Kickoff: Sunday, December 18th, 4:05 PM ET
Location: EverBank Field, Jacksonville
Betting Odds: DAL -4.0, 47.5 total via PFF.com
Writer: Estevão Maximo (@estevao_maximo on Twitter)
Dak Prescott (Start QB1)
Almost every NFL team has one bad game that serves as an outlier in their season, now this overly simplistic explanation shouldn’t serve as a get-out-of-jail-free card for the Cowboys coming about as close as they could’ve to get beat at home by the Houston Texans, and Dak Prescott in particular with only his second game with multiple picks on the year, but you can’t also overcorrect.
Prescott will go up against a defense that’s allowed the eighth most points to opposing quarterbacks, and is 28th in passing yards, and if we expand the numbers a little bit, Dak had thrown for multiple touchdowns in every game since the 49-29 win against the Bears on week 8. Don’t overthink this, Dak is a low-end QB1 in this game.
Tony Pollard (Start, RB1), Ezekiel Elliott (Start, RB2)
Many a men grew old waiting for this day, but at last, it has arrived. Tony Pollard season is in full steam, and there is no stopping it now. If we look at the last four games since Zeke returned to the team, Pollard has out-snapped him in three of them, with the one exception being the blow-out win against the Colts.
Pollard is finally getting real work, but it doesn’t mean Ezekiel Elliott is phased out of the offense by any means. In fact, the former first-rounder has scored in each of the four games since he came back from injury and has carried the ball 15 times or more, in each of them, but with Pollard as the more explosive option, and more involved in the passing game (16 targets to Zeke’s 10), he gets the nod as an RB1, with Zeke as the RB2.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
CeeDee Lamb (WR1), Michael Gallup (Start flex), Noah Brown (Sit), Dalton Schultz (Start TE1)
After the Amari Cooper trade, it became very clear it was going to be the CeeDee Lamb show in Dallas, and that’s exactly what he has delivered, Lamb leads the team in every major category, and although he’s delivered a couple of very underwhelming performances in the last four games, he is still WR6 on the season, and it’s no time to panic.
Michael Gallup is a weird case, he’ll make a catch or two in a game that can make anyone go: why isn’t this guy a superstar, then he’ll just disappear for a while, but he’s been surprisingly dependable earning six or more targets in six of his last seven games. Although he only had two catches against Houston last Sunday, Dak still looked his way six times.
As Gallup has emerged as an option for Dak, Noah Brown has been phased out of the offense, at least as the fantasy-relevant player he looked like, early in the year. Dalton Schultz saw 10 looks against the Texans, and seems to be on a bit of a hot streak, having caught a couple of scores against the Giants on Thanksgiving as well — he is a low-end TE1 against a Jags defense that allows the seventh most points to tight ends.
Trevor Lawrence (Start, QB2)
Last week I also wrote the sit-start article for the Jags, and propped up Trevor Lawrence as a QB1 against the pass-funnel defense of the Titans, and he more than lived up to it, going 30 for 42 for three scores and over 350 passing yards en route to a big Jags win by the score of 36-22. Well, now it is time to pump the breaks a little bit, as the challenge will be tougher even at home against this stout Cowboys’ D.
Dallas has allowed the third-fewest points to opposing QBs and only permits 5.2 net yards per passing attempt, second-best in the league. Lawrence is a more than playable QB2, but especially if you have other more established QB1 options in non-SF leagues, I’d give them a serious look before going with this matchup.
Travis Etienne (Start, RB2)
The big relief with Travis Etienne is that after that scare against the Ravens involving the same foot he previously injured, the former Clemson back has received a full workload in the last two games, and you shouldn’t be alarmed by the lack of production. Jacksonville got nothing going against the Lions and trailed 20-3 midway through the second quarter, and against the Titans, we knew going in that the passing attack was going to have a lot more success.
Dallas isn’t exactly a juicy matchup by any means, sitting in the top five in points allowed to opposing running backs as well (fifth), but Etienne is also a dangerous runner, and a more than capable RB2 in this exciting game between the Jags and Cowboys.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Christian Kirk (Start, WR2), Zay Jones (Start WR3), Marvin Jones (Sit), Jamal Agnew (Sit), Evan Engram (Start TE1)
It was the Evan Engram show last week, as the best player in all of the land, and although that performance firmly puts him in TE1 territory, having scored two touchdowns and accumulated 162 yards on 11 catches, the name that intrigues me, and it’s also mind-boggling that he is only rostered in 54% of Yahoo leagues, is Zay Jones.
Jones has 43 targets in the last four games, and despite Engram basically alpha’ing the entire Jags receiving room, he still managed to put up a very good line last week against the Titans with 8 catches for 77 yards and a score. With Christian Kirk likely to receive the toughest matchups from the Cowboys’ secondary, this is a prime spot for Jones to continue his strong second half.
Kirk might struggle a bit here, but he is still the guy Lawrence looks to in the big spots, with 44 first downs on the year, and is a fine WR2.