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Cowboys at Giants NFL DFS Showdown: Will Saquon Barkley and Danny Dimes Remain Undefeated?! Week 3 MNF (September 26)

Eric MacPherson



Cowboys at Giants NFL DFS Showdown: Will Saquon Barkley and Danny Dimes Remain Undefeated?! Week 3 MNF (September 26)

Monday’s game actually looks appealing after the Sunday Night Football debacle between the 49ers and Broncos. Even with another lowish 39 point over/under, there at least are some appealing fantasy options and plenty of decision points.

Heading into Monday Night Football, Stokastic is bringing plenty of NFL DFS tools and information for all of the different slates, game formats and sites.

This column will provide free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. It includes team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks. There is loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown analysis to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 3 Monday Night Football slate featuring the Dallas Cowboys at the New York Giants.

NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 3 Monday Night Football

Dallas will of course be without quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver James Washington. It looks like veteran receiver Michael Gallup will return to action, though tight end Dalton Schultz (knee) is on the wrong side of questionable. The offensive line is still down left tackle Tyron Smith and left guard Connor McGovern will miss this game as well. On the defensive side of the ball, strong safety Jayron Kearse has been ruled out while linebackers Micah Parsons (illness) and Luke Gifford (hamstring) along with defensive lineman Quinton Bohanna (neck) are questionable.

New York is running thin in the secondary with defensive backs Justin Layne, Aaron Robinson and Nick McCloud all listed as out. Defensive end Leonard Williams (knee) is doubtful with fellow defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) and linebacker Azeez Ojulari (calf) questionable. Wide receiver Kadarius Toney is also doubtful with a hamstring issue and rookie Wan’Dale Robinson is expected to miss this game as well.

Dallas Cowboys: 19.0 Points


While it is unfortunate that Prescott suffered yet another injury, backup Cooper Rush was serviceable in leading the Cowboys to a 20-17 victory over the Bengals in Week 2. Through two games, the New York defense has been below average against the run and the pass with the 22nd and 21st DVOAs according to Football Outsiders. Additionally, the Giants will be without three members of their secondary tonight.

So far the G-men have allowed the combination of Baker Mayfield and Ryan Tannehill to average 17 completions on 31 attempts for 205.5 yards and 1.5 touchdowns with zero interceptions. That is a reasonable baseline expectation for Rush, who will be making his third career start.

The key thing to remember about Rush is that he was a four-year starter for Central Michigan and while he does not have a lot of NFL experience, he has been a backup with Dallas since 2017, aside from a brief practice squad stint with the Giants in 2020 who had former Dallas head coach Jason Garrett as their offensive coordinator at the time. From a minimum perspective, Rush is very familiar with the Cowboys’ system and players.

Running Back

Last week Ezekiel Elliott did out-snap Tony Pollard 41 to 24, though in Week 1 it was far closer with only a two-play difference at 40 to 38. Even with the Week 2 disparity, Pollard was second on the team with seven targets and has proven time and again that he is an excellent receiver as well as showing that he can score from anywhere on the field.

The DraftKings algorithm is sensing a changing of the guard and has Pollard only $200 below Elliott. FanDuel is a little more skeptical, with a $2,000 gap, though that makes sense with their half-point per reception scoring format. Based on the first two games, Elliott is probably in line for around a dozen carries and 50 or so yards with a couple of targets. If Dallas is able to get a lead, it would not be a surprise to see him with closer to 20 carries as they try to keep the clock moving to help both their defense and quarterback.

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Pollard has a better path to fantasy upside if New York is able to get points on the board first, as he is the far better pass catcher and still a capable runner both inside and outside the tackles. Rico Dowdle is the only other running back to see the field and he has just one snap to his name this season.

Wide Receiver

Gallup is expected to make his 2022 debut tonight after recovering from a torn ACL. It is unlikely he plays more than half of the snaps, but this will relegate Dennis Houston and Simi Fehoko to around a dozen combined snaps. Noah Brown should still be relatively secure to be on the field for three quarters of the plays and with his cap hit coming in below Gallup, he is still the more appealing option. UPDATE: Gallup is not active, however, rookie Jalen Tolbert will be making his debut, he was a third round selection – Stokastic is projecting him for 3.1 targets, 2.2 receptions and just shy of 30 yards.

CeeDee Lamb will benefit from the return of Gallup, even in a part-time role, as his presence is a step up from Houston and Fehoko. Lamb has seen 11 targets in each of the first two games and he should be in line for double-digit looks once again.

Tight End

Schultz is unlikely to play tonight as he is dealing with a knee injury. That means Jake Ferguson and Payton Hendershot will be stepping up to fill the massive void left by Schultz. In the first two games, Schultz was on the field for 100% and 90% of the snaps, with Ferguson acting as the second tight end and Hendershot an afterthought.

Both of these backups are $200 on DraftKings and they provide tremendous salary cap flexibility. On FanDuel, it is hard to be enamored with either as Ferguson is $7,500 and Hendershot $5,000, so both are relegated to touchdown hunting for those playing 75 or more lineups.

Defense/Special Teams

Dallas has the fifth-best DVOA through two games, ranking fifth against the pass and 11th against the rush. New York has allowed eight sacks already this season, though they have suffered only two turnovers.

New York Giants: 20.0 Points


The Stokastic projections have Daniel Jones ranked as the 22nd quarterback in the full Week 2 player pool. Of course, he is the top option taking the field tonight, but with his riverboat gambler mentality, that is a double-edged sword. Dallas sacked Joe Burrow six times last week and the Cincinnati passing game is far more dynamic than what the Giants offer. We do know that “Danny Dimes” is capable of tucking the ball under his arm and ripping off 20-yard runs, but he is also a magnet for turnovers. Even for all his foibles, he does rank out as the second-best fantasy producer in the player pool.

Running Back

Saquon Barkley has once again taken over the running back position, seeing the field on 83% of the snaps through two games. Matt Breida has been in for around a dozen plays per game as the backup with Antonio Williams and Gary Brightwell combining for only four plays, one target and one carry.

Breida is in play on both DraftKings ($2,000) and FanDuel ($5,500), though he really needs a fortuitous touchdown or something to befall Barkley in order to see more than a couple of fantasy points next to his name. Barkley has averaged 19.5 carries and 5.5 targets through two weeks and it seems like the Giants are content to run him into the ground if it increases their chances of winning.

Wide Receiver

Kenny Golladay is somehow the second most expensive New York receiver, which is just plain silly. There is always a chance he cares or New York lets him on the field, but his drop from 77% of the snaps in the opener to playing on just two last week is absurd.

Even with Robinson and Toney likely out, it is hard to advocate for Golladay. This is not a new development as last year in the 14 games where he saw the field, he averaged just 47.6 snaps and 5.3 targets. While he could absolutely luck into a touchdown, it would be his first since Week 4 of the 2020 season.

Sterling Shepard is the clear top option in the receiving corps, well, until he ends up with his inevitable injury. Former 49ers special-teamer Richie James has moved into the slot role and he is definitely a core play tonight. Of course, his 10 catches through two games are already the second-best total of his career and with two more targets and 20 yards, he will reach that achievement in those categories as well.

Veteran Darius Slayton has played on only four snaps and has yet to see a pass in his direction, but at least he has had some moments in this offense during previous seasons. Somehow the Stokastic projections are liking undrafted David Sills, who is slated to play in just his 10th career game since 2019 as a viable option tonight for his discounted salary. Last week he was on the field for 67 snaps, getting four targets for three receptions and 37 yards.

Tight End

Tanner Hudson, Daniel Bellinger and Chris Myarick are manning the tight end position, though this trio has five combined targets through the first two tilts. Good luck guessing which may be productive tonight.

Defense/Special Teams

Even with their patchwork offensive line, receiving corps and backup quarterback, the Cowboys have allowed a respectable five sacks this season. This unit is live for a pick-six or scoop and score, but it is hard to see more than a couple of combined sacks and turnovers unless Dallas is playing catchup for a large portion of the game.

Monday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy

The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups, and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value. However, those taking the MME approach should remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. That also works conversely, pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.

Week 3 Monday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Saquon Barkley: To be The Man you gotta beat The Man, in this game that belt is held by Barkley.
  2. Daniel Jones: Surprisingly only two deep pass attempts on the year.
  3. CeeDee Lamb: Best chance at a touchdown and the New York secondary is barren.
  4. Cooper Rush: Takes care of the ball, takes what the defense gives him and has a couple of playmakers.
  5. Richie James: Stellar option on DraftKings in full-PPR working out of the slot at $5,400. Also returns punts.
  6. Noah Brown: Top four point per dollar option on FanDuel, just inside the top-10 on DraftKings.
  7. Tony Pollard: We are not getting much of a salary savings from Elliott, but we are getting lower projected popularity.
  8. Sterling Sheppard: Clear favorite target of Jones, however, he typically works short and intermediate routes.
  9. Ezekiel Elliott: Big play upside has vanished, volume starting to erode as well. Still could get two scores. Reached pay dirt in 10 of last 22 games, but four were multi-touchdown performances.
  10. Cowboys D/ST: Even on the road, this unit should be able to corral a handful of sacks and turnovers.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Brett Maher: Just three attempts this season, but he nailed all three from 50 or more yards.
  2. Graham Gano: Veteran can still get it done, 17-for-22 from beyond 50 yards over the last four seasons.
  3. New York D/ST: Could luck into a few sacks against a depleted offensive line, would drop to the next section if this were a road game.
  4. Michael Gallup: Hard to know what to expect in the first game back. UPDATE: Gallup is not active, however, rookie Jalen Tolbert will be making his debut, he was a third round selection – Stokastic is projecting him for 3.1 targets, 2.2 receptions and just shy of 30 yards. DraftKings $3,800, FanDuel $4,600. That rates out similar to David Sills who is at the top of the Lottery Ticket section below.
  5. Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot: Pair of rookies, go with Ferguson (45 snaps) who at least was a fourth-rounder compared to Henderson (nine snaps) who was not drafted.

Latest NFL DFS Content

Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. David Sills: Will share time with James. Sills has offensive snaps in just six games over four seasons.
  2. Matt Breida: Dart throw, but a capable running back if he gets the opportunity.
  3. Daniel Bellinger, Tanner Hudson and Chris Myarick: Giants tight ends are not very involved this season with Hudson getting three targets, while Bellinger and Myarick have one each. Bellinger has the playing time edge and fourth-round draft capital in his favor.
  4. Kenny Golladay: Truly a lottery ticket.
  5. Darius Slayton: Last meaningful fantasy performances were in the Madden Sims during the pandemic shutdown.
  6. Dennis Houston and Simi Fehoko: Only in play if Gallup is limited to a dozen or fewer snaps.
  7. Gary Brightwell, KaVontae Turpin, Rico Dowdle, Plaxico Burress and Michael Irvin: Three of the five at least have a chance of stepping on the field during the game. Brightwell does return kickoffs for New York. Turpin returns punts and kickoffs for Dallas.

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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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