Evan Silva

Matchups

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Matchup: Redskins @ Cowboys

Thursday, November 30, 2017


Thursday Night Football

Washington @ Dallas
Team Totals: Redskins 23, Cowboys 22

On Week 13 Thursday Night Football, the Redskins catch a bottoming-out Cowboys team that is still missing WLB Sean Lee (hamstring) and has yielded an 85/391/4.60/3 rushing line to running backs in its last three games, posing a plus draw for new Redskins workhorse Samaje Perine, who has logged touch totals of 24 and 27 in consecutive weeks, doing his best Michael Turner impression en route to total-yardage counts of 126 and 130. Perine played 70% of Washington’s snaps in each game and has earned every-week RB2 treatment in season-long leagues. … Although losing dynamic receiving back Chris Thompson (fibula) dealt a blow to the efficiency and big-play potential of the Redskins’ passing game, Kirk Cousins should be a high-floor play against the Cowboys, who have yielded top-15 fantasy finishes to seven of their last ten quarterbacks faced, including top-seven results to Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz in Weeks 11-12. Dallas has allowed the NFL’s sixth-most touchdown passes (21) and fourth-highest passer rating (101.4), while JerryWorld provides Cousins with a domed environment at a time of year when many games are weather affected. Cousins’ biggest concern is Washington’s injury-wrecked offensive line, which coughed up six sacks to a previously-lifeless Giants pass rush on Thanksgiving. Redskins C Spencer Long (knee, quad) and LG Shawn Lauvao (neck) both hit I.R. last week. LT Trent Williams (knee) will be a game-time decision after reporters saw him limping in practice this week.

Cousins’ target distribution since the Skins’ Week 5 bye: Jamison Crowder 53; Vernon Davis 39; Josh Doctson 34; Ryan Grant 26; Jordan Reed 16; Niles Paul 8; Perine 7; Maurice Harris 5. … Averaging 10.5 targets in his last four games, Crowder is the premier Thursday night play in Washington’s pass-catcher corps against a Dallas defense that has been creamed by fellow slot men Keenan Allen (11/172/1), Larry Fitzgerald (13/149/1), Crowder himself (9/123/0), Cooper Kupp (5/60/1), and Sterling Shepard (7/44/0). … Davis was the single-biggest bust on the Week 12 Thanksgiving slate, going catch-less despite setting a season high in playing time (92%) and running his usual number of routes (30). This is a rebound spot for Davis; Dallas got pasted by Hunter Henry (5/76/1) in Week 12, Austin Hooper (6/49/1) in Week 10, and Travis Kelce (7/73/1) in Week 9. Davis is also this week’s No. 1 buy-low tight end in Josh Hermsmeyer’s predictive Air Yards model. … Doctson has cleared 60 yards in just 1-of-11 games this year. He gets another shot to right the ship against a Cowboys secondary permitting the NFL’s fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers, including the second-most touchdown catches (15). Doctson runs nearly 80% of his routes on the perimeter, where the Cowboys start two rookies in RCB Jourdan Lewis and new LCB Chidobe Awuzie, who is replacing Anthony Brown after Brown allowed a league-high seven TD passes in Weeks 1-12. Before the lineup switch, the Cowboys had hoped to get Awuzie more snaps at safety.

Cowboys LT Tyron Smith’s (groin) Week 12 return didn’t reverse Dallas’ toilet-circling fortunes as Dak Prescott logged his third straight fantasy result of QB23 or worse, and fourth in his past five starts. Ezekiel Elliott’s three-down versatility is sorely missed, while the Cowboys now field one of the NFL’s slowest pass-catcher casts, failing to create any separation and forcing Prescott to constantly attempt contested throws. The Skins pose a softer matchup than Weeks 11-12 opponents Philadelphia and the Chargers, but Prescott has reached a prove-it state in which we’ll need to see him produce before fully trusting Dak again. With that said, I do think Prescott offers some boom-bust buy-low appeal with the public writing him off entirely. … Albeit partly because Dallas was playing from behind, Rod Smith out-touched (11) and out-snapped (60%) Alfred Morris (10, 38%) on Thanksgiving, forcing us to approach this backfield as a near-even RBBC until shown otherwise. Washington’s run defense has fallen apart due to injuries, yielding a combined 123/585/4.76/4 rushing line to enemy backs in its last five games. Unfortunately, both Smith and Morris are risky flex options as committee backs in a sputtering offense.

Dak’s target distribution since Dallas’ Week 6 bye: Dez Bryant 54; Terrance Williams 31; Jason Witten 25; Cole Beasley 21; Smith 10; Brice Butler 9; Morris 2. … Scoreless in five straight games and shut down by Casey Hayward (3/37/0) on Thanksgiving, Bryant will now do battle with a Redskins secondary that contained him (4/39/0) in these teams’ Week 8 meeting. The Cowboys are painfully stubborn when it comes to making any sort of adjustment, but one way they could get Bryant away from stingy Redskins outside CBs Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman would be to work him more often into the slot, where Dez has seen 22% of his targets and 26% of his snaps this year. Breeland and Norman play 5% and 3% of their snaps in the slot, respectively. Despite his recent struggles, Bryant is becoming a significant positive-regression touchdown candidate. … Williams will catch Breeland and Norman most because he runs a team-high 90% of his routes outside. … Beasley hasn’t reached 25 yards since Week 2 and hasn’t hit 50 yards in 17 straight games, including playoffs. … Witten hasn’t been particularly matchup sensitive and managed 3/31/0 on five targets when these teams met in Week 8, but his theoretical draw is most favorable in Dallas’ pass-catcher corps. Washington has allowed a league-high 796 yards to tight ends.

Score Prediction: Cowboys 24, Redskins 23



Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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