After the Dallas Cowboys were thoroughly embarrassed by the San Francisco 49ers, many things about the offense have come into question. Dak Prescott has been at the forefront, with criticism from all angles following a disappointing game. The team has had to field questions about their offense collectively, including schematically, to find what needs to be addressed. While it may be difficult to trust the team on the field, it’s likely equally as difficult to trust their players in your fantasy lineup. However, this week may deliver hope for the team, and your fantasy team. Here is your fantasy advice for your Dallas Cowboys this week.
QB - Dak Prescott, Start Em’
Dak Prescott didn’t earn himself NFL favor among Dallas Cowboys fans or the fantasy community with his terrible outing against the San Francisco 49ers. Prescott’s game against the 49ers was the sixth-worst passer rating of his career. While his carelessness with the ball drove his most ardent supporters to the edge, recent history suggests when he plays that poorly, he tends to bounce back.
For example, Prescott was awful against the Green Bay Packers last season, turning the ball over multiple times. He answered that performance, going 20 for 25 on passing attempts in a 40-3 blowout of the Minnesota Vikings, where Prescott made no mistakes and threw for 276 yards. Let’s also remember how Prescott responded after an abysmal game in last year’s season finale against the Washington Commanders. Prescott was terrific in the Wild Card matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, throwing four touchdown passes. Prescott is going to rebound.
Also, consider Prescott’s matchup this week in the Los Angeles Chargers defense. The Chargers are dead last in passing yards allowed per game, with 299.8 yards given up through the air. Los Angeles is in the bottom five defenses for most net yards allowed per pass attempt. The Cowboys should be able to move the ball against the Chargers without much resistance. It’s uncertain if Joey Bosa will play, but the Chargers pass rush isn’t as formidable without him. The Chargers are vulnerable to the passing attack, and this matchup is too tempting to pass up for Prescott.
RB - Tony Pollard, Start Em’
Tony Pollard will always have a high running back floor because of the several things he can do within the framework of the Cowboys’ offense. Pollard also has a favorable fantasy matchup against Los Angeles. The Chargers are allowing the eight-most fantasy points to running backs. The Cowboys’ offensive line is finally intact to aid matters going forward. The offensive line has had several starters funnel in and out of the lineup but finally got their starting five on the field. Despite having little success, the offensive line will find its chemistry, having not played at full strength for a long time.
Like the team, last week was an atrocious game for Pollard as he suffered with negative plays. However, despite Pollard’s miscues, a fumble, and a dropped ball, he still managed to produce 64 yards from scrimmage against San Francisco for over five yards per touch. Looking ahead to this week’s game, Pollard still commands a ton of usage as the RB1 for the Cowboys, and no other running back on the roster is cutting substantially into his snap share. Pollard still receives a sizeable portion of red zone attempts, and it’s only a matter of time before the Cowboys figure out their red zone troubles. Due to his pass-catching upside and the Chargers’ defense, allowing about eight targets per game to running backs, Pollard is a must-start in Week 6.
WR - CeeDee Lamb, Start Em’
Lamb’s starting viability aligns with the belief that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Take A.J. Brown, for example. In Week 2 of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles receiver was visibly upset on the sidelines during a Thursday game against the Minnesota Vikings. Brown was presumably unhappy with the number of targets he was receiving. In the subsequent weeks, Brown has been targeted on average nearly twelve times per game. Why is this so significant?
It’s because Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb also has his frustrations with the Cowboys offense and the lack of passing volume in his direction. The Cowboys’ offense is less potent down the field than we’ve come to expect. Also, the offense has gone out of its way to distribute the ball evenly to all its pass catchers. In theory, that sounds great, but CeeDee Lamb is the premier receiver on this team and needs to be treated as such. Five targets against the 49ers won’t cut it; everyone knows that. Given how the Cowboys were embarrassed, they need a bounce-back performance, and the team must assuage Lamb’s frustrations.
According to playerprofiler.com, Lamb gets 2.13 yards per separation whenever he is targeted. That’s a number higher than A.J. Brown and George Pickens, who both have more targets than Lamb this year. The Chargers have allowed 20 or more points in three of their four games and have yielded big days to Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson. Additionally, the Chargers allow the second-most points to fantasy receivers. I’m sure you are noticing a trend. The Chargers are a generous defense, and CeeDee Lamb should have a big day, provided the offense obliges his wishes and gives him the targets he deserves.
TE - Jake Ferguson, Start Em’
This game against the Chargers has all the making for madness on Monday night and can potentially be a primetime shootout. Tight end Jake Ferguson also has a part to play in this. Take this tweet from Sal Vetri to explain why Ferguson has a chance to perform well this week.
Jake Ferguson route participation by week:— SAL VETRI (@SalVetriDFS) October 9, 2023
Week 2: 46% of the routes
Week 3: 62%
Week 4: 67%
Week 5: 73%
He leads all players with 11 RedZone targets, buy low...
What Sal’s tweet means is when Ferguson’s on the field on a passing play, more often than not, he’s running a pattern. His role as a pass catcher in the offense is increasing exponentially, and Ferguson is well-suited for the Cowboys’ new offensive philosophy of short, quick passes. Ferguson also has athletic upside, as evidenced by his 20-yard catch and run last week. Among tight ends, Ferguson is second in targets per route run.
Furthermore, he has 11 targets in the red zone. Sooner than later, he will find the end zone, and with regularity, if those targets in that area persist. Regarding the Chargers, they offer Ferguson a decent opportunity this week. The Chargers allow nearly six receptions a game to tight ends for 53.7 yards. Ferguson should be in your lineup this week. However, suppose you need more clarification on whether you can trust Ferguson. In that case, other streaming options include Zach Ertz (rostered in 50% of Yahoo leagues) in a great matchup against the Los Angeles Rams or Cade Otton against the Detroit Lions. (rostered in 2% of Yahoo leagues)
DEF/ST - Cowboys defense, Sit ‘Em
I implore not to start the Cowboys’ defense for the second week in a row. Granted, the Cowboys have a good defense, and that unit is better than they showed last week. The Dallas defenders are proud and see last week’s game as a blip on the radar. Yet, don’t be as prideful for your fantasy team and sit the Dallas defense. Opposing defenses are averaging seven points per game against the Chargers. It’s best not to mince words. The Chargers’ offense can score at the same rate the 49ers did, though not as efficiently per play.
Regarding special teams, the absence of KaVontae Turpin also hinders the unit’s potential for big returns and possible special teams touchdowns. Rico Dowdle and Deuce Vaughn will likely assume return duties, but neither boasts the same return potency as Turpin. When looking at other options on the waiver wire, consider the Las Vegas Raiders (rostered in 32% of Yahoo leagues) going against an anemic New England Patriots offense or the Atlanta Falcons (rostered in 25% of Yahoo leagues)