Week 3 Monday Night Single-Game NFL DFS: Top FanDuel & DraftKings Plays: Rams vs. Bengals
Welcome to the showdown breakdown for Week 3 Monday Night Football, game two, where the Rams head to Cincinnati to face the Bengals in a rematch of the 2021 Super Bowl. The likely absence of Joe Burrow puts a damper on this contest, but it also provides significantly more uncertainty, which can be valuable for those looking to get unique in single-game DFS. Let's look at the strategy for this final matchup of Week 3.
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This chart represents the general offensive strategies for each team when the game outcome is still in question (win probability between 20% and 80%). The final two minutes of each half are also excluded. Teams in the upper-right quadrant pass more often and play faster than the average NFL team in neutral game scripts, and conversely, teams in the lower-left quadrant play slower and run more often than the average NFL team.
Rams (+2, 20.75) @ Bengals (-2, 22.75); Over/Under 43.5
The Rams, sitting at a 1-1 record, have been exceeding expectations, particularly without their star receiver, Cooper Kupp. The team currently has 20.5 implied points, according to the betting odds. LA relies heavily on the passing game, using short passes as an alternative to their run game. They are capable of ramping up the tempo, though they've generally played at a below-average pace.
The Bengals, meanwhile, are walking on thin ice with an 0-2 record and may be on the brink of falling to 0-3, especially if star quarterback Joe Burrow is absent due to a calf injury. The betting odds give them 23.5 implied points, though this number may fluctuate depending on Burrow's condition. Cincinnati has typically been a pass-heavy team, but with the likelihood of backup Jake Browning starting, they might shift to a more conservative, league-average approach.
While there may be 22 people on the field for every play, each play and game is heavily dictated by the performance of each team’s quarterback. While efficiency isn’t everything for quarterbacks, it is the best indicator of future performance, so we use a trio of metrics to suss out top performers at the position compared to lackluster ones. xDrive Success %, or True Drive Success Rate, is a measurement of a QB’s ability to turn drives into scores weighted by sample size. EPA or Expected Points Added, is a measurement of the QB’s contribution, both running and throwing, to the team’s scoring and production vs. the average NFL team. Completion % over Expected (CPOE)represents the accuracy and efficiency of a QB’s passes compared to league expectations.
Matthew Stafford's 2023 performance has been incredibly impressive, and significantly better than his below-average 2022 numbers. He currently stands among the NFL's top three in true drive success rate and Expected Points Added (EPA) per game. The Rams' passing game is thriving, even without Cooper Kupp.
On the other side, if Jake Browning starts, Cincinnati's ceiling takes a hit. Burrow's health has been a concern, affecting his efficiency this season. Browning's college stats do not inspire confidence; he never completed more than 68% of his passes and never exceeded 3500 yards in a season. While A.J. McCarron is listed as the third-string quarterback, there is no guarantee Browning will finish the game if he starts.
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