We are inching closer and closer to season’s end and the fantasy football playoffs are approaching fast. We kick off Week 13 with a matchup in the NFC featuring two teams that just played last week on Thanksgiving. The Seattle Seahawks head to North Texas to visit the Dallas Cowboys. Normally I would preach about the “short week” for both teams, and while that may be so, they’re at least well rested and have both had the same amount of time to prepare for each other. The Cowboys have won three straight games and the offense is clicking on all cylinders while the defense is a threat for a pick six every game. They’re currently 8-3 and two games behind the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East. But a win over Seattle on Thursday, and an Eagles’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday could give Dallas a shot at winning the division. The Seahawks seem to be going the wrong way. They’ve lost three of their last four games and sit at 6-5 and are clinging to a Wild Card spot in the NFC. Let’s look at Thursday’s NFL DFS Showdown lineup picks to kick off Week 13!
Spread: Dallas Cowboys (-9)
Over/Under: 47.5 Points
Weather: This game will be played in a controlled environment.
- Kenneth Walker, Running Back – Doubtful (Oblique)
- Phil Haynes, Guard – OUT (Toe)
- Dareke Young, Wide Receiver – Doubtful (Abdomen)
- Will Dissly, Tight End – Questionable (Hip)
- Leonard Williams, Defensive End – Probable (Ankle)
- D’Wayne Eskridge, Wide Receiver – Questionable (Ribs)
Per the Final Injury Report from the Dallas Cowboys, everyone was a full practice. Any inactives 90 minutes before kickoff tonight will be healthy scratches. The only real player in question is Peyton Hendershot because he would need to be activated off IR.
NFL DFS MVP/Captain
Of course I’m going to put Lamb in at Captain. He’s probably my favorite Captain play on the slate. He has 62 targets over his last five games with six total touchdowns in that span. He’s averaging 2.84 yards per route run, which is fifth among qualified wide receivers. He’s been “quiet” the last few games with just 10 catches for 91 yards the last two weeks, but he does have a touchdown in each game. The Cowboys are big favorites and Lamb has at least nine targets in five straight games. But this is also the perfect time to segue to our next candidate…
Dak hasn’t been rushing as much as he was before breaking his ankle a few years ago. However, he’s been en fuego the last handful of games. He’s gone over 30 fantasy points on DraftKings in four of his last five games, and in those four games he’s grabbed the 300-yard passing bonus with at least three touchdowns in those performances. This is the kind of matchup he could easily post big numbers again. And the best part is that when the Cowboys are putting up points, they aren’t letting their foot off the gas. The recent numbers of quarterbacks vs. the Seahawks defense aren’t Earth shattering. They’ve held seven of their last eight opponents at quarterback to under 18 fantasy points. But the Cowboys are beating the crap out of everybody currently and they love blowing past the implied team total. He doesn’t have the rushing upside I like but he’s playing at a high level either way.
Kind of an unconventional pick. But with Kenneth Walker doubtful for this game, I’ll give Charbonnet consideration at Captain. He’s going to get volume with potentially 18+ touches and he has 14 catches in his last four games. Now the output has not been very good, but with no Walker there are opportunities for the ninth-most expensive player on the board to get a bell cow’s workload. The Cowboys are a tough matchup for opposing running backs. Only three teams all year have rushed for over 100 yards this year against Dallas. So it’s an uphill battle. But the Cowboys have a phenomenal secondary and there should be plenty of targets in the passing game that’ll go to Charbonnet in this matchup. It’s a shame we finally get to see Charbonnet get the RB1 workload but is next three games are against Dallas, San Francisco, and then Philadelphia. He costs just over 20% of your salary on DraftKings to play him at Captain.
You can go a variety of ways at Captain in this game, but I’ll give the final spot to Ferguson. The Seattle Seahawks, a team once horrendous at defending the tight end position, have only allowed one touchdown to opposing tight ends this year. But in their last six games, opposing tight ends have caught 39 passes so there’s a little volume that we can account for. He’s also coming off some underwhelming performances with just 93 total receiving yards in his last three games, but that could just drive exposure down at Captain. He had an 85% route participation rate last week which was tied for third among tight ends and according to DraftKings Sportsbook, Ferguson is the most-bet player to score the first touchdown Thursday night but that’s mostly because he was getting (+950) odds throughout the week.
Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays
This may surprise some people that I don’t have Pollard as a Captain candidate. Per usual, you can certainly play him. The matchup is good. But when we get into the psychology of casual DFS players building lineups they see that green ‘29th’ on DraftKings and pick that player because he has a good matchup. Pollard has certainly stepped up the efficiency the last two weeks after being a fantasy bust for the first 10 weeks of the season. He has back-to-back games with touchdowns, he’ll always have volume, and he also has 10 receptions in his last two games. But when others zig, I will zag. If Leonard Williams is active for this game, which I think he will be, then I just won’t play Pollard at Captain. The last two matchups have been great for Pollard and those were matchups he should have taken advantage of. Last week Seattle ran into the buzzsaw that is the San Francisco 49ers offense. But the week prior they held the Rams to 82 rushing yards, and the week before that they limited the Washington Commanders to just 68 yards. Tony Pollard lacked explosiveness and efficiency in so many games this season so I will pivot and just utilize him as a Flex play Thursday night.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
I’m going to lump these two together. This is a horrendous matchup for both. Dallas doesn’t give up a ton of fantasy production to opposing wide receivers. Last week against Washington, a lot of their production came late in the game and Sam Howell is a volume monster. They had to push a dead car across the finish line to get some fantasy value. The Cowboys love them some man coverage and it’s expected that Metcalf and Lockett will see a good amount of Stephon Gilmore and DaRon Bland. Gilmore, despite the age, has always been an elite defensive back and he’s played well this year. And everyone knows Bland is on a record-breaking pace for interceptions returned for a touchdown. This is a brutal matchup for Seattle’s top two pass catchers and it doesn’t help that Geno Smith looks like a shell of the player he was last year. Both will likely still be fed targets as the passing volume mostly runs through them but be very weary of the matchup. I’d have a hard time playing them together in the same lineup.
Geno Smith is actually priced reasonably for a starting quarterback on a Showdown slate, but the matchup is as ugly as it can possibly be. Think back to last week against the San Francisco 49ers where he couldn’t even eclipse 10 fantasy points. Geno could easily go out and attempt 35+ pass attempts. But the Cowboys have only allowed one 300-yard passer and that came last week against Sam Howell who threw exactly 300 yards on 44 pass attempts. Smith is averaging about a touchdown per game and the turnovers have been costly at times. In 17 games last year, Geno had 30 touchdown passes to just 11 interceptions. With six games to go this year he’s only sitting at 12 touchdowns and eight picks while his completion percentage is down 4.4% from last year as well. It’s a very difficult matchup and he’s been trending the wrong way all year. It’s nice that he’s at least cheaper than DK Metcalf because he may provide a better floor if you play Cash games on these slates.
Cooks likely settles in as a GPP-only kind of play. You can make the argument to play him at Captain and it might just be a good leverage spot. He has four touchdowns in his last six games, but he’s mostly seeing four or five targets per game as well. He is very dependent on finding the end zone. But he has been building up more chemistry with Dak Prescott of late, which is something Dak mentioned prior to Cooks finding his groove. The target share is still modest but if the Seahawks and they’re developing secondary scheme for CeeDee Lamb that could open things up for Cooks and Ferguson. But be aware that Jamal Adams lurks deep to break up any big plays which are right in Cooks’ wheelhouse.
Dallas Cowboys D/ST
I’ve had my concerns about defenses priced up over $5,500 for Showdown slates. I think we can all agree that we make an exception for Dallas. In six of their 11 games this year they’ve put up at least 15 fantasy points. DaRon Bland and his pick six upside tend to pay off in big ways. But overall they also do well to limit opposing offenses and they generate a ton of pressure. Overall, it’s a big home favorite going against an offense that has had its struggles and won’t have its regular starting running back. Fire up the Cowboys D/ST on Thursday and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you could even roster this group at Captain because they’re likely optimal if they drop 20+ fantasy points.
JSN might be the one Seattle pass catcher I’m most interested in. That boils down to pricing because the matchups across the board for Seattle are awful. He hasn’t flashed much of a ceiling and it’s hard to envision a breakout game Thursday night. Granted, he’ll still likely face coverage from Jourdan Lewis in the slot, where again, the Cowboys allow the third-fewest fantasy points to slot receivers. They’re just outstanding across the board. He can do things like this that make you wonder why the Seahawks don’t try to feature him more…
Alas, it’s a tough matchup for all of Seattle’s pass catchers but if Dallas is getting pressure on Geno Smith then I do expect shorter passes to be dialed up for him. But he likely needs a couple big plays and a touchdown until Seattle feeds him more targets regularly.
Brandon Aubrey ($4,800) is the pivot off the Cowboys D/ST that’ll save you $800. The problem is that volume hasn’t been on his side save for extra point attempts. He has six field goal attempts in his last five games but he also has 23 extra point attempts in that span. That simply signals that Dallas is scoring a ton of touchdowns. And that’s still fine so long as he can provide a deeper field goal as well. Aubrey is perfect on all 22 of his field goal attempts on the year, but I think it’s kind of amusing he’s missed an extra point attempt in back-to-back games. The Seahawks red-zone defense isn’t great. Teams are finding the end zone two out of every three drives into the red zone and Dallas has one of the better offenses in the league currently. There’s a very stable floor here for Aubrey and he’s posted nine fantasy points in consecutive games.
The Cowboys are such a tough matchup for opposing offenses that not even the Kickers are safe. Only three field goals attempts have been made by opposing kickers in Dallas’ last four games and in their last seven games there have been just seven attempts. Only one team has attempted more than two field goal attempts against this team in a game and that was the only one to have a kicker return double-digit fantasy points. As you can see, things aren’t looking great for Jason Myers ($4,400). But I will at least note that he’s averaging 15 fantasy points per game over his last three matchups. While Seattle’s offense could struggle, they do seem to still find ways to get their kicker some reps.
NFL DFS Dart Throw Bargains
The price of $4,200 is a bit much to play for a player that may only touch the ball four or five times. But if this game turns into a blowout, he’ll get the later “garbage time” work. He’s found a touchdown in two of his last three games but overall the production is otherwise very low. This range of Rico Dowdle and Michael Gallup is one that I imagine several people skip over.
He has nine receptions in his last four games, which doesn’t sound like much but he has been getting more snaps than Michael Gallup and if he’s offering more upside than Gallup at a cheaper price than I’ll take the savings here. He comes off the field for two-wide receiver sets so be aware of that. But at $3,000 I’m willing to go here since he has at least five targets in three of his last four games. Kavontae Turpin ($2,600) can be considered as a pivot but his volume is very low and he’s very touchdown dependent, but he does get work in the return game so he could be worth pairing with the Dallas D/ST in some of your lineups.
Recommending Dallas is mostly just hoping Seattle gives him more than eight offensive snaps like he saw last week when Kenneth Walker was out. But that may also have been due to him losing a fumble. But it’s Dallas against Dallas so that’s at least fun. If Seattle wants to dial back how much they feature their rookie running back, it may be smart to utilize their backups. But if this is a blowout, that may not bode as well for Seattle’s running game in what is already a difficult matchup.
This kid should be everybody’s favorite value play this evening, but with a caveat. He is only $200 yet we need to monitor inactives because he was a healthy scratch last week. We typically see Vaughn get roughly one catch per game with some carries as well. And at $200 that’s all we need for him to give us something at this cheap price tag. He’s only been active once in the last six weeks so we’ll know 90 minutes before kickoff if he’ll get to play.