January 2, 2023, 7:19 pm
Cowboys 27, Titans 13 (Cowboys covered -12, O39.5)
Pregame: The Titans have absolutely nothing to play for this week and have all but waived the white flag. Their entire season comes down to a win-and-get-in matchup with the Jaguars in Week 18 and somehow the outcome of this game makes absolutely no difference. Win or lose this week, their playoff hopes comes down to beating the Jags next weekend. Their injury report is littered with key players, including their stud RB Derrick Henry, who is listed doubtful and is trending towards not playing. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are still in the hunt for both the top seed, including a first-round bye, and also the AFC East division title. They need a little help to get there, but winning their two remaining games is key. There are a handful of very strong fantasy options on the Cowboys side of the ball and with them projecting to score a pile of points on Thursday, fantasy GMs may get rewarded handsomely in a potential blowout.
Postgame: In a game that was expected to be incredibly one-sided, that was not exactly the case. The Titans defense played great and held the Cowboys in check until they ran away with the game, scoring 10 points in under six minutes in the fourth quarter. With the win, the Cowboys (12-4) have secured the 5-seed, while keeping their hopes alive for the top spot and the bye week that comes with it. As for the Titans (7-9), it was expected for them to rest the majority of players since Week 17 did not matter. Their season all comes down to their Saturday night matchup with the Jaguars. There were several key fantasy pieces in this game and the majority of those players came through in a big way.
Pregame: There is not one single startable fantasy option on the Titans side of the ball on Thursday. Malik Willis has shown his inability to complete passes, throwing for less than 100 yards in all six games he has played in. Derrick Henry has been listed as doubtful (let’s be honest, he isn’t going to play) and this game is going to get out of hand very early. If fantasy GMs are absolutely beyond desperate, Henry’s replacement Hassan Haskins could be started in the deepest of formats, but fantasy GMs would need to pray to the fantasy gods that he catches a couple balls and doesn’t ruin their week.
Postgame: The fantasy options on the Titans were very limited in this matchup. No players were solid starting options in standard leagues, but in deeper leagues, or if fantasy GMs were desperate, a couple players had usage performances on Thursday. Hassan Haskins, Henry’s replacement, was able to muster 40 yards on the ground on 12 attempts, catching two of three targets for 13 yards. Robert Woods was the only Titan to find the endzone, grabbing five passes for 39 yards and a score. Treylon Burks caught a quartet of passes for 66 yards as well. All three of these players did not break fantasy GMs hearts, if for some reason they were started, but they were far from championship-winning performances.
Pregame: Prescott has looked good for the most part since his return, if only he would stop throwing interceptions. He has eight picks over his past five games, but has counter-acted that by throwing for three touchdowns in three of those games. There is a very real chance that the Cowboys win this game by 30 points, so it would not be surprising if the Cowboys passing attack has an off night simply because they will be running the ball more often than normal. With that being said, Prescott is still a fringe QB1 option this week and should have a safe scoring floor for his fantasy GMs.
Postgame: Prescott was likely started on a fair share of championship rosters this week and he was able to put forth a decent performance. He was able to rack up 16.38 fantasy points, but once again struggled with turnovers, ultimately hurting his fantasy GMs big time. Prescott completed 29-of-41 passes for 282 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, adding 11 yards on the ground, but lost a fumble in the process. Not a great performance against a pass-funnel defense, but it didn’t completely obliterate championship aspirations.
Ezekiel Elliott & Tony Pollard:
Pregame: Pollard has yet to practice this week, but he remains questionable and did travel with the team to Nashville. If Pollard suits up, both him and Zeke are once again great fantasy options this week. If Pollard misses, Zeke has potential to be the RB1 on championship weekend. The Cowboys are likely going to lean on the rushing attack this week and being 12-point road favorites, the upside for both backs is tremendous.
Postgame: Elliot was projected to have an absolutely monster game on Thursday night with Pollard sitting out, but genuinely looked bad on the ground. He was not able to crack two yards per carry and finished the night with 19 attempts for 37 yards and a score. If Zeke did not find the endzone, he would have destroyed fantasy GMs to open the week.
Pregame: Lamb has been on fire through the first two weeks of the fantasy playoffs. He has put together lines of 7-126 and 10-120-2 and rewarded his fantasy GMs tremendously. Ranking as the WR6 on the full season and WR2 in the fantasy playoffs so far, Lamb will be locked into starting lineups on Thursday night.
Postgame: Lamb continued to feast through the fantasy playoffs and tallied another monster game for his fantasy GMs. After back-to-back games with over 19.0 fantasy points, he dropped a massive 11-for-100 game, being targeted six times and started out the championship weekend with a bang for his fantasy GMs.
Pregame: Gallup has been hit-or-miss over the past few weeks. He has two games of at least 13.6 fantasy points, but two games with under 6.0 fantasy points, including a lone two-yard reception game against the Jags. In order to have a fantasy relevant game against the Titans in a run-heavy game script, he will need to score a touchdown, making him a boom-or-bust WR3/4 option.
Postgame: Gallup turned up on the wrong side of his boom-or-bust prediction against the Titans. The wideout finished with only 39 yards on three receptions and burned any fantasy GMs that may have taken a shot on him. The addition of T.Y. Hilton played a role, but the outburst by Schultz is what really killed his potential in this game.
Dalton Schultz: 7-for-10 for 56 yards & two touchdowns
Pregame: When Prescott came back from injury, Schultz was on fire. He put together a string of very nice fantasy games. Unfortunately, over the past two weeks that has not been the case. He has posted 2-15 and 3-43 lines through the two fantasy playoffs weeks and has been sliding down the TE rankings. The trick is that the TE landscape this year is historically bad, so fantasy GMs will likely need to rely on him in order to secure a fantasy championship.
Postgame: Wow, what a way to start championship week! Schultz dominated the Titans, scoring twice on Thursday and is the TE1 heading into MNF. He finished with a 7-56-2 line and was targeted 10 times. Lamb and Schultz were Prescott’s only reads on nearly every passing down and fantasy GMs will be thankful that they had him on their roster.
Pregame: The Cowboys DST has a direct path to finish as the DST1 this in championship week. The Cowboys are 12-point road favorites and the Titans have absolutely no threats on their offense. They rank as the second-best fantasy defense this year and if they get ahead early, they will feast on the Titans’ rookie QB.
Postgame: Although it was not the absolutely dominant performance that fantasy GMs may have expected, the Cowboys defense had a very nice outing. They finished the game with 10.0 fantasy points thanks to two sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception. Nothing wrong with getting double-digit fantasy points from your defense to kick off championship week.