Kickoff: Sunday, November 7th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Betting Odds: DAL -9.5, 49.5 total via Oddsshark
Teddy Bridgewater (Sit, QB2)
Dallas has been pretty average against opposing quarterbacks for the season but they did have a solid game last week in shutting down the Vikings. Part of the dominant performance was because the team came back from a bye and had extra time to prepare. However, the Cowboys have also shown steady improvement as a defense and have given up 19 points or less to the last three signal-callers they have faced. Teddy Bridgewater could be forced to throw the ball more than he has in recent weeks, but he remains a mid-range QB2 that can only be trusted as a bye-week fill-in if there are no better options.
Melvin Gordon (Start, Flex), Javonte Williams (Start, Flex)
The Broncos backfield duo of Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams has operated as a true split backfield so far this season. While Gorgon does have a slight edge in opportunity, both backs have been used in all situations, all-season but Gordon has scored five touchdowns to Williams two. If one of these backs happens to miss time, then the other gains massive value but until then the team seems content to use each back in a rotation. Both should see 10-15 opportunities, be involved in the passing game, and get a goal-line touch or two. Gordon and Williams are both strong Flex plays this week with the chance for a touchdown.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Jerry Jeudy (Start, WR3), Courtland Sutton (Start, Flex), Tim Patrick (Sit), Noah Fant (Start, Low-end TE1), Albert Okwuegbunam (Sit)
Jerry Jeudy returned to the lineup last week after missing time with an ankle injury and ran routes on 77% of dropbacks. While his target share was just 17%, down from his season average of 23%, it was encouraging to see him start healthy for this week. Jeudy is the exact type of receiver that Bridgewater prefers, one who creates separation and runs great routes, and managers should expect a jump in production this week against a Dallas defense that allows plenty of yards to receivers. JJ is a strong WR3 play with upside this week.
Last week Courtland Sutton had a down week but most of that was because the team only attempted 26 passes, and both Jeudy and Albert Okwuegbunam returned to the lineup. Sutton is a talented player that is hard to sit most weeks, including this one where the team is expected to be playing from behind and forced to pass more. Expect several deep shots to Sutton this week, he did catch a nice 31-yard reception last week, and the volume should easily return Flex value.
Dallas is 26th in the league in fantasy points allowed versus tight ends, which does make Noah Fant a strong play this week. Fant’s opportunity and playing time were cut last week with the return of Albert O but even with less opportunity, he can remain productive. Albert O is an excellent player, elite athlete, and the team clearly loves him. However, he sees a limited opportunity and is touchdown-dependant. Albert O can only be started if you are desperate for a longshot starter at tight end.
Dak Prescott (Start, QB1 if playing), Cooper Rush (Sit)
On Monday, head coach Mike McCarthy announced that Dak Prescott will be a “full go” in Thursday’s practice, and he was listed as limited on the mid-week Wednesday report. Dak’s status is still up in the air, it’s possible that he was a setback late this week, but the news won’t come until late in the week and could end up being a game-time decision. If playing, Dak is an easy start against Denver’s defense that is missing key starters along its defensive line. The Broncos have been excellent in fantasy points allowed to QBs but a depleted defense and the Cowboys weapons will be enough to push Dak into low-end QB1 status.
If Dak is unable to play, Cooper Rush is a risky play this week. Denver is well-coached and the defense will be less likely to load the box after seeing that Rush is able to get the ball out quickly. It is hard to risk your matchup on Rush having another outstanding week as a passer.
Ezekiel Elliott (Start, RB1), Tony Pollard (Sit, RB3)
Over the past two weeks, Dallas has leaned on Ezekiel Elliott more than earlier in the season. Last week Zeke handled 75% of the snaps and 70% of the rushing attempts, both totals the highest since Week 1. Tony Pollard handled just 26% of the snaps and his lowest target share of the season. Whether or not this becomes a long-term trend remains to be seen, but it is likely that these last few weeks have just been about the game script. Because of his volume, Elliott remains an every-week RB1 starter, and because he is seeing nearly all high-value touches, he always has a chance to score. Pollard is more difficult to project, but he remains a weekly RB3 and the league’s top handcuff. However this week Pollard could struggle to earn opportunities and production against a Broncos defense that has been solid against the run in every week except Week 8.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
CeeDee Lamb (Start, WR2), Amari Cooper (Start, WR2), Cedrick Wilson (Sit), Dalton Shultz (Sit if possible, TE2)
Ceedee Lamb and Amari Cooper have both enjoyed very similar seasons, seeing about 22% target share, one-hundred yards apart in yarage, and one touchdown apart in scores. However, the way in which these players are scoring fantasy points is drastically different. Lamb has been consistent week to week, earning targets and scoring points. Lamb has finished as a weekly WR2 or better in 72% of his starts, which Cooper is much more boom or bust, finishing as WR2 or better in just 43% of his starts. Cooper managers will find this unsurprising, he has a very volatile player that dominates opponents at random. Lamb has become the more trusted receiver to the team and fantasy managers. It is nearly impossible to sit either but managers need to be aware the Cooper is much more likely to put up a below-average game but more likely to win you a week. Both are strong WR2 plays this week.
Dalton Shultz has been a surprise breakout player for fantasy managers but this week could be a week where he struggles. The Cowboys should be able to get an early lead and rely on Zeke to close out, but the Broncos have also been among the best teams in the league defending fantasy tight ends. Denver has yet to allow a touchdown to the position and just a single tight end to eclipse 60 yards receiving. It’s a tough combo to trust. If Dalton is your only player at the position, just be prepared for a slow game, but if you have a better option do not feel bad about sitting him.
Cedrick Wilson has done a solid job filling in for Michael Gallup and has been a focal point of designed plays, but he just doesn’t see enough consistent volume to trust as a weekly starter.
-Marc Salazar (@oldsnake77)