Sunday Night DFS Single-Game Breakdown: Vikings at Cowboys

Nov 09, 2019
Sunday Night DFS Single-Game Breakdown: Vikings at Cowboys

Sunday night's Dallas-Minnesota tilt has the week's sixth-highest over/under, featuring two defenses that have been exploited in different ways, so we might get a halfway entertaining Sunday night game. Unless Mike Zimmer establishes the run hard enough to vault this game through a time warp into 1919.

Dallas comes into this one with a 25.5 point implied total with their WR1, Amari Cooper, questionable with a knee injury. His absence would open up more than seven targets (on a per game average), making Michael Gallup the obvious beneficiary and likely the chalkiest single-game play in recent memory. Gallup, the eighth-highest priced player in both the FanDuel and DraftKings single-game contests, is already seeing notable volume. Dak Prescott has targeted Gallup 46 times in his six games, five of which he started for the Cowboys. Against a Vikings secondary giving up the ninth most schedule-adjusted points to wide receivers, you'd be employing Galaxy Brain if you fade Gallup sans Cooper. The Vikings, after all, have allowed more receptions to wideouts than any team this season. Opponents are attacking the Minnesota defense through the air, and it shows: only the Bucs, Giants, and Dolphins have seen more wideout touchdowns scored against them in 2019.

A Dallas onslaught lineup would look something like this: Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Gallup, Cooper, and someone like Kyle Rudolph, who has run good number of routes lately and faces a Cowboys defense allowing 6.25 catches to tight ends per game. With Minnesota being so thoroughly beaten via the pass, throwing Prescott into the captain's spot makes more than a little sense. Ignore the Dallas crowd droning on about feeding Zeke.

Kirk Cousins is on a tear, which is fairly remarkable in an offense designed to only pass the ball when they absolutely have no other option. Cousins has put up more than 20 fantasy points in four of his past five; probably the best hope for a big game from the Vikings QB is for the Vikings to fall behind and be forced to the air against the Cowboys. It's certainly not the best matchup for Cousins: Dallas allows just 14 adjusted points per game to quarterbacks, and only the Bills and Patriots have given up fewer passing scores. There's a reason John Paulsen has Cousins ranked as this week's QB18. That should open up the chance for serious differentiation in the captain's spot though—a lineup featuring Cousins, Prescott, and one primary pass-catcher from each squad would be a good way to take advantage of a back-and-forth affair.

Olabisi Johnson is the (relatively) cheap volume play in this game. After seeing eight targets against Detroit when Adam Thielen hurt his hamstring (he'll miss Sunday night's game against Dallas), Johnson saw just two targets in each of the past two games. Negative game script for the Vikings -- they are road underdogs, after all—could mean not-terrible things for Johnson against the Cowboys. It's a plush matchup for any pass-catcher starting for Minnesota. A Minnesota onslaught roster would have to feature Cousins, Johnson, and Stefon Diggs, who Paulsen has ranked as a top-12 Week 10 option. Going all in on the Minnesota QB and receivers leave plenty of room for a viable Dallas stack, as you can fit Prescott and Gallup into said lineup. I don't hate that. DK is a different story. Going with Cousins, Diggs, and Johnson, along with Gallup and Prescott, would leave you scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel. You'd have to bank on Ameer Abdullah szn continuing into Week 10.

Dallas opponents either haven't wanted to attack the Cowboys defense on the ground, or they haven't had a chance. A paltry 37% of the offensive plays run against Dallas this year have come on the ground, or the seventh-lowest rate in the NFL. Dalvin Cook is still a volume monster and very much worth jamming into your lineup, especially if you're going heavy on the Vikings offense. He's seen at least six targets in four of his past five games, so a Dallas blowout scenario doesn't put Cook on the sideline. There's (almost) no scenario in which Cook doesn't see 20 touches here. On DraftKings, Cook is priced so far above everyone else, you likely won't be able to stack Elliott (DK's second-highest priced player in this contest) without going uber cheap on at least one spot.

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