Kickoff: Thursday, December 2nd at 8:20 PM ET
Location: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Betting Odds: DAL -4.5, 47.5 total via Oddsshark
Network: FOX, NFL Network
Dak Prescott (Start, QB1)
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott struggled for part of last week’s game against the Raiders, a week after his worst outing of the season against the Chiefs, but salvaged his fantasy day with 209 yards in the fourth. Dak finished with 375 yards and two touchdowns. It was Dak’s eight QB1 in 10 starts, an 80% mark is better than each of the nine QBs who have outscored Dak so far this season. It’s remarkable consistency, and good for QB6 in points per game. Against a tough Saints rush defense, expect Dak to pass early and often. He’s a locked-in QB1 this week and he’s ascending.
Ezekiel Elliott (Start, RB2), Tony Pollard (Start, Flex)
Early in the week, we heard reports that the Cowboys were considering resting Ezekiel Elliott but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Zeke has battled injury since turning his ankle in Week 6. Zeke hasn’t seen more than 16 carries since the bye in Week 7, and for a player who relies on volume, his numbers have suffered. Outside of a two-touchdown game in Week 10, Zeke has been a mid-range RB2 since the bye. This week he faces a tough rush defense in the Saints defense allowing just 14.5 fantasy points to the position. Expect a relatively slow day from Zeke.
Tony Pollard is also a player where we should use caution. For the last few weeks, Pollard has looked more explosive in this offense, but he is also seeing limited opportunity. Pollard hasn’t seen more than 11 carries since Week 5, and although he has seen some work in the passing game, the decision would be more clear if Zeke were out. Pollard could see an increased workload this week, but against a tough defense, managers will need to hope for plenty of work as a receiver. Pollard is a decent Flex play, and could be someone who pops should Zeke be limited.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Ceedee Lamb (Start, WR2), Amari Cooper (Sit), Michael Gallup (Start, WR3), Dalton Schultz (Start, TE1)
Injuries and illness have hit the Cowboys’ receiving corps hard in the last few weeks. Ceedee Lamb is expected back this week, after missing a game due to a concussion. Lamb should immediately regain his status as the primary receiver in this offense, and is an easy start, with WR1 upside.
Amari Cooper contracted Covid and has missed two straight. Cooper returned to practice this week but reports are not positive, he apparently still has a cough and he hasn’t been able to do any conditioning in the past ten days. Jerry Jones did say on Tuesday that Cooper is expected back but things could change. Regardless, starting Cooper coming off of an illness is a risky decision. We are recommending you sit him for a better option but many managers may force him into the lineup and hope for the best. Cooper has always been boom or bust, and this week will be no different.
Michael Gallup woke up last in last week’s contest, finishing with his first 100-yard game of the season. Gallup is as good of a third receiver as any in the league, and Dak loves to target him downfield. He is a sneaky starter this week, in a game where Cooper could be on a snap count.
Dalton Schultz has emerged this season as a solid fantasy tight end, with six top-12 weeks and TE8 in points per game. While there have been some quiet games, Schultz is an easy every-week starter for any manager who doesn’t have a top-3 option.
New Orleans Saints
Taysom Hill (Start, QB1)
While the Saints have not officially announced Taysom Hill as this week’s starter, all indications are he will make his first start this week. That could be fantasy gold for any managers who roster him. Last season Hill started four games at QB and averaged nearly 25 fantasy points per game, finishing as a weekly QB1 in three of four weeks. Hill is a threat for multiple touchdowns, either as a passer or a runner, and will almost certainly see 50+ yards as a ball carrier. Dallas will have its hand full trying to contain him and he is an easy start for his managers this week. He is also a strong play for any managers looking for a streaming option.
Alvin Kamara (Start, RB2), Mark Ingram (Start, Flex)
The Saints have been pretty quiet about the health of star running back Alvin Kamara. Kamara returned to practice on Monday, after missing three straight, but he was limited. He will be a game-time decision once again, and if he plays he could be limited. Regardless Kamara is as good as any back in the league, and he has proven that he doesn’t need overwhelming volume to produce for fantasy managers. If he goes, he should be in your lineup, perhaps even as a Flex if needed.
Mark Ingram is expected back and is a solid Flex play. Ingram saw 30 rush attempts in the two games leading up to Week 12, but the team held him out, on short rest, after knee swelling. Ingram will be back this week and should see 12+ carries against an average rush defense, and a decent shot to find the end-zone.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Deonte Harris (Sit, Deep Flex if cleared), Marquez Callaway (Sit, Deep Flex), Tre’Quan Smith (Sit, Deep Flex)
Saints wideout Deonte Harris is second on the team in receptions behind Kamara and leads the team in yards per reception. However, Harris is in the middle of an appeal of a three-game suspension, and that decision could come down against him at any point before the game Thursday night. If he does play, look for Harris to find a way to exploit a Dallas pass defense that is susceptible to receiving threats.
Marquez Callaway leads the Saints in receiving touchdowns with six, and he has made some unbelievable contested catches throughout the year. With Hill behind center, the Saints tend to take deep shots more than usual and Callaway is a perfect receiver in this scenario. At some point in this ball game, the Saints will complete big plays downfield, and Callaway is worth a Flex play in hopes that he hits.
Tre’Quan Smith has seen an uptick in usage recently but is not someone fantasy managers can have confidence in this week. The same goes for any tight end on this roster, just no one you can trust at this point.
-Marc Salazar (@oldsnake77)