Game Previews: All Fantasy Relevant Players For Week 9
Titans vs. Cowboys
This feels like a big week for the 3-4 Titans as they face down either a return to .500–and second place in their division–or dropping a fourth straight game. Sure, the phrase “must-win” is overused in sports. However, that’s what I’d call this game for Tennessee. If they fall another game behind Houston, I just don’t see them ever coming back. Luckily, the Titans looked good against the Chargers, and they are coming off their BYE week ready to go. I expect the Titans to win a close game against Dallas behind Marcus Mariota and the rushing game.
The passing attack
Marcus Mariota has had an up and down season, and there has even been talk about what the Titans should do next year at the QB position. Should they re-up, or should they move on and draft the successor? My personal feeling is that Mariota is still an NFL-caliber starter, but the offense just isn’t very good. There are good weapons on the team, they have talented running backs, but it just never seems to happen. All this being said, Mariota looked good against the Chargers. I am keeping an eye on him and hoping for a bounce back…even if it has to happen with another team in a year or two.
The rushing attack
Due to how strong the Cowboys have been against the pass this year, I expect Tennessee to try and run. The Titans seem to want to make Derrick Henry work, despite his track record, so he should always have some basic level of value. That being said, he feels like only a handcuff to Dion Lewis in case he gets hurt. Speaking of Dion Lewis, I will again start him this week. He is involved in the passing game, he runs, and he looks good doing all of it. I think Lewis could be an RB1 in a more functional, but he still has flex+ value here.
And the defense
The Dallas Cowboys offense has not exactly been potent this year. They struggle to put up points and are probably the NFC doppelganger of the Titans. Still, they traded some big value for Amari Cooper and the hopes of a revitalized passing attack. I don’t see it having the desired effect, and I expect this to be a low scoring game. This benefits the defense, and Tennessee is a great stream this week.
The Dallas Cowboys made a splash during their bye week when they traded their 2019 first round pick for Oakland WR Amari Cooper. The team hopes to jump-start an anemic passing game that is ranked 30th in the league averaging just 183 yards per game and a paltry 8 passing touchdowns. However, Dallas is just one game out of a playoff spot and have the league’s best defense. Hoping to get back on track they also made changes by firing first-year offensive line coach Paul Alexander. Alexander was a fish out of water in Dallas, after coming to the team from Cincinnati. Alexander had run a man blocking scheme in past years, relying on large linemen that weren’t asked to pull and move as much as the outside zone scheme the Cowboys prefers calls for. I see this as a positive move that should really spring the foundation of the Cowboys attack.
This week the Cowboys host the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. Tennessee, a 2017 playoff team, has been in many close games this year but failed to win a game in October. What should fantasy owners expect on MNF?
While fans may disagree, how do the Cowboys feel about Dak Prescott?
No matter how fans feel about QB Dak Prescott one thing is clear, the Cowboys feel he is their franchise QB. Dak is headed into the final year of his contract in 2019 and could be extended as soon as this summer. The team told you everything you needed to know when they traded a chance at a “future” QB for Cooper. They have already made the decision on Dak and if this season doesn’t work out they will look to replace staff before they give up on the quarterback.
For fantasy owners, Prescott has been a disappointment but his home/road splits have been positive and he plays in Jerry World in Week 9. Prescott has averaged 20 fantasy points at home and just 11 on the road. While the Titans have been quite average to fantasy QBs, they have given up multiple touchdown games to four QBs in just eight games. If you need a bye week fill-in Dak might be a dart to throw.
What can we expect from the Cowboys run game coming out of the bye?
Cowboys star RB Ezekiel Elliott has maintained his RB1 status midway through the season but we’ve only seen the old Zeke once in seven games. His 33 point outing in Week 4 was his only 20+ point game of the year. By firing the offensive line coach, the Cowboys told us they can see how badly the offensive line is struggling just as much as fans can. OL coach Mark Colombo steps into the role and he understands the scheme as well as you would expect from a coach that has spent decades in the system. Zeke should see immediate relief. The Titans are allowing 112 yards per game on the ground and 4.1 yards per carry. At home and coming off the bye, Zeke will have a full plate Monday night and he will ea
How will the addition of Amari Cooper affect the rest of the receiver corps?
Already the league’s fifth-youngest team, the Cowboys acquired 24-year old WR Amari Cooper to be the team’s top wideout. He is expected to push struggling WR Allen Hurns to a part-time role as rookie WR Michael Gallup continues to earn snaps. Gallup played in all of the teams Week 7 offensive snaps and profiles as a Y to Cooper’s X.
The Titans are one of the league’s worst defenses against receivers, allowing close to 40 points a game to pass catchers and a touchdown per game. The Cowboys should have their way in the middle of the field with WR Cole Beasley but I can see Cooper having a big game as he attempts to prove his critics wrong. Look for the Cowboys passing game to come alive, if only for one night, on Monday.
This defense has been a fantasy surprise, will it continue?
Midway through the season and the Cowboys young, ferocious defense leads the league in team and scoring defense. They are also top 10 in sacks. If the team struggles anywhere it is forcing turnovers with just six takeaways and two interceptions. Despite this, the Cowboys are a Top 8 fantasy defense which should continue to improve as the season winds down and if the offense can get anything going. Check your wire, as they may have been dropped during their bye week.
Boom: Zeke Elliott
Bust: Allen Hurns
Sleeper: Amari Cooper