Thursday Night Football this week features seven players started in most leagues, thus making it an important game to evaluate correctly.
The Seattle Seahawks fantasy preview takes a look at their rookie running back and tenuous receiver situation, while the Dallas Cowboys fantasy football outlook revolves around the trust you can feel comfortable putting in Brandin Cooks.
TNF Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
- Spread: Cowboys -9.5
- Total: 46.5
- Seahawks implied points: 18.5
- Cowboys implied points: 28
Geno Smith, QB, Seattle Seahawks
A quarterback with Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, and a first-round pick at his disposal should be fantasy-relevant. “Should be” doesn’t mean “is,” and Smith is proving that accurate.
After last week, Smith’s game count with zero touchdown passes (three) is nearing his multi-TD game count (four). For the season, he has just a pair of finishes inside the top 15 at the position, and I’m not at all counting on a third this week.
Smith and Matthew Stafford are the veteran QBs with high-end teammates who are barely viable QB2s this week.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
This run by Prescott is as impressive as anything we’ve seen at the position — five top-three finishes in his past six games. He has 300+ passing yards and 3+ TD passes in four of his past five games, stabilizing himself as a safe weekly option that possesses elite upside.
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His production deserves to be highlighted, but the offensive line and coaching staff get a tip of the cap as well. Prescot hasn’t been sacked in back-to-back-to-back games, an ode to both the blocking and the scheming to his strengths. All systems are firing in this passing game right now, and you’d be crazy not to ride the wave!
Kenneth Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are reportedly optimistic about how Walker’s rehab (oblique) is coming along, but I’m assuming he sits out this week and takes advantage of the mini-bye to get ready for Week 14 at SF.
Walker was losing some work to Zach Charbonnet before the injury, and that worries me when it comes to attempting to project his role. We know the upside in his bag, but at 3.0 yards per carry over his past three games, Walker is the type of player I want to ease back into my fantasy lineups (the opposite of Week 12 Kyren Williams).
Zach Charbonnet, RB, Seattle Seahawks
The role is there (87.5% of RB carries last week) as long as Walker sits, but this matchup has Charbonnet checking in as nothing more than a Flex play.
The Cowboys allow the third-fewest red-zone trips per game (2.5), making a day-saving touchdown a tough sell. The rookie has run for 94 yards on 29 carries (3.2 ypc) over the past two weeks with extended work. If neither efficiency nor TD equity are in Charbonnet’s profile, what exactly are you chasing?
Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Are we finally there? Is Potential Pollard back and Pitiful Pollard a thing of the past?
He has a rush TD and at least five targets in consecutive games, propelling him to consecutive RB1 finishes (doubling his season total in the process). With a 15+ yard carry in four straight games, we’ve caught glimpses recently of what we thought would be the norm. He’s got me sucked back in.
The Seahawks are the fourth-worst red-zone defense, adding scoring equity to what we think is a solid touch foundation (16.5 touches over his past six after a dip in usage). Welcome back to the top 10, Mr. Pollard! Now let’s get to work.
DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
His pace since the beginning of October is 68 catches for 1,079 yards. That’s not what we paid for, and I’m not sure it will get better anytime soon.
Metcalf has finished five weeks outside of the top 35 fantasy receivers this season, a downside that I could swallow if it was offset by elite upside. But it hasn’t been (two top 20s).
Last week was a pretty good snapshot of things — 33.3% target share and a whopping 4.7 half-PPR points. I’m not going to tell you to outright bench Metcalf, but he’s been firmly removed from my “must start” tier that he entered November as.
I currently have him ranked a tick above the aforementioned “talented WR, bad QB” tier (Ja’Marr Chase and Garrett Wilson), simply because he’s been playing with his below-average QB for the entire season. But Metcalf’s barely inside my top 25 and is dropping in a hurry.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Remember way back in Week 2 when Lockett scored a pair of touchdowns in the Seahawks’ win over the Lions? He has found paydirt just twice since and last week was his fifth game this season with under 40 receiving yards.
The occasional flashes of upside are almost more detrimental than they are helpful. They provide hope. Since Seattle’s bye, Lockett has three top-25 finishes and three finishes of WR50 or worse.
He’s likely to decide your matchup in one direction or the other and that’s a terrifying proposition when the QB isn’t playing at a high level.
If we scrap last week with the understanding that the 49ers are a rare level of elite, Lockett’s average positional finish is WR32 over his past seven games. That is right where he lands for me this week. We rank for mean outcomes, even if the most likely outcome this week (and any week) is for him to finish 15+ spots away from this rank.
He’s a true matchup play. Not his matchup, your matchup. If you can take on the risk that Lockett comes with, go for it. If you’re in a battle that you expect to be close and you want to lock in safe production, I’d look elsewhere.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Seattle Seahawks
As inconsistent as his teammates are, JSN has been essentially the same statistical player week in, and week out (36-63 receiving yards in seven straight games). That’s who he is right now — a low-upside option that is best to be rostered as a handcuff as opposed to a reasonable Flex play.
Optimists will point to him leading the ‘Hawks in receiving yards last week, but doing so on an 11.1% target share isn’t near sustainable. Smith-Njigba is outside of my top 40 this week, even with six teams on a bye.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
The recent run of production is a touch underwhelming (91 receiving yards over his past two games after clearing 115 in each of his four games prior), but with a TD in three straight games, the fantasy bills continue to be paid.
The last time Lamb failed to return to top 20 production was Week 5. He has allowed Prescott to play with confidence, and as long as that is the case, Lamb is on the short list of players capable of leading the position in scoring any given week.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Dallas Cowboys
The touchdown on Thanksgiving gives Cooks a score in four of his past six games, but the volume — or lack thereof — leads to some serious inconsistencies. With more than five targets just once over his past eight games, runs like this for a talented WR shouldn’t be surprising:
- Week 8 vs LAR: WR21
- Week 9 at PHI: WR97
- Week 10 vs. NYG: WR3
- Week 11 at CAR: WR49
- Week 12 vs. WAS: WR18
Seattle ranks as an above-average pass defense in both yards per attempt and yards per completion — numbers that have me taking more of a pessimistic view on Cooks in this spot (WR39).
Jake Ferguson, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Did we jump the gun on anointing Ferguson as a Tier 2 tight end? He has just two games this season with 50+ yards and has seen his target total decrease in three straight weeks.
Thanks to some target-earning potential that he’s flashed (five games with 7+ targets), I do have Ferguson inside my top 10 and above the TE blob. However, his footing isn’t as sturdy as it was less than a month ago.
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