What We Saw: Week 17

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during the final week of the 2020 NFL season.

Cowboys @ Giants


The New York Giants held off the Dallas Cowboys to record a 23-19 win and stay in touch with the postseason on the back of a phenomenal performance from Sterling Shepard. The Giants raced out to a 20-6 lead in the 2nd quarter after the Cowboys punted on 4 of their first 5 possessions. Shepard added a receiving score from Daniel Jones before the half after rushing for a 23-yard touchdown on the Giants’ opening drive. The Cowboys eked their way back into the game mainly due to a terrible Jones interception and the inept Giants’ offense in the 2nd half. But in truth, this was a horrible football game between 2 teams who should be nowhere near the playoffs. If Washington fails to overcome Philadelphia, however, we will all have to watch the Giants next week. Ugh!


Dallas Cowboys




Andy Dalton: 29/47, 243 yards, 1 INT, 6 sacks | 7 carries, 48 yards


This dreadful showing from Andy Dalton (13.52 fantasy points) was his worst start as a Cowboy. It was also the 1st time in his 9 starts that he failed to throw for a passing touchdown. Dalton was sacked 6 times and Leonard Williams mauled him on 3 separate occasions. It was classic Dalton – not progressing on reads quickly enough, holding onto the ball under pressure, and failing to move away from pressure. It is likely that he could return to Dallas as insurance once again but there was little to show on this performance that he deserves another starting gig in the league. His INT was a late hurl into the end zone on 3rd and goal. It was a terrible throw under pressure, especially when he could have gotten the ball away and realistically had another shot to score on 4th down.



Running Backs


Ezekiel Elliot: 14 carries, 42 yards, 1 TD | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards

Tony Pollard: 5 carries, 15 yards | 5 targets, 3 reception, 18 yards


The fact that Dalton led the Cowboys in rushing (or should we say scrambling) tells the story of how ineffective big-money back Ezekiel Elliot was once again. With only 2 100-yard rushing days on the season, Elliot has struggled without Dak Prescott and behind a weaker offensive line than he is used to. He saved his fantasy day with a determined run in the 3rd quarter to bring the Cowboys back within a chance. Other than that he looked pedestrian with just 3 yards per carry and 3 catches out of the backfield for a handful of extra yardage.



Tony Pollard (6.30 fantasy points) saw just 8 touches and failed to make an impact with the negative game script. Pollard has looked much more explosive and elusive than Elliot this season, but Elliot is the one with 6 years left on his deal. Pollard could be a trade chip this offseason and has shown he could be a lead back.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Dalton Schultz: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 70 yards

Michael Gallup: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 49 yards

CeeDee Lamb: 7 targets, 5 reception, 43 yards

Amari Cooper: 9 targets, 6 reception, 41 yards

Ced Wilson: 1 target, 1 reception, 3 yards


Due to the poor play of Dalton in this one, none of this exciting receiving corps showed much against and improving Giants defense. Dalton had thrown 13 passing TDs in his last 6 games but could not get the offense going in this one. Tight end Dalton Schultz  led the team in targets, catches, and yardage as Dalton often looked his way as a security blanket. Michael Gallup couldn’t build upon his big outing last week, rookie CeeDee Lamb mainly worked for hard yards from the slot, and Amari Cooper averaged just 6.8 yards per reception as the Cowboys reverted to short passes to try to build some rhythm. All 3 could only muster WR3 numbers.

There is no doubt that a return for Dak Prescott next season elevates all these 3 wideouts up another level.


New York Giants




Daniel Jones: 17/25, 229 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 1 fumble, 2 sacks | 9 carries, 17 yards


This is the type of performance that has become associated with Daniel Jones this season. The former 1st round pick was efficient through the air but still turned the ball over twice on an INT and a fumble (his 6th lost fumble of the season). Jones had only 1 drive of more than 6 plays and the Giants benefitted from good starting field position and a number of penalties as he also failed to convert any 3rd downs. Head coach Joe Judge is clearly protecting Jones by not allowing him to do too much given his propensity to turn the ball over. There have not been any great leaps in development and the big decision for Judge over the offseason is whether he thinks Jones can improve as a quarterback. If not, he could be gone to a QB-needy team as a trade chip.

He did complete 2 TD passes – 1 to Sterling Shepard and the other to former 49er Dante Pettis. His rushing yardage saw a slight bump up from 2019 but he only rushed for 1 TD this season. If he remains the starter, Jones will be a low-end QB2 option for 2021.



Running Backs


Wayne Gallman: 11 carries, 65 yards, 1 fumble

Alfred Morris: 5 carries, 12 yards | 1 target

Dion Lewis: 1 carry, 7 yards | 1 target


Despite the Giants jumping out to a 20-6 lead midway through the 2nd quarter, there was no leaning on the run game as the Giants rushed just 19 times in the entire contest. Wayne Gallman has been more than adequate as a replacement for Saquon Barkley and he ran hard today on limited opportunities. Gallman has been useful to those that handcuffed him at the start of the season, however, a 5-game streak with at least 1 TD between Week 7–12 was then followed by 5 consecutive games without a TD to close out the season. Assuming Barkley returns next year, Gallman will be once again a late-round bench stash for use in case of injury only. Even then, you will be lucky to see low-RB2 numbers from the Clemson alumnus.

At least he will be forever remembered for the butt fumble recovery today.



Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Sterling Shepard: 10 targets, 8 receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD | 2 carries, 21 yards, 1 TD

Dante Pettis: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 43 yards, 1 TD

Darius Slayton: 4 targets, 2 reception, 22 yards

Evan Engram: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards

Kaden Smith: 1 target, 1 reception, 16 yards

Levine Toilolo: 1 target, 1 reception, 10 yards

Austin Mack: 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards


A healthy Sterling Shepard is one of the most exciting players in the NFL. He did a bit of everything today whilst leading the Giants in targets, catches, and yardage. As well as catching a TD, he also hit pay dirt on a jet sweep to open the scoring on the first drive of the game.



Shepard missed 4 games this season and has only played in all 16 games once in his past 4 years in the league. However, he is the best receiver on this roster and Jones would do well to build upon their chemistry after targeting him 24 times in the last 2 games for 212 yards and 3 TDs. Elsewhere, the forgotten 2nd-round pick of the 49ers, Dante Pettis made a stunning catch on a bullet from Jones to notch his 1st TD as a Giant.



The addition of Pettis likely hurts Darius Slayton further – the talented Slayton has been a casualty of the more conservative approach from Judge after a fantastic rookie campaign. Slayton was a popular FLEX pick in fantasy drafts but has all but disappeared as a useful fantasy asset this season. That situation is worth watching in the offseason.

Tight end Evan Engram was another popular pick in fantasy drafts who has ultimately disappointed due to a lack of use in this offense. Engram was near-anonymous again today and has been relegated from looks around the red zone. He has just 1 receiving score on the season.


— Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)

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