Last updated: December 20th at 8:15am ET
Team Totals: Cowboys 23.5, Eagles 22.5
In Week 16’s most playoff-implicative game, the Cowboys visit Philly in a battle of 7-7 teams that will crown the NFC East’s victor if Dallas wins. We’ve made no secret of Dak Prescott’s negative road splits – he’s logged top-12 fantasy outcomes in just 3-of-7 away games and averaged 1.6 fewer yards per pass attempt outside of JerryWorld this year – but of greater concern are multiple injuries to Prescott’s throwing arm. Week 15 reports had Dak battling a hairline fracture on his right index finger, and he suffered what’s believed to be either an AC sprain or rotator cuff contusion on the same arm against the Rams. Prescott was unable to throw passes in practice all this week. Although Sunday’s matchup at Philly is unimposing, I’d be extremely wary of sticking with him in season-long championship week. … Ezekiel Elliott looked like his peak self in last Sunday’s blowout win, parlaying 27 touches into a season-high 160 yards and two TDs against the typically run-tough Rams. Although Philly is also typically run tough, DC Jim Schwartz has never had answers for Zeke, whose five career touches/yardage/touchdown stat lines against the Eagles are 28/147/1 > 40/192/0 > 25/187/2 > 30/141/0 > 26/148/0. Especially due to Dak’s questionable throwing-arm health, expect Elliott to be Dallas’ Week 16 offensive centerpiece.
Dak’s post-bye target distribution: Michael Gallup 54; Amari Cooper 52; Jason Witten 45; Randall Cobb 40; Zeke 29; Blake Jarwin 24; Tony Pollard 14. … Prescott’s hand and shoulder injuries are definite Week 16 causes for concern for Gallup and Cooper, who both flopped in last week’s blowout victory. Sunday’s game projects to be far more competitive, though, and both of Dallas’ top-two wideouts catch plus draws. The Eagles’ secondary got dogwalked by DeVante Parker (7/159/2), Darius Slayton (5/154/2), Terry McLaurin (5/130/1), and someone named Steven Sims (5/45/1) in its last three games against teams quarterbacked by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Eli Manning, and Dwayne Haskins. Even with Prescott on the mend, I’m going right back to Cooper as bounce-back WR1 and Gallup as a WR2. … With all due respect for last week’s one-handed touchdown catch, Witten remains TD dependent having failed to reach 60 yards in a game all year. He managed 33 scoreless yards in these teams’ Week 7 affair. Jarwin doesn’t see nearly as much opportunity as Witten, but he is clearly Dallas’ most explosive tight end. … Cobb has settled back in as a low-volume slot receiver on target counts of 3 > 5 > 2 over his last three games.
Overcoming his depleted supporting cast almost entirely on sheer will, Carson Wentz has eked out top-12 fantasy results in three straight starts and now draws a Cowboys team that has given up top-12 scores to seven of its last nine quarterbacks faced, including top-five results to Mitchell Trubisky and Jeff Driskel. Wentz’s floor is not safe missing RT Lane Johnson (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (Lisfranc) against a talented yet underachieving Dallas team, but his playmaking ability and volume can’t be ignored. On an extremely aggressive kick, Wentz has cleared 40 pass attempts in all five games since Philly’s Week 10 bye and tacked on a 12.4 rushing-yards average during that stretch. The Cowboys have allowed the NFL’s fifth-most QB rushing yards per game (19.6). … Although Week 14 hero Boston Scott deservedly stayed involved with 13 touches on a 45% playing-time clip in Week 15’s win at Washington, Miles Sanders reasserted himself as the Eagles’ alpha back with a week-winning 172 yards and two TDs on 25 touches. Sanders is averaging 5.37 yards per carry, 95.7 total yards, and 16.1 touches since Week 7, and his usage and effectiveness continue to rise. He’s an upside RB2 play at home versus Dallas.
With Jeffery down for the count, Nelson Agholor (knee) still sidelined, and even J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (foot) on the mend, Zach Ertz’s path of destruction should continue against a Dallas defense giving up the NFL’s third-most catches and eighth-most yards to tight ends. Ertz leads all players at his position with a 10.8-target average over the last six weeks, banking 90-plus yards and/or a touchdown in five of them. … A full-time player due to Philly’s wideout deficiencies, Dallas Goedert parlayed 40 routes run on an 84% playing-time clip into six targets and 55 yards in last week’s win over Washington. He dumped a 4/69/1 receiving line on Dallas in these clubs’ Week 7 date and belongs on the right side of this week’s TE1 fringe. … Essentially entrenched as Philly’s most job-secure wideout, ex-college QB and AAF product Greg Ward enters Week 16 with target counts of 9 > 9 on playing-time rates of 86% > 75% over Philly’s last two games. Meantime, fellow slot WRs Cole Beasley (6/110/1), Julian Edelman (8/93/0), Danny Amendola (4/47/0), Anthony Miller (3/42/1), and Cooper Kupp (6/41/1) each met or beat expectations against Dallas over the past five weeks. Ward is the Eagles’ lone fantasy-viable wideout at this point.
Score Prediction: Eagles 24, Cowboys 23