The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the Week 12 New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game.
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- Since Dak Prescott returned in Week 7, the Cowboys are first in the NFL in points per drive (3.05).
- Dallas has scored on 50.0% of their drives (third) and a touchdown on 38.6% (second) over that span after having a 34.3% scoring rate (20th) and a 13.4% touchdown rate (29th) prior.
- The Cowboys are the only team in the league that has yet to allow a first quarter touchdown (0-of-23 drives).
- The Cowboys have allowed a touchdown on 16.2% of opponent drives, third in the league.
- 35.6% of the points scored by the Giants have come in the first half, the lowest rate in the league.
- The Giants have 16 passing plays of 20 or more yards, the fewest in the league.
- The Giants are last in the league in yards per play on first down (4.4).
- The Giants are last in the league in yards per play allowed on first down (6.9).
- Opponents have converted 25.7% of their third down passing plays against the Cowboys, the lowest rate in the league.
- Opponents have converted 27.0% of their third down passing plays against the Giants, the third lowest rate.
Trust = spike production for that player
Dak Prescott (TRUST): Prescott has gotten comfortable, reeling off three consecutive top-10 scoring weeks. He threw for a season-high 11.0 yards per pass attempt on Sunday against Minnesota.
You know you are going to see an aggressive defense against the Giants. They blitz on a league-high 46.5% of opposing passing plays and play man coverage on a league-high 50.4%. Prescott is eighth in EPA per dropback (0.18) and second in completion rate (73.8%) against the blitz. Against man coverage, Prescott has struggled a bit more, completing 13-of-28 (46.4%) of his passes (35th) for 6.2 yards per pass attempt (30th).
That is a smaller sample and would not push me off Prescott as a QB1 play, however. The Giants are coming into Thursday hurting defensively. They have now lost two of their best players in the secondary in Adoree Jackson and Xavier McKinney, while we await the status of Fabian Moreau, who left last week’s game with an oblique injury. If he is out, then the Giants will be coming into Thursday short-staffed against a red hot offense.
The only thing in the way here a bit is how aggressive does the Dallas offense get if the Giants do not push back? Prescott has thrown more than 27 passes just once in a game since returning to the lineup, forcing him to remain hyper-efficient.
Daniel Jones: We got everything we were looking for out of Jones last week, with the added bonus that the Giants were forced into a one-dimensional game plan. Jones threw a season-high 44 passes which led to a season-high 341 passing yards. He threw just one touchdown but added 50 yards and a score on the ground to turn in a top-five fantasy week. Jones has now had 18 or more fantasy points in three of his past four games.
We have picked our spots with Jones based on opponent, which leads us to pump the brakes here. Dallas is number one in the league in pressure rate (40.8%) and sack rate (11.9%), while allowing just 11.2 passing points per game (sixth).
When these teams played in Week 3, Jones completed a season-low 54.1% of his passes 5.3 yards per pass attempt. He was pressured on a league-high 55.1% of his dropbacks that week, completing 7-of-17 passes (41.2%) for 78 yards (4.6 Y/A) while taking five sacks on those dropbacks.
The Giants wide receivers are a mess and we are down in the depth chart on the offensive line with Evan Neal, Shane Lemieux, Jon Feliciano, and Josh Ezeudu ruled out already.
Jones did get out and run for 79 yards in that game if you latching onto something here for Jones as a QB2 play or Thursday DFS play in large field tournaments.
Saquon Barkley: Barkley was one of the larger fantasy letdowns this past week, rushing 15 times for just 22 yards against a Detroit defense we have targeted all season long. Barkley also caught just two passes for 13 yards, giving him 25 or fewer receiving yards in five straight games.
We know Barkley is a volatile runner and that defenses can largely devote resources to stopping him, so we will take this outcome begrudgingly and press forward. It was the first time this season that Barkley finished lower than RB17 in a week and he is still a fantasy RB1 option.
Barkley is 27th out of 32 backs in success rate rushing (33.8%), but he is second among all backs in yards gained on explosive carries (472). That was the story when these teams played in Week 3 as well. Barkley had a 28.6% success rate on 14 carries rushing in that game, but he also had a 36-yard touchdown run. Barkley also had a season-high 45 receiving yards in that game, an element of his game we have been missing the past few weeks. With the state of the wide receiver room here, the Giants should provide some rational coaching and get him work in the passing game.
Dallas can be run on if the Giants can hold up in game script, something the Vikings couldn’t do last week. The Cowboys are allowing 5.1 yards per carry to backs over the past three weeks (29th).
Tony Pollard: Pollard is the hottest running back in fantasy right now. He went over 100 total yards for the fourth straight game on Sunday, turning 21 touches into 189 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
That was his second time clearing 100 yards in that stretch with Ezekiel Elliott active and sharing work. With Elliott returning to the field, Pollard held the front end of the split, out-touching Elliott 21-to-16.
Pollard has just been too good to put back in the bottle. It appears that he is set up to be somewhere between D’Andre Swift and Aaron Jones-like for his role in the offense. We may see Pollard get squeezed near the goal line like he was this past week (and he failed to cash in his own short-yardage scoring opportunity), but he is an upside RB2 play at worst like an Aaron Jones.
It is unlikely that we can run as hot in the passing game as this past week when Pollard caught six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He had touchdown catches of 30 and 69 yards, which were two of the three longest touchdowns through the air by a running back this season.
The Giants can provide a path to efficient touches. The Giants are allowing 2.30 yards prior to contact per carry to running backs, the most in the league. Pollard had 105 yards on just 13 touches when these teams played in Week 3.
Ezekiel Elliott: Elliot returned this week to play just 21 snaps (29.2%), but he also had 16 touches on those snaps, seeing a utilization rate of 76.2%, which was the highest rate among all backs to play 20 snaps in Week 11.
Elliott only managed 47 yards on his touches, but he did cash in a pair of short rushing touchdowns, giving him five rushing touchdowns over his past three games played. It appears that we are firmly in the Jamaal Williams zone with Zeke as a touchdown-dependent FLEX. Elliott has just seven catches for 37 yards on the season while 37.8% of his fantasy points have come directly from touchdowns, trailing only Williams among running backs in touchdown dependency.
You can chase the matchup providing efficient carries while running backs have scored 52.6% of the touchdowns allowed by the Giants, the fourth-highest rate in the league.
CeeDee Lamb (TRUST): Following up his massive WR1 week in Week 10, Lamb caught all five of his targets for 45 yards Sunday, capped by the blowout victory.
We have seen this story with Lamb all year. He has the elite profile of some of the best fantasy wide receivers, but the Dallas passing volume has prevented him from having a weekly ceiling and floor as those options. Lamb is third among all wideouts in target share (30.5%), sixth in share of air yards (39.9%), and fourth in target rate per route (29.5%). But Dallas is also 24th in total dropbacks this season (34.1 per game). Prescott has thrown 25, 27, 46, and 25 passes since returning. Lamb has now had seven or fewer targets in three of his past four games as a byproduct.
If Dallas is pressed to throw, then Lamb is set up to smash. We just need the opportunities. The Giants are limping into this game at cornerback as mentioned with Prescott. Lamb also is second in the NFL in target share against the blitz (38.6%) and fifth against man coverage (37.0%). On top of all of that, Lamb also has the highest scoring game for a wide receiver against the Giants this season, catching 8-of-12 targets for 87 yards and a touchdown when these teams played in Week 3.
Darius Slayton: Slayton continued to be a reliable source of production for us in fantasy, catching 5-of-10 targets for 86 yards against the Lions.
Slayton has now been a WR3 or better in five of his past six games and a WR2 or better in four of those weeks.
The matchup is not nearly as good here as they have been over the past month, but with injuries to Wan’Dale Robinson and Richie James last week, Slayton is just about all the Giants have left standing at wide receiver that we can count on (unless you are ready for a Kenny Golladay redemption tour).
Slayton has 21.4% of the team targets since Week 5 (WR27) while ranking 10th in yards per route run (2.48) over that span.
Slayton should still see enough volume to be a WR3 play this week, but Dallas does rank second in the NFL in points allowed per game to opposing WR1 targets (11.4) to cast a shadow here.
Michael Gallup: Catching 3-of-4 targets for 41 yards on Sunday, Gallup has still yet to clear 49 yards in any game this season while he has not scored a touchdown since Week 4.
The matchup is once again strong while he ran a route for 77.8% of Prescott’s dropbacks, but Gallup is only a contrarian DFS play on Thursday over someone to chase in seasonal leagues.
Noah Brown: Brown caught his two targets for 42 yards Sunday, but he has seen a single-digit rate of team targets now in three of the four games since Prescott came back. Like Gallup, Brown is only playable as a deep play on Thursday DFS.
Giants WRs: With injuries to Wan’Dale Robinson and Richie James this past week, the Giants have Isaiah Hodgins and Kenny Golladay to throw at the wall here. Neither are slot options to fill that vacated hole in the offense and nobody here is more than the deepest play on Thursday DFS.
Dalton Schultz: Schultz caught 3-of-5 targets for 22 yards against the Vikings as everyone in the Dallas passing game sat back and watched the Tony Pollard show Sunday.
That snapped a streak of four straight TE1 scoring weeks for Schultz with Prescott under center. On a positive note, Schultz continued to prove his health, running a route on 78.6% of the dropbacks with Prescott in, which was his highest rate with the first team since Week 2.
Schultz is second on the team in target share (21.5%) and in target rate per route (26.9%) with Prescott in the game, keeping him as a TE1 play with a good matchup.
The Giants are allowing 8.4 yards per target (27th) and a 73.3% catch rate (27th) to tight ends but have held up in allowing a 2.9% touchdown rate (ninth) to the position.
Giants TEs: Lawrence Cager continued to hold the edge here over Tanner Hudson in snaps (56-to-12) while this week there was no split in passing work as Cager ran a pass route on a season-high 70.8% of the dropbacks. Despite that spike in usage, Cager caught just 2-of-3 targets for 20 yards in a game in which the Giants had a season-high 40 targets available. Cager is only in play as a punt play on Thursday DFS.
More Week 12 Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet: