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Week 9 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Finally a good matchup on Monday night! The Giants may not be "good" but they at least have fantasy-relevant players. The Cowboys, as well as being the better team, also have more fantasy potential.

Both of these teams have running backs who are among the best in the NFL. And both have quarterbacks who can put up points against bad defenses. Don’t be mistaken, either. Both of these are pretty bad defenses. That was expected with the Giants...but the Cowboys? Not so much. In the passing game, despite Sterling Shepard being inactive again, the Giants still have some pass-catchers worth using. And we know that Dallas has a couple of solid wide receivers as well.

The only downside play in this game would be the Cowboys Defense, but you shouldn't be forcing yourself into that situation anyhow. We would love it if Eli Manning was still playing so we could bank on those four or five interceptions. But hey, maybe Daniel Jones will take up that mantle against Dallas.

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Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants

Game time: Monday, November 4, 2019 @ 8:15 pm
Game Line: Dallas Cowboys – 7.5  O/U 47.5
Dallas Cowboys Record: 4-3
New York Giants Record: 2-6


Must Starts

Daniel Jones, QB - New York Giants

Coming in as the starter in Week 2 against Tampa Bay, we had high hopes for Jones after a great debut performance. The production since that game has been up and down, and so has the team as a whole. Jones is averaging 15.3 fantasy points per game this season as the starter, though this number could be higher if not for so many turnovers. But that comes with being a rookie quarterback on a bad team.

With Golden Tate, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley as his main targets, this is a passing game which relies on the short game. For a rookie quarterback, this is great. He can get the ball out quickly and let his veterans make plays after the catch. In those three weapons, he has players among the best at doing just that.

This game is expected to be a blow out, but don't forget that garbage time counts the same toward your fantasy point totals. And certain players make a living at producing during it. Just look at Blake Bortles' career. Or Andy Dalton this season, as he has more completions and pass attempts than any other quarterback in the NFL. Just because a team is bad does not mean their quarterback shouldn’t be started. In many cases, they are the only player who should be. They touch the ball on practically every offensive play and bad teams often need to catch up through the air.

Jones could finish as a QB1 this week. So, if you have Matt Ryan, Drew Brees or Jared Goff on bye this week, Jones is a wonderful pivot.

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Prescott started off the season on a hot streak. And even though he has cooled off in recent weeks, he is still the QB5 on the season. This week should help that rank. Currently averaging 22.9 fantasy points per game, Prescott will be able to throw all over the Giants putrid secondary who is led by Janoris Jenkins and no one else. Amari Cooper is a consensus Top 2 receiver this week and Michael Gallup is also a Top 20 play this week. With both of them on the field, Dallas has averaged 294 passing yards per game.

In this matchup, expect Dak to notch 300 yards with two or more touchdowns. Oh, don’t forget about his rushing upside. There is a good chance he adds 40 or 50 yards and a touchdown with his legs.

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

Barkley can be your Superman. Literally. After coming back from a high ankle sprain in just two weeks, he might legitimately be superhuman. The man is a beast in every sense of the word. Behind an offensive line anchored by free agent bust Nick Solder, Barkley is still able to rush for 5.0 yards per carry.

We still want to see more than his current average of 14.8 rushes per game, but when you add in his 4.4 receptions, his volume look a little rosier. As Barkley continues to get healthier after the Giants bye week, his touches should go up. If the Giants have any hopes of keeping it close, they'll have to lean on the massive legs of the second-year back. Not only in the run game -- where he can break off a 50-yard run at a moment's notice -- but also in the passing game.

Even last week, in a game where his rushing numbers were not great, he still had a monster performance including a receiving touchdown on the final drive of the game. It all added up to 130 total yards, proving regardless of his surroundings, Barkley remains the best fantasy asset in the league.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

The Giants are slightly better against the run than they are against the pass. But just barely. And anyway, this is Ezekiel Elliott we're talking about. You start him.

The thinking is that Ezekiel Elliott has been a bit of a disappointment this season since we haven't seen a major boom game just yet. Still, he's running the ball 19 times per game at 4.5 yards per clip. He's also been more involved in the passing game in recent weeks, which is what made him so terrific last season. The major different to this point is his touchdown total. Whereas last season he did more of his touchdown damage as a receiver, this season it is coming as a rusher. He has already equaled his rushing total of six touchdowns from last season while having no receiving touchdowns, compared to three in 2018.

Things should start to straighten out for him overall. We need to remember he missed all of preseason due to hold out. And, although he said he was training, how much of that does a guy really do while on vacation in Mexico? Elliott is a top five back each and every week. This week is no different. Start him up and just let the points fall where they may. It should be a good time.

Amari Cooper, WR - Dallas Cowboys

This one should be a good one for Cooper. He has Gallup back across from him, and he had the bye week to heal his ailing hamstring. This is why he is currently the consensus WR two for the week at FantasyPros.

Coming in with the 25th ranked pass defense, the Ne York Giants are not much of a threat to stop anyone in this pass game. This includes the most talented player in Amari Cooper.

With 38 receptions,621 yards and five touchdowns already, Cooper may not get to the 2,000 yards he was hoping for, but on the number one ranked Dallas offense, 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns is not out of the realm. This game could go a long way in getting him there. Although it was in mostly garbage time, Cooper does have a 200-yard, two touchdown game already this season against the Packers. We saw huge games, including another 200 yards last season after coming over from Oakland. The boom games are something we can see from Cooper. And this game is the perfect spot for another one.

If he goes for 200 in this one doesn’t be surprised. But if he only ends up with 120 and two? Don’t be too upset.

Michael Gallup, WR - Dallas Cowboys

He is a talented receiver. He is even better when Amari Cooper is on the other side of the field. Both of these things ring true in this matchup making him a top 20 play this week.

We saw the disappointing games both Gallup and Cooper had when the other was missing. Both are good, but they are not true number ones like Julio Jones or Michael Thomas - players who can thrive no matter the matchup.

This week, the Giants will try to stop both of them with a pass defense ranked in the bottom third of the NFL, giving up over 260 yards through the air. The secondary is trash, and Leonard Williams will not help the pass rush enough to disrupt Prescott.

This season has already been a good one for Gallup, and he's only six catches away from tying his total receptions from last season. In only five games this year, he has 27 receptions and this week could be another week where he breaks the 100-yard barrier. Not only are the Giants bad, but in a division game and coming off the bye week Prescott should also come out firing. Expect this one to get ugly early, unlike the last time the Cowboys played in this stadium. I am sure you Dallas fans remember that game.

Golden Tate, WR - New York Giants

He is who we thought he was. Tate is the number one receiver for Daniel Jones in New York.

We knew the Giants offense was not going to be good. We also knew there would be a lot of dump off passes to go around. Of course, we thought they would be coming from Eli Manning. But Daniel Jones is just as good, or bad.

In four games since returning from suspension, Tate has 23 receptions for 280 yards and one touchdown for New York. Sterling Shepard has missed time with a concussion, and other receivers have only shown up in spurts to lend a hand. Not only is Tate averaging almost six receptions per game, but his nine targets per game leads the receiving group as well.

He is the go-to guy for Jones. He is still one of the best in the NFL after the catch and this will be key if the Giants want to move the ball in this one. As good as Saquon Barkley is, he cannot do it all alone. It will fall to Tate to pick up some of this slack and this should make him a WR2 for the week in this matchup.

Evan Engram, TE - New York Giants

For those like me who started him in a juicy matchup against the Cardinals, this may be a guy you want to punch. But in a league where the position as a whole is down this season, Engram still provides top five potential this week.

Despite the bust against the Cardinals, Engram has still contributed 38 receptions for 419 yards and three touchdowns in seven games this season. He also leads the team in Targets with 60.

His usage is undeniable. His talent is also equally undeniable. Knowing this, he is a top five play this week, not to mention for the rest of the season.


Consider Sitting

Jason Witten, TE - Dallas Cowboys

What is there to say about Jason Witten. He took a season off from football and returned to be what he always was. The tight end 12. There are better options this week and he does not need to be started in this one. But hey, at least it is Monday night and we don’t have to hear him calling the game, right? So, we got that going for us.

Sterling Shepard, WR - New York Giants

Just a note that Sterling Shepard has officially been ruled for this week while he continues to make his recovery from a concussion.


Potential Sleepers

Tony Pollard, RB - Dallas Cowboys

He was great in the preseason, and this led some to believe that even with Elliott back he would see work this season. Well, not so much.

Elliott is still the man there as seen by his 19 rushes per game and 22 touches per game overall. But if this one gets out of hand, Pollard might get some work. This is only feasible if the Cowboys end up blowing out the Giants and not playing down to their competition.

If they do dominate, Pollard could potentially surprise as a flex play with and maybe even a late touchdown.

Randall Cobb, WR - Dallas Cowboys

Is he good? No. Is he better this season than he was in Green Bat in recent seasons? Yes. Playing the slot role left by departed Cole Beasley, the larger Cobb is filling a void and doing it pretty well.

Cobb will likely finish in the WR4 range for this game - and similar to Tony Pollard, playing him could work out better if the Cowboys get ahead in the game. But as the WR3 on the team, Cobb could still hit whether the game is close or not. I'm not expecting it, but don’t be surprised if he does.

Darius Slayton, WR - New York Giants

Wow. What a monster game from Slayton last week. Well, actually, it really wasn’t. Yes he had two touchdowns for the Giants in Detroit, but how many other catches did he have in the game? Zero. Two catches for 50 yards does not lend a lot of credibility to a player on a bad offense. So why then should we even consider starting him?

The reason he got those touchdowns was because the Giants were trying to keep up with the Lions on the scoreboard - something they are going to have to do again this week against Dallas. While better against the pass than Detroit, Dallas is still not a great defense and they will be keying in on Saquon Barkley leaving them potentially vulnerable in the passing game.

If this game does get out of hand, the Giants will again need to rely on the arm of Daniel Jones in garbage time. Slayton could be a benefactor of those throws, and therefor could end this week with another touchdown.

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