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Defensive domination: Recapping the fantasy impact of the Dallas 38-3 win over New England

The Cowboys defense stifled the Patriots offense, and in the process ruined Ezekiel Elliott’s homecoming,

NFL: New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys needed to put last week’s game behind them and answer some critics about the viability of the team in the grander scheme. The players and the coaches returned to the drawing board and came out guns blazing against a New England Patriots team they had not beaten at home since 1996. Their 35-point win was the largest loss in the head coaching career of Bill Belichick. Questions about the team’s ability to solve their confounding red zone issues still linger. However, they did manage to score in that department a few times (if you count the CeeDee Lamb catch). However, it may not have been the players in your lineup. Here is the fantasy recap from the Cowboys 38-3 win against the England Patriots.

QB- Dak Prescott 18 Fan PTS on Yahoo, 16 Fan PTS on Sleeper

The fantasy totals for Dak Prescott were okay, but nothing necessarily too impactful. Prescott threw for 7.67 yards per attempt on 34 throws, which is a respectable number. Additionally, he had no turnovers this week and kept the offense on schedule. Take this tweet, for example, as a better barometer of how Prescott fared against the Patriots.

While that indicates Prescott’s command in the short and intermediate passing game, there wasn’t one attempt made that was longer than 25 yards. Not pushing the ball down the field caps his potential for big plays and long touchdowns for bonus points in some fantasy formats.

The red zone once again was a struggle for the Cowboys. Prescott delivered a perfect pass in the end zone to tight end Luke Schoonmaker that was dropped, leaving Cowboys fans and fantasy managers alike in disgust. However, these issues will get resolved, and Prescott’s fantasy output should be better going forward since the red zone issue is correctable.

RB-Tony Pollard 8 Fan PTS on Yahoo, 9 Fan PTS on Sleeper

Tony Pollard’s lackluster eight fantasy points are the product of a perfect storm that went against him in fantasy. First, the game script dictated that Pollard would not be needed as much. The Cowboys entered the half up 28-3 against an opponent who couldn’t keep up with them. Dallas seemed well aware of that and managed their starters carefully for the remainder of the game. Pollard’s 14 touches are a season low for him, and it’s because the game plan didn’t need him to carry the ball as much, giving more carries to Deuce Vaughn and a short-yardage touchdown run to Hunter Leupke.

In the game’s latter stages, the Cowboys were trying new ways to solve their red zone conundrum and tinkering with new personnel in that area, hence why Pollard wasn’t as involved. Most of what happened to Pollard to have such a low fantasy output is a blip on the radar, except one thing. Pollard has only been targeted more than three times in a game just once this year, which is surprising for such a dynamic running back. You would like that number to change to raise his fantasy floor more consistently.

WR- Receiver Rundown

In the spirit of Dak Prescott spreading the wealth with his wide receivers, I’ll do the same in explaining the fantasy performance of his top wideouts.

Michael Gallup- 11 Fan PTS on Yahoo, 11 Fan PTS on Sleeper

For two consecutive weeks, Michael Gallup has posted double-digit points in fantasy. The last time he did that was in late November of last season. Of Dak Prescott’s 21 targets to wide receivers, Gallup had six of them for a target share of 28% amongst the wide receiver group, tying him with CeeDee Lamb for the highest target share. His longest play was a 29-yard catch and run on a broken play. Gallup may be starting to find his groove and rebuild chemistry with Prescott, which seemed lost.

CeeDee Lamb- 14 Fan PTS on Yahoo, 14 Fan PTS on Sleeper

While CeeDee Lamb is the highest-scoring Cowboys wide receiver in terms of fantasy, it still feels like there was a lot more he could have had. Most of his points came on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott. The New England Patriots were down several pieces in their secondary, and Lamb should have taken them to the cleaners. However, the Cowboys didn’t feature Lamb much as far as volume in targets or, as mentioned earlier, in taking deep shots against a Patriots secondary struggling to find bodies to line up at cornerback. Lamb’s 14 points are good, but he had the potential to be great.

TE- Jake Ferguson 14 Fan PTS on Yahoo, 14 Fan PTS on Sleeper

A few weeks ago, I said to pick up Ferguson in your fantasy leagues if he was available. Today, he’s available in 47% of Yahoo leagues, as some are still not convinced. That’s fine, but Ferguson is the TE1 of this team, and for a team predicated on the short passing game, it bodes well for a tight end with Ferguson’s hands and spatial awareness. As of Sunday night, Ferguson is TE4 in fantasy.

Ferguson is playing with an understanding of coverages and where to settle in the zone and give Prescott a window to throw the football. Ferguson was Prescott’s top target and commanded the most targets with seven. He cashed in on those seven targets with seven receptions for 77 yards. We’ll wait and see for the snap distribution numbers, but undoubtedly, Ferguson led all Dallas tight ends by a wide margin.

Defense- 39 Fan PTS on Yahoo, 28 Fan PTS on Sleeper

It was a return to form for a fierce Dallas defense that didn’t play like itself last week against Arizona. The New England Patriots don’t have a very good offensive line, and Mac Jones isn’t anywhere near as mobile as Joshua Dobbs. The Dallas defense had a very limited opponent, and that was like throwing chum into shark-infested waters. The Dallas defense feasted on Sunday and filled the fantasy stat column.

Though they only sacked Mac Jones twice, plenty of pressure forced untimely turnovers. DaRon Bland led the way with two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. The Cowboys also scored on a forced fumble by Dante Fowler Jr. that was recovered by Leighton Vander Esch for a touchdown. Dallas kept the Patriots under 300 yards of total offense after allowing Arizona over 200 yards rushing alone. It was complete dominance by a defense that needed to remind the NFL and perhaps themselves who they were.

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