Kickoff: Sunday, January 3rd at 1:00 PM ET
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Betting Odds: DAL -3, 48.5 total via Oddsshark
Andy Dalton (Start, High-end QB2)
Andy Dalton had a fantastic outing last week, scoring 30+ points for the first time as a Cowboy. Dalton has six straight games as a mid-tried QB2 or better. This week’s matchup against the Giants should provide a nice matchup for Dalton to continue his hot streak. Several QBs may sit out this week and others are injured. This week Dalton will be a sneaky streaming play in your fantasy championship.
Ezekiel Elliott (Start, RB2), Tony Pollard (Sit)
Cowboys lead back Ezekiel Elliott bounced back last week with just the second 100+ yard game of this season. Zeke looked strong and healthy as he returned from a calf injury, and his resurgence could not have come at a better time for the Cowboys. Dallas is fighting for a playoff spot, and while they may not have earned it the team will do everything possible to win on Sunday. Look for Zeke to see a heavy workload on Sunday. However, because Zeke is back in his lead role, that sends Tony Pollard back to the bench. Pollard saw limited action last week after a breakout performance and that tells us the team does not view him as a lead back, yet. Don’t risk a Pollard start.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Amari Cooper (Start, WR2), Michael Gallup (Start, Flex), CeeDee Lamb (Sit), Dalton Schultz (Sit)
The Cowboys receiving corps got back on track last week, with Amari Cooper collecting 121 yards, Michael Gallup scoring twice to go along with his 121 yards receiving, and Ceedee Lamb adding 65 and a touchdown. This was the offensive explosion Dallas fans were counting on each week with a healthy Dak Prescott. Andy Dalton proved he could steer the ship, if only for a couple of weeks. This week, in the team’s most critical matchup of the season, the team should have a nice performance as an offense and this could be a higher scoring game than expected. Cooper has been on a hot streak and more consistent than at any time in his career but he will be shadowed by James Bradberry for most of the game. Cooper struggles against bigger corners, like Bradbury, so managers may temper expectations but still not enough to bench him. Gallup is a sneaky start this week because of the shadow coverage they give Cooper. Gallup exploited this last week before the Eagles changed coverages and Gallup may be able to have a quick strike early and warrants a start. Ceedee may be the most talented of this group but he has also struggled with consistency. Sit him this week. At tight end, Dalton Shultz has not topped 50 yards receiving since Week 8. Shultz was looking like a nice breakout player but that has evaporated in the second half.
New York Giants
Daniel Jones (Sit)
Daniel Jones has not taken a step forward that most people expected this season. Jones has battled injury but when playing he has been less than stellar. Jones does not have a single 300+ yard passing game this season and just three games with multiple touchdown passes. He has played in seven games where he failed to throw a single touchdown pass. LEave Jones on the shelf again this week, in a critical week.
Wayne Gallman Jr (Start, Flex)
The Giants’ run game has been missing for a few weeks now. Wayne Gallman saw just six carries last week, and 15 in the last two games. We don’t expect that to continue this week, especially against a Cowboys team that is struggling at defensive tackle and has been gashed on the ground by several teams. Gallman should see enough work this week to warrant a low-end flex-start. Managers should avoid the rest of the running backs on this team. Alfred Morris is a touchdown vulture but not relevant otherwise and Dion Lewis has all but disappeared.
Sterling Shepard (Start, Flex), Darius Slayton (Sit), Golden Tate (Sit), Evan Engram (Start, TE2, Monitor injury)
Sterling Shepard has a nice matchup this week and is Jones’s preferred target. Shepard had a solid game last week, his first WR1 finish of the season and he is seeing enough volume to produce. Based on volume and opportunity Shepard is the WR24 by expected points. Managers should have no hesitation if they need a sneaky option at flex this week. However, Darius Slayton has been too inconsistent and Golden Tate too injured to count on. Bench them both.
It is hard to believe but Evan Engram is currently the TE14 in PPR formats. Engram has been disappointing in stretches but he’s managed just enough 10 point games to squeak to the backend of a bad position group. Engram has just two 10+ point games, and that just won’t cut it for most managers. Engram has a nice matchup this week but he cannot be considered anything more than a touchdown dependant play this week, especially since he has not practiced. Avoid him if you can.
-Marc Salazar (@dingwog on Twitter)