Immediate fantasy football takeaways from Monday Night Football's NFL wild-card game

Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) runs the ball ahead of Arizona Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson (20) during the first half in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals 34-11 to finish Super Wild-Card Weekend.

The Rams started the game hot with touchdowns on two of their first three drives, but their defense was the real MVP, as it held Arizona to three-and-outs or interceptions on each of its first seven drives.

The Rams offense was perfect in the second half, as three drives accumulated 4-6 minutes to drain the clock. Arizona was able to score in the second half but didn’t possess the ball nearly enough to catch up.

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Table Notes
  • Snaps include plays called back due to penalties like offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.
  • Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.
  • Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.

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Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

  • Odell Beckham Jr.: 4 receptions, 54 yards (3.18 YPRR), 1 TD, 1 pass, 40 passing yards
  • Cooper Kupp: 5 receptions, 61 yards, 1 TD (2 avoided tackles)
Arizona Cardinals Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Christian Kirk 49 32 11 0
A.J. Green 43 27 3 0
Antoine Wesley 37 22 1 0
Rondale Moore 21 18 6 0
Zach Ertz 53 34 4 0
Darrell Daniels 15 10 3 0
Demetrius Harris 4 2 0 0
Chase Edmonds 29 15 1 8
Eno Benjamin 15 8 2 4
James Conner 14 6 2 4
Total 56 37 33 17
Los Angeles Rams Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Cooper Kupp 60 21 7 0
Odell Beckham Jr. 40 17 4 0
Van Jefferson 39 19 1 0
Bennett Skowronek 7 1 0 0
Tyler Higbee 60 19 4 0
Kendall Blanton 12 3 0 0
Brycen Hopkins 11 1 0 0
Cam Akers 32 10 2 17
Sony Michel 24 8 0 13
Jake Funk 4 2 0 2
Total 60 22 18 35

Cam Akers‘ return: Akers tore his Achilles this summer but was able to remarkably recover enough to return for the end of the season. He had a quiet performance last week, recording three rushing yards from five carries and 13 total offensive snaps. The Rams split the backfield playing time Monday night, as Akers played a little more time in rushing situations while Sony Michel played more on third downs.

Los Angeles' game script favored the ground attack, which meant both backs received double-digit carries. Akers caught a 40-yard pass from Odell Beckham Jr. Akers and Michel should have similar fantasy value next week, as the game script could require more an aerial attack, leading to more playing time for Michel. However, there is also a chance the Rams hand the entire backfield over to Akers, as they typically like using one back for the entire game.

Cooper Kupp’s quiet night: Kupp accrued a minimum of 92 yards in every regular-season game this season with the exception of one — the Rams home game to the Cardinals. He was held to 64 yards in that game. He had a similar night tonight, recording five receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown.

The Rams only passed the ball 18 times, as the game script allowed them to run all night. Kupp still led the team in targets (seven), and his threat rate was similar to his past performances. He dropped a pass, which didn’t help matters. He should be just fine next week with a game script that requires more passing.

Rondale Moore‘s return: Moore missed the last three games with an ankle injury but returned to the Cardinals lineup Monday night. His role was much bigger than it was earlier in the season. His seven targets Monday night were his third-highest target total of the season. He should continue to be a large part of the Arizona offense in 2022. 

Christian Kirk and A.J. Green are unrestricted free agents, and it’s unlikely both players return given the Cardinals' cap situation. They only have $6 million in effective cap space, according to Over The Cap, and several other important unrestricted free agents, such as both running backs, Zach Ertz and the PFF's fourth-best free agent Chandler Jones. Moore being fourth on the depth chart this season was a luxury, but it’s one the Cardinals can’t afford next season.


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