NFL Grind Down Week 2: Cowboys vs. Redskins

Vegas Overview

DAL @ WAS Team Spread Total Implied Moneyline
WAS 4.5 46 20.75 188
DAL -4.5 46 25.25 -220

Betting Quick Take: I don’t really like what I see here. I have some confidence in Dallas to roll in this game, but do I really want to be on the public side on an in division road game? I’m not sure about that one. I see this line is now posted at WAS +5.5 in some spots, and that’s tempting to even go the other way and take WAS. My recommendation is probably just to find a better situation for the spread where there is more value. The total is also efficient, but I’m willing to consider the under at 47. It’s up to 46.5 and I’m even fine with that. These are division rivals, Dallas is on the road, and the pace of play could be slow. I’ll lean under on this total, with increasing confidence if the total keeps rising. As usual, the dopey public is on the over at about a 75% clip. Confidence Level: 7 out 10

Injury Situations

Player Team Pos Status Part Impact
Derrius Guice WAS RB O Meniscus 8
Adrian Peterson WAS RB P Age 7
Jordan Reed WAS TE Q Head 6
Tavon Austin DAL WR Q Concussion 2

Injuries to Monitor: The big news is Guice being hurt again. It feels like he’s going to be one of those guys who can’t stay on the field, and that works to the benefit of Chris Thompson in DFS. Tavon Austin isn’t of consequence to us. Jordan Reed ‘s absence is bigger news for the Dallas DST than anything else if he misses. Vernon can’t jump over every horrendous tackling attempt he’ll see.

Other News and Notes: We’re still expecting some limitation on Zeke based on coach speak. Here is a link to the ESPN beat report.

Matchup Factors, Team Identity Metrics, and Game Flow Expectations

Expected Game Pace and Tempo: The Cowboys got a lot of plays off in 2018, ranking in the top 10. Their defense supports them well in that regard, and their situation neutral pace was surprisingly quick in week 1 (rank 9). Assuming they can handle their business, they are the favorites to run more plays than Washington. The Redskins are slow and we don’t have a reason to expect significantly more plays per game from them in 2019 than their 7th lowest volume a season ago. They were dead last in situation neutral pace in Week 1, and could turn this one into a borefest one way or another. They could either succeed on offense and limited production for everyone, or fail and cause the Cowboys to grind clock late. Either way, this shouldn’t be the game stack of the week in the most likely range of outcomes.

Washington Redskins Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Case Keenum WAS 15.83 QB28 37.22 242.12 Rank 24 Rank 11 Rank 3 Rank 21
RB Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Adrian Peterson WAS 9.21 RB34 53% 3% Rank 18 Rank 4 Rank 12 Rank 24
Chris Thompson WAS 12.31 RB24 26% 15% Rank 12 Rank 1 Rank 2 Rank 2
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Terry McLaurin WAS 11.46 WR43 20% 7.44 Rank 23 Rank 3 Rank 15 Rank 5
Paul Richardson WAS 8.6 WR72 15% 5.40 Rank 52 Rank 60 Rank 62 Rank 55
Trey Quinn WAS 10.05 WR57 18% 6.70 Rank 37 Rank 15 Rank 4 Rank 20
Jordan Reed WAS 8.43 TE17 14% 5.21 Rank 13 Rank 12 Rank 25 Rank 8
Vernon Davis WAS 3.03 TE44 5% 1.86 Rank 42 Rank 41 Rank 43 Rank 42

DAL 18-19 Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 23/RB Rank 14/WR Rank 28/TE Rank 8

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Week 1 MSRu: Guice 77% / Thompson 23%
Chris Thompson Week 1 Targets: 10 (Rank 2)
Adrian Peterson 2018 targets: 1.6 per Game (Rank 47)
Adrian Peterson 2018 Snap Share: 49.6% (Rank 35)

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note:
DAL D Ru Success Week 1: 66.7% (Highest)
Peterson Yards Created 2018: 500 (Rank #4)

RotoGrinders projections are on the very conservative side for Adrian Peterson, and I think that’s a matter of taste. I’ve seen some models feeling good about his high share of rushing (between 50 and 65%) and low price points ($3400 on DraftKings). The case against him includes game script and the idea that the coaching staff had otherwise moved on from him as recently as a week ago. At $4800 on Fanduel, you’re basically asking for a TD (maybe 2) but I can see that as “not impossible” for tournaments. Dallas wasn’t fabulous a week ago stopping Saquon, and Peterson showed us a sliver of juice with his yards created performance in 2018. On full PPR sites like DraftKings, I’d rather speculate on the game script friendly Chris Thompson for just $500 more. He received a whopping 10 targets last week, though he wasn’t able to find running room or the end zone. He’ll be in business big time if he is able to do either this week, at this price, and with this kind of guaranteed opportunity.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Keenum Protection Rate: 88.9% (Rank 6)
MS Air Yards: McClaurin 44% / Richardson 23% / Quinn 10%
MS Targets: Thompson 23% / McClaurin 16% / Davis 16%

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note:
Keenum Adj. YPA: 9.8 yds (Rank 8)
Team aDOTS: McClaurin 20.4 / Richardson 10.7 / Quinn 5.7

We have Keenum as QB28 this week, and moving him much higher requires some rose colored glasses in my view. You can’t discredit some of the nice metrics he posted against the Eagles last week, but it would also be foolish to dismiss a much larger sample size of mediocrity. The Cowboys defense has the ability to disrupt as a mid-level group, and can also control the game script to force predictable passing situations late. Unless you suddenly think the Redskins offensive line is good after playing above their heads week 1, I would be staying away from Keenum.

Since I don’t like Keenum in this game, there isn’t much I can say for looking at rookies, injury prone WRs, and ancient TEs for my DFS teams either. The prices are in the basement, but the Cowboys were also incredibly stingy against WRs in terms of fantasy points allowed a season ago. I can’t make a good case for anyone here, and I’d only be chancing someone like McClaurin if you put a gun to my head. He led the team in air yards, and looks NFL game ready right of out the box.

Quick Summary: Chris Thompson is a nice play in GPP, and sure roll the dice on Peterson if you hate fun. Otherwise, we’re more interested in the Dallas defense than we are the Redskins passing game… even on the road.

Dallas Cowboys Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Dak Prescott DAL 20.29 QB5 35.91 283.33 Rank 2 Rank 9 Rank 16 Rank 10
RB Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 17.71 RB6 62% 13% Rank 16 Rank 41 Rank 48 Rank 35
Tony Pollard DAL 8.76 RB42 27% 7% Rank 24 Rank 24 Rank 3 Rank 18
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Amari Cooper DAL 18.54 WR5 28% 10.05 Rank 3 Rank 19 Rank 21 Rank 9
Michael Gallup DAL 12.13 WR34 20% 7.18 Rank 35 Rank 58 Rank 37 Rank 59
Randall Cobb DAL 8.67 WR71 14% 5.03 Rank 69 Rank 72 Rank 80 Rank 74
Jason Witten DAL 7.04 TE23 10% 3.59 Rank 17 Rank 24 Rank 22 Rank 20
Blake Jarwin DAL 2.48 TE49 4% 1.44 Rank 43 Rank 44 Rank 42 Rank 44

WAS 18-19 Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 14/RB Rank 17/WR Rank 6/TE Rank 21

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note:
MS Ru: Elliott 44%, Pollard 44%
Snap : Elliot 54, Pollard 32%

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note:
Elliott Juke rate 2019: 28.6%
Elliott Juke rate 2018: 24.9%
Redskins 2018 Rushing EPA: 7th highest

The Cowboys could find themselves in positive game script, and RG has optimism with a 62% share of rushing attached to Zeke for Week 2. We’re also giving him some healthy target share, which further boosts his raw projection to RB6. I don’t really agree with this optimism, as I expect fewer targets myself. At the end of the day, he’s still the red zone back and the player most likely to secure DAL rushing TDs. That’s enough to call him a GPP play, but I’d personally rather spend elsewhere. They have confidence in Pollard while Zeke works his way back into game form. It’s worthy noting “game form” is a probably mostly in their minds, as he looked as elusive and powerful as ever in his time Week 1.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Dak Deep Ball Attempts: 6 (Rank 6)
MS Air Yards: Cooper 35% / Gallup 27% / Cobb 12%
MS Targets: Cooper 28% / Gallup 22% / Cobb 16%

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note:
Dak QB Rating Week 1: 158.3 (Rank 1)
Amari Cooper aDOT: 11.78
WAS Week 1 Pass EPA: 6th highest

Dak was QB5 for us in the early week projections, and he has upside to finish as QB1. He’s certainly in a fine matchup against a beatable Redskins secondary, and flexed his muscles at an elite level against the Giants. I think you can put him in the conversation for cash games, but is probably best suited as a high ceiling GPP play.

Amari Cooper is projected as WR 5 this week and in a prime spot to blow up again. DeSean Jackson was able to roast this team for a GPP winning week, and the weapons surrounding Cooper suddenly look threatening. Josh Norman is no longer a player we fear, and nor is Quinton Dunbar in coverage. Cooper has the opportunity in terms of Air Yards and targets to shine, and he’s one of the very best GPP plays available at the position if spending up. Gallup remains a volatile option ideal for game stacking or contrarian pivots in Dallas stacks. He looks primed to ascend and his opportunity share is increasing. Cobb is more difficult to trust in DFS, I wouldn’t want to use him in a game that has so many outcomes in the range of negative game script for the pass.

Quick Summary: Zeke has playing time question marks, and isn’t at the top of any list this week. Dak and Amari can be considered a top GPP stack, while Gallup is more of a lower owned pivot than a top option.

DFS Recommendations

Optimal DFS Plays: None (All the best plays in this game are for GPP)

Leverage Plays: Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott, Dallas DST

Secondary Plays: Chris Thompson, Ezekiel Elliott, Adrian Peterson (if you hate fun)

About the Author

  • Chris Gimino (ChrisGimino)

  • Chris Gimino is a top mind in the DFS industry and one of the primary contributors at RotoGrinders including one of the most accurate ownership projection systems in the industry. A multiple time live-finalist, Chris delivers actionable tools and advice for RotoGrinders Premium subscribers that helps them make informed decisions for their lineup builds.

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