Fantasy football every week now starts with “Thursday Night Football.” You want to make sure you kick off the action with a good first game of production, whether it’s playing the right players that give you a nice early lead or keeping some disappointing performers on the bench. Week 8 brings a better boon for fantasy than usual with the Packers and Cardinals, two of the league’s best offenses playing each other in Arizona with no worries about the weather. However, the start ’em, sit ’em decisions are still tough, as wide receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard (COVID-19) won’t be suiting up, taking away at least one “must-start” and adding several potential sleepers to the mix. Fortunately, DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) is expected to play through another injury as usual for Arizona, though the past suggests he might be limited.
With Aaron Rodgers and Kyler Murray, there’s still a chance for pleasing high-scoring duel with two QB1s, given the over/under is set at 50.5 points. Don’t forget about the talented running backs in the game vs. weak run defenses, too. Here’s breaking down the start/sit advice for season-long and DFS for the latest Thursday night matchup:
Packers: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: QB Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers is only QB10 on the season, but he’s been very consistent since that disastrous, useless Week 1 against the Saints. After throwing no TDs and two INTs in that game, he’s had multiple-TD games in the past six with only one more INT. He should require more volume than usual against the favored Cardinals, which will help and somewhat make up for no Davante Adams and Allen Lazard (both on the COVID list). When he’s been without Adams the past six times, he’s averaged 311 passing yards and 2.8 passing TDs.
Start: RB Aaron Jones
Jones was shut down by Washington’s defense last week, as Rodgers needed to put up the ball more often. The Cardinals’ run defense is rather giving and he should also get extra work in the passing game to compensate for the wide receiver issues.
Sit: RB A.J. Dillon
Dillon has looked good complementing Jones with more receiving to go with his power work. The problem is you can’t trust his touches, especially in a game that’s likely to either have a negative or even game script.
Start: WR Randall Cobb
Rodgers likes to have full trust in someone when he’s treating them like a busy top target. By default, with Adams and Lazard not playing, he will go to his old friend in the slot (and outside). Cobb has nice WR3 appeal given the situation because although the Cardinals’ pass defense is good, Rodgers can neutralize it by finding the right matchups.
Sit: Other Packers wide receivers
It’s impossible to know how the rest of the pecking order will play out as most of the evidence has led to Adams being super busy and Lazard the one stepping up most of late. There’s a chance Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) returns, but he’s boom or bust and you can’t really feel it with Equanimeous St.-Brown or rookie Amari Rodgers. Stop forcing something here when there are better options. Rodgers won’t force it either. (Update: MVS is now considered unlikely to play on Thursday.)
Start: TE Robert Tonyan
The Cardinals have been good against the tight end by the numbers, but as Rodgers should trust Cobb, he should also trust his man down the seam. Look for Tonyan to get chances to stretch the field and receive increased red-zone focus. Tonyan has been disappointing as a TE1, but after scoring last week, this could easily add to the midseason turnaround.
Sit: Packers DST
They’re simply not that good, and they’re undermanned in bend-but-don’t-break mode. The Cardinals aren’t the offense to test them against.
Start: K Mason Crosby
Crosby has been a solid, lower-tier starting kicker all season, and he should get his chances, as the Packers will leave a few good drives unfinished.
Cardinals: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: QB Kyler Murray
Murray has had only one bad game and has put up some massive performances despite limited running. In fact, he hasn’t scored on the ground since Week 3. He has thrown for 17 TDs and is averaging 286 passing yards per game. He should be good for two scores and 280 yards as his floor.
Start: RB Chase Edmonds
Edmonds has been a back-end RB2 this year, averaging 14 touches (just under six catches) and 81.2 scrimmage yards/game. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any touchdowns, but at least the touches will be there in this favorable matchup.
Start: RB James Conner
Conner has been a stronger RB2 than Edmonds on the strength of six TDs to go with an average of 13 touches and 53 yards/game. He’s Arizona’s red-zone option of choice when Murray isn’t putting the ball up, which is helped by Murray not running.
Start: WR DeAndre Hopkins
‘Nuk (hamstring) tends to play through everything, but that doesn’t mean he operates at 100 percent. The Cardinals will be careful with their No. 1, given they have plenty of other options and he can heal up well for the second half with a mini-bye ahead. What’s interesting is that Hopkins has yet to put up 90 or more receiving yards in any game this season. He’s averaging just under five catches and exactly 60 yards/game, but his fantasy stock has been boosted by his six TDs. You might be more scoring dependent than usual with Hopkins looking more like a borderline WR2/WR3 this week.
Start: WRs A.J. Green and Christian Kirk
The Packers will be down top cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder), and No. 2 corner Kevin King (shoulder/back) has been hurting, too. With Hopkins hobbled, Green and Kirk should continue to be key factors against a weak secondary.
Sit: WR Rondale Moore
We love the concept and talent of Moore; we wish he would get consistent touches and know when he’s getting them. That’s thrown off by Edmonds, Conner, Hopkins, Green, and Kirk and the new guy below.
Start: TE Zach Ertz
Ertz scored in his first game as a Cardinal. In a bye week for Darren Waller and Mark Andrews, you might need a streamer. The Packers are weak enough in coverage to think about Ertz, who also dented the end zone in his last TNF appeal.
Start: K Matt Prater
Prater has been money with his big leg and a lot of scoring opportunities tied to the Cardinals offense. It helps he’s back kicking indoors, too.
Sit: Cardinals DST
It might be tempting with their playmakers vs. the shorthanded Packers, but Aaron Rodgers isn’t turning over the ball, so it’s not worth it for a couple of sacks.
Packers vs. Cardinals: FanDuel single-game lineup
- MVP (1.5X): QB Aaron Rodgers $15,000
- AnyFLEX: QB Kyler Murray $17,000
- AnyFLEX: RB Aaron Jones $12,500
- AnyFLEX: TE Robert Tonyan $8,000
- AnyFLEX: WR Randall Cobb $7,000
Let’s double up SuperFlex style on the quarterbacks, shall we? We’ll also take the biggest workhorse back of the game, too. Tonyan and Cobb made sense to round things out at their affordable price points.
Packers vs. Cardinals: DraftKings Showdown lineup
- Captain (1.5x): RB Aaron Jones $13,500
- FLEX: QB Aaron Rodgers $11,400
- FLEX: QB Kyler Murray $12,000
- FLEX: TE Robert Tonyan $4,600
- FLEX: WR Randall Cobb $3,600
- FLEX: WR Rondale Moore $4,800
Look familiar? Everything is the same here except we crowned Jones and added Moore.