The Cowboys vs Packers will be one of the more intriguing matchups of Week 6. The electric duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott face a banged up Packers’ secondary without star WR Dez Bryant. Tyron Smith is a little banged up and his unit faces a very strong Green Bay Packers’ front. I can’t wait to watch this game, where to opposing offensive philosophies go head to head.
Immovable force meets unstoppable objects. The NFL’s #1 rushing defense meets the NFL’s #1 rushing offense. Green Bay Packers meet Dallas Cowboys. Wait, the Packers are the #1 rushing defense? Yes, the Packers are the epitome of a funnel defense, giving up a meager 42.8 YPG on 2.0 YPC on the ground as opposed to 275 YPG, 7 TDs in 4 games and 2 INTs. After starting off ‘slowly’, Ezekiel Elliott has looked like the real deal, rushing for 546 yards on 109 carries and 5 TDs. Elliott has been a big play threat with 5 20+ yard runs, with a long of 60 and his YPC has gone from2.6 in his first career game all the way up to 8.9 against Cincinnati. The Packers have been stifling against long runs, only allowing a long run of 14 yards on 86 carries.
I was sitting over here think the Packers were #elite, and then I looked at the Packers’ opponents. The Jaguars, Vikings, Lions, and Giants. The Packers “shut down” such luminaries at the RB position such as TJ Yeldon, 2 quarters of Adrian Peterson, Theo Riddick, and the dreadful RBBC of Bobby Rainey and Paul Perkins. News Flash: The Packers’ defense is a partially a product of their easy schedule. While the Packers maintain their defensive alignments very well against the run, it’s fairly easy to shut down that motley crew of backs. Ezekiel Elliot and the ferocious five some of Zack Martin, Travis Fredrick, Tyron Smith, Doug Free, and La’el Collins are going to expose the defense of the Packers. Ezekiel Elliott is a going to finish this week as a top 5 RB in Week 6 with at least hundred yards and a touch!
The “wide” part of the funnel, the secondary, for the Packers is banged up heading into Week 6. Damarious Randall has been limited in practice all week and is questionable for Week 6 after missing Week 5 with a hamstring and their #1 CB Sam Shields is officially Out with a concussion. Great news for the other half of the Cowboys’ young and dynamic backfield, Dak Prescott. Side note: Prescott should be the Cowboys’ starter for the rest of the season. In his first five career games, Prescott has accounted for 1,300 yards and 7 total TDs, without an INT through 155 pass attempts and a 69% completion. Prescott is maintaining 0.49 fantasy points per drop back, a mark good for #6 in the NFL. Prescott has looked amazing through his 5 starts, with amazing efficiency, and is a top 12 QB play this week.
One of what should be Prescott’s major targets, Dez Bryant has been limited throughout practice this week and is officially Questionable. Bryant missed games in Week 4 and 5 and his usage in the other 3 games has been mysterious. Dez has 23 targets, 11 receptions, 150 yards, 1 TD, and a 23.7% target share. Maybe Dez has a low catch % (47.8%) because of how far downfield he gets targeted? Nope, he has 123 air yards, 5.3 air yards per target. All these great stats like air yards are from Player Profiler, a great resource for in-depth player measurable. However, all of this could be worthless if Dez Bryant misses this week’s game. Bryant is Questionable so far and it seems as if October 30th could be when Dez returns. Tony Romo is expected back that week, whether or not he starts for the Cowboys, and that is the week after the Cowboys’ bye, which is after this week. With a 4-1 record heading into Week 6, it wouldn’t make sense for Dez to play unless he is close to 100%.
Enter the tantalizing upside combo of Cole Beasley and Jason Witten as replacement options in the Cowboys’ passing game. Right now, Cole Beasley is the WR 29 through the first 5 weeks, corralling 27 of 33 targets (81.8% catch rate) for 332 yards and a TD. Beasley has been remarkably consistent this season, posting lines of 14.5, 12.5, 14.3, 10.3, and 15.3. Beasley works fro the slot and is a welcome underneath option, especially for a young QB. Prescott has been adamant this season about not forcing the ball to Dez, which makes lots of passes head towards Beasley. Beasley is a fine WR 3 or Flex play against the injured Packers’ defense. The old man TE, Jason Witten has been quietly doing his steady thing, while being the TE 13. Witten offers almost no upside and only a modicum of reliability and stability in his reception totals. If, only if you are absolutely desperate or looking for an absolutely deep Daily Fantasy play, Brice Butler is the deepest of deep sleepers. Butler is 6’3″ and runs a 4.42 40 yard dash. Butler has the requisite size and speed as an outside WR and is averaging 1.36 Fpts/target. If Dez sits, Butler is an intriguing play.
Players to start for the Cowboys:
- Dak Prescott
- Ezekiel Elliott
- Cole Beasley (WR 3/Flex)
Players to sit for the Cowboys:
- Jason Witten
- Terrence Williams
- Brice Butler
- Can the Cowboys continue their running game success against a top defense?
- Does Dak Prescott remain successful without Dez Bryant?
Green Bay Packers
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the Cowboys, the Packers are a team that loves to have Aaron Rodgers try to win a football game by himself. A consensus top 3 QB among many fantasy footballers heading into the season, Rodgers ranks 4th in Fpts/game, scoring 21.8 on average. In 4 games, Rodgers has completed 56.1% of his 139 passes for 876 passes, 9 TDs, and 3 INTs. It looks as if Rodgers is being a great QB, but he continues to chuck passes off of his back foot, expecting a younger and uninjured Jordy Nelson to be where ever the ball is. Rodgers may not be as accurate as in previous seasons, but against a Cowboys defense that has given up 9 passing TDs, he remains an easy top 5 QB.
The Packers’ RB situation has gotten very interesting this week. With James Starks dealing with a knee injury and Eddie Lacy with an ankle issue, Starks was expected to be the starting RB in Week 6. And then he took a turn for the worse and Eddie Lacy is now listed as Questionable, with Starks now Questionable, but not accepted to play, in at least Week 6. The Packers haven’t worked out any RBs this week, showing confidence that Lacy could be at least marginally healthy for Week 6. Next on the depth chart is Aaron Ripkowski, an FB, and on the practice squad is Don Jackson. Jackson is a, 5′ 11″, 205 lb, 23-year-old RB who went undrafted out of Nevada. Jackson is an average athlete that ran 4.55 and posted normal agility scores. Regardless of the starter, he returns to face a near top 10 rushing defense. The Cowboys are the 11th ranked rushing defense, allowing 95 YPG at a 4.6 YPC clip. Part of the reason, the Cowboys only give up 95 YPG is that opposing teams have only rushed 103 times against them, due to the Cowboys style of play. The Cowboys drain the clock, rushing the ball so much that they average near 34 minutes of possession, leaving only 26 minutes for the opposing team to score points. Opposing teams cannot respond in kind because they would not be able to score enough. Eddie Lacy, if he plays, probably gets started in your lineup, mostly due to the disaster of the RB position so far.
Jordy Nelson is a great WR and has already amassed 5 TDs through 4 games, but Nelson has been ‘touchdown dependent’, only having 244 yards on 21 catches. With another week to get healthier, Nelson should be able to fully reassume his position as a plug and play as a WR 1. After Randall Cobb’s 9 for 108 game he looks back to some semblance of normality. The surprising thing is that Cobb has 21 catches for 240 yards. And 0 TDs. Cobb is great WR 2 play this week, coming off of the bye week. Davante Adams is very polarizing. After being given to be the premier outside threat in 2015 (and falling on his face), Adams has sort of returned to relevance as a boom or bust WR 4. No one (including me) trusts stone hands Adams and despite being worth a pickup if he’s available, he likely won’t be started.
After heading to the Packers in the offseason, Jared Cook is Out against Dallas. Cook was an interesting athlete, but he never put it together. If somehow you are holding onto Cook in redraft its time to move on from him. Richard Rodgers is slow and big. Richard Rodgers is also a great red zone threat. Richard Rodgers is also going against a team that has given up 8 red zone catches to TEs on 10 targets. Richard Rodgers is as close to you can get to a TD lock in Week 6, which makes you a TE 1. Look for Rodgers to finish as a TE 1, and he is stream worthy if you need a Jordan Reed replacement.
Players to start for the Packers:
- Aaron Rodgers
- Jordy Nelson
- Randall Cobb
- Eddie Lacy (If he plays)
- Richard Rodgers (as a streamer)
Players to sit for the Packers
- Davante Adams
- Don Johnson