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Thursday Night Fantasy Starters: Cardinals D, Mason, Rams D

By Steve Silverman-

(CBS Local) This could be a night for the defense.

Actually, it could be a night for both defenses. The Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams appear headed for a low-scoring game that does not produce many points for skill-position players.

That's just the way the game figures since both teams are playing backup quarterbacks who have shown limited consistency. Even if Drew Stanton and Shaun Hill were to manage top efforts, neither quarterback could be expected to get the best of the opposing defenses.

The Rams have been especially strong, as they are coming off back-to-back shutouts. While three in a row does not look likely, they could very well hold the visitor to less than two touchdowns.

Cardinals players

QB Drew Stanton – You have to give Stanton credit for his athleticism and moxie, but he is not the most accurate quarterback and head coach Bruce Arians is not about to push it against the red-hot Rams. Stanton is completing 54.5 percent of his passes and he has a 7-5 TD-interception ratio. It's difficult to see him playing with any consistency here. BENCH HIM

RB Kerwynn Williams – You may not have heard of Williams before and you have never considered him for your fantasy lineup, but he's going to get a lot of playing time because Andre Ellington just underwent season-ending surgery. Williams has superior quickness and he gained 100 yards on 19 carries vs. Kansas City last week. Look for 65 yards here, but that won't be enough. BENCH HIM

Arizona Defense – The Cardinals are going to have to depend on their defense to make big plays for them in this game if they are going to have a solid chance of bringing home the win. Start off with defensive end Calais Campbell, who has 7.0 sacks this season. Look for him to get two more here, and don't be shocked if one leads to a fumble recovery. Free safety Rashad Johnson has four interceptions, and he has returned two for touchdowns. He gets one more here. PLAY 'ZONA DEFENSE

Rams players

QB Shaun Hill – The Rams' quarterback threw for 213 yards and two touchdowns last week in the win over Washington, but we don't trust him against the first-place Cardinals. The Arizona defense will be desperate and they won't let Hill do much. Perhaps 150 yards and a touchdown through the air, but not much more besides that. BENCH HIM

RB Tre Mason – The Rams need a running game, and Mason has given them one. He has run for a respectable 628 yards, and he is averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Jeff Fisher is going to try to establish his running game here, and Mason has exceeded the 100-yard mark (113 yards and 117 yards) in two of the last four games. He'll get 100 yards here and find the endzone. PLAY HIM

St. Louis Defense – Not only does the Rams defense have the momentum that comes with back-to-back shutouts, they are just rolling up sacks and the unit is loaded with confidence. Look for Robert Quinn to have at least 2.0 sacks here, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins has returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns, including one for 99 yards. Outside linebacker Alec Ogletree has forced three fumbles, and he gets another one here. PLAY RAMS DEFENSE


Steve Silverman has been writing, talking about and playing fantasy football since the early 1990s. He co-hosted Fantasy Football Weekly, the first Fantasy Football television program, in 1994 and '95. Follow Steve on Twitter @profootballboy.

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