Saturday night delivers a potential NFC playoff preview with the Detroit Lions heading on the road to take on the Dallas Cowboys. As of last week, the Detroit Lions laid claim to their first NFC North division title in 30 years and they still have a chance to earn the top seed in the NFC and lock up a bye week. The Dallas Cowboys earned a massive win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14 but have since dropped back-to-back games to the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. Those losses have dropped Dallas to 10-5 but they still have a chance to win the division. A third straight loss would likely lock them in as a Wild Card team for the playoffs. We get a couple of great offenses for this match-up and it’s a little upsetting this game isn’t on Sunday’s main slate. But we’ll all look to follow suit after our very own Discord member and subscriber, Bingbangboom, took down over $3,000 on just $10 worth of entry fees for Thursday night’s slate. Let’s take a look at the top NFL DFS Showdown lineup picks and strategies for this matchup from the NFC.


Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys

Spread: Dallas Cowboys (-5.5)

Over/Under: 52.0 Points

Weather: This game will be played in a controlled environment.

Notable Injuries

Detroit Lions

Dallas Cowboys

NFL DFS Showdown MVP/Captain

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Lamb is an easy Captain target for this particular game. We know the target volume is massive and he is Dak Prescott’s first read over 35% of the time, and there’s a significant air yardage share with Lamb. He has at least nine targets in every game since Week 8 with 10 total touchdowns in that time frame. We also know he can pop for 100 receiving yards and get the bonus on DraftKings. The Lions have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and they’ve given up 18 touchdowns to the position as well. It’s a great game script and match-up for Lamb. Teams typically tend to run on the Lions less because they’re so great at stopping the ground attack and we typically have seen offenses air it out more against Detroit so this lines up perfectly for Lamb. He’ll likely see most coverage out of the slot against Brian Branch and the Lions have allowed the third-most fantasy points to slot receivers this year.

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Dak has not played all that well of late. He has a turnover in three straight games and the passing volume hasn’t been elite either. However, this is the type of match-up where he could easily throw for 300+ yards and at least three touchdowns. In Detroit’s last five games, opposing running backs only have 84 total carries (16.8 per game) and no running back has 15 carries in that span. Ty Chandler had 23 carries against Cincinnati two weeks ago. Last week against Detroit, that went way down to eight. The Lions rank fourth in Rush DVOA, so all this is to say that we should expect more volume for Dak to throw it and potentially garner some carries on his own. The way to beat Detroit is through the air. While Nick Mullens wasn’t great against Detroit last week, he did still throw for 400+ yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Detroit Lions

The Cowboys, like the Lions, are stiff against opposing running backs. They aren’t as good as Detroit, but they still rank 12th in Rush DVOA. Gibbs is averaging 5.7 yards per carry on the season and he has five touchdowns in his last three games. We don’t really see running backs catch many passes against the Dallas Cowboys. But in this match-up that could change. The Cowboys generate a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and when pressured, Jared Goff isn’t looking to get the ball to Amon-Ra St. Brown. Under these circumstances, we’ve typically seen him lean heavily on his running backs in the passing game in addition to…

Sam LaPorta, TE, Detroit Lions

LaPorta is the other piece to the puzzle in this match-up as Goff leans on his tight end when facing pressure. Per Graham Barfield of Fantasy Points Data, the Cowboys run single-high safety coverage at the second-highest rate in the league (66%) and all nine of LaPorta’s touchdowns have come against this coverage. So when you bake in the fact that Goff leans on LaPorta when pressured, and we have a defensive scheme that LaPorta has dominated, it’s looking like a potential smash spot for the rookie tight end. Captain exposure may be down a bit as well after last week’s dud and the fact he has just 15 targets over his last three games. LaPorta is someone I’m aiming to be overweight on at Captain for this Showdown slate.

Mid-Tier & NFL DFS Value Plays

Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions

ARSB will hopefully see his usual volume. But I have my reservations about rostering him at Captain. As JB Barry noted in his WR/CB Match-Up Report for this week, St. Brown sees a 35% target share. And in a game that could be an offensive extravaganza, that’s what we like to see. But as we alluded to above, the Cowboys pressure at a higher rate than league average and when Jared Goff has faced pressure, ARSB’s target share drops to under 18% and he leans more on LaPorta and the running backs. The Cowboys rank eighth in Pass DVOA and while I’m sure the Lions will do their best to force feed ARSB out of the slot, I’m not sold that he’s a lock at Captain in this game.

Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions

I don’t dwell on Goff’s home/road splits as much as I do his splits when he plays indoors vs. outdoors. But overall, he’s a guy that’s had inconsistencies inside and outside, and at home and on the road. There’s variance to his game no matter what and I’ve already noted his struggles when facing pressure. Goff has eight interceptions when facing pressure this year so there are obvious concerns in this match-up. I think he’s perfectly fine to flex with any pass catcher from Detroit in this game. We’ll certainly need volume and almost a perfect game from Goff to have him land in the optimal lineup.

David Montgomery, RB, Detroit Lions

I hate to say it, but Montgomery may be a little touchdown-or-bust at the moment. He can still get 15+ touches in any game, but he doesn’t have the passing game volume that Gibbs does. The Cowboys rank 12th in Rush DVOA and sixth in Total DVOA. This certainly feels like the kind of game Montgomery could get 15 carries for 55 rushing yards. But if the Lions can get the ball on the one-yard line then Monty likely gets the work for a short yardage touchdown. But if there’s any game script where Detroit is playing from behind, that likely benefits Gibbs a little bit more.

Jake Ferguson, TE, Dallas Cowboys

The Lions rank seventh in DVOA vs. the tight end position, but we did see them give up six receptions for 114 yards to Minnesota’s tight ends in Week 16. Ferguson has exactly eight targets in each of his last four games and we’ve typically seen his best performances come at home. He doesn’t have the big play upside of the next player we’ll discuss, but he probably gets a little more volume.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Dallas Cowboys

The Detroit Lions are susceptible to being beat deep and that’s Cooks’ specialty. In six games playing at home, Cooks has 26 receptions for 403 receiving yards and four touchdowns. In eight games on the road, he has just 17 receptions for 155 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s averaging almost 10 more fantasy points per game at home than on the road. CeeDee Lamb has easily the best match-up on the whole slate. However, we know Cooks has potential as a deep threat and he gets a slight upgrade regardless if he’s covered by Khalil Dorsey or Cameron Sutton.


I don’t normally dwell on home/road splits for kickers but Brandon Aubrey’s averaging 13.7 fantasy points per game on DraftKings at home. He hasn’t missed a single field goal on 33 attempts this year and he’s 42-for-45 at extra points. The Lions have only allowed two kickers all year to post double-digit fantasy points, but we should expect Aubrey to get some volume. With the high total, we can assume both kickers are live. Michael Badgley will likely get another start for Detroit after the team parted ways with Riley Patterson. Badgley has just one field goal attempt in two games with Detroit but he has had 10 extra point attempts in that two-game sample size as well. The Cowboys haven’t typically given up a ton of production to opposing kickers, but Jason Sanders did kick five field goals against them last week. It can be tough to predict volume for kickers at times, but the implied total puts these two in play if you can properly correlate them.

Defenses/Special Teams

With an over/under that’s exceeding 50+ points right now, that puts the defenses at risk. In general, the Lions are great at stopping the run and we haven’t seen opposing running backs garner volume recently against Detroit. That’s one of the reasons I’m not excited about Tony Pollard for Saturday night. Opposing offenses have scored 23+ points in six of Detroit’s last seven games and they routinely give up yardage. Detroit managed to return value last week simply because they had four sacks and four interceptions off Nick Mullens. Dak Prescott only has nine turnovers all year, although he does have one in each of his last three games. I’m not optimistic about roster Detroit’s D/ST in this match-up. The Dallas Cowboys D/ST ($4,400) are an intriguing bunch as we all know. They have seven defensive/special teams touchdowns this year and at home they’re only surrendering 14.6 points per game and 289.4 yards per game. We love Dallas because they can generate pressure on quarterbacks and Goff has had his struggles against pressure. But even all that pressure rate has equated to just four sacks in Dallas’ last four games and they don’t have a takeaway in their last two games. I’m still optimistic they can right the ship after some difficult road games against the Bills and Dolphins. This is a position of variance if either group scores a touchdown, but we know Dallas is more likely to do so. 

NFL DFS Dart Throw Bargains

Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions

This is quite the discount we’re getting on Williams especially after he’s been $5,000+ on previous Showdown slates. He has at least four catches in each of his last two games for 40+ receiving yards. So there’s increased volume for Detroit’s former first-round draft pick and this is a game where we expect the Lions to potentially throw 40+ times. Williams has some big play upside and will likely be a popular value play. A pivot that’ll save you $200 is going to be Josh Reynolds ($3,200) who offers a nice floor assuming he sees his usual three-to-four targets in this game.

Jalen Tolbert, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Tolbert has seen his snap share increase slightly since the team’s bye week. We’ve seen Michael Gallup on the field less as well, but really this range on DraftKings delivers us options on both sides of the ball. Gallup, Tolbert, Kalif Raymond, and Kavontae Turpin are all between $2,000-$3,000 on DraftKings. I’m a little partial to Tolbert against this soft Detroit secondary but you’ll take any production you can get from anybody in this range. Turpin does have the appeal of working in the return game if you opt to double dip with the Cowboys D/ST.

Deuce Vaughn, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Vaughn gets a bump in value with Rico Dowdle ruled out for this game. Overall, I’m not optimistic about the running backs for Dallas in this match-up. We see teams throw more against Detroit than they run. Tony Pollard hasn’t been a model of efficiency or consistency this year. Vaughn is at least an option that should see an uptick in touches with Dowdle out and he’s just $1,000 on DraftKings so he also opens up some salary.