Seahawks at Cowboys (-1.5) 43
- Sweezy has only missed 116 snaps this season, in those limited snaps the team has had more explosive plays, but have also allowed 6.8 percent more sacks.
- Too small of a sample size to determine the impact, but Griffin is the Seahawks best corner and would be strongly missed.
- Penny would become a fringe play if Davis misses.
- Getting McDougle back is massive for the Seahawks. Without him on the field, The Seahawks allowed a 23.2 percent explosive pass rate and 8.48 yards per attempt.
Expected to Play
- If McDougald is back it allows Thompson to slide back to his natural position as a center fielder. The Seahawks numbers have been significantly worse with Thompson on the field however.
- YPA with 8.57 without 6.3
- Pass Success Rate with 56.1 percent without 48 percent
Expect this game to be slower paced and clock draining. The Cowboys have the fifth-highest home run rate in the NFl and over the last three weeks, only the Ravens have more rush attempts than the Seahawks.
There has been one thing made well known about Dak Prescott in recent weeks and it’s that he struggles against zone coverage and the Seahawks’ Cover 3 base defense will be running a lot of zone come Sunday. Dak struggles with anticipation and it shows up big time in his play versus zone coverage. Michael Gallup has a 55.8 WR rating in zone coverage this year, in large part, due to Dak’s inefficiencies. In his two career games versus the Seahawks, Dak has yet to crack 200 yards and has four interceptions.
In his playoff career, Russell Wilson has attempted more than 30 passes twice. Once was against the Panthers in 2015 and once was against the Falcons in 2012. What do those games have in common? Both times Wilson’s Seahawks were getting stomped in the first half and they were forced to throw every single play in the second half. I don’t expect the Cowboys to put that kind of pressure on Wilson in this game. Look for him to be efficient, but the low volume, slow pace, and tough defense make Wilson a fade for me. On a showdown slate, Wilson is the superior play to Dak in this game.
The best pure volume play on the slate, Zeke should be fed the ball early and often in this game. Only once since Amari Cooper has come over to the Cowboys has he seen less than 18 carries and five targets. In that game, he had 17 carries and four targets. All-Pro guard Zack Martin returns in this game and that should mean more good things for Zeke. With Martin in the lineup, the Cowboys run success rate jumps four percent, the explosive run percentage jumps five percent, and the yards per carry jump 1.25 yards. On top of that, the once-vaunted Seahawks defense is susceptible to running backs this year, allowing 4.95 yards per carry and 56.62 receiving yards per game. With the volume and matchup, Zeke is the top overall skill player on the slate.
You can throw out the snap counts when it comes to Carson. When he is in the game, he is going to touch the football, with 19-or-more carries in four straight games. The problem is he lacks any bankable volume in the passing game. Excluding week one, the only time he has seen more than three targets in a game came in both games versus San Francisco. The Cowboys have a stout front, allowing only 3.78 yards per carry, with just a 45 percent success rate against. Carson’s price requires him to do serious damage on the ground against a tough run defense and is highly unlikely to be a major contributor in the passing game. He is a fade for me at his current price tag.
It’s tough for me to want to fade Dak, but tout Cooper, so I won’t do it. Cooper has had success on his 26 targets versus zone this year, seeing a 126.1 rating, but a lot of that was with the Raiders. Two teams who play mostly zone coverage are the Bucs and Colts. In those two games, he finished with 52 yards on 12 targets. If he was cheaper, he would be in play for GPPs, but despite a much higher projected ownership, I strongly prefer TY Hilton at a similar price point. Cooper would get a nice bump if Griffin is out, however, and is in play on showdown slates.
You are going to notice a theme here with me and Cowboys weapons. Fading a game on a four-game slate is often a winning strategy. Players will carry ownership and avoiding landmines is a key to success. Gallup is second on the team in air yards, but assuming Bradley McDougald plays, I don’t trust the Cowboys to have success deep in this game. Michael Gallup has a 55.8 WR rating in zone coverage this year, in large part, due to Dak’s inefficiencies, and I don’t see that changing much Saturday night.
Beasley has caught 11 straight targets and been more involved in the last three weeks. One of the best ways to attack a zone can be the underneath receiver, and Beasley fits the bill. 91.8 percent of Beasley’s targets have come within 14 yards of the line of scrimmage, while the Seahawks funnel 76 percent of the targets against them underneath. More of a floor play than ceiling play, Beasley offers salary relief and may be Dak’s best friend on Saturday night. He is in cash consideration.
Russell WIlson has completed more than 25 passes only once this season. That means that receivers are going to need to be uber efficient on limited opportunities. The one receiver who has been that of late is Doug Baldwin, who has seen 28 percent of the targets and 46 percent of the air yards while scoring three touchdowns. Baldwin will spend a majority of his time against Anthony Brown, the Cowboys’ worst corner. He is in play in GPPs because he will carry low ownership, has incredible market share and TD equity in the offense, but with the offense being very low volume, there is a legitimate risk.
When Doug Baldwin has been on the field this year, Lockett’s target share drops from 20.3 percent to 14.6 percent. On a team projected to throw the ball under 30 times, there is simply not enough volume at his price tag. In the last three weeks, he has an aDot of 21.1 which is phenomenal, and has caught eight of nine targets, which is simply unsustainable. If you play Locket, you are counting on multiple big plays down the field, which he is capable of and does get a Cowboys defense that has surrendered five touchdowns deep down the right sideline, where Locket has caught four of his eight deep touchdown passes. While Lockett is a dynamic player, the lack of volume is enough to scare me off outside of MME in GPPs.
Unlike Lockett, who seems to connect every time Wilson targets him, Moore and Wilson can’t get on the same page. Moore’s last 15 targets have an aDot of 20 yards, but he has only been able to bring in four of those passes. In a similar role, with a similar target share, at 1,800’s cheaper, and less ownership, give me Moore over Lockett in GPP.
Seven-or-more targets in three of his last four games, Blake Jarwin has burst onto the scene after scoring three touchdowns and finishing with 119 receiving yards in Week 17. Important to note that even in a game where he finished with a career day, he still only played 51 percent of the snaps. Against one of the best tight end defenses in the NFL in Seattle, who has only allowed more than 13 points to a tight end once this year — to Garrett Celek on a broken coverage. Jarwin appears to be a chase play, who has some volume floor, but the inflated ownership will mean fading him gives you good leverage on the field and a different roster construction.
Seahawks Tight Ends
Ed Dickson has played more snaps than Nick Vannett in every game since Week 12. In that time span, Ed Dickson has broken three targets, one time. In a similar fashion, Nick Vannett has broken three targets once since Ed Dickson has out snapped him as well. It is a good matchup, but tight ends splitting time who have a small target share in a low volume offense are best left to others to play.
While Wilson plays in a low volume offense and has only turned the ball over twice in the last seven games, the Seahawks offensive line remains bad. Only once this year has Wilson been sacked less than two times. If the Cowboys can get a lead and pin their ears back against that Seahawks offensive line, they could be in Wilson’s face a lot on Saturday night. The Cowboys defense has been far better at home, finishing with 26 sacks compared to just 13 on the road.
Dak struggling versus zone has been the theme of this article, so guess what defense I like against him. Yup, the Seattle Seahawks. In two games versus the Seahawks, he has four interceptions and has yet to break 200 yards. I am anticipating some misreads from Dak and that the Seahawks will be able to turn him over multiple times. They are one of the top value defenses on the slate.
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.