Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Cowboys RB Rico Dowdle (ankle) was listed as a ‘DNP’ in Monday’s walkthrough. WR CeeDee Lamb was limited with an ankle issue as well, but recent remarks from head coach Mike McCarthy seem to indicate there is no real concern for his Week 12 availability.
- Commanders RB Antonio Gibson (toe) was limited on Monday’s estimated practice report as he tries to work his way back after missing Week 11’s contest.
- The Cowboys have been the most pass-heavy offense (in pass rate over expectation) over the previous month of play and the Commanders lead the league in pass attempts per game and pass play rate this season.
- Dak Prescott, Lamb, and Brandin Cooks are all positioned well to torch the Commanders through the air, while Jake Ferguson’s robust red-zone role keeps him in consideration.
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How WASHINGTON Will Try To Win ::
The Commanders continue to lean into the pass game under offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, ranking third in the league in pass rate over expectation (PROE) this year and leading the league in total pass attempts (40.2 per game) and pass-play percentage (68.19 percent) through 11 weeks. They began the season bleeding sacks to their opponents while Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson worked almost exclusively downfield, but then went three straight games ceding just three total sacks as those two primary wide receivers began running more controlled routes. On that note, that recent streak of reduced sack rates was bookended by a four-sack game and a six-sack game at the hands of the Giants – both losses. Expect Bieniemy to continue with an emphasis on short-to-intermediate passing to try and help his signal-caller avoid setting the single-season sacks-taken record (which he was on pace to blow past through the first seven weeks of the season). The matchup against the Cowboys can be loosely classified as a semi-run-funnel one, but that hasn’t mattered for Bieniemy and the Commanders this season.
Antonio Gibson’s health is likely to have a profound influence on how interested we are in this backfield come Thursday. Yes, Brian Robinson is still the only running back to return multiple RB1 overall finishes this year, but he has also seen three or fewer targets in all but two games with Gibson healthy (saw six in Week 10 when Gibson left early and saw nine last week with Gibson out). The matchup on the ground is not ideal against a Dallas defense yielding 4.1 yards per carry and the sixth-fewest DK points per game to the position, again making Gibson’s gameday status of the utmost importance. Gibson was listed as a limited participant on the team’s estimated injury report Monday after failing to practice in any capacity leading up to the team’s Week 11 game, although we’ll need to see his participation level on Tuesday to get a more telling picture of what to expect on Thursday. That makes things quite simple for the fantasy expectations here – have interest in Robinson if Gibson misses and temper expectations should Gibson play.
This data point stuck out to me when going through my research – the Cowboys have allowed as many touchdowns to tight ends as they have to running backs this season – six to each position (and just seven to wide receivers). In all my years of studying football, I have never seen something like that this deep into the season. I have no idea if that is simply variance or if there is something in the team’s defense that points to that being a sticky statistic, as I haven’t watched every red-zone snap from the Cowboys this season (maybe someone in Discord is a Cowboys fan and can point to that data point being more signal or noise – if that’s you, give a shout in Discord!). I suppose they did give up three touchdowns to George Kittle when the 49ers stomped them earlier this season. I dunno. Either way, the Cowboys have yielded the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. Notable wide receiver box scores against the Cowboys this year:
- Garrett Wilson, Week 2 – 2/83/1
- Michael Wilson, Week 3 – 2/86
- Keenan Allen, Week 6 – 7/85/1
- Adam Thielen, Week 11 – 8/74
Yea, no wide receiver has surpassed 86 yards receiving against the Cowboys this season, no wide receiver has scored multiple touchdowns, and no wide receiver has returned a GPP-viable score against the Cowboys this season. Now consider that a Commanders pass catcher has surpassed 100 yards receiving just once this season (Dotson) and we’re left with a lot to be desired from this spot. If Bieniemy and the Commanders want to find success through the air, it is likely to come through quick hits and efficiency more than splash plays. The Cowboys have run the third-most man coverage in the league this season (almost 37 percent), against which no Washington pass catcher stands out above the rest this year. Interestingly enough, two of three Logan Thomas touchdowns this year have come against man coverage, but that is filled with noise. The truth of the matter is we’re largely touchdown hunting in this spot against a Dallas defense that has ceded just 13 total passing scores through 10 games played.