MNF: Fantasy Preview

Monday Night Football: Tennessee Titans (3-4) at Dallas Cowboys (3-4)

What to Watch For:

The typical matchup of old-school ground-and-pound style offenses and solid run-stopping defenses. Coming off the heels of the high-scoring Rams/Saints game yesterday, this game may be a disappointment, but don’t expect crisp, high-scoring offenses here. This will likely be a sloppy game that features a lot of Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry/Dion Lewis.

The Cowboys have been an odd bunch. This season, they’re 3-0 at home and 0-4 on the road. This bodes well tonight, but not a great recipe for a late-season playoff push. Desperate for better wide receiver play, they sent a 1st-round draft pick to Oakland in exchange for Amari Cooper, who had the Week 8 bye to adjust to the new offense. It’ll be interesting to see if Cooper can be the difference maker this team needs to go along with Elliott.

Tennessee is still in the chase for a division title, though they’ll need to compile some wins to keep up with the now 6-3 Houston Texans, fresh off winning their 6th-straight game. Marcus Mariota has been underwhelming to say the least, and the running game hasn’t evolved into as much as a threat as they were anticipating, but the defense has been playing well. That defense will be key to a victory tonight. Contain Ezekiel Elliott, and get some contributions out of Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor and they’ll be in a great position to win.

Prediction: Cowboys win 23-20.

Fantasy Studs:

RB Dion Lewis

Coming off his best game of the season with 155 scrimmage yards in a loss to the Chargers last week, I expect more of the same tonight in Arlington. Dallas has been stout on defense this season, ranking in the top-10 against every position group in fantasy points against. However, I believe the physicality of Derrick Henry will wear them down enough to allow Lewis to be effective coming out of backfield. In PPR leagues, he should provide solid value as he’s been consistent in receiving roughly 5 targets per game.

WR Amari Cooper

I believe Cooper is going to benefit primarily from usage. Everyone loves playing with a new toy, and that’s exactly what you’re getting with Cooper. In his first game as a Cowboy, and in an offense that forces defenses to focus primarily on Ezekiel Elliott, Cooper will get an opportunity to make plays. He’s suffered from the drops at times in his career, but should get enough targets and big-play opportunities to be effective for fantasy owners this week. The Titans also rank 19th in the NFL, allowing 25.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receiver groups.

Fantasy Duds:

WR Corey Davis

In Davis’ last 3 games (2 of which against top-5 defenses against opposing WRs, Baltimore and Buffalo), he’s yet to surpass 4 receptions and hasn’t reached 50 receiving yards. Davis has been a major disappointment for fantasy owners as he was a highly sought after sleeper in this year’s drafts. He’s only managed to surpass the 65-yard mark once in a blowup 161-yard, 9-catch performance against the Eagles, and I expect another tough matchup for him tonight as well. Dallas ranks 3rd in the league, allowing just 18.6 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receiver groups, so unless Davis is the only receiver involved tonight, it’ll be a long night for him.

WR Cole Beasley

Beasley has been the only legitimate fantasy-relevant pass-catchers in the Cowboys’ offense this season. That’ll take a hit with the addition of Amari Cooper, who walks into this offense as the clear-cut #1 target. Beasley will be affected the most from the addition because he was primary target to begin with. Tennessee hasn’t been exactly spectacular against wide receivers, as previously mentioned, but I expect a majority of the target to go towards Cooper, that leaves Beasley (who generally needs volume to be effective as an underneath receiver) hanging out to dry for fantasy owners.

 

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