With both teams entering this game 5-6, the loser of tonight’s NFC East battle will essentially be eliminated from playoff contention in a loaded conference. Both of these teams have been hit hard by injuries, and having played on Thanksgiving it’s the rare Thursday night game where teams have a week to prepare.
While an offensive line full of injuries is room for concern, there is reason to believe Kirk Cousins could be in for a full stat line tonight. Weather won’t play a role for Cousins with the game being in a dome, and opponents have had success passing on the Cowboys of late. Once again, Jamison Crowder should continue being Cousins’ top option. In his past four, Crowder on average has seen ten plus targets and receivers in the slot have performed well against the Cowboys of late.
Josh Doctson seems to continue gaining Cousins’ trust, but he has been an inconsistent fantasy option. The matchup of two rookie corners on the outside seems promising, so if you think Doctson will get eight or so targets (with a few of them in the redzone), then he’s worth a start in deep leagues. In a favorable matchup last week, Vernon Davis didn’t record a catch but the squeaky wheel should get the grease tonight. The Cowboys of late have struggled against pass catching tight ends, so play Davis with confidence that he’ll bounce back tonight.
Since Sean Lee has been out with a hamstring injury, opponents have run for 4.6 yards a carry against the Cowboys. That bodes well for Samaje Perine who due to injuries in the backfield has seen over 50 total touches in the last two weeks. Off volume alone, he is safe to play in both daily and season long fantasy formats.
Halfway through the Ezekiel Elliott suspension, things haven’t come easy for Dak Prescott as he has accounted for just one touchdown while throwing five interceptions. While he played two pretty stout defenses the past two weeks, the numbers are all people will look at it in the hot take society of today. Fortunately for Prescott, this matchup should be a little more favorable. One way I’ll be looking to see if to see Prescott is involved is through run/pass options. The Cowboys executed one on Thanksgiving which resulted in a long touchdown, but was called back due to holding. With Prescott’s mobility, it seems like a nice way to build confidence and make the secondary think twice one every snap.
The receivers have had trouble creating separation of late and that starts with Dez Bryant. While Prescott isn’t throwing up a bunch of 50/50 balls (where Bryant typically thrives), only two games with 70 or more yards is concerning. The Cowboys should look to utilize him in the slot tonight to eliminate the thought of lining up opposite Josh Norman or Bashaud Breeland. Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley both figure to see targets, but both have too inconsistent this year to count on from a fantasy perspective. Having allowed almost 800 yards to tight ends this year, Jason Witten should have a solid matchup here. At a week position, he makes sense to start but Witten could always be in for another 5 catch for 45 yard performance which somehow after occurring solidifies his future Hall of Fame candidacy.
The Cowboy running backs have produced since the Elliott suspension, but the inability to put points on the board has prevented them from being fully utilized. Considering the Redskins have struggled against the run, this should be a nice matchup but for fantasy owners a running back committee is always very difficult. Last week, Rod Smith had one more touch than Alfred Morris and was on the field for a higher rate of snaps. This could be due to Smith offering more value as a receiver. Morris should see at least 12 to 15 touches in this one assuming it is close, so if you really need a back he would be my guess for this game.
Divisional games are always more difficult to predict, but with plenty to play for I’m assuming this one stays pretty close. In the end, I’ll go with the quarterback who I have more faith in based on recent performance which is Cousins. My prediction is Redskins 26 Cowboys (+2.5) 21.