This game suddenly got a lot more interesting, for fantasy purposes, with the loss of Ezekiel Elliott. Managers will be watching the new look backfield of the Cowboys closely on Sunday—who will emerge as the best option between the committee of Alfred Morris, Rod Smith, and Darren McFadden? Will Dak Prescott actually increase in value with Elliott gone?
I tackle all these questions and more in this week’s Fantasy Start/Sit. Let’s get started.
RB Devonta Freeman
Freeman has had a rather up-and-down season thus far in 2017, but I think he’s a very good start this week against Dallas. Obviously, it’d be a lot more encouraging if the Falcons would commit to giving Freeman more touches—including more outside zone runs and throws to the RBs—but you have to take what you can get at the RB position. Freeman should have RB1-worthy numbers during this tilt with the Cowboys, which I hope will be competitive.
QB Matt Ryan
Ryan has a good match-up this week against a Dallas secondary that is pretty undermanned at the moment. Until the Falcons can demonstrate the offense is capable of scoring 20+ points consistently, Ryan will be a risky start. But, I think he’s a borderline QB1 this week against a favorable opponent—the danger of course being that the Cowboys eat up the clock with their run game, limiting Ryan’s opportunities.
WR Mohamed Sanu
Sanu has emerged as a very dependable FLEX option in PPR leagues over the last few games. He’s one of Ryan’s favorite red zone targets and is a lock for at least three catches a game. Sanu isn’t going to blow up the stat sheet, but if you need a dependable 10ish points, he’s a desirable option.
QB Dak Prescott
Prescott has been among the best QBs in fantasy in 2017, and I don’t expect that to stop with the loss of Ezekiel Elliott. In fact, it could mean that the offense relies even more on Prescott—perhaps leading to more opportunities for passing and QB rushing TDs. Prescott is a high-end, every-week QB1, and that doesn’t change against an Atlanta team that has been fairly generous to QBs.
RB Alfred Morris
Someone in the Dallas backfield has to take over the Elliott role, and my money is almost exclusively on Alfred Morris. Morris has been effective in pretty limited action for the Cowboys, but he’s got a proven track record and is a guy that can handle a big workload. With Dallas’ excellent offensive line, Morris should be at least an RB2 going forward. It’s obviously a bit risky starting him this week with no hard evidence of how the backfield will shake out, but I’m pretty confident in Morris.
Other Falcons WRs
Other than Julio and Sanu, there aren’t any other dependable options in the passing game. Avoid players like Taylor Gabriel, Justin Hardy, and Andre Roberts. Even if they manage to score a TD, you’re looking at around a 10-point ceiling. There are more intriguing options on the waiver wire.
WR Dez Bryant
If you have Dez, you’re probably wanting to start him this week. I’d urge caution, although I understand if you’re in a situation where you can’t afford to bench him. Bryant is suffering from a high ankle sprain, and even though he seems likely to play through the injury, it will almost certainly limit him this week. Bryant will face Trufant in coverage, and I just don’t foresee a big day from him on Sunday.
Other Cowboys RBs
The tandem of Rod Smith and Darren McFadden will back up Alfred Morris, but I don’t trust either of them enough to make them start-able assets this week. Perhaps Smith carves out a decent role as a receiver in PPR leagues going forward, but I’d otherwise avoid these two as anything other than wait-and-see stashes.
Kevin’s Spicy Play of the Week
WR Terrance Williams
With Dez Bryant likely limited in Sunday’s game and no Ezekiel Elliot, Dak Prescott will need to throw the ball to someone. Williams had a big game last week against the Chiefs, catching 9 passes for 141 yards. He’s been inconsistent throughout his career, but Williams could easily find himself as the focal point in what may be a slightly more pass-heavy Cowboys’ offense. Fire him up as a high-ceiling FLEX option this week.
I hope you all crush your fantasy leagues in Week 10. If you have any lineup questions, feel free to send them to me on Twitter @FalcoholicKevin.