Monkey Knife Fight: Thurs. Night Football Week 9
Steve Pimental breaks down his plays on Monkey Knife Fight for Thursday Night Football Week 9
Last week I made a couple of mistakes with my MonkeyKnifeFight picks. First of all, I underestimated how bad Case Keenum is. I didn't think that was possible. Secondly, I underestimated how little scoring there would be in the Minnesota/Washington game. That shouldn't be an issue this week, at least for one of the teams.
This could be another low scoring game, and there is also a chance Arizona only scores once and Kyler Murray runs it in. At the same time, I think I’d set Tevin Coleman ’s over/under at 1.5 touchdowns in this game; the other two are just a bonus. Oftentimes I’m tempted to target 2.5 or even 3.5 touchdowns for this contest, but not Thursday. I’ll be a little bummed if all three of my picks score and I could’ve won more money, but I don’t think it’s worth the risk this week.
I’m picking Murray, Coleman and Kirk. Coleman is the easiest call. David Johnson hasn’t been ruled out yet, and even if he is, I think it’s awfully optimistic to expect much fantasy production in Drake’s first game with his new team in a short week against the best defense in football. Arizona couldn’t run the ball against New Orleans, and the 49ers are a much tougher test than the Saints.
Garoppolo vs. Murray may be the toughest call. Murray has thrown for 324 yards total over the last two weeks, but he has still topped 240 passing yards in five of eight games this season. If this game goes the way we expect, he could rack up empty passing yards against a defense that’s sitting back. At the same time, Garoppolo has topped 250 passing yards just twice this season, and not since Week 3. He could hit some big plays against this bad defense and beat Murray easily, but I’m counting on the fact this team doesn’t want Garoppolo to throw any more than he needs to.
Kirk has at least four receptions in every game, and he is averaging 6.4 receptions per game. George Kittle has at least six receptions in five of seven games, and he is averaging 5.7 receptions per game. Kittle had just three receptions against the Bengals and Redskins, and I suspect Garoppolo will not look his way much because he won’t have to. It also doesn’t hurt that Kirk is getting 1.5 receptions.
Over Under 3/4
Jimmy Garappolo Under 18.5 fantasy points
Garappolo has gone over 17.5 fantasy points once all season, but it was against Cincinnati Week 2. Arizona’s defense may be even worse than Cincinnati’s, and 17.5 fantasy points is not a lot. That being said, Garoppolo has thrown more than 30 passes just twice this season, and I doubt very much that he’ll have to throw a whole lot Thursday.
Kyler Murray Under 17.5 fantasy points
Murray has failed to top 16.5 fantasy points in each of his last two games and four of his eight games overall. The rushing yards we expected this season have not materialized, even against a very soft schedule. There is always a chance Murray pulls a Blake Bortles and does enough in garbage time to go over, but I’m certainly not counting on that.
George Kittle Over 15.5 fantasy points
The Cardinals have been the worst team in the league against tight ends, and it isn't particularly close. The lone exception was the Giants game, when Rhett Ellison scored and Evan Engram was largely shut out. That is a concern this week considering how infrequently the 49ers throw the ball, but I believe in Kittle. He has topped 15.5 fantasy points in three of his last four games.
Tevin Coleman Over 16.5 fantasy points
The risk here is that the 49ers jump out to a big lead and Coleman doesn’t have to do a whole lot. That being said, this is a fantastic matchup, and if San Francisco jumps out to a big lead, Coleman will likely be a big reason why.