Thursday night football pits the Dallas Cowboys at the Minnesota Vikings. With week 13 being the final regular season fantasy week for many of you it’s a tough pill to swallow for those who own Cowboys players. Fortunately the Vikings defense has looked somewhat mortal over recent weeks. Let’s see who is worth playing and who needs to be sat in what should be a low scoring game.
Stefon Diggs v Orlando Scandrick
Diggs has a juicy matchup this week against Orlando Scandrick out of the slot. I recommended Crowder last week against Scandrick and he put up an 8-88-0 line on 10 targets. Scandrick ranks 61st in coverage and should spend most of the game lined up against Diggs in the slot. Even with 2 missed games Diggs ranks 22nd in targets and is catching an impressive 75% of them.
Kyle Rudolph v Dallas
Dallas is the 30th ranked DVOA against tight ends having given up 757 yards and 5 touchdowns. Rudolph ranks second on Minnesota in targets and first in red zone targets. He’s an easy start this week in a plus matchup.
Sam Bradford v Dallas
Dallas ranks 28th in pass DVOA and are allowing opposing QB’s to score over 20 fantasy points per game. On top of that Dallas only ranks ahead of 4 teams in terms of pressuring opposing quaterbacks. Still, as great as the matchup is Bradford is hard to trust and you likely have better options outside of 2 QB leagues.
Ezekiel Elliot v Minnesota
The matchup against Minnesota is not as imposing as it looks for Elliott. Minnesota only ranks 16th in run DVOA and opposing running backs are averaging 4.2 yards per carry. With how good the Vikings are against the pass it’s likely Dallas will lean on this running game. While he probably won’t be able to pile up one of those 150 yard, 2 touchdown games (the Vikings have only given up 6 touchdowns to running backs all year) he’s still a safe bet for 20+ touches in a good but not great matchup.
Jason Witten v Minnesota
Minnesota ranks 19th in DVOA against tight ends and ranks 18th in fantasy points allowed. They’ve given up 673 yards but only 2 touchdowns to tight ends on the season. Witten should see plenty of targets with Dallas’ receivers likely bottled up but his ceiling remains low.
Dez Bryant v Xavier Rhodes
Bryant just came off a tough matchup against Josh Norman were he posted a 5-72-0 line. However when covered by Norman his line was 3-32-0. Dallas lined him up out of the slot way more than usual to get him away from Norman and his big game clinching catch came against slot corner Kendall Fuller. This week he is likely to be shadowed by Xavier Rhodes who ranks 19th in coverage (3 spots behind Norman). If Dallas moves him to the slot things won’t get a whole lot easier as he’ll likely draw Captain Munnerylyn who ranks 32nd in coverage. You likely don’t have better options so temper expectations.
Dak Prescott v Minnesota
On most weeks Prescott would be a must start but Minnesota has been absolutely brutal for fantasy passing games. No quarterback has a top 10 finish against them and the only one with a top 12 finish was Kirk Cousins in week 10. The Vikings defense also ranks 10th in pressuring the quarterback so Prescott may not have the time to throw he’s used to having. Prescott has been beyond great this year but gets a real test on Thursday night.
Matt Asiata/Jerrik McKinnon v Dallas
Dallas struggles against the pass but is top 10 against the run. Ranked 8th in run defense DVOA and allowing just 5 touchdowns to the position all year, Asiata and McKinnon will have a tough time of it. Minnesota already has one of the worst run blocking lines in the league and facing the Dallas front seven won’t help. Asiata can always just fall into a touchdown which could save his day while McKinnon likely would need to hit a big home run. Both players have low floors in this game.
Adam Thielen v Brandon Carr/Anthony Brown
With Diggs set to return Thielen will likely move back outside which means he will be matched up against Brandon Carr and Anthony Brown. Carr ranks 21st in coverage and is really Dallas’ only DB to worry about. Meanwhile Brown ranks just 83rd in coverage. Theilen will likely see an equal amount of both. The real problem is he is likely to see a big drop in targets. In the 2 games Diggs has missed this year Thielen has seen 10 and 9 targets. In all other games he has not seen more than 7. As long as Diggs is in the lineup Thielen can’t be trusted.
Cole Beasly/Terrance Williams v Captain Munnerlyn/Terrence Newman
When Dez isn’t lined up in the slot (assuming Dallas runs plays for him there) Beasly will be lined up against Captain Munnerlyn (32nd in coverage). On the other side Williams will likely draw Terrence Newman who ranks 9th in coverage. With Prescott likely facing pressure and both wide receivers in tough matchups it’s hard to see either receiver having a fantasy relevant game.
Question about the matchups? Anyone I forgot? Let me know in the comments below.