Cowboys at Rams (-7) 49.5
RB Todd Gurley
- Expected to play, but if he is out, CJ Anderson becomes a free square on FanDuel and a great play on DraftKings.
DE Ethan Westbrook
- Rams have a lower explosive run rate, explosive pass rate, pass success rate against, yards per carry, and yards per attempt with Westbrooks on the field.
WR Cole Beasley
- The pass success rate jumps 11 percent with Beasley off the field this year.
TE Blake Jarwin
- Cole Beasley sees a six percent target share bump when Jarwin is off the field.
DL Maliek Collins
- Cowboys have been more successful with him off the field this year. Teams have passed 52.8 percent of the time he is off the field, compared to 62 percent of the time he is on the field.
- Michael Gallup gets an eight percent target share bump when Hurns is off the field.
The Cowboys come into this game with an implied team total of 21, in games where the Rams opponents have pushed them (20 plus points) Jared Goff has averaged 30.3 DK points per game. He has also been significantly better at home this season, averaging 28.1 DK points per compared to just 15.9 on the road. The Cowboys have struggled on the road this season, going 3-5 against the spread, and have failed to get after the quarterback on the road they way they have at home. They have 14 fewer sacks, just 13 total on the road this season while allowing 76 total yards more. If you are a believer in trends, Goff is a strong GPP play at a discounted price.
Last week, I was not a believer in Dak versus zone coverage, but he stepped up and played well in the victory, though he only finished averaging 6.8 yards per attempt and 226 total passing yards. This week, he takes on a Rams defense that has played just 24.4 percent man coverage since Talib has returned from his injury, compared to the 48.3 percent man coverage in Talib’s absence. With Dak’s historical struggles versus zone and Wade Phillips’ desire to go more zone-heavy, I will look elsewhere at quarterback. In addition, the Rams have yet to allow a single quarterback to rush for a touchdown, giving up less than three QB rush attempt per game against so far this season.
Let me just get this out of the way, if Gurley for whatever reason is out, you should play CJ Anderson, who dominated touches in Gurley’s two-game absence.
If Gurley plays, it is important to have confidence that he is a 100 percent, which we will need to wait for more report on, as he is still limited in practice. If Gurley is a full go, with no limitations as a seven-point home favorite at his lowest cost of the season, he is a very strong play. The Cowboys are 19th in points allowed to backs and funnel 7.75 targets and 46.69 yards to backs in the air per game. Gurley was the fantasy MVP again this year and the only thing that will stop him from making value is his health. Even a limited Gurley can break the slate with his touchdown equity in this offense, as he averaged 1.5 touchdowns per game, the most of any player in the league.
Elliott’s volume continues to climb every week, seeing 31 opportunities last week, finishing with 169 yards and a touchdown versus the Seahawks. Wade Phillips has never believed in stopping the run, and if he holds steady to that philosophy this week, look for Zeke to have a big week. No team gave up more yards per carry than the Rams in 2018. The Cowboys are all in on Zeke taking them to the promise land, and he should see more touches than any player on the slate. The big difference is there are pivots this week compared to last week. Last week, he was a lock button play, this week you want heavy exposure, but you can certainly have lineups without him.
Why is Robert Woods so cheap? He leads the team in target share over the last four weeks and has also seen 22 percent of the air yards. He will kick inside and avoid Byron Jones on most routes. Prior to getting pulled early when they went up big on the 49ers, Woods had not scored single-digit DraftKings points since Week 1. In Weeks 14-16, Woods saw 29 total targets and scored three touchdowns and is the cheapest he has been since Week 4 and has never been this cheap with Kupp off the field. I’m perplexed by this pricing and will look to take advantage of it.
Unlike Woods, Cooks price drop makes sense. In Weeks 14-16, Cooks saw only 13 percent of the team’s targets and was third on the team in air yards. TE Gerald Everett has out targeted him in that time span. Cooks historically is one of the most cornerback sensitive receivers and runs 63.6 percent of his routes on the left side of the field, where Byron Jones will face off against him. With Cooks volume down, you will need a big play. On routes that have a 16-yard aDot or greater against Jones, he has only allowed eight completions this entire season. This is a matchup to avoid and a player outside of MME I won’t have much exposure too.
The major concern for the Rams is after they struggled in back to back weeks McVay changed things up. The Rams were almost exclusively 11 personnel but shifted to 12 personnel nearly 50 percent of the time in Week 16. This caused Reynolds snaps to be cut in half, and his opportunity and upside to be gone with the move. With fewer snaps and more question marks, but a price that has stayed the same I will let others take the risk on Reynolds.
Cooper has historically dominated Peters while historically struggling against Talib, who has played 89.4 percent of his snaps on one side of the field but did shadow Zach Ertz at times versus the Eagles in Week 15. He is set to be the highest owned receiver on the slate, as I am writing this, but does take on a Rams team that has given up 85 yards and 0.43 touchdowns per game to opposing WR1s. I expect the Rams to go zone-heavy, and Talib to spend a lot of time on Cooper. At his projected ownership, I will look to gain leverage on the field by fading Cooper.
Prayers up for Allen Hurns after that gruesome injury, but part of the job is figuring out how to adjust to it. With Hurns off the field this year, Gallup has seen eight percent more of the targets. The problem for Gallup is his numbers versus zone coverage has been horrendous, posting a WR rating of 63.8. With his equity in Dallas’ deep game and Peters struggles on routes down the field, Gallup could end up with a big play but is not a player I want to rely on in this one.
His ankle isn’t right, and I would be surprised if he played. I would have had interest in him due to his splits with Jarwin off the field but can’t do it on a bum ankle.
He is the only tight end I am considering in this game. With Jarwin unlikely to go in this game, any Cowboy TE is too much of a fringe play. If you play Everett, you need to believe the Rams are more comfortable with playing more 12 personnel. If they do, he has a chance to play 75 percent of the snaps against a Cowboys defense that funnels 20 percent of the targets against them to the tight end. In Weeks 14-16, he saw 20 total targets and 12 percent of the air yards. We have seen Everett’s usage go up, his snaps go up, the matchup be good, but the price stays the same. If you are going to punt at tight end, Everett is your man
Last week, I targeted Seattle’s defense because of how much they play zone defense and Dak’s historical struggles with it. This week, I am going right back to it. The Cowboys have also allowed three-or-more sacks in six of eight road games this year. Between Dak’s struggles versus zone and the pressure he will be under, I expect the Rams defense to create havoc Saturday night.
This is just not the same defense on the road getting after the quarterback and Goff only has two games this season with two or more interceptions. I expect the Rams to keep Goff upright and for him to take care of the ball.
Eliot Crist is the Sports Product Manager for The Quant Edge.He is a fantasy analyst with a background in scouting, analytics, and fantasy research. Formerly he has contributed at PFF, 4for4, Bleacher Report, Powerhour, and NDT Scouting. Eliot combines watching tape with analytics to try and take angles that other analysts aren’t to gain an edge for you.