Cardinals @ Cowboys
We all expected the Cowboys’ offense to drop off some after losing QB Dak Prescott for the season last week, but I doubt many of us expected for them to crash and burn so spectacularly against the Cardinals on Monday night. Cardinals QB Kyler Murray had a tough night passing the ball, but still guided Arizona to an easy 38-10 win over Dallas to spoil QB Andy Dalton‘s Cowboys debut. Now it’s only one game and it’s easy to overreact, but the bigger story from this game may have been Cowboys’ G Zach Martin being knocked out in the first quarter with a concussion. Martin is oft-considered the last remaining piece of the dominant Cowboys’ O-Line of years past – and without him (and Prescott of course), it’s tough to imagine this offense will produce nearly at the level they were before. Martin also suffered a shoulder stinger before taking a knee to the helmet from teammate RB Ezekiel Elliott, and after entering the medical tent he was eventually ruled out for the night. It will definitely be worth keeping an eye on the Cowboys’ injury report for next week to see if Martin will clear the concussion protocol in time for Dallas’ Week 7 matchup with Washington. Dallas’ offensive line is already struggling for continuity and missing several key players, but with the absence of Martin, Arizona was able to force four turnovers and consistently disrupt the rhythm of Dallas’ offense. What does this mean for your fantasy roster? Let’s dive into what we saw:
Kyler Murray: 9/24, 188 yards, 2 TD | 10 carries, 74 yards, 1 TD
If I told you that Cardinals QB Kyler Murray would finish Monday night’s game with only 9 completions including only 2 to star WR DeAndre Hopkins, you might not expect that he finished with a huge fantasy performance – but Murray did exactly that. What he lacked with his arm he more than made up for with his legs, including a 1-yard TD scamper – his 6th rushing TD of the season. Murray was wildly inaccurate passing the ball, but his 80-yard TD bomb to WR Christian Kirk late in the first half definitely helped to give his performance a boost.
💣 💣💣@K1 likes playing at AT&T Stadium.
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) October 20, 2020
Murray has a serious shot to contend for the overall QB1 this season, and he will look to stay on his impressive streak of fantasy production next week against Seattle.
Kenyan Drake: 20 carries, 164 yards, 2 TD | 2 targets, 0 receptions
Chase Edmonds: 5 carries, 23 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards
If you have been starting Cardinals’ RB Kenyan Drake week after week hoping for him to finally produce to his ADP this season, it finally paid off on Monday night against the Cowboys – if you started him, that is. There has been a lot of chatter this season about Drake’s inefficiency and whispers of RB Chase Edmonds proving that he’s earned more of the workload, but Drake put all of that chatter to rest – at least for one night. Drake posted season highs in carries, rushing yards and rushing TDs against the Cowboys on Monday night, including a 69-yard dagger in the fourth quarter while just trying to run out the clock.
Kenyan Drake 69-yard TD run 😱
Cards taking it to the Cowboys.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 20, 2020
We all know Dallas’s defense has been awful this season and it may not translate to much success moving forward, but at this point in the season, it could also prove to be just the spark Drake needed to get his season on track. It appears that Edmonds truthers will have to wait at least one more week to see Drake relegated to a backup role in Arizona.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
DeAndre Hopkins: 8 targets, 2 receptions, 73 yards
Christian Kirk: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 86 yards, 2 TD
Andy Isabella: 2 targets, 0 receptions
Larry Fitzgerald: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 22 yards
The biggest takeaway from the pass-catching group in Arizona was the dud from star WR DeAndre Hopkins on Monday night. Thankfully for those with Hopkins rostered, he managed a 60-yard reception in the 4th quarter to manage a somewhat less awful night, but his performance surely disappointed his managers after eyeing a juicy matchup with the Cowboys’ porous secondary. While Murray struggled to pass the ball for most of the night, WR Christian Kirk was still able to produce a big fantasy output – turning both of his receptions into TDs.
This Kyler Murray-Christian Kirk TD is even better from this angle 😱
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 20, 2020
Murray had attempted a couple of deep shots to WR Andy Isabella earlier in the game that fell incomplete, but he finally connected with Kirk to give the Cardinals a 21-0 lead. Hopkins and the rest of Arizona’s pass-catchers will look forward to a matchup with Seattle’s secondary – who had allowed a league-high 370.4 passing yards per game coming into Week 6.
Andy Dalton: 34/54, 266 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT | 2 carries, 4 yards
One of the hallmarks of the Cowboys’ high-flying offense before QB Dak Prescott‘s injury was their ability to make big plays down the field. Prescott was leading the league in passing yards before he went down, and there has been much speculation over whether or not QB Andy Dalton would be able to step in and keep the offense moving. Against the Cardinals on Monday night, he couldn’t. As I mentioned in the intro, the injury to Cowboys’ all-pro G Zach Martin certainly didn’t help Dalton’s cause. Dalton was pressured consistently by Arizona’s defense, he was sacked 3 times and threw 2 interceptions. To put that into perspective, the Cardinals’ defense had only one interception coming into Monday night’s matchup.
Andy Dalton throws the worst pass in NFL history and it's somehow not intercepted pic.twitter.com/kmcdI8cd19
— Slightly Biased (@BiasedSlightly) October 20, 2020
Without much time for downfield routes to develop, Dalton finished the night with a dismal 7.8 yards per completion average. We have more questions than answers regarding Dalton’s fantasy value for the rest of the season, but admittedly he will be a risky start until we see him prove that he can produce better than he did on Monday night.
Ezekiel Elliott: 12 carries, 49 yards | 11 targets, 8 receptions, 31 yards, 2 fumbles
Tony Pollard: 10 carries, 31 yards | 4 targets, 2 receptions, 9 yards
It was discussed widely coming into this week that Cowboys’ RB Ezekiel Elliott and their running game would be more of a feature with Dak Prescott’s departure, but many of those takes failed to account for what might happen if Dallas struggled to stay in the game against Arizona. It wasn’t even halftime before Dallas fell behind by three scores, and so the rushing game was forced to take a backseat as Dalton tried to get the Cowboys back in the game. Elliott had easily his worst output of the season. It was the first time this season where Elliott failed to either record 50 rushing yards or a TD. Luckily for those with Elliott rostered, Dalton’s inability to throw the ball downfield led to 11 targets and 8 receptions for Elliott – both ties for season highs. The elephant in the room, however, was Zeke’s 2 lost fumbles.
Dawg DBs are flying around on MNF
Byron Murphy recovers an Ezekiel Elliot fumble
— WestCoastCFB (@WestCoastCFB) October 20, 2020
After Elliott’s second fumble of the game, he found himself in the doghouse and ceded more work to backup RB Tony Pollard than he has all season. Even still, Elliott will likely shake this week off as a bad game and get back on track next week against Washington.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Amari Cooper: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 79 yards, 1 TD
Michael Gallup: 6 targets, 2 receptions, 23 yards
CeeDee Lamb: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 64 yards
Dalton Schultz: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 35 yards
It was a tale of two halves for the Cowboys’ pass-catchers against Arizona on Monday night. Even as Arizona’s lead grew in the first half, Cowboys’ WRs simply weren’t targeted nearly as much as they had been in previous weeks with Dak Prescott at the helm. With the entire second half essentially turned into garbage time, WRs Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb were able to salvage somewhat decent fantasy outputs while WR Michael Gallup lagged behind – as he has for most of the season so far. He dropped a sure-fire TD that would have gone a long way towards redeeming himself in the eyes of those who roster him.
Oof… Tough drop by Michael Gallup that would've been 6.
It's been that kind of night for the Cowboys. pic.twitter.com/0KTVLD8iT1
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 20, 2020
While Cooper’s TD near the end of the game salvaged a respectable fantasy outing, the lack of scoring by Dallas’s offense should be concerning for those managers with their WRs rostered. TE Dalton Schultz posted a second-consecutive disappointing performance and is looking more and more TD dependent as the season wears on. It will be interesting to see how this group of pass-catchers bounces back next week against a Washington secondary that has been worse-than-average against WRs this season.
–Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, LightsKamaraAction on Reddit)