Expectations are low for the I-45 NFL matchup between the 9-3 Dallas Cowboys and 1-10-1 Houston Texans. But that doesn’t mean it’s a simple set of decisions for fantasy football managers. A blowout could be good or bad for your fantasy roster.
One Texans playmaker in the spotlight to produce is running back Dameon Pierce. We’re on top of all angles in this matchup for fantasy managers and bettors alike — let’s dive into whether you should start Pierce against the Cowboys.
Should You Start Dameon Pierce vs. the Cowboys?
It’s safe to say that drafting Pierce has worked out for fantasy managers. Ranked as the RB17 on the season and closing in on 1,000 rushing yards, Pierce has been the lone reason to watch the Texans’ offense this season. He’s sitting at 861 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, plus another 165 receiving yards with another score.
Pierce was on pace for better production until the last few games. In Weeks 11 and 12, the Texans were unable to get anything going offensively against the Washington Commanders and Miami Dolphins, respectively. Pierce was keyed on, leading to 33 total yards on 20 touches. This ended a streak of seven out of eight games with at least 77 total yards.
Though the Texans laid another stinker against the Browns in Week 13, the offense had more of their usual identity. Pierce touched the ball 21 times but wasn’t used near the goal line. It was another example of this offense lacking a consistently good game plan and attacking weaknesses of the defense.
Nevertheless, Pierce had 95 total yards and that was good enough for fantasy managers. My fear is we’re unlikely to see even that type of production until the fantasy season is all but over. Facing Dallas this week is the start of a three-game skid that also features Kansas City and Tennessee.
The Cowboys have allowed only 129.7 total yards and 0.42 touchdowns on 28 touches for backs per game. Only four other defenses are allowing fewer fantasy points per game than this defense. They’re excellent and can force Houston away from the running game since they’re aided by the NFL’s third-best offense.
Your fantasy football season is never over on Underdog Fantasy. Take the lower on Pierce’s rushing total this week on Underdog for a deposit bonus of up to $100.
Pierce is currently ranked as the RB17 in our Week 14 PPR fantasy football rankings. While this would indicate he’s a starter on the vast majority of rosters, I think he’s a better sit candidate if you can possibly make that happen. His matchup is that bad.
The best-case scenario for Pierce is that Davis Mills’ reintroduction into the starting lineup brings better passing-game results. Kyle Allen was unusable for the offense in the two games he played, essentially forcing head coach Lovie Smith to go back to Mills. Mills is also bad but was capable of executing more basic concepts and throws that Allen missed.
This should lead to extended drives, more opportunities for touches, and possibly a red-zone visit or two. Starting Pierce is essentially gambling he’ll touch the ball 15 or more times or be fortunate to score his first touchdown since Week 8.
I’m only comfortable making that call if I don’t have a decent second RB available in a week with six teams on bye. Otherwise, I’m sitting Pierce and hoping this offense gives me a reason to start him next week.