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Prior to breaking down the Thursday night game from a daily fantasy perspective, I will recap how I did in the Fantasy Draft $100,000 Run and Gun (Sun Only) tournament from the week before. You can compete against me weekly throughout the season.
It was a disappointing showing in Week 12 as only a couple of the high priced players came through. New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was in a smash spot against the Philadelphia Eagles, but failed to reach 100 yards receiving. The status of Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon heading into the weekend was unknown which kept his ownership percentage extremely low. Gordon was a prime tournament option due to this as he would have been one of the most owned players if he was completely healthy. Gordon was on his way to scoring at least 30 FantasyDraft points until he was injured. That was frustrating as I would have easily had a better performance.
Unfortunately, it was nearly impossible to cash in a tournament this size without using Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. The second-year running back scored 52.70 FantasyDraft points and was 30 percent owned. That is a mountain that is simply too big to climb.
The unstoppable Saints offense heads to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in a game that checks in with an over/under of 52.5. The Saints are currently 7.5 point favorites as well. Drew Brees continues to roll as he has thrown four touchdown passes in three of the last four games. The Cowboys rank 20th in pass defensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders and shouldn’t provide much resistance to Brees and company. The question becomes fitting Brees’ salary to make a strong lineup this week. Brees checks in at very high price of $13,900 which is way too high for cash lineups. Brees is always a great play and will be an elite tournament option with his insane ceiling, but we need to construct a lineup that will cash and that will be difficult if we pay that premium of a price.
Dak Prescott continues to play well as he has scored over 20 FantasyDraft points in four of the last six games. Prescott has a decent price tag of $11,800, but I still think he is more in the tournament conversation. Prescott is at his best when the Cowboys are playing with a lead and I don’t think that will happen in this game. The Saints defense has actually played better in recent weeks and that could continue again. If you believe Prescott will thrive in playing from behind than he is a decent option.
Ezekiel Elliott ranks second in snap percentage among running backs so game flow will not dictate how involved he is. The Saints rank third in rush defensive DVOA, but I believe that has a lot to do with teams being forced to throw. The Cowboys want to run and they will try everything possible to feed Zeke and keep the Saints offense off the field. The question once again involves price tag as Elliott is nearly a $1,000 more than the next running back. I will avoid Elliott in cash games, but he’s always an elite tournament option due to his massive ceiling.
The duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram had a letdown performance on Thanksgiving, but have performed at a high level throughout the season. The Cowboys rank eighth in rush defensive DVOA, but they haven’t faced an offense like the Saints. Kamara can be used in all formats as he is still playing in over 60 percent of the snaps and will be involved in both the run and passing game. Ingram is more suited for tournaments as we will be banking on him scoring touchdowns in order to really give the production we need. Game flow could allow Ingram to get more touches as well with the Saints favored by 7.5.
Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas continues to play at a high level despite scoring less than 10 FantasyDraft points on Thanksgiving. Thomas has scored four touchdowns in the last four games and is once again an elite option in all formats. I feel like a broken record, but it comes down to roster construction as Thomas is the highest priced receiver and the second highest priced skilled position player. I give FantasyDraft a lot of credit as there are a lot of elite players in this game, but they are coming with an elite price tag. Thomas is perfect for tournaments, but will be hard to fit in cash games.
The Cowboys only have one noteworthy receiver and that is Amari Cooper. Cooper is coming off a monster performance on Thanksgiving as he finished with 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Prior to this breakout, Cooper failed to reach 80 receiving yards since being acquired by the Cowboys. Cooper is the fifth highest priced receiver this week which makes him an easy fade in all formats.
The Cowboys rank 20th against the tight end position and allowed Jordan Reed of the Redskins to catch six balls for 75 yards on Thanksgiving. However, the Saints don’t involve the tight end much as Ben Watson hasn’t caught three passes since Week 9. Watson is only in play as a pure punt option with the hope of a touchdown.
Geoff Swaim had wrist surgery which has ended his season for the Cowboys and there have been no viable replacement since. This is a situation to easily avoid in all formats.
Due to the high expected point total and the Saints checking in as the second highest priced defense in Week 13, both defenses can be avoided in all formats.