Kickoff: Saturday, January 8th at 8:15 PM ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Betting Odds: DAL-3.5, 43.5 total via Oddsshark
Dak Prescott (Sit, QB2)
Dallas has secured the NFC East title, and their 4th seed in the playoffs is nearly inevitable. Because they won the division, they will be no lower than the 4th seed and they will play a first-round home game. They can move up to 3rd seed with a win plus losses by both the Rams and the Cardinals. They can move up to the 2nd seed should the Rams, Cardinals, and Buccaneers all lose. All this to say that the Cowboys are likely to only play their starters for one half before pulling everyone. Prescott has not been sharp but he is still producing for fantasy. With back-to-back QB1 weeks, both over 27 points, it is enticing to want to start him but remember he probably won’t play four quarters. He could be a decent play if you can start multiple quarterbacks but it is risky to play him this week.
Ezekiel Elliott (Start, Flex), Tony Pollard (Sit), Corey Clement (Sit)
Limited playing time could also hinder Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Both have battled injuries over the course of the second half, and there is no way to be sure that either gets a full workload. It is possible that the team decides to sit Pollard, or at least limit his touches. Look for Zeke to handle the monster share of the workload in the first half then get replaced by Corey Clement. Zeke should still be able to return flex value with a busy half but Clement is a shot in the dark and should be avoided.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
CeeDee Lamb (Start, Flex), Amari Cooper (Sit), Cedrick Wilson (Start, Flex), Dalton Schultz (Start, low-end TE1)
The Cowboys receiving corps has been disappointing, after sky-high expectations to start the season. There was talk that the team could produce three 1000-yard receivers and lead the league in passing. Instead, the receivers have been in and out of the lineup and when playing they have failed to live up to their massive ceiling. Ceedee Lamb leads the team in yards but hasn’t scored in six weeks. Cooper is likely not going to cross the 1k barrier for the first time since joining the team. Both receivers should play at least a half and it is possible that the team tries to target Lamb in the end-zone in hopes they can spark something moving into the playoffs. However, it is also possible that both are watching more from the sidelines and Cedric Wilson and Noah Brown play the bulk of the snaps. Wilson is an excellent sneaky start this week. Wilson has made some big plays for the team throughout the season, and he may make the inevitable loss of Michael Gallup to free agency all the more bearable.
One player that will likely see a full complement of snaps is Dalton Schultz. The Cowboys are thin at the position and their offense can handle function without a tight end with his skillset. He is a nice solid starter in the final week of the season.
Jalen Hurts (Sit), Gardner Minshew (Sit)
The Eagles have also qualified for the playoffs and will be either the 6th or 7th seed, based on the outcomes of the 49ers and Saints matchups. There is an outside chance that they face the Cowboys again next week, and both of these scenarios mean the team will have some incentive to rest their starters. Hurts has lit up the league, from a fantasy perspective, for most of the season but he is battling an ankle injury and the team could opt to start Gardner Minshew or at least play him in the second half. As tough of a call as it is, Hurts should probably be on your bench this week, and Minshew could struggle if he is playing with the second team. Both should be on the bench.
Miles Sanders (Out), Boston Scott (Sit, Flex), Jordan Howard (Sit)
Lead back Miles Sanders will miss the Week 18 game, in hopes that he can be ready for Wildcard weekend. Boston Scott will again take the majority of the team carries but he faces a tough Dallas rush defense that ranks 4th in fantasy points against the position. However, Scott could see a heavy workload and he did score twice last week. He is a solid flex option for managers looking for a cheap option. Jordan Howard has been productive in spurts but with so much uncertainty with who will actually be on the field, it is tough to start him with confidence.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Devonta Smith (Sit), Jalen Reagor (Sit), Quez Watkins (Sit, Flex), Dallas Goedert (Sit)
The Eagles have relied on the run game for the majority of the season, and this week should be no different as the team looks to rest some of its players. The only player that fantasy managers should be playing this week is Dallas Goedert, who could see a heavy target share in the first half against a Dallas defense that has a weakness defending the position. However, it is difficult to look into the crystal ball and see who will be the most productive receiver from Devonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, or Quez Watkins. With such a low volume passing attack and the likelihood that some of these players may not play in the second half, it is best to avoid them all.
-Marc Salazar (@oldsnake77)