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

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:20 p.m. ET contest between the Cowboys and the Saints with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

I sort of love this matchup. Let’s all be honest with ourselves, the football we were given for Thanksgiving sucked, and it certainly didn’t help that the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints were basically missing full skill-position groupings. Yet, to kick-off Week 13, we’ve been given a second chance. Everyone’s back — except maybe Alvin Kamara ($11,200; knee) — and, just for good measure, Taysom Hill ($9,600) is starting at QB?

I’m in. Let’s break it all down tonight’s contest from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.25M Thursday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry] (DAL vs NO)


Captain’s Picks

Dak Prescott ($17,700 CP) - Sometimes when presented with a “chicken and the egg” scenario in DFS, it’s difficult to decide how to proceed. However, this is not one of those times. It doesn’t matter if the Saints’ recent struggle to defend opposing QBs is the result of a flaw in their defense or their brutal schedule of elite fantasy quarterbacks, because Prescott is himself an elite fantasy quarterback. He fits the bill. New Orleans has surrendered at least 25.0 DKFP to four of the last five pivots its seen, with the lone exception coming in the form of a mostly weaponless Ryan Tannehill back in Week 10. Simply put, this is a matchup that Prescott can exploit, especially with both CeeDee Lamb ($10,000) and Amari Cooper ($8,600) expected to be back in the fold. Prescott is averaging a very respectable 0.55 DKFP per drop back in 2021, while he’s also produced 24.7 DKFP in the last six games he’s played indoors. Usually that’s the fast track at AT&T Stadium, but I’m confident that the Superdome will fill in nicely.

Taysom Hill ($14,400 CP) - The running joke of Hill being the most-annoying asset in Showdown has finally come full-circle. Am I confident that the BYU product is a NFL-caliber quarterback? Definitely not. However, Hill showed he’s viable in a DFS capacity last season, when he averaged 22.4 DKFP in his four starts at the position, even throwing for more than 230 yards in three of those contests. Even more interesting is that Hill out-carried the aforementioned Kamara 11-to-6 in the red zone in those four games, essentially creating a dynamic where you’re able to roster a team’s QB and goal line back as a single player. Hill isn’t quite Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson, but with Sean Payton’s trust, the 31-year-old has a higher ceiling than most. Considering how underwhelming Dallas’ defense performed last Thursday — particularly corner Anthony Brown — I have faith that the Hill-led Saints will be able to keep pace with the Cowboys’ explosive offensive attack.

FLEX Plays

Michael Gallup ($6,800) - Dallas isn’t exactly a team that’s flush with value skill-position assets, due in part to Cedrick Wilson (ankle) being ruled out for Week 13. That means Gallup is about as cheap as it gets for the Cowboys, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While the former third-round pick likely won’t see a snap share above 90%, as he has the past two games, with both Lamb and Cooper available, I’d still anticipate a large role. First and foremost, Dallas has used 11-personnel on 61% of its offensive snaps this season, throwing the ball on 71% of those looks. Secondly, I’d very much doubt Cooper is truly at full-strength in this contest, as he’s reported to have been showing COVID symptoms as recently as Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Saints have conceded the seventh-most DKFP per game to opposing wide receivers in 2021. Don’t suddenly forget about the guy who just posted a 100-yard performance on Turkey Day.

Tre’Quan Smith ($5,600) - I’m not here to spread the gospel of Tre’Quan Smith, however I’m not sure what the guy has to do to prove he’s the No. 1 receiver on this team. Smith’s led the Saints’ wide receivers in snap share by a wide margin dating back to Week 10, a span of time where he’s also posted 20 targets. Yet, for some reason, Marquez Callaway ($6,400), who only has 12 targets within that same span, continues to be priced above Smith. Neither player’s ceiling is particularly massive — especially if Kamara is active and stealing target opportunities on Thursday — but as long as Smith’s salary is lower than Callaway’s, I’ll keep coming back to the well.


Editor’s Note: Saints RB Alvin Kamara (knee) will not play tonight vs. the Cowboys, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Alvin Kamara ($11,200) - I think there’s just a lot to be worried about here. Putting aside the fact that Kamara wasn’t even able to log a single full practice this week, we’re not dealing with the same heavy-volume role that the RB was seeing back in September and October. Mark Ingram ($5,000) was brought in via trade to ease some of Kamara’s burden, and now the ultimate touchdown vulture is starting at QB for the Saints. This is also a deceptively difficult matchup. Dallas owns the NFC’s second-best defense according to DVOA, and the Cowboys have been specifically great at shutting down opposing backfields in the passing game since their Week 7 bye. In fact, dating back to the beginning of Week 8, Dallas has conceded the sixth-fewest targets to RBs, while also surrendering the fewest yards per target to the position of any team in the NFL (3.7). If you’re playing multiple lineups, I’ll understand wanting at least some exposure, but I wouldn’t dare put Kamara in the Captain’s slot on Thursday evening.


Though I will acknowledge that this would be much easier with Trevor Siemian ($9,400) under center for New Orleans, I think all signs point to a Dallas victory in this spot. The Cowboys are 4-1 ATS on the road in 2021, 6-0 ATS in their past six games against an NFC opponent and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games on turf. Prescott and this Dallas aerial attack love a fast track, and the Saints’ secondary just doesn’t seem like it’s equipped to stop someone of Dak’s talent-level at the moment.

Final Score: Dallas 27, New Orleans 21

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.25M Thursday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry] (DAL vs NO)

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