Cowboys at Buccaneers NFL DFS Picks: Does Tom Brady Have One More Magical Game In His Arm?

Super Wild Card Monday Night Football brings a matchup between a pair of teams still searching for their identity after four-plus months of regular season action. Tampa Bay did not win more than two consecutive games this season, and Dallas continually allowed teams back into games that they should have put away.

Super Wild Card Weekend should bring a plethora of excitement, and Stokastic is bringing plenty of NFL DFS tools and information for all of the different slates, game formats and sites, featuring these Cowboys-Buccaneers DFS picks.

This column will provide a free analysis of 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 Wild Card Monday Night Football slate featuring the Dallas Cowboys at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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NFL DFS Picks: Wild Card MNF | Cowboys-Buccaneers

Dallas Cowboys: 23.75 Points

Quarterback

The Stokastic NFL DFS projections have Dak Prescott as a middling fantasy option for the first round of the playoffs. This makes sense considering that Dallas prefers to run the ball. It was a lifetime ago in NFL terms when the Cowboys fell at home 19-3 to the Buccaneers during Week 1 Sunday Night Football. Be honest now, do you remember that it was Cooper Rush who kept the team afloat with a 4-1 record when Prescott went down with an injury?

In his 11 healthy games, Prescott surpassed the 300-yard milestone only once and his 7.26 yards per pass attempt were the lowest of his seven-year career. Fortunately, he has talented pass catchers at all the skill positions and the Tampa Bay defense is a far cry from the fierce unit of a few seasons ago.

Running Back

Pro Bowler Tony Pollard is still playing second fiddle to Ezekiel Elliott, which just seems absurd. However, it has been working for the Cowboys, with Elliott getting a majority of the carries while ceding opportunities to Pollard in the passing game.

Thankfully, Pollard is highly efficient, and he tallied 1,007 rushing yards with an impressive 5.2 yards per carry and nine touchdowns in his 16 games. He also was active as a receiver, posting career marks of 55 targets, 39 receptions and 371 yards, along with another three scores. Pollard has a slightly higher salary than Elliott on both DraftKings and FanDuel, but it is not enough of a difference to drive our decision-making process by much.

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Wide Receiver

CeeDee Lamb was stellar this season, and he was a top-six receiver in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns. This makes sense, as Amari Cooper was no longer battling the Oklahoma star for offensive opportunities.

Depth, however, is an issue at this position, as Michael Gallup missed the first part of the season with an injury and still does not look like his former self and Noah Brown would not crack the top three wideout rotation on most teams in the league.

To underscore this point, T.Y. Hilton was signed by the team in mid-December, and he is already ahead of Brown despite not generating interest from any other team all season. Even the DFS sites are on board with this change, as they have assigned a larger salary cap number to Hilton when compared to Brown.

Tight End

Dalton Schultz saved the day in Week 17 when the Cowboys eked out a victory in Nashville against the Titans. He had a season-high 10 targets for seven receptions, 56 yards and a pair of scores. Even though he missed a couple games with an injury and was not at full health when he returned, he still saw the second-most targets on the team. The other tight ends saw a combined 23 targets in games where Dalton played.

Defense/Special Teams

Dallas led the league with 33 takeaways, and the Buccaneers were league average with 22 turnovers. The Cowboys recorded 54 sacks, which was the third most in the league, though this is going to be a tough row to hoe since Tampa Bay ceded a league-low 22 sacks.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 20.75 Points

Quarterback

The Stokastic NFL DFS projections have Tom Brady projected for 25.52 completions on 39.2 attempts, which leads all signal-callers in the Super Wild Card Weekend player pool. This should not be a surprise considering the 45-year-old led the league in both categories this season. Brady also cut back on his interceptions to just a 1.2% rate, though he also saw his touchdowns fall off a cliff with only 25 after recording 43 and 40 in his first two seasons with the Buccaneers.

This is going to be a tough matchup for Tampa Bay as a 2.5-point underdog against one of the best defenses in the league. Dallas finished the season with the fifth-best rushing DVOA and third-best passing DVOA per Football Outsiders. If coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich continue their plodding running on first down and methodically calling plays, then the Cowboys should have the upper hand. If Brady is allowed to be Brady by going to the passing game early and keeping the offense moving with quick or no huddles, then Tampa Bay could have a puncher’s chance. Once again, Brady continues to increase the record for oldest quarterback to ever start a playoff game.

Running Back

Leonard Fournette is still the lead back of this timeshare, and we know that Brady prefers veterans that he trusts. Rachaad White should see action spelling Fournette, though he is unlikely to get many high-value opportunities as long as Fournette is effective.

Prior to Week 18, this duo accounted for all but 21 running back snaps. DraftKings has made things interesting with White getting an $1,800 discount compared to Fournette, though on FanDuel a mere $500 separates this duo.


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Wide Receiver

Chris Godwin and Mike Evans continue to be a formidable one-two combination, with Russell Gage seeing most of the snaps over Julio Jones in the three-wideout sets. Evans laid down a monster in Week 17 against Carolina with 10 receptions, 207 yards and a trio of touchdowns on a dozen targets. That ended an 11-game scoring drought and accounted for half of his seasonal touchdown total.

Godwin has been peppered with targets, seeing double digits in games more often than not. He too is a capable scorer, though the overall touchdowns have been down this season for Tampa Bay. Gage and Jones offer significant salary relief on both of the main DFS sites, though we know they are well down the preferred pecking order.

Tight End

Cade Otton is having a solid rookie season, and the fourth-rounder out of the University of Washington continues to impress. Kyle Rudolph is once again injured and unlikely to suit up, so the venerable Cameron Brate will continue to have a prominent role as the TE2. These players have appropriate salaries for their expected roles, and we know that Brady does not play favorites in the red zone.

Defense/Special Teams

Dallas allowed just 27 sacks this season, while Tampa Bay averaged nearly three per game. The giveaway/takeaway totals are much closer, with the Cowboys suffering 23 turnovers and the Buccaneers claiming 22 from their opponents.

Wild Card MNF Cowboys-Buccaneers Single-Game 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 his quarterback.

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Wild Card MNF Cowboys-Buccaneers DFS Rankings

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks For Cowboys-Buccaneers

  1. CeeDee Lamb: Eight games with 15 or more fantasy points in half-PPR scoring formats.
  2. Tom Brady: Do you want to be on the wrong side of Tom Terrific?
  3. Tony Pollard: The other home run hitter for the Cowboys.
  4. Chris Godwin: We could see Brady with 50 pass attempts; that is a lot of fantasy goodness.
  5. Mike Evans: Truly a slate-breaker, even in his ninth season.
  6. Dak Prescott: Dallas will try to establish the run, which, if successful, could limit Prescott’s fantasy opportunities.
  7. Dalton Schultz: Quietly the second-best pass catcher on the team.
  8. Ryan Succop: Salary relief among this loaded player pool; 38 field goal attempts were the second most in the league, behind the 43 of Justin Tucker.
  9. Leonard Fournette: Needs to find the end zone to support this salary that does not account for a timeshare.
  10. Ezekiel Elliott: In the same boat as Fournette.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks For Cowboys-Buccaneers

  1. Brett Maher: 29 of 32 (90.6) this season, including 9 of 11 from beyond 50 yards.
  2. Russell Gage: Better on DraftKings with the full-PPR scoring format.
  3. Rachaad White: One screwup could have him banished to the bench, and he knows it.
  4. Cade Otton: Significant salary savings; we are still counting on a fortuitous touchdown or wheel route that gets him into the secondary.
  5. Michael Gallup: Will fare better if the Cowboys are trailing early.

Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks For Cowboys-Buccaneers

  1. Dallas D/ST: This is more of a bend-but-don’t-break unit, and facing Brady means we are counting on a pick-six or scoop and score since he limits sacks.
  2. Noah Brown: Hilton’s arrival has damped his fantasy prospects.
  3. Julio Jones: It has been a rough couple of seasons as he winds down a stellar career.
  4. T.Y. Hilton: Likely to see three or four slant targets; it could be enough to land him in the optimal lineup.
  5. Tampa Bay D/ST: Hard to get much fantasy goodness against a run-heavy opponent; opportunities will increase if this is a scorefest.
  6. Jake Ferguson, Cameron Brate, Peyton Hendershot and Ko Kieft: Backup tight ends!
  7. Deven Thompkins: Returns punts and kickoffs for Tampa.
  8. KaVontae Turpin: Returns punts and kickoffs for Dallas.
  9. Scotty Miller, Giovani Bernard, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Breshad Perriman, Malik Davis and Sean McKeon: Messrs. Irrelevant.

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Eric MacPherson
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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