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Fantasy Football Matchups Breakdown: Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys | Week 3

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The Seahawks head to Dallas for a battle between two teams with playoff aspirations. Can Dak Prescott match Russell Wilson throw for throw? For the 2020 NFL season, Matt Savoca will be providing his weekly NFL Fantasy Football Matchups Breakdown column, going through every single game and offensive and defensive matchup, every week of the season. For your viewing convenience, we have broken up the matchups breakdown into several single columns, each one covering a single game. You can find links to every game right here. We have 13 games on tap for Week 3 NFL DFS and NFL Fantasy Football, so let’s dive in. The entire matchups article will be available in podcast form, every Friday afternoon on the Awesemo Podcast Network. Let’s get into Seahawks – Cowboys.

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Seattle Seahawks (30) at Dallas Cowboys (25.5) – 1 p.m. ET

Seahawks Passing Game

The gas is lit, the pan’s piping hot, and only Russell Wilson knows what he’s cooking right now. This is the player we’ve been asking to see. When factoring in pace of play and neutral early-down passing rates, the Seahawks are the most aggressive team in the NFL. And Wilson has responded with some truly ridiculous fantasy football stats. He’s been absolutely money under pressure (No. 2 in the NFL and in true QBR), and is No. 1 in the NFL in adjusted yards per attempt, true completion percentage, catchable target percentage, red zone completion percentage, and fantasy points per dropback. His deep-ball completion percentage is “only” seventh best in the league. As a fan of the sport, this is a joy to watch – and the matchup against the Cowboys should present enough holes where we expect the good times to roll as they enter Jerryworld as road favorites, in large part due to Wilson’s game-breaking ability.

D.K. Metcalf scored as impressive a touchdown as you’ll ever see Patriots star defensive back Stephon Gilmore give up. Metcalf’s 2.56 yards per route run ranks 12th among all wide receivers, and he leads the team with 27% of the true weighted opportunity share, ranking 11th. According to PFF the Seahawks offense boasts the sixth-best net passing grade advantage over Dallas’ secondary, so Metcalf will get his looks, though he’ll draw a decently tough matchup against the Cowboys’ Chidobe Awuzie. Tyler Lockett, commanding 25% of the Seahawks’ true weighted opportunity himself (good for WR18) continues his efficient play from 2019 into 2020. His 2.21 yards per route run is also 18th among receivers, and on paper it looks like he’ll have one of the most advantageous matchups on the slate, as Dallas’ corners behind Awuzie have struggled. Jourdan Lewis should be first in line to cover Lockett, but the secondary doesn’t have the play makers to stick with both of Seattle’s receivers for the entire game. They’re going to get open and produce. Awesemo projections are extremely bullish on Lockett, compared to his WR14 price tag on DraftKings.

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Chris Carson (12%), David Moore (10%) and Greg Olsen (8%) round out the auxiliary options for Russell Wilson. It’s been a disappointing season for Olsen, 35, only commanding 2.5 targets per game, and a putrid 12 air yards per game. The only dart throw pick you might look to in this group is Moore, who has run routes on 57% of the Seahawks’ pass plays and seen three red zone targets, catching all three. Playing in this offense with this quarterback, there will certainly be chances to score when on the field that much.

Seahawks Running Game

Seattle doesn’t have the same advantage, at least on paper, on the ground as they do through the air, but the running game will continue to be the beneficiary of the positive game scripts and goalline situations that Wilson creates through the air. Chris Carson is seeing 59% of the Seahawk running back opportunities, good for 18th at the position. His 4.5 targets per game are also highly encouraging for his weekly floor, and a continued indicator that Seattle’s offensive philosophy is shifting toward utilizing running backs (and all players, for that matter) more through the air. His three red zone touches per game are also mid-tier, 16th at the position, but it’s the three touchdowns, fourth among all backs, that has buoyed his fantasy point output thus far. Nonetheless, his 86.5 yards per game are nothing to scoff at. Awesemo projections place Carson in the top 12 in fantasy points and the 13th highest in ownership on the main slate. Carlos Hyde is the only other Seahawks back of note, seeing 26% of the Seahawks opportunities. His six carries and one target per game indicate he’s just there to give Carson a breather from time to time.


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Cowboys Passing Game

The Cowboys are a miracle onside-kick (and stellar game-winning drive) from being 0-2 and once again face an uphill battle as they enter Sunday as 4.5-point home underdogs. That’s no fault of Dak Prescott’s, who has been exceptional through two games. The Cowboys are expectedly unleashing Prescott as a passer, as they’re fourth in team pass attempts per game, 16th in deep ball attempts and 10th in red zone pass attempts. Prescott has responded by posting an impressive 28.7 fantasy points per game, good for QB5 at this point in the young season. But there’s still some meat left on the bone here, as Prescott has only been moderately efficient as a passer, his clean pocket completion percentage is 14th, his red zone completion percentage is 13th, and his adjusted yards per attempt is 10th in the NFL. We’d want to see these metrics improve as the season continues, especially for Prescott, who’s still seeking a contract comparable to young quarterback talents such as Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson. Prescott has been highly effective off play-action, completing 80% of his passes, good for fourth in the league. And of course, as a rusher, he’s been better than expected for fantasy football. He ranks second among quarterbacks with three red zone touchdowns on the fourth-most quarterback carries per game. His 48 rush yards is a respectable eighth at the position, and his 2.0 average red zone carry per game average is encouraging for his future rushing touchdown upside, despite the gaudy numbers already. According to PFF, the Cowboys also boost the 10th-best net pass blocking advantage against Seattle’s pass rush but are at a slight disadvantage when comparing Dallas’ overall passing grade to the Seahawks’ coverage grades. They’ll need Prescott to be efficient, first as a passer, in order to keep pace with Wilson and the Seahawks offense.

Amari Cooper is second in the NFL in total targets. He’s also 13th in target share and true weighted opportunity share and ranks in the top 30 in deep targets, red zone targets and targets per snap. He’s the main target of a very potent offense, currently ranking 17th in fantasy points per game at the position, and he’s done it all without a touchdown. This won’t be the easiest spot for Cooper, but should he find himself in one-on-one matchups against Shaquill Griffin, he should be able to take advantage, as PFF has this matchup as the 21st-most advantageous matchup of the week.

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CeeDee Lamb has virtually tied Michael Gallup for the No. 2 position in the Cowboys’ offense, commanding 16% of the Cowboys true weighted opportunity share despite only playing on 82% of Dallas’ offensive snaps. More importantly, he’s run a route on 91% of the Cowboy’s pass plays, indicating he’s only taken off the field for clear running situations. Lamb ranks 36th in yards per route run and is fifth among wide receivers with 11 receptions this season. He’ll see a lot of Seahawks cornerback Ugo Amadi, particularly in the slot, where Lamb lines up 91% of the time. Their PFF grades so far this season are quite similar, and it will be intriguing to see who gets the better of their one-on-one battles.

Despite being the 51st-ranked wide receiver in terms of raw targets, Michael Gallup must be considered in fantasy football lineups this weekend, even with high expected ownership (Awesemo’s ownership projections currently have Gallup projected for the fourth-highest ownership among receivers). His 100% route participation rate is a clear indicator he’s a part of the Cowboys’ weekly offensive scheme, even though he’s only received a 12% target share. Dalton Schultz’ 14 targets since Blake Jarwin went down put him eighth at the tight end position, and he’s already the sixth-best tight end in total receptions. His four red zone targets are extremely encouraging for continued touchdown upside.


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Cowboys Running Game

Ezekiel Elliott is at the top of his game, avoiding tackles at a well-above-average clip (No. 2 overall) while shouldering the third-most carries and fourth-most targets of any running back so far this year. With the sidelining of Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley due to injury, Elliott’s competition for the most valuable running back in fantasy football shrinks dramatically. Elliott is the player that fantasy gamers should be building their cash game lineups around every week. He’s the No. 1 projected FLEX player on the slate, and it’s not particularly close.

Another side effect of Elliott’s excellence is Tony Pollard’s lack of usage in general. His two-carry, two-target workload is of no significance, and it appears he’ll only be used in garbage-time scenarios. When factoring in the Cowboys’ commitment to a pass-first approach, along with presence of Elliott, Pollard is more special teams weapon than change-of-pace back.

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A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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