TNF Fantasy Preview: Washington Football Team vs. Dallas Cowboysby Mike Fanelli November 25, 2020 0 comments
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and hopefully, you can spend it with family and friends. As much as we all love the food, the thing we are most thankful for today is football. Usually, with only one game a week on Thursday, there is only one article. However, with two games on because of Thanksgiving, I am doing a separate breakdown for each game. In the second game of the day, we have the Washington Football Team taking on the Dallas Cowboys.
Both of these teams have dealt with their issues at the quarterback position this season. Washington has started three quarterbacks due to poor play and injuries. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have started four quarterbacks mostly because of injury. However, in this matchup, we get to see two veterans in Alex Smith and Andy Dalton battle it out. Both teams have a 3-7 record this season; however, the NFC East has been so awful that the winner of this game will take over as the division leader. So which players from this game should you play and which should you avoid? Let’s dive into it!
Washington Football Team
Quarterback – Alex Smith
Coming off back-to-back games with over 325 passing yards, fantasy owners had high hopes for Smith against the Cincinnati Bengals. Entering last week, they had given up an average of 268.6 passing yards and 20.2 fantasy points per game this season. However, Smith threw for only 166 yards and scored 8.3 fantasy points. The good news is the Cowboys are giving up an average of 20.2 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. They have given up 22.5 or more fantasy points to the position in three of their last five games. Furthermore, the Cowboys have given up 23 passing touchdowns since Week 1, including at least two in all but one game. Smith should bounce back this week with a mid QB2 finish.
Gibson didn’t practice Monday and is dealing with an ankle injury, so be sure to keep an eye on the injury report between now the game tomorrow. However, he should play against the Cowboys. Assuming he does, Gibson belongs in your lineup. Despite being out-snapped by McKissic this season, Gibson has scored 12 or more fantasy points in seven of his last nine games. Furthermore, Gibson is averaging 15.8 touches per game over his past four games, averaging 17.8 fantasy points per game during that span.
To start the season, McKissic was a target in deeper PPR leagues thanks to his role in the passing game. However, in the last three games with Smith under center, McKissic is averaging 11 targets per game compared to 4.7 per game over the first seven games of the season. Furthermore, over the first five games this season, McKissic averaged 3.8 rushing attempts per game compared to six per game over the last five games. McKissic’s role in the offense has grown with Smith on the field. He is averaging 67 scrimmage yards per game over the past three weeks after averaging only 42 over the first seven games this season.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys have struggled at times to slow down running backs this season. They are giving up an average of 23 fantasy points per game to the position. However, they have given up nine rushing touchdowns this season and at least 25.5 fantasy points to the position in half of their games this season. In their Week 7 matchup, Gibson scored 18.8 fantasy points while McKissic had 7.1 despite playing with Kyle Allen. Gibson is a low-end RB1 this week, while McKissic is a safe floor RB2 in PPR.
Wide Receiver – Terry McLaurin
Usually, I cover at least two wide receivers for every team. However, Washington has had a merry-go-round as their WR2 this season. None of them have consistently proven to be worth putting on your watch list, let alone your roster. While Washington lacks depth at wide receiver, they have a star in McLaurin. However, he didn’t practice earlier this week and is dealing with an ankle injury. While McLaurin should play, keep an eye on the injury report between now and kickoff. Assuming he plays, McLaurin is in line for a big game.
When these two teams played in Week 7, McLaurin caught seven of 11 targets for 90 yards, a touchdown, and scored 22 fantasy points. He has scored 11 or more fantasy points in all but one game this season. Furthermore, McLaurin has at least seven targets in every game this year and seven or more catches in four of his last five games. Meanwhile, the Cowboys gave up two touchdowns and 32.3 fantasy points to Adam Thielen last week and are giving up an average of 44.2 fantasy points per game to wide receivers. McLaurin finished their Week 7 matchup as a top 12 wide receiver, and he should have a similar finish this week.
Tight End – Logan Thomas
After scoring 10.5 or more fantasy points in three of his last four games, Thomas had a great matchup against the Bengals; however, he only scored 2.8 fantasy points. The good news is Thomas ranks third on the team with 57 targets this season. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have struggled to slow down tight ends this season. They have given up 10 or more fantasy points to the tight end position in 70 percent of their games. When these two teams played in Week 7, Thomas had a season-high 16 fantasy points. Even with all 32 teams playing this week, Thomas is a low-end TE1.
In large part to the drafting of Chase Young, the Washington D/ST has turned into a solid fantasy option, averaging 7.3 fantasy points a game. They have four or more sacks in just under half of their games this season. However, that hasn’t translated into week-to-week consistency. They have three games this season with 13 or more fantasy points, but in their other seven games, they haven’t scored more than six fantasy points in any game. However, in the five games without Dak Prescott this season, D/STs are averaging 12 fantasy points per game against the Cowboys. When these two teams played in Week 7, the Washington D/ST scored 17 fantasy points. They are a mid D/ST1 this week.
Quarterback – Andy Dalton
After missing the last two games because of a concussion and Covid, Dalton had a good performance against the Minnesota Vikings, throwing for three touchdowns and scoring 19.3 fantasy points. He completed 68.8 percent of his passes and threw the game-winning touchdown. However, Washington has done a good job stopping quarterbacks this season. They are giving up an average of 13.5 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over their last five games. They have held quarterbacks to a total of five passing touchdowns during that span. While Dalton has plenty of weapons and is coming off his best game of the season, the matchup makes him a mid QB2 this week.
Running Back – Ezekiel Elliott
Last week the Cowboys made a change on their offensive line, moving All-Pro right guard Zack Martin to right tackle. With the change, Zeke had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season. He averaged over 4.2 yards per carry for the first time since Dak got hurt and had more than 20 rushing attempts for the first time since Week 2. While Zeke had scored a total of 23.3 fantasy points in his previous three games, his performance last week should give his fantasy owners confidence starting him tomorrow.
Washington has done a good job stopping running backs this season, giving up an average of only 20.4 fantasy points per game to the position. However, before last week’s game against the Bengals, without Joe Mixon, Washington was giving up an average of 27.2 fantasy points per game to running backs since their bye week, including back-to-back games with over 100 rushing yards. Furthermore, Washington has given up 88 or more rushing yards in 70 percent of their games this season. While Zeke only scored 6.1 fantasy points in their Week 7 matchup, he is still a must-start RB1 every week, especially after his performance last week.
Despite playing with four quarterbacks this season, Cooper has been consistent for fantasy owners. He has scored 12.5 or more fantasy points in all but two games this season. Furthermore, Cooper is averaging nine targets and 73.6 receiving yards per game this year. He has at least five catches and 65 receiving yards in four of his last five games. Furthermore, in the Week 7 matchup, Cooper caught all seven of his targets for 80 yards and scored 15.5 fantasy points. Meanwhile, his running mate on the other side has been just as productive this season.
The rookie is in the offensive rookie of the year conversation, and rightfully so. Lamb has at least four catches in all but one game this season. He also has a touchdown in back-to-back games, including a highlight-reel catch last week against the Vikings. More importantly, Lamb has at least five targets in every game this season, averaging 7.4 per game. Unfortunately, Lamb’s success has come at Gallup’s expense.
After averaging 15.2 fantasy points per game last season, Gallup is averaging only 8.7 per game this season. Furthermore, he has only three games this season with more than eight fantasy points. In their Week 7 matchup, Gallup had a season-low two targets and zero fantasy points. Most fantasy owners dropped Gallup weeks ago, and he hasn’t done anything to make them regret the decision.
Meanwhile, Washington has given up the fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season. They have held wide receivers to an average of only 29.1 fantasy points per game, 7.2 fantasy points fewer than the league average. Furthermore, they held the Cowboys’ wide receivers to a season-low 15.6 fantasy points back in Week 7. However, over the last two weeks, Washington has struggled to slow down wide receivers. They gave up 43.7 fantasy points to the Detroit wide receivers without Kenny Golladay two weeks ago. Then 40.7 fantasy points to the Bengals’ wide receivers even though Joe Burrow left the game early with a knee injury last week. Cooper is a mid WR2 this week while Lamb is a high-end WR3, and Gallup shouldn’t be anywhere near your lineup.
Tight End – Dalton Schultz
When Blake Jarwin suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1, Schultz stepped up for the Cowboys. Over his next three games, Schultz had 17 catches for 208 receiving yards, two touchdowns, and 47.8 fantasy points. Unfortunately, Dak got hurt the following week, and Schultz has scored under nine fantasy points in four of his last six games. However, Schultz has three straight games with six or more targets and is averaging 10.9 fantasy points per game during that span. Meanwhile, Washington is giving up an average of 13.5 fantasy points per game to the position. Furthermore, they have given up six touchdowns to tight ends this season. With his recent success and the return of Dalton, Schultz is a safe floor high end TE2 against Washington.
In case you’ve been living under a rock this year (not that I would blame you), the Cowboys’ defense is awful. The Cowboys D/ST has scored a total of 11 fantasy points this season. They have scored two or fewer fantasy points in all but one game. Meanwhile, D/STs have scored four or fewer points against Washington in three of their last four games. When these two teams played in Week 7, the Cowboys D/ST had only two sacks, zero turnovers, and scored one fantasy point. Don’t be cute, as there is no reason why you should play the Cowboys D/ST.
Smith: Mid QB2
Gibson: Low-End RB1
McKissic: Safe Floor RB2 in PPR
McLaurin: Low-End WR1
Thomas: Low-End TE1
Washington D/ST: Mid D/ST1
Dalton: Mid QB2
Elliott: Plug and Play RB1
Cooper: Mid WR2
Lamb: High-End WR3
Schultz: Safe Floor TE2
Cowboys D/ST: Avoid
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