the slot. Cobb may have known that Lazard would be added to the COVID list when he spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon. He talked about playing in “different situations” and about Rodgers getting a “bigger opportunity.” Cobb has reached double-digit FP just once in seven games this season, but he did play a season-high 62% of the snaps last week, which he turned into 3/22 receiving on four targets.
Robert Tonyan awoke from his season-long slumber last week with 4/63/1 receiving on five targets against Washington. He has just two games with 5+ targets, 10+ FP, and a TD this season. Tonyan combined for 11/148/4 receiving in two games without Adams last season, but the Cardinals are giving up a league-low 5.5 FPG to TEs this season.
Aaron Jones is coming off six-weeks lows in carries (6), rushing yards (19), touches (11), and scrimmage yards (39) after posting 95+ scrimmage yards in each of his last five games. A.J. Dillon is coming off-season lows in snap share (23%), touches (4), and scrimmage yards (8) last week. The Cardinals are giving up a solid 127.2 scrimmage yards per game to RBs, but they’ve allowed just one TD to the position this season. Jones averaged 19.0/98.5/1.0 scrimmage per game in his two contests without Adams last season.
Brolley’s Cardinals Stats and Trends
The Cardinals and Packers each sport the second-best ATS records at 6-1.
Arizona is 4-1 toward unders in its last five games as a favorite.
Kyler Murray took some monster hits from the Texans in Week 7, but he survived to post 22+ FP and multiple TD passes for the fifth time in seven games. Murray has just 17 rushing yards in his last three games combined since picking up a shoulder injury in Week 5, but the Packers have been gashed by Taylor Heinicke (10/95 rushing) and Justin Fields (6/43) the last two weeks. The Packers are giving up the seventh-most passing TDs per game (2.0) to QBs.
DeAndre Hopkins has scored touchdowns in three straight games with four scores overall in that span, and he’s up to seven TDs overall after posting 7/53/1 receiving on nine targets against his old team last week. He’s yet to reach double-digit targets in a game this season after doing it nine times last year. Green Bay is giving up 1.1 receiving TDs per game to WRs this season.
Christian Kirk has posted 10+ FP in three straight games and in five of his seven games this season. He’s also notched 4+ catches in three straight games and touchdowns in his last two contests. The Packers are giving up the seventh-fewest FPG (33.9) to WRs this season, and Darnell Mooney managed 5/45/1 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago.
A.J. Green has seen three or fewer targets in two of his last three games, and he’s topped out at six targets in his other five games this season. The good news is that he’s off to his most efficient start of his career by catching 68.6% of his passes for a 16.9 YPR average. Allen Robinson posted 4/53 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago.
Zach Ertz had a successful first appearance away from the Eagles’ organization, posting 3/66/1 receiving on five targets in his debut with the Cardinals in Week 7. He scored on a 47-yard catch-and-run play (a career-long TD) and he nearly finished with 22.1 FP, but he just missed scoring a second touchdown. Ertz played on 49% of the snaps and he ran a route on 59% of Arizona’s dropbacks in his first game, which is likely where he’ll sit going forward since the Cardinals use plenty of four-WR sets. Ricky Seals-Jones posted 6/51 receiving in this matchup last week.
Rondale Moore is going to be volatile the rest of the season as he fights for snaps with Ertz. He’s the clear #4 WR in this offense and he’s fallen below seven FP in four of his last five games. Adam Humphries managed 3/36 receiving in this matchup last week.
The Cardinals removed Chase Edmonds from their final injury report last Friday before Week 7 after he nursed a shoulder injury through the last two weeks of games and practices. He must be back to full strength after posting season-bests in snap share (69%) and carries (15), totaling 15/81 rushing and 1/9 receiving on three targets against the Texans. Edmonds still has yet to score with James Conner vulturing another touchdown on his 30% snap share on his way to 10/64/1 rushing. Edmonds is averaging 15.8/97.0 scrimmage per game in his five contests when he isn’t listed on the final injury report after averaging 8.0/42.0 scrimmage per game in his two contests with the shoulder injury designation. He still has a limited fantasy ceiling with just two carries inside the five-yard line this season — Conner is 5-for-7 on his inside the five-yard line carries — but he’s back to being a solid floor RB2 with his healthy workload in this dynamic offense. The Packers are giving up just 111.7 scrimmage yards per game with four overall rushing TDs allowed.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 32.2 (32nd)
Plays per game: 62.9 (29th)
Pass: 60.6% (16th) | Run: 39.4% (17th)
Pace: 28.5 (19th)
Plays per game: 69.4 (10th)
Pass: 53.6% (30th) | Run: 46.4% (3rd)
With Davante Adams and Allen Lazard both on the COVID list, the Packers and Aaron Rodgers are very short-handed at receiver. Everyone on Twitter has quoted the same stat that Rodgers & Co. are 6-0 over the last two years without Davante Adams and the context behind those victories is fairly impressive. The Packers have put up 34, 23, 42, 31, 37, and 30 points without Adams and three of the victories were by multiple scores. That said, the markets have shifted heavily towards the Cardinals side with the line opening at -3 and jumping to -6.5 after the Adams news came out. Interestingly, the total (50.5) hasn’t moved at all – which signals that oddsmakers believe Adams is worth at least a field goal to the Packers scoring output despite their recent history.
Overall, this game is filled with plenty of guys we rely on every week for fantasy, but the pace of play between these two offenses is a concern. The Packers played slow last year and have plummeted to dead last in seconds per snap this season while the Cardinals simply haven’t needed to play as fast as they did in 2019 and 2020. Arizona has led on 67.7% of their offensive snaps, which is the second-highest clip behind only Buffalo (74.8%). As a result, this game is the second-slowest on the Week 8 slate in adjusted combined pace. We have to thread the needle here between Rodgers’ success without his main target, the markets telling us that Adams matters quite a bit, and the fact this game is very slow overall. Those factors combined with both sides playing towards the under recently (as Brolley notes) have me concerned that this game underwhelms.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Packers slot CB Chandon Sullivan has performed admirably since Jaire Alexander landed on IR. He currently ranks 16th-best among nickelbacks in YPCS, 18th in FP/CS, 12th in AY/CS, and 18th in TPR. My expectations were very low, yet he’s performed above the 50th percentile of qualified slot corners. With Arizona running out 10 personnel at twice the rate as the next team on the list, alignment percentages tell us Sullivan will meet up with Christian Kirk on around half of his routes. Kirk has submitted an excellent campaign to date. He ranks 12th-best in FPs/route (FP/Rt) at 0.521, 17th in yards/route (YPRR) at 2.24. However, the Packers often play coverages against which Kirk specializes, so I like him a lot this week.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling appears set to return to the Packers from a hamstring injury. Even if he is peppered with volume, if the alignment percentages hold up, half of his routes will be defended by 2021 breakout corner Robert Alford. He is closing his coverage down to the tune of 0.62 YPCS (fourth-best), 0.19 FP/CS (11th), 0.16 AY/CS (first), and a 78.2 TPR (17th).
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The big story for the Packers in Week 8’s Thursday night tilt will be the anticipated absence of WR Davante Adams, who was placed on the COVID-19 list on Monday, and Allen Lazard, who was placed on it Tuesday. The Cardinals are a gettable defense through the air, and the projected over-under of 51 is one of the three highest of the week. So losing Adams and Lazard is a big deal, especially for fantasy.
That being said, it might not be as big a deal for Aaron Rodgers as you might assume…
Aaron Rodgers in last 6 games without Davante Adams:— Daire Carragher (@DaireCarragher) October 25, 2021
• 1,865 yards
• 17 TDs, 1 INT
• 125.2 passer rating
Yes this situation is very bad, but this game is still winnable.
Rodgers’ path to success could be easier if JJ Watt (shoulder) can’t play, but Chandler Jones has been activated from the COVID list to help the Cardinals.
If either WR can’t play, fantasy players will likely be looking for some fill-ins. Lazard was finally starting to make some noise with Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) out of the lineup with 11+ FP in consecutive games thanks to touchdowns in consecutive games. He finished with 5/60/1 receiving on six targets (17% share) against Washington in Week 7, playing a healthy 91% of the snaps, but again, his availability is in severe question. Someone has to step up.
As for MVS, he’s eligible to play this week if he is able to work his way back, but the short turnaround to Thursday night might make Week 8 more viable.
Current expectation is #Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling will be activated off IR and play Thursday night against the Cardinals, per source.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) October 25, 2021
Green Bay will monitor MVS's hamstring this week, but potential good news with Davante Adams on the COVID-19 list.
MVS had just 6/76/1 on 16 targets in three games before getting hurt, but he and Rodgers missed multiple potential connections for big plays. That’s who MVS is and kind of who he has always been, but a big-play receiver playing with Rodgers can flip the fantasy script with one play. If I’m picking one non-Adams WR to play from Green Bay, it’s MVS, potentially touching WR2 territory, perhaps. But I wouldn’t be overly stunned if Randall Cobb becomes an important fill-in for Rodgers, in terms of someone Rodgers has preordained chemistry with. Cobb played a season-high 62% of the snaps in Week 7, and might have some real-single game DFS appeal and streaming potential. I wonder if this is the kind of game where Rodgers just peppers the guy he knows with targets. If you’re extra dying at the position and don’t trust MVS coming off injury, Equanimeous St. Brown would be the next man up, with rookie Amari Rodgers also getting some burn.
Packer TE Robert Tonyan had his first solid game of the season in Week 7, turning 5 targets into 4/63/1 receiving, and his violent spike after his touchdown was the sign of someone who has been very frustrated by his season so far. Tonyan’s role could expand if Adams and Lazard are out, but he’s a middling streamer against a Cardinal team that has allowed the fewest FPG to tight ends this season.
Meanwhile, after a promising Week 6 performance against the Bears, in which he functioned as the Packers’ “closer” and played a season-high 42% of the snaps, AJ Dillon played a season-low 23% of the snaps in Week 7 against the Team, gaining a season-low 8 yards from scrimmage. While the Pack beat Washington by 14, they actually never ran away with the game, allowing Washington to move up and down the field before messing things up in the red zone. That likely had something to do with Dillon’s lack of usage, but he also saw a touch after rookie Kylin Hill. It’s something to monitor. In a projected close game, Aaron Jones is the only Packer RB I want to play, and it’s possible that the Packers just look to get the ball into his hands a thousand times (I’m only slightly exaggerating).
Similarly for the Cardinals, the big question will be the availability of WR DeAndre Hopkins, who has missed multiple practices this week with a hamstring injury. Hopkins is always tough to get a read on because he is one of the most aggressive “veteran resters” in the entire NFL, someone who simply doesn’t practice much when dinged up — or even when healthy. But a hamstring injury is new here, and Hopkins being out would be a bummer against one of the NFL’s most banged-up secondaries, one that got torched last week by Terry McLaurin (and should have given up a second TD, as he dropped one).
Banged-up or not, QB Kyler Murray was participating in the open portion of Cardinals practice.— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) October 26, 2021
Absent from the open portion of practice, however, was WR DeAndre Hopkins and DL J.J. Watt. We'll see how they all appear on Arizona's injury report later.
In the Cardinals’ first game with TE Zach Ertz on the roster, here’s how their routes and targets (routes; targets) broke down: Hopkins (33; 9), AJ Green (29; 3), Chase Edmonds (26; 3), Christian Kirk (25; 5), Ertz (19; 5), Rondale Moore (16; 3).
As anticipated, Ertz’s arrival pushed Moore to the bottom of the food chain when it came to targets, and the talented rookie is just a part-time player now. Meanwhile, Ertz played 49% of the offensive snaps, scored the longest TD of his career (47 yards), and looked spry, meaning there’s plenty of reason to believe his role will grow in the coming weeks. He’s a defensible TE1 against the Packers’ solid but not suffocating TE defense (17th-most FPG allowed).
If Hopkins doesn’t play, both Green and Kirk will be in the WR2 mix, but it’s always difficult to figure out which Kyler Murray will prefer on any given Sunday.
As Brolley notes above, in the backfield, Chase Edmonds had a massive role against the Texans in Week 7 despite the blowout — perhaps owing to his no longer being on the injury report (shoulder). Edmonds is now averaging 15.8/97.0 scrimmage per game in his five contests when he isn’t listed on the final injury report after averaging 8.0/42.0 scrimmage per game in his two contests with the shoulder injury designation. He still has a limited fantasy ceiling with just two carries inside the five-yard line this season — James Conner is 5-for-7 on his inside the five-yard line carries. In a projected high-scoring game, Edmonds is the better option, with Conner likely a TD-dependent FLEX.