Koerner’s TNF Fantasy Football Start/Sit Strategy for Cowboys-Bears

Koerner’s TNF Fantasy Football Start/Sit Strategy for Cowboys-Bears article feature image
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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Anthony Miller

  • Fantasy football playoffs kickoff with a Thursday Night Football showdown between the Cowboys and Bears.
  • Sean Koerner -- one of our fantasy football rankings experts -- runs through key start vs. sit decisions below.

There’s more strategy to Thursday Night Football fantasy sit/start decisions than people realize.

The No. 1 rule? Don’t use your Flex spot (if you can). It offers you flexibility come Sunday, so blocking the utility of this lineup spot on TNF only hurts you.

Now let’s run through whether to start or sit key fantasy players tonight. Note that there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding the status of key players due to injury, so be sure to refer to my updated fantasy football rankings once inactives are announced.

Fantasy Football Start vs. Sit Strategy for Cowboys-Bears

Quarterbacks

Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Prescott is typically a fringe top-five quarterback in my weekly rankings, but he’s all the way down to my QB10 this week.

We need to lower our expectations a bit with a tough road matchup in what more of a run-heavy game plan for the Cowboys. But does this mean you should bench him?

Not necessarily. I think you still need to start him over Matt Ryan, Sam Darnold and Kirk Cousins, who I have projected just slightly ahead.

Prescott is one of the NFL’s highest-floor QBs, which is exactly what you want in a must-win head-to-head matchup in the fantasy playoffs. We should see him return to his top-five status in Weeks 15 and 16 with matchups vs. the Rams and at the Eagles.

Mitchell Trubisky, Bears

Trubisky shouldn’t be in consideration in standard 12-team leagues that start one QB. He’s nothing more than a low-end QB2 option.

Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys

This sets up to be a Zeke game as the Cowboys are likely to attack a Bears’ defense that’s still without Akiem Hicks on the ground. As I mentioned in our favorite TNF bets piece, Zeke’s outlook can only go up if Tony Pollard (questionable, ankle) is ultimately ruled out.

David Montgomery, Bears

Week 14 is full of uncertainty at the RB position. There are numerous committees lacking any real clarity with key RBs shaping up to be game-time decisions. Consider yourself lucky if a player like Montgomery is a sit/start decision tonight — it means you have at least 2-3 RBs with RB2 value or greater.

Sure, Montgomery hasn’t reached his full potential his rookie season, but has consistently seen 15-20 touches a game while seeing the third-most rush attempts inside the 5-yard line. He should be in most lineups tonight.

bears-redskins-fantasy football-monday night football-koerner
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: David Montgomery

Tarik Cohen, Bears

Cohen, as usual, is a PPR-only play.

His extreme high-floor, low-ceiling combo is going to get you right around 10 points tonight. That makes him better suited for teams that are fairly big favorites this week, in which case getting a safe score like that from your RB3/Flex is valuable. But if you’re an underdog, you’ll likely want to roll the dice on a player like Rashaad Penny or LeSean McCoy instead.

Penny has flashed his ceiling over the past two weeks but could easily see a floor game if he sees only 8-10 touches and is unable to break off a big gain. Damien Williams is still a game-time decision, meaning McCoy could end up shooting past Cohen if Williams is ruled out. Both players are worth leaving Cohen on the bench for if you’re an underdog and likely need to raise your team’s ceiling.

Wide Receivers

Amari Cooper, Cowboys

Cooper is limping into the fantasy playoffs with a knee issue that was serious enough to warrant an MRI. He’s apparently fine, but we need downgrade him to WR2 range again this week.

Michael Gallup, Cowboys

Gallup is a high-end WR3 this week, which can sometimes mean making a strategic sit/start decision for TNF, but not this week.

If you happen to have Adam Thielen, it doesn’t make much sense to sit Gallup in order to see if Thielen suits up. I have them projected about dead even if Thielen suits up. But it’s looking like Thielen could end up missing, so it’s critical to start Gallup tonight if that’s your situation.

Amari Cooper-Michael Gallup
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup

Randall Cobb, Cowboys

Cobb is off the fantasy radar this week. Since we can’t expect Prescott to air it out tonight, it’s less likely he can support more than two pass catchers hitting fantasy value this week, which could make Cobb the odd man out.

Sure, if you’re in a deeper league that starts five WRs, you should absolutely start Cobb as I’m projecting him for a 4/46/.3 line. But use my updated rankings to make any sit/start decisions regarding him tonight.

Allen Robinson, Bears

Similar to Montgomery, if you’re making a sit/start decision involving Robinson, it means you’re stacked at WR. He’s a rock-solid WR2 this week.

Anthony Miller, Bears

Miller is a potential low-end WR3/Flex play tonight. He’s averaged 11 targets over their last three games, and with Taylor Gabriel set to miss his second straight, Miller’s target floor is elevated even more.

While I wouldn’t want to start Miller in the fantasy playoffs, he is available in 81% of Yahoo! Leagues and is a great emergency WR3/Flex play for teams desperate at WR this week

Javon Wims, Bears

Wims should be running a route on at least 80% of Trubisky’s drop backs  with Gabriel out. Wims is not worth a flier outside of the deepest season-long formats, but is very much in play for one-game DFS slates tonight.

Tight Ends

Jason Witten, Cowboys

As the TE22, Witten is off the fantasy radar this week. He would only be useful for a heavy favorite that needs a high floor play who should get you around 5-6 points in full PPR formats.

Noah Fant, Darren Fells and Irv Smith Jr. all offer higher ceilings in this range if you’d rather swing for the fences this week.

Jesper Horsted, Bears

Horsted is only a one-game DFS slate play tonight. I ended up having a decent amount of Horsted at 1% in the Thanksgiving day slate as rewarded with his 18-yard touchdown grab. He should be much higher owned tonight as he’s now on everyone’s radar.

The Bears are extremely thin at TE right now, so he should have a similar role. He’s a WR converted to a TE who ran a route on 12% of Trubisky’s drop backs last week. In fact, Horsted was the only TE to even run a route last week, so we could see that rate spike up to 50-60% considering that was the range Ben Braunecker ran a route Weeks 11-12.

Jesper catching 2-4 balls wouldn’t be crazy. I’ll have quite a bit of him in the one-game slate.