Thursday Night DFS Single Game Breakdown: Cowboys At Buccaneers

Sep 09, 2021
Thursday Night DFS Single Game Breakdown: Cowboys At Buccaneers

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Below is a breakdown of single-game DFS contests on FanDuel and DraftKings for the Week 1 Thursday Night Football matchup. Constructing single-game lineups requires some imagination, especially for large-field tournament purposes. We want to create a lineup that reflects a certain kind of game script, choosing players who would thrive—or at least have the chance to thrive—if their teams got out to a lead or were left chasing points in the second half. There’s also the neutral script that doesn't tend to inflate opportunity for any one player or team. Understanding the likelihood of each scenario and piecing together a roster that would score a bunch of points in such a scenario is key to success in these single-game contests.

Remember: For the captain spot on DraftKings, the price (and fantasy points awarded) are multiplied by 1.5. On FanDuel, the prices are the same throughout, but the MVP slot receives 1.5 times the fantasy point value of the other roster spots.

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More Single-Game Breakdowns: Yahoo!

Vegas Spread And Total

The Buccaneers are 9.0-point favorites in a game with a projected game total of 52.0 points.

Potential Game Flow Scenarios

Here’s a brief rundown of which players would likely benefit the most from various game flow scenarios.

Close, low-scoring game

Close, high-scoring game

Blowout for home team

Blowout for away team

Cheap Stacking Options

There are going to be obvious stacking plays in every showdown slate. Quarterbacks with their WR1 and/or TE and/or WR2 or a running back with their defense, for example. Below are some cheap, volatile stacking options that could serve us well in large-field tournaments.

QB Tom Brady ($16,000 FD/$11,200 DK)/TE Rob Gronkowski ($7,500 FD/$5,400 DK)

TJ Hernandez pointed out a few weeks back on twitter that a favored home team likely indicates a higher scoring environment. Last season the Cowboys allowed the second-most passing touchdowns per game, tied with the Falcons, the team coached by their new defensive coordinator. In his first season back from retirment, Gronkowski was able to catch the second most touchdowns on a loaded offense. Throw that all in a pot and we have a recipe for a multi-touchdown performance for Gronk.

QB Dak Prescott ($15,500 FD/$10,400 DK)/WR Michael Gallup ($9,000 FD/$6,200 DK)

Gallup is discounted much more on DraftKings than FanDuel., the perceived third wheel in the receiver room had at least 50 yards in four of the five games Prescott played in last season. Amari Cooper should see the majority of his snaps against the Bucs best cornerback Carlton Davis, opening up more opportunity for other pass-catchers. There's also the potential that the receivers are moved around more which could put Gallup in position for more targets.

Low-Priced Volatile Plays

Below are players near the bottom of the pricing pool in this single game contest who could break the slate or deliver close to nothing for DFS players. They’re best used in tournaments, where we strive for differentiation.

TE Blake Jarwin, Cowboys ($6,000 FD/$5,200 DK)

Using our new correlation tool we can see that from 2019-2020 it's not the wide receivers but Dalton Schultz who best correlates with Dak Prescott. Unfortunately for Schultz, it's Jarwin who is listed as the starting tight end. Using the same thought process as we did for Gronk, high-scoring environments should raise the touchdown potential for tight ends.

RB Giovani Bernard, Buccaneers ($7,000 FD/$2,000 DK)

Bernard is expected to fill the pass catching role at running back. It's a role that has been fruitful for players playing along side Tom Brady. The concern is that if the Buccaneers are controlling the game he may not see the field as much but we don't know how true that is. It's possible he mixes in quite a bit on early downs as well.

RB Tony Pollard, Cowboys ($7,500 FD/$4,200 DK)

We've heard this offseason that the Cowboys would like to take some work off of Elliott's plate to keep him fresh. I laid out the case for Pollard to be an arbitrage Kareem Hunt for the Cowboys based off of his usage late in the season last year. With Dallas being heavy underdogs, we could see that start to come to fruition in this game. There's also the chance the team goes back to it's roots and feeds Elliott no matter how the game plays out.

Captain/MVP Picks

Ronald Jones ($9,500 FD/$5,000 DK), Leonard Fournette (11,000 FD/ $7,000 DK)

Tampa Bay is a heavy home favorite, which should set up positive game script for the running backs. However, last season the Bucs had the 10th-lowest rushing play percentage in the league. With their weapons in the passing game their intent is to throw the football. It's possible that the running backs could find the end zone a few times on such a high powered offense, although the team scored 71% of their touchdowns through the air last season.

Mike Evans ($13,000 FD/ $9,200 DK), Antonio Brown ($9,000 FD/$5,600 DK)

If the 2020 play style carries over, we will want to chase this passing game. After Brown joined the team last season he received 18% of the targets, Chris Godwin received 18% and Evans led with 22%. Godwin is currently battling a quad injury and is questionable to play. If he sits out, that opportunity obviously balloons for both receivers. Recently Bruce Arians stated that Brown "looks like he did a few years ago", when he was the best WR in football. Coach speak isn't typically actionable but it's an interesting exercise to imagine how you'd view that version of Brown on this team. He would easily be at the top of my list for the Captain spot.

Dak Prescott

The Buccaneers were the best rushing defense in the league last season and allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns. The Cowboys offensive line is also hurting again as Zach Martin will sit out. Elliott's potential workhorse role is worth a look but it's tough to envision a ceiling outcome. Instead, we want to target the Cowboys passing game. In 2020, the Bucs forced teams to air it out and allowed the second most passing attempts and third most completions. Prescott likely pass as much this season like he did in his four full games last year but in this game he might. In those four games he averaged 50 passing attempts and over 30 fantasy points per game. That type of volume obviously would make all the Cowboys receiving options potential Captains as well. CeeDee Lamb would be my top option considering Amari should get the tougher matchup. Although the rumors that all the receivers will be moved around makes it uncertain.

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