It almost seemed as if we were finally going to get a normal, highly-anticipated game on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 8. But because we can’t have nice things, Davante Adams and Allen Lazard (who has already been ruled out) are trending toward being sidelined for the Green Bay Packers when they square off with the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. Also, Marquez Valdes-Scantling is traveling with the team, but he will be a game-time decision as he has yet to be activated from injured reserve. Even amid all of the injury and COVID-19 news, the show(down) must go on over at DraftKings. Without further ado, here are my captain and flex picks for Thursday night’s contest between the Packers and the Cardinals.
Captain Spot Considerations
Kyler Murray ($18,000)
I tend to stray away from most quarterbacks in my captain spot due to running backs and wide receivers being in the optimal lineups more often than quarterbacks. The exceptions to the rule are quarterbacks like Kyler Murray, who can give us production with his legs. While Murray hasn’t run nearly as often as previous seasons, the Packers have allowed the second-most rushing yards to quarterbacks this season, including 95 yards to Taylor Heinicke in Week 7. If the Cardinals are going to win, it will likely be due to Murray being able to have success through the air. Along with his passing numbers, though, if we can get 30-40 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, he could easily end the night as the leading scorer on DraftKings. Given the number of value plays there could be, I’m not against inserting Murray as your captain this week.
DeAndre Hopkins ($15,900)
Yes, DeAndre Hopkins isn’t dominating the lion’s share of the targets on the Cardinals this season. But in the past three weeks, he’s garnered nine targets twice, and he’s combined for four touchdowns. Hopkins is questionable for Thursday night, and despite not logging a single practice this week, he’s expected to suit up in Week 8 against the Packers. No. 1 wide receivers have torched Green Bay’s secondary since Jaire Alexander went down with an injury. Diontae Johnson posted a 9/92/1 stat line, Ja’Marr Chase had 6/159/1, and Terry McLaurin had 7/122/1 just last week. While Hopkins hasn’t gotten his usual target share, he does have a 100% route participation, and he’s received 11 red-zone targets (fourth-most among wide receivers). Pair Murray with Hopkins if you have the All-Pro wideout as your captain as Murray will likely be having a stellar game if Hopkins is going off.
Aaron Jones ($13,500)
With Adams and Lazard likely out for the Packers, it could be a busy day for Aaron Jones out of the backfield. The Cardinals have been the sixth-best defense in limiting running backs on DraftKings, giving up only 19.16 points per week on the green site. However, Arizona has surrendered the sixth-most receptions (25) to running backs in the past four weeks. If the Packers are playing from behind, which could easily happen with a shorthanded receiving corps, then Jones could see plenty of action in the passing game on a site that rewards one full point for each reception. Plus, Jones is always a candidate to score multiple touchdowns for Green Bay, as he’s had the second-most multi-touchdown games at running back since 2019. The only running back that has more multi-touchdown games in that span is Derrick Henry.
Flex Spot Considerations
Christian Kirk ($7,200)
As of this moment, Hopkins is questionable for the Cardinals, but he is expected to suit up despite not logging a single practice ahead of Thursday. With the amount of value that could be open on this slate, I wouldn't fault anyone for fitting in Hopkins, especially with the Packers sans Alexander. However, if you want to gain some leverage on people that have Hopkins, then you could use Christian Kirk, especially if you believe Hopkins is limited in any fashion. Hopkins is no longer getting an insane target share like in previous years, largely due to guys like Kirk, A.J. Green, and Rondale Moore stepping up for Arizona. Kirk is 10th in the NFL in yards per target and is capable of hitting a splash play with an aggressive quarterback like Murray.
Randall Cobb ($3,600)
Under the assumption that Valdes-Scantling is unable to go, Randall Cobb would become the de facto No. 1 wideout for the Packers. If Valdes-Scantling is activated on Thursday, then I might move Cobb slightly down my rankings for Thursday night. With Adams and Lazard out, that is a ton of vacated targets, especially with Adams’ massive 33.8% target share (second-highest in the NFL). In the event that Cobb is the No. 1 wide receiver on Thursday night against the Cardinals, he’s a cheap flex player at only $3,600. Rodgers has a long history with Cobb and he’s the only wideout remaining (if Adams, Lazard, and Valdes-Scantling are out) that has much experience with the All-Pro quarterback. If Valdes-Scantling returns from injured reserve and is prepared to handle a full workload, then I’d consider using both Cobb and Valdes-Scantling in different lineups if you are running multiple entries.
AJ Dillon ($1,400)
AJ Dillon saw his smallest workload of the season in Week 7 versus the Washington Football Team. Dillon fumbled the ball twice, losing one of them, which didn’t help his case to remain on the field. Even though he lost touches to Kylin Hill a week ago, the Packers could need Dillon to handle an increased role given their dire wide receiver situation. The second-year back has shown an ability to catch passes and he could find the end zone in an offense that gets in the red zone often. At the price of $1,400 on DraftKings, we don’t need Dillon to do much to pay off his price tag.
Equanimeous St. Brown/Amari Rodgers ($600/$400)
With question marks surrounding the wide receiver position for the Packers, guys like Equanimeous St. Brown and Amari Rodgers could be thrust into the starting offense on Thursday. St. Brown has more experience in the offense, so I’d expect him to get the first crack with the starters. Once again, St. Brown and Rodgers may see less playing time if Valdes-Scantling makes his return to the field. When you are chasing the big money on showdown slates, you need to be different somewhere. So to be contrarian, I like the idea of being able to spend under $1,000 in salary on either St. Brown or Rodgers in a game where the Packers could be playing from behind.