Last updated: December 12th at 8:07pm ET.
Team Totals: Rams 24.5, Cowboys 24.5
Back in a small-sample groove after knifing through Arizona and Seattle for 54-of-74 passing (73%), 717 yards (9.7 YPA), four touchdowns, and two picks, Jared Goff catches another soft opponent in favorable environs beneath JerryWorld’s dome. Six of the last eight quarterbacks to face Dallas’ disappointing defense banked top-12 fantasy scores, while the Cowboys surrendered 26-plus points in four of the last five weeks. Goff is back on the season-long QB1 fringe with contrarian DFS appeal. … Although Malcolm Brown’s continued goal-line vulturing cuts into Todd Gurley’s sheer scoring upside, Gurley’s recent workload spike has vaulted him back into full-fledged RB1 stock. Gurley visits Big D with 20-plus touches in three of Los Angeles’ last four games, falling short only in Week 12’s blowout loss to Baltimore in which Gurley logged a year-high 96% of the Rams’ offensive snaps. Gurley is an every-down back again facing a Cowboys defense that’s permitted 100-plus rushing yards each week during its three-game losing streak and yielded the NFL’s sixth-most running back catches (78) over the course of the year. As we’ll explain next, the Rams went all out to support Gurley in a major personnel-package shift during last week’s decisive win over Seattle.
Goff’s Weeks 12-14 target distribution: Robert Woods 36; Tyler Higbee 25; Cooper Kupp 20; Gurley and Brandin Cooks 8; Josh Reynolds 6; Gerald Everett 2. … Overtaking slowing-down Kupp as Goff’s go-to weapon, Woods is on absolute fire with 80-plus yards in five of his last six games and 95-plus yards in four straight. Woods’ extreme-volume usage will keep him matchup proof as the new centerpiece of Los Angeles’ passing attack. He’s averaging 11.8 targets over the last month. … Higbee has been an all-out monster in Everett’s (ankle/knee) absence, leading all NFL tight ends in Air Yards (188) and actual yards (223) over the past two weeks. As the Cowboys have permitted the NFL’s sixth-most receptions to tight ends (70), Higbee will remain a truly elite TE1 play if Everett stays out. … Kupp set season lows in routes run (18) and snaps (28%) in last week’s blowout of Seattle. As alluded to above, the Rams morphed into a two-tight end, power football team with Higbee and blocking TE Johnny Mundt on the field together and fellow plus-blockers Woods and Reynolds as their two primary wideouts. Positive game script likely also had much to do with it as Los Angeles jumped out to a decisive 21-3 first-half lead. Sunday’s affair sets up to be far more competitive, while fellow slot WRs Cole Beasley (6/110/1), Julian Edelman (8/93/0), Danny Amendola (4/47/0), and Anthony Miller (3/42/1) each met or beat expectations against Dallas over the past four weeks. Kupp is a matchup-based WR2. … Coming off a goose egg versus Seattle, Cooks has played his way off even WR3/flex radars with seven straight games below 60 yards. The Rams played superior blocker Reynolds on 20 more snaps than Cooks last week.
Even as Dak Prescott’s on-field performance has tailed off down the stretch, his box-score production has held steady with top-12 fantasy results in 10-of-13 starts, including top-10 finishes in 7-of-7 games at JerryWorld. Prescott’s yards per attempt spike from 7.6 on the road to 9.2 at home, and he averages 2.7 all-purpose touchdowns per game in Big D versus 1.6 TDs in away games. Even against a stout Rams defense that’s allowed 17 points or fewer in five straight games, Prescott’s dual-threat skills and stacked deck of weapons keep him above the season-long QB1 fringe, especially in this potential shootout indoors. … L.A. never presents a plus matchup for running backs – DC Wade Phillips’ unit has held the position to 3.76 yards per carry and a miniscule 34.2 receiving yards per game – rendering Ezekiel Elliott a usage-based RB1 averaging 23.6 touches over the past eight weeks with a low of 18 and high of 33. It is perhaps worth noting that Phillips sold out hard to stop Zeke in these teams’ playoff date last January, successfully stymieing Elliott for 66 yards and a touchdown on 22 touches in the Rams’ 30-22 victory.
Dak’s post-bye target distribution: Michael Gallup 51; Amari Cooper 50; Jason Witten 40; Randall Cobb 38; Zeke 25; Blake Jarwin 21; Tony Pollard 12. … Gallup torched the Rams in last January’s playoff loss (6/119/0) and is far less likely than Cooper to draw Jalen Ramsey, positioning Gallup for WR2 viability in Sunday’s rematch. … Although Ramsey has made his fair share of highlight-reel plays, he hasn’t been impenetrable with a 74% completion rate and 9.3 yards per attempt allowed since joining the Rams. Amari has cleared 75 yards and/or scored a touchdown in 11-of-12 home games since joining Dallas. An elite route runner capable of creating separation versus any corner, I’m confidently riding with Cooper as a borderline WR1/2 here. … Although Witten’s volume has risen in a small sample lately, he remains a touchdown-or-bust streamer without a game above 58 yards all season. The Rams have allowed the NFL’s eighth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. … Cobb came back to Earth in the Cowboys’ last two games, continuing to fight with Witten and Jarwin for passing-game scraps behind Gallup and Cooper.
Score Prediction: Cowboys 27, Rams 24