December 16, 2022, 2:23 pm
Cowboys (-200) @ Jaguars (+4), O/U 48
Pregame Stories/What to Watch For
Unsurprisingly, this game has been pegged by the house to have the 4th-highest projected point total in Week 15. Given how hot both offenses have been, the only surprise is really that it’s not even higher. Over the past month, only Jalen Hurts (29.7) has averaged more fantasy points per game among quarterbacks than Trevor Lawrence (24.9). Since Dak Prescott’s return in Week 10, the Cowboys have ranked near the top of the league in nearly every offensive category, including the best in points per game (37.2) and touchdown drive percentage (42.4%) according to PFF. This game is due to be a fantasy buffet that should get fantasy managers plenty excited. Some key injuries on defense to keep an eye on are Jags DE Travon Walker (questionable with ankle injury) and Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs (questionable with thumb injury), which could lead to an even bigger scoring bonanza.
RB Tony Pollard & Ezekiel Elliott
The Cowboys have also had a top-5 running attack since Prescott’s return, and things aren’t likely to slow down against a Jags run defense that has allowed the 9th-most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the two-headed backfield monster in Dallas has been the incredible floor they’ve both had. Ezekiel Elliott has had a RB1-worthy (top-12) finish in six consecutive games while Tony Pollard has been a top-8 finisher in five of his last six games (including two as the overall RB1). With Walker banged up and questionable, the Cowboys could have added success with play action and also force the Jags to send more defenders back into coverage that would benefit the Cowboys running game. According to ESPN, the Jags have mustered the 11th-worst team run stop win rate in the league. In what should be a high-scoring affair, there should be plenty of red-zone chances for both Pollard and Elliott to both cash in on borderline RB1 numbers.
WR Christian Kirk
If it’s felt like Kirk has been overshadowed by teammate Zay Jones lately, it’s because Jones has outscored Kirk by a total of nearly 16 fantasy points over the past three games. While Evan Engram is coming off a career-game (11-162-2), it seems likely that Lawrence will need to look elsewhere on his reads with the Cowboys limiting tight ends to the 2nd-fewest fantasy points behind only the Commanders. Kirk’s matchup on paper with slot CB DaRon Bland is only average according to PFF, but with Diggs dinged up, it’s possible that Cowboys DC Dan Quinn may send more safety help outside the numbers. As a result, things could open up a lot more for Kirk against Bland, who is giving up an eye-popping 82% catch rate in coverage — 4th-worst among all slot corners.
How can the number two overall scoring fantasy D/ST unit be labeled a “dart-throw”? Well, fantasy managers will be plenty tempted to bench a Cowboys D/ST unit that just gave up 23 points to the likely owners of the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, especially given the perceived bust potential going up now against one of the hottest offenses in football in the Jags. However, we’re still talking about the 2nd-highest scoring D/ST over the past four weeks (behind only the 49ers), and it’s also one that has been extremely resilient all season after underwhelming fantasy outputs. The Cowboys D/ST have bounced back with double-digit performances after four of its five single-digit efforts this season, so they are due to continue the trend after the poor four-point showing against the Texans. Jacksonville has actually allowed the 4th-fewest fantasy points to opposing D/ST units this season, but it also doesn’t tell the entire story — the Jags have only had to face three top-10 defenses through 13 games. Lawrence has a lingering toe injury that could affect his ability to escape pressure, and the Jags sport the 3rd-worst team pass block win rate (49%) according to ESPN while the Cowboys boast the 2nd-best team pass rush win rate (54%) in the league. There’s still plenty of boom potential here and fantasy managers who have come this far with Dallas should keep the faith.
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Lions (+1) @ Jets (-115), O/U 44
Pregame Stories/What to Watch For