Kickoff: Sunday, December 11th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX
Betting Odds: MIN -17, 45 Total on Oddsshark
Writer: Justin Herrera (@semtexmex93 on Twitter)
Kyle Allen/Davis Mills (Sit)
I know it isn’t easy to have a bye week on the last week of the fantasy football season and/or the first week of playoffs, but please don’t consider playing either of these guys. Kyle Allen was brutal to watch last week against the Cleveland Browns, completing 51% of his passes, throwing two picks, and fumbling the ball on his own goal line. In his last four starts, Davis Mills completed 58.7% of passes with six interceptions. The Cowboys allow only 12.5 fantasy points per game; in the last five games, they’ve allowed 18.5 ppg. So there’s, of course, a chance for one of these QBs to have a decent day, but considering how good Dallas’ defense has been and how bad the Texans have been. It shouldn’t be any surprise that they are a sit this week.
Dameon Pierce (Start, RB2)
Dameon Pierce is the one saving grace when it comes to watching the Houston Texans play football. The way he runs with violence and fearless disregard for others… it’s beautiful. Pierce has also been great for fantasy this year, only posting single-digit outcomes in two of his starts this year. Over 68% of Pierce’s rushing yards this year have been tallied as yards created (yards gained after the first evaded tackle). This means he’s been a monster in the open field, and behind this bad offensive line, that’s an impressive feat. The Cowboys have allowed 15.5 FFPG to the last four lead running backs while only allowing one 100-yard rusher. Pierce should still be an RB2 this week due to his recent involvement in the Texans’ receiving game, averaging three catches in the past two weeks.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Brandin Cooks (Sit), Nico Collins (Start, Low-End Flex), Jordan Akins (Sit)
Brandin Cooks has been a top-36 receiver twice this year, and the Cowboys limit WRs to 21.4 fantasy points per game. Cooks is averaging six targets in the last three weeks, but with the Texans’ current QB situation, there don’t seem to be very many valuable targets. This is either your first week of playoffs or an important seeding week, so leave Cooks on your bench.
Nico Collins has been the best option for the Texans this season. Last week he was targeted ten times and has averaged nine a game for the last four games. Collins has seven red zone targets in that span and has scored two touchdowns. While he’s not a huge threat in this offense, he has been the most significant for fantasy this year and should be a viable low-end flex.
Jordan Akins has averaged 51% of the team snaps, 5.5 targets, and one red zone target in the past two weeks. Akins is a dart throw at the tight end position and has finished top-10 three times this year. The Cowboys have been the fourth-best team against fantasy tight ends, so I’m going to pass on starting him this week.
Dak Prescott (Start, QB1)
Dak Prescott should be in for another easy week against the Texans this week. While this game could be a cakewalk for this Dallas squad, that doesn’t mean that Dak won’t be heavily involved. In the three games, the Cowboys have won by 20+ points, and Dak has finished QB4 and QB10 (2x). The Texans have been “stingy” against opposing QBs, only allowing 12 FPPG. This makes sense considering they’ve given up the most rushing yards (2,029) and the tenth fewest passing yards (2,510). While impressive, the Texans have allowed three QB1 weeks to the past five QBs they faced. That being said, Prescott should be able to pull together a QB1 game this week. Go ahead and start him.
Tony Pollard (Start, RB1), Ezekiel Elliott (Start, RB2)
Tony Pollard got the start last week and cashed in on the opportunity with 106 yards and two touchdowns. Pollard logged his third top-5 performance this year and his third multi-touchdown performance. As stated in the Dak section, the Texans have allowed the most rushing yards and TDs to RBs this year. Pollard has been the most explosive of the Cowboys’ backs and should be able to make the most out of this matchup. Go ahead and start Pollard as an RB1 this week.
Ezekiel Elliott has been a top-12 running back in four of the last five weeks. Elliott has scored seven touchdowns during that timespan. How has Elliott been able to sustain this success? It’s as simple as Mike McCarthy loves to put him in on red zone drives, with 14 red zone carries in the last five games. Elliot has been a strong RB for fantasy this year, and against the Texans, he should be a solid RB2.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Ceedee Lamb (Start, WR1), Michael Gallup (Sit), Dustin Schultz (Start, TE1)
Ceedee Lamb continued to have a strong season last week by catching five of his seven targets for 71 yards and a touchdown. Lamb has the tough task of playing the Texans, who are on the season allowing the fourth fewest FPPG (18.3) to wide receivers. Lamb has averaged 20.8 FPPG in the last five games and should be targeted enough in this game to be still worth a WR1 play on Sunday.
Michael Gallup had his first big game last Sunday, scoring two touchdowns on four red zone targets. Outside of the touchdowns, he was rather unimpressive, catching four passes for 23 yards. This might be a breakout game, or it might be an anomaly. I expect this week to be dominated by Lamb, with a little left over for Gallup.
Dalton Schultz came off his two-touchdown performance in Week 12 with a six-target, two-catch dud. The Texans have allowed 7.1 FPPG to tight ends this year. Schultz has been a favorite of Dak’s in the red zone, getting targeted nine times since Prescott’s return. The tight-end landscape is so terrible that you can’t sit Schultz this week.