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Fantasy Football Picks: Cowboys vs. Titans DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Cowboys and the Titans with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

We’re here. The final Thursday Night Football game of the season — and goodness does it just reek of a classic mid-week debacle. While the Dallas Cowboys come into Week 17 still looking to stay alive in the race for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Tennessee Titans have a much different vibe. Let’s just say that the Titans might be looking ahead to their divisional clash in Week 18. Call it a hunch.

Anyway, for the final time in 2022. Let’s dive into the TNF action.

Editor’s Note: Titans QB Joshua Dobbs is expected to start tonight’s game vs. the Cowboys, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (DAL vs TEN)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Dak Prescott ($15,900 CP) - Prescott has been far from perfect in recent weeks, but it’s hard to argue with the raw results. I guess that’s the nice way of saying that the veteran pivot ranks second in the NFL in both touchdown passes (12) and interceptions (8) since the beginning of Week 12. In any case, Prescott’s managed at least three TDs in three of his last four starts, which includes last week’s 32.0 DKFP performance against the Eagles. In Dallas’ last five contests, Prescott is averaging a near-elite 0.57 DKFP per drop back, all while attempting at least 30 passes in each tilt. That’s volume and efficiency. Now let’s add matchup. In a vacuum, Titans D/ST ($3,200) struggles defending the pass, as the unit has surrendered the third-most DKFP per game to opposing QBs. It also sits 27th within the split by DVOA. Now factor in Tennessee is, well, resting several defensive starters on Thursday — Jeffery Simmons, Amani Hooker and Denico Autry to name a few — and Prescott should meet little resistance in this spot.

Ezekiel Elliott ($13,200 CP) - This one comes with a bit of an asterisk, but in general, it follows a similar theme to Prescott’s viability in the Captain’s slot. The Titans aren’t necessarily giving Thursday’s game away, the players that do play will be giving it their all, yet we’ve reached the point where Tennessee’s distinction as the No. 2 run defense in football by DVOA means nothing on this slate. There’s simply too many key absences. Speaking of absences, let’s talk Tony Pollard ($9,200; thigh). Pollard did not practice at all from Monday to Wednesday and he’s listed as questionable for Week 17. While I do believe there’s a semi-decent chance Pollard is active in this contest, Dallas are roughly two-touchdown road favorites. This will likely be a script where the Cowboys don’t have to force the issue if Pollard isn’t feeling 100%. If that’s the case, Elliott is in a fantastic situation. I mean, even with Pollard available, Elliott’s found the end zone in eight straight games and he’s essentially been locked into at least 15 carries. If that’s your floor, you’re an option at 1.5x value every single time.


FLEX Plays

Cowboys D/ST ($5,800) - Even with Micah Parsons questionable, Dallas’ defense is an obvious play at this price. The Cowboys enter Week 17 ranking inside the top 10 in both yards allowed per drive (29.6) and points allowed per drive (1.74). Crucially, Dallas has also forced an opponent turnover on a whopping 17.4% of drives — the highest rate in the NFL — and it’s second in the league in adjusted sack rate (9.3%). The unit does everything you could possibly want. Then there’s the Malik Willis ($8,600) element. While the rookie QB certainly has raw skills, the Titans have failed to score more than 17 points in any of Willis’ three starts this season. Three games where Willis has failed to exceed even 100 passing yards and has been sacked 10 times despite dropping back just 64 times total. Yikes.

Hassan Haskins ($3,000) - While Derrick Henry ($10,800; hip) is still technically listed as doubtful for this contest, anyone with half a brain can tell you he’s not suiting up. Henry will be saved for next Sunday’s pivotal matchup with the Jaguars. That likely leaves Haskins, Julius Chestnut ($1,400) and Jonathan Ward ($200) as the active running backs on Thursday evening. You could probably take a flier on Ward at the bare minimum if need be — maybe he catches a pass or two — but it seems to me that Haskins is going to be the featured back. The fourth-round pick was a monster at Michigan in 2021, rushing for 1,327 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior, and Haskins has the size and frame to be an every down asset. Generally RBs are unappealing when attached to such a low implied team total; however, with a price tag this small, Haskins is forgiven for his surroundings. If he sees 15 touches versus Dallas, you’ll live with the results.


Fades

Treylon Burks ($5,400)/Robert Woods ($5,000) - Overall, the Titans are not a team that does a great job of showcasing their wide receivers. Through 16 weeks of action, Tennessee has targeted it’s WRs on just 52.0% of attempted passes — the third-lowest rate in the league. As discussed above, Willis’ presence only amplifies this issue. The rookie has yet to throw for 100 yards in a single game, while he’s also failed to throw a touchdown in his 61 career attempts. Needless to say, that level of quarterback play is going to affect the surrounding cast. It’s worth noting that Willis has been particularly averse to targeting his wideouts during his three starts, with only eight of his 25 completions going to a WR. So, yeah. Don’t spend over $5K on a Titans wide receiver. It’s simple stuff.


THE OUTCOME

You know what? I’m going to back the team that’s actually trying to win on Thursday. Crazy, right? It definitely doesn’t help that Tennessee also happens to be 0-4-1 ATS in its last five contests. The Titans have been awful even when they care.

Final Score: Dallas 30, Tennessee 14

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (DAL vs TEN)


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.