There’s not much to say in our preamble of this week’s start ‘em, sit ‘em. Whether you clinched a bye this week or barely made it into the fantasy playoff by the skin of your teeth, you’re just thankful to have more meaningful lineup decisions to make, and there are several. Last week in fantasy saw a rash of injuries that will leave an impact over week one of the fantasy playoffs.
Although the Dallas Cowboys’ 33-13 win over Philadelphia was gratifying, and it was a joy to see Nick Sirianni thoroughly humbled, the Cowboys were unspectacular on the fantasy scoreboard. That should change this week, and the Dallas Cowboys should deliver when you need them most. Here is your Cowboys fantasy advice ahead of their big game in Buffalo against the Bills.
QB, Dak Prescott – Start ‘em
If you’ve made it this far in the fantasy season with Dak Prescott, there isn’t a chance you’ll sit him this week. It’s crunch time in the fantasy playoff, and you must ride with the guys who got you to the party. Don’t fall for the allure of the bait on the waiver wire this week. Some fantasy managers might have eyes for Joe Flacco (7% rostered in Yahoo leagues) and Jake Browning (28% rostered in Yahoo leagues), but no one is playing quarterback as well as Dak Prescott has been over the last seven games.
Prescott has 25 total touchdowns in that span against only two interceptions. Dak Prescott is QB2 overall in Yahoo formats and deserves to be in your lineup this week. Prescott is facing off against QB1 in Josh Allen, which will be a shootout for both teams with lofty playoff ambitions. Fortunately for Prescott, weather should not be a substantial factor since early weather reports indicate a high of 46 degrees and no precipitation in Sunday’s forecast.
Both offenses will seek to improve on substandard performances last week. After last week’s game, Dak Prescott said that if he and the offense were at their best, they could have scored 50 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He wasn’t as spectacular as he’s been over this long stretch, but still good for 23 fantasy points last week. Oddsmakers have set the over/under on points at 48.5 points, expecting a high-scoring contest. Play Prescott this week.
RB, Tony Pollard – Start ‘em
I’m suggesting that you start Tony Pollard this week, but there is a sight caveat. While Tony Pollard is the lead back in Dallas, he has begun to give way somewhat to Rico Dowdle in recent weeks. Dowdle was much more involved in Week 14 as he carved out 12 carries for 46 yards and a touchdown. In contrast, Pollard has 16 carries to edge out Dowdle for a lead role. Dowdle was given a goal-line carry instead of Pollard, resulting in a score. If that is a sign to come, the Cowboys may entrust Dowdle with those carries inside the five-yard line instead of Pollard, an area he has struggled in. Expect Pollard to continue to see a steady snap count everywhere else, but it may be Dowdle’s job to finish drives near the goal line.
Pollard is still a viable option this week because of his receiving upside. Last week, Pollard tied a career-high with seven receptions on eight targets. Per lineups.com, the Bills allow seven targets a game to fantasy running backs for 46.6 yards per contest. Also, the Bills allow near the league-worst with 4.7 yards per carry. Pollard still has the potential to surpass his point projection of 13, but Dowdle’s involvement lowers his fantasy ceiling. Furthermore, Vikings RB Ty Chandler (22% rostered in Yahoo leagues) is an appealing option if you want to look elsewhere. Chandler plays against the Cincinnati Bengals this week (Sat.) and would operate as the clear-cut RB1 in their offense should Alexander Mattison miss time with an ankle injury.
WR, CeeDee Lamb – Start ‘em
Keeping up the trend of riding with your guys that got you to playoffs, we’re undoubtedly starting CeeDee Lamb. Lamb has overtaken Keenan Allen, Ja’Marr Chase, and D.J. Moore as WR2 overall in fantasy football. That is a huge milestone, considering where Lamb started this year in fantasy rankings. A lot of that has to do with the quarterback position. The receivers above are on offenses led by Easton Stick, Jake Browning, and Justin Fields. Plus, should he play, Justin Jefferson has the misfortune of either Joshua Dobbs or Nick Mullens as his quarterback. Having Lamb in your lineups is a significant boon in this fantasy playoff because his and Prescott’s success are intrinsically tied.
Lamb’s relationship with Dak Prescott has flourished throughout the season, and Lamb has maintained a 28.2% target share. Lamb has 96 receptions, and his involvement should only increase this week in a high-stakes matchup. The Bills are also feeling the impact of injuries to their secondary. Kair Elam and Tre’Davious White are on injured reserve. It’s also unknown whether Micah Hyde will play this week after being injured in last week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Lamb also looks to extend his touchdown streak to five games. Puff out your chest and start Lamb with confidence this week.
TE, Jake Ferguson – Start ‘em
Start Jake Ferguson this week. He’s coming off a solid 12-point output against the Eagles, where he flashed his athletic upside, totaling 51 yards after the catch. Ferguson would have had an even better day had he been able to reel in a difficult catch on an end-zone target. Ferguson is a 20-plus point game waiting to happen. Playerprofiler.com has Ferguson at the head of the class in several essential statistics. Ferguson leads all fantasy tight ends in red zone targets; he’s ranked seventh in targets and sixth in EPA with 31.2 expected points added.
Ferguson is set up for success, and the Bills would happily oblige. Per lineups.com, the Bills allow 4.5 receptions to tight ends for 43.9 yards. That number will spike with the Cowboys’ offense and Ferguson soaking up most of the tight end targets from Dak Prescott. However, if you want to stream a tight end, there are some options. Washington Commanders tight end Logan Thomas (rostered in 43% of Yahoo leagues) has a good matchup versus the Los Angeles Rams after letting Isaiah Likely run loose in their secondary last Sunday. You could also look to play Chigoziem Okonkwo (rostered in 34% Yahoo leagues), he is playing with a confident Will Levis for the Tennessee Titans, and faces a Texans secondary who struggled last week to defend Tyler Conklin.
DEF/ST – Sit ‘em
I had already alluded to this likely being a game where both offenses will have a lot of success. For as terrific as Dak Prescott has been in fantasy football, Josh Allen has developed a reputation for putting up points in bunches through the air on the ground. He’s a unique athlete that will be hard to contain. The Cowboys have also struggled in the past against dual-threat passers. For as good as the Cowboys’ defense played against the Eagles, they only scored 15 fantasy points. Allen has done a much better job of avoiding sacks.
Granted, Allen has had a streak of turnovers, throwing an interception in nine consecutive games, but the Cowboys holding Allen in check is a tall task. I recommend considering going with a streaming option this week on defense. For example, the Los Angeles Rams (rostered in 18% of Yahoo leagues) have a great matchup against the Washington Commanders. Although the Rams didn’t defend Likely well last week, they will give the Commanders a difficult time. The Commanders are prone to make costly mistakes—Sam Howell has been sacked 58 times in 2023 and has thrown 15 interceptions. The Commanders will likely be without Brian Robinson, which means the Commanders will be more one-dimensional.
Also, explore starting the Tennessee Titans defense, as they could be a sneaky addition to your lineup. Tennessee plays against the Houston Texans, who are in bad shape after a rain-soaked beatdown against the New York Jets. Houston is dealing with numerous injuries and could be without Dalton Schultz, Tank Dell, (injured reserve) Nico Collins, and C.J. Stroud.