Evan Silva’s Fantasy Football Matchups Breakdown for Cowboys vs. Bears on Thursday Night Football
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper
Below is a breakdown of Thursday night’s matchup by Evan Silva of Establish The Run. The goal is to help fantasy players and bettors alike understand the game at the deepest level. For all of Silva’s breakdowns and more fantasy analysis, visit EstablishTheRun.com.
Team Totals: Cowboys 23, Bears 20
In a meeting of teams that each played on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys visit Soldier Field as short road favorites facing a leaky Bears defensive front that will be without DT Akiem Hicks (elbow, I.R.) and ILB Danny Trevathan (elbow) for at least one more week and has coughed up 100-plus rushing yards in 6-of-8 games plus nine rushing TDs since Hicks went down. On the year, Chicago has yielded the NFL’s fifth-most running back catches (74). Especially since Dallas’ passing offense has sputtered on the road, this best sets up as a ride-Ezekiel Elliott game based on matchup. Zeke is an elite RB1 play with 18-plus touches in seven straight games. … Whereas Dak Prescott has tallied top-eight QB1 weeks in 6-of-6 home games, he’s logged top-12 outcomes in just 3-of-6 road starts with yards per attempt that fall from 9.2 to 7.8 at JerryWorld versus away. Just 1-of-12 quarterbacks to face Chicago has tallied top-12 fantasy results, while DC Chuck Pagano’s defense has surrendered the NFL’s eighth-fewest QB rushing yards per game (10.8). In what sets up as a low-scoring Thursday night affair in suboptimal weather, Prescott is a lowered-expectations fringe QB1 and not quite the every-week starter he’s been all year.
Dak’s post-bye target distribution: Amari Cooper 42; Michael Gallup 41; Randall Cobb and Jason Witten 33; Zeke 20; Blake Jarwin 14; Tony Pollard 12. … Cooper looks fully past his midseason leg issues after logging Weeks 12-13 snap rates of 81% and 83% and running a season-high 51 routes on Thanksgiving. Amari’s road-game ups and downs correlate with Dak’s – Cooper is averaging 126.3 yards at JerryWorld versus 35.5 away – yet a near-full-strength-Amari is unfailingly a locked-in WR1. Overrated Bears outside CBs Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara have combined to allow completions on 89-of-133 targets (67%) for 1,181 yards (8.9 YPA) and six touchdowns, and Amukamara (hamstring) is in danger of sitting out on Thursday night. Kenny Golladay (4/158/1) and Marvin Jones (3/40/1) both gave Chicago fits in David Blough’s first NFL start. It can’t hurt that Cooper popped as Week 14’s No. 6 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Gallup’s last five stat lines in games where Cooper played at least 60% of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps are 3/63/0 > 4/55/0 > 4/76/1 > 2/33/0 > 3/34/0, placing Gallup in fringe WR3 territory in a game where we may not experience peak Prescott. … Cobb’s stats in those same games are 3/53/0 > 4/86/0 > 6/106/1 > 6/35/0 > 2/29/0. This is a rare week where I’d side with Cobb over Gallup on one-game DFS slates. … Witten is never sexy, but he’s logged 70% or more of Dallas’ snaps in nine straight games, and Chicago has yielded the NFL’s third-most catches (70) and seventh-most yards to tight ends (679). He’s a touchdown-or-bust streamer worthy of strong single-game DFS consideration.
Despite his continued refusal to run, Mitchell Trubisky has earned confident two-quarterback-league starter treatment with top-ten QB1 scores in three of his last four starts facing a Cowboys defense that allowed top-12 weeks to five of its last eight opposing signal callers and 26-plus real-life points in three of its last four. Trubisky’s Thursday night floor remains low; his recent success has come against Detroit (twice) and the Giants’ lifeless pass rush, while Dallas ranks a livelier No. 14 in sack rate (7.3%) and No. 8 in QB Hit Rate (17.5%). Trubisky’s passer rating dives from 93.3 in clean pockets to 60.1 under duress. An ugly Trubisky performance should surprise no one here. … David Montgomery enters Week 14 with 15-plus touches in six straight games and enticing touchdown equity with the NFL’s second-most carries inside the five-yard line (13). Montgomery’s NCAA-best tackle-breaking metrics have yet to translate to the pros – he’s 52nd among 59 qualified backs in yards after contact per rush (2.2) – but Montgomery’s secure usage keeps him in touchdown-reliant RB2/flex play versus Dallas. … Tarik Cohen has played over 50% of Chicago’s offensive snaps in four straight games, while the Cowboys’ zone defense has yielded the league’s sixth-most catches (72) and eighth-most receiving yards (579) to running backs. Cohen is a low-floor, PPR-specific flex option with much lower touchdown probability than Montgomery.
Trubisky’s 2019 target distribution: Allen Robinson 92; Cohen 62; Anthony Miller 52; Taylor Gabriel 47; Montgomery 26; Javon Wims 14; Ben Braunecker, Adam Shaheen, and Cordarrelle Patterson 11; Jesper Horsted 2. … Robinson has 60-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 9-of-12 games and has secured 35 of his 71 catches in the slot, where Robinson can avoid top corners. He’s No. 9 among 48 qualified receivers in yards per slot route run. As usual, Robinson is an easy WR2 play at home against Dallas. … Cowboys opponents have been led in receiving by slot men in three straight games (Julian Edelman, 8/93/0; Danny Amendola, 4/47/0; Cole Beasley, 6/110/1), while Bears slot man Miller is on fire with 33 targets over his last three games. Still a positive-TD-regression candidate without a single end-zone trip all year, Miller is an upside WR3 with matchup and usage working in his favor. … Gabriel (concussion) appears likely to miss another game, giving Wims his third start of the season. Wims’ snap rates in such opportunities are 94% > 93% > 91% with box-score results of 4/56/0 > 0/0 > 5/56/0. He’s best treated as a one-game DFS option versus Dallas and a WR4/flex in deeper season-long leagues. Just five individual wide receivers have cleared 75 yards against Dallas’ stingy zone this year. Wims is the Bears’ No. 4 pass option at best behind Robinson, Cohen, and Miller. … Horsted beautifully fingertipped an 18-yard TD on Thanksgiving, but it was his lone target of the game, and Horsted played only six snaps against the Lions. Full-time blockers J.P. Holtz and converted tackle Bradley Sowell are the Bears’ other healthy tight ends.
Score Prediction: Cowboys 21, Bears 20
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