It’s been only eight weeks since these two teams last met to kick off their respective regular seasons, but things certainly have changed in that short amount of time. Daniel Jones ($8,000) attempted his first career NFL pass in that Week 1 contest, as the rookie entered a lopsided affair in the fourth quarter for mop-up duty. This evening, Jones is squarely in the starter’s role, with Eli Manning ($5,800) forced to watch from the sideline. Ezekiel Elliott ($11,600) also had a compressed workload back in early September. The former fourth-overall pick was limited to a mere 54.4% of his team’s offensive snaps, as the decorated running back made his way back into game shape after an extended stay in Cabo. Needless to say, Elliott’s carries are no longer being monitored.
It’s the Giants. It’s the Cowboys. It’s DraftKings’ featured Showdown slate. Let’s get into it.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
New York Giants
If there were any concerns about Saquon Barkley’s ($11,400) ability to shoulder a full workload after a three-week absence, he’s put them to rest over New York’s past two games. The sophomore running back’s touched the ball 48 times within that span and played at least 80% of the Giants’ offensive snaps in both contests. Even more appealing was what he did with that volume against a suspect Lions defense last weekend, posting 143 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in what was considered a prime matchup. Essentially, all you need to know is Barkley seems back to, or close to, 100% health and that means you’re going to want exposure to his high ceiling. While Dallas hasn’t necessarily been the most generous opponent for RBs from a yardage perspective in 2019, it is one of just seven teams surrendered more than 4.6 adjusted line yards per carry. The Cowboys also have conceded a massive 25% target share to opposing backfields through their first seven games — the second-highest rate of any defensive unit in the NFL. So, it’s possible we once again see Barkley rack up double-digit opportunities in the passing attack, like he did in Week 8.
The other obvious advantage New York possesses from a positional sense is Evan Engram ($7,800). Dallas is allowing the league’s fourth-most receiving yards per game to tight ends (65.4) and, while I’d usually remind people the team’s overall struggles with the position are a little skewed by a huge Week 1 output, I don’t think that qualifier means as much when it was Engram putting up the 11 catches and 116 yards two months back. Still, the Mississippi product’s viability doesn’t have to be defined by just the matchup. Engram is simply one of the most involved TEs we have in the entire league. He’s one of only seven tight ends active in Week 9 that can lay claim to at least a 20% share of his team’s overall targets. Additionally, despite already missing a contest this season, Engram leads all Giants skill-position players in red zone targets with seven; a high-leverage monopoly that only grows with Sterling Shepard’s (concussion) continued absence. Engram justifiably should be a popular play this evening.
Really, with Shepard’s injury, New York’s offensive hierarchy is relatively streamlined. You’ve got Barkley, you’ve got Engram, and, at least in the three contests he hasn’t had to share the field with Shepard, you’ve got Golden Tate ($6,800). In fact, the numbers are pretty staggering going back to the beginning of Week 6. In that timeframe, Tate’s amassed 29 targets, 20 catches, 267 yards and a touchdown. In terms of DFS, that’s all equated out to a more-than-respectable 18.6 DKFP game-to-game average. However, you don’t truly realize the scope of Tate’s dominance until you compare his stats against the other WRs on the Giants’ roster. In that same span, the other four New York wideouts to take the field combined to produce an identical 29 targets — opportunities that didn’t even net them Tate’s somewhat modest yardage total. Sure, Darius Slayton ($5,000) occasionally will have a two-touchdown performance like he managed last Sunday, but those are going to be few and far between with his underwhelming level of volume. Anyway, knowing primarily where and with who Jones will be attempting to attack the Cowboys also means you don’t need the quarterback himself to complete your stack. It’s not like Jones doesn’t have any viability, or that he hasn’t flashed his ceiling a couple of times; yet, by owning far and away his top three targets, you already are getting your exposure to the rookie pivot.
In a similar fashion to the Giants, the Cowboys have a pretty clear-cut system when it comes to offense. The main prong of their schemes? None other than Elliott. While it appeared to be Dak Prescott ($10,400) and the passing game making waves and headlines early in the season as Elliott regained his form, Dallas’ approach has shifted in recent contests. Suddenly, the Cowboys are one of eight teams with a rushing rate above 45% — a plateau that was reached due mostly to an eye-popping 54.6% rush rate in a 37-10 win over the Eagles in Week 7. Yes, the lopsided script certainly can be credited with some of the squad’s inclination to establish its RBs, yet it has to be noted that was in a matchup that screamed for Dallas to throw the football. Philadelphia not only had seen its secondary picked apart by opposing QBs all season long, but it entered that game surrendering an NFL-low 2.85 adjusted line yards per carry. There was really no reason for the Cowboys to be as ground-oriented as they were in that victory; however, they willed their way through it. So, why should I expect anything different in a softer spot this evening? Elliott’s touched the ball 61 times in Dallas’ past two contests and that’s led to 59.0 DKFP. Of the Cowboy’ trio of options priced above $10K, Elliott’s the one I’ll make sure I have in every lineup.
Still, that’s not to suggest Prescott isn’t in an equally great matchup, it’s just that difficult decisions need to be made with pieces this expensive. Obviously, if you’re the Giants, you don’t get to be 2-6 without conceding some pretty great performances to opposing QBs along the way. In fact, New York’s allowed three of the past four quarterbacks it’s faced to eclipse the 300-yard passing mark and, on four different occasions this season, the Giants have seen a 300-yard passer also throw for multiple touchdowns. However, as mentioned, we’ve got to nitpick, and Prescott’s numbers usually decline when forced to play on the road. While the 26-year-old has averaged a robust 27.7 DKFP in his four home starts in 2019, that figure falls to a far more middle-of-the-road 18.5 DKFP in the outings he’s had visiting the Jets, the Saints and the Redskins. To be fair, Amari Cooper ($10,000) has witnessed a similar trend in his own production; however, if forced to choose between the two, I’d rather side with the wideout. Cooper’s putting up 0.63 PPR fantasy points and 3.01 yards per route run through seven weeks of action — the second-highest marks among all qualified receivers coming into Week 9. With New York surrendering the third-most DKFP per contest to opposing WR corps and the most yards per target (10.5), it’s difficult to ignore Cooper’s ceiling on this slate. Michael Gallup’s ($7,400), too.
Finally, in terms of some possible value on the Cowboys’ side of the ball, I’m going with Jason Witten ($5,200) over Randall Cobb ($4,800) every day of the week. The 37-year-old Witten has played at least 75.0% of Dallas’ offensive snaps in four straight games, and I’d expect that to continue with the veteran coming off a bye. Witten also leads the team with a 24.0% target share in the red zone, a figure that actually jumps to 33.3% when the Cowboys get inside their opponent’s 10-yard line. Cobb might have the slightly higher upside, but it’s a ceiling he hasn’t come close to hitting since back in Week 1. I prefer Witten’s stability.
I believe there are two ways to go about choosing your Captain this evening. You can either spend up and use either Ezekiel Elliott ($17,400 CP) or Amari Cooper ($15,000 CP), or you can be a little more balanced and take advantage of the Giants’ mid-tier volume by giving 1.5x value to one of Evan Engram ($11,700 CP) or Golden Tate ($10,200 CP). In any case, I think we see a relatively high-scoring affair on Monday night.
Final Score: Dallas 31, New York 21
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