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NFL Prime Time Games: Showdown Week 1 Sunday Night Football | DraftKings 9/13

Eric MacPherson



NFL DFS Picks: SNF Showdown DraftKings + FanDuel on Sunday Night

Greetings, Gamers! Welcome to the Awesemo NFL DFS Single-Game Prime Time series for FanDuel and DraftKings showdown slates. For each of the featured games, typically Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights, we will be providing a free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules as well as player rankings and comments for all your daily fantasy needs. We have loads to get into on this Sunday Night slate between the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys, with thoughts on Ezekiel Elliott, Robert Woods and more picks for your NFL DFS lineups!

Don’t forget to check out the NFL DFS  Live Before Lock Show with Greg Ehrenberg and Your Ol’ Pal EMac at 730 ET. Every single game slate we’ll have a live before lock show for ya for the 2020 season.

NFL DFS Picks: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (+2.0), O/U 51.5

These two teams met last year in Week 15 as Dallas cruised to a 44-21 victory at home. At one point in the fourth quarter the Cowboys lead 37-7 and we saw both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard top 100 rushing yards. A lot has changed since then including the departure of Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley II for the Rams. Dallas will be without Jason Witten, Randall Cobb and Tavon AustinHey, don’t laugh, technically Austin was the leading Cowboys receiver in that game.

Dallas Cowboys: 26.75 implied points


Congratulations to Dak Prescott who signed the “franchise tag” contract for a $31.4M payday this season. While he is still looking for a longer term deal, particularly with those received by Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, at least he had a full camp. Prescott should be well positioned to succeed with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard Plus the running game will be one of the best once again giving him an embarrassment of riches. The former Ole Miss signal-caller is well positioned to be granted our Captain/MVP honors as the entire passing game can be consolidated with him. 

In his first three seasons, Dak rushed for six scores in each. Last year he “only” had two but still averaged 5.3 yards per carry. That threat makes it seemingly impossible to defend against Dallas in the red zone.

Running Back

Ezekiel Elliott is an incredibly talented back heading into his fifth season with 5,405 rushing yards and 1,629 receiving and 48 touchdowns in 56 games. Last year he saw 71 targets for 54/420/2 and word is that new head coach Mike McCarthy would like to see him even more active in the passing game. That is likely coach speak, but it is still fun to hear. Last year the Rams had at top ten rushing DVOA, but that is countered by the amazing Cowboys offensive line who propelled the franchise to the fourth best rushing DVOA.

Tony Pollard will be the change of pace back and he is coming off a strong rookie campaign with 86/455/2 on the ground and 20 targets for 15/107/1 through the air. He is also penciled in as the lead punt returner coming out of camp. Last year this role was held by Tavon Austin and Randall Cobb who are no longer with the team. Still it would not be a surprise to see Cedrick Wilson handle double duty.

AwesemoOdds Sunday Night Betting Preview

Awesemo’s sports betting expert Zach Brunner breaks down the best bets of the game for you to build your sports betting card around. You can also check out the available player props on OddsShopper by

Wide Receiver

The Cowboys have an embarrassment of riches in their wide receiver room. Randall Cobb is leaving behind 83 targets for 55/828/3 which will be distributed among Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb. We all know the bonafides of Cooper and of course are very familiar with the work of Gallup who is heading into year third year. This duo both topped 1,100+ receiving yards last season and combined for 14 scores. 

There is a little bit of concern with Cooper who is dealing with a hamstring strain and of course the Rams do have Jalen Ramsey who can focus on whomever is on a heat check. That definitely opens the door for Gallup and we can also take a few shots on the rookie Lamb. By moving away from Cooper we can gain some much needed salary relief on the single game slate.

Tight End

We know that Blake Jarwin is more than a capable receiver, but his poor blocking skills may not translate to him being on the field as much as the veteran Jason Witten who is now with the Raiders. The erstwhile broadcaster is leaving behind 83 targets so there still is the possibility that Jarwin doubles his 41 looks from last season. His price is better on DraftKings, but he is a better contrarian option on FanDuel.

Defense/Special Teams

The Cowboys are checking in as a middle-of-the-pack option on the full-slate which is no surprise. Last year the Rams allowed more than two sacks only three times and had zero sacks allowed in six games. Jared Goff does a reasonable job taking care of the ball and we are not getting much of a price break for this unit.

Los Angeles Rams: 24.75 implied total


Jared Goff is actually just inside the top ten quarterbacks for most projections systems this week. That should not be a major surprise as coach Sean McVay will likely need to lean on his field general with the inexperienced running back crew. Last year the game-to-game results for Goff were mercurial to say the least. He had three games with less than 200 passing yards – Wk 1 at CAR 186, Wk 6 vs. SF 78 and Wk 11 vs. CHI 173. Of course he also had 517 yards in Week 4 vs. TB and 424 in Wk 13 at ARZ.

Looking at the OddsShopper player props his projected passing yard total is in the 272-287 range.

Running Back

Rookie Cam Akers will likely see the bulk of the carries, but we know one costly fumble or blown blitz pickup could see him riding the pine. Malcolm Brown is listed as the starter and of course Darrell Henderson Jr. is lurking, this is looking like a pretty hard core committee approach without us seeing any preseason action. Dallas was a mediocre 16th in rushing DVOA last season. Akers is going to be the most popular with the other two combining for the same pOWN% as the rookie. Personally, I would rather roll with the passing game.

Wide Receiver

Then there were two. The departure of Brandin Cooks leaves behind 72 targets for 42/583/2 in what was a lost season. While it is hard to project much of that going to Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp who were 9th and 14th last season with 139 and 134 targets respectively, it does continue to cement their foundational opportunities. Most full-PPR projection systems have this duo in the WR15-20 range for the full week.

My slight lean it to Woods who averaged 11.4 targets per game over his last seven regular season appearances and never fewer than nine in any game. Kupp was more up and down, but he did score a touchdown in each of the last five games and we cannot forget his upside as evidenced by his 10 target 7/220/1 performance against the Bengals in Week 8. Of course coming off the bye in Week 10 he did not have a single reception on four targets. Yikes!

Van Jefferson is a rookie second round pick hailing from the University of Florida after transferring from Ole Miss for his final two seasons. He is not much of a game breaker and only topped 14.0 yards per catch once with a career average of 12.0. Josh Reynolds is heading into his fourth season with career totals of 120 targets, 61/832/7 in 47 games.

Tight End

Most of you will have fond memories of Tyler Higbee down the stretch. Through the first 11 games of the season, Higbee tallied just 33 targets for 26 catches, 212 yards and one touchdown and averaging 36.6 snaps per game. Gerald Everett, by comparison, played on 41 snaps per game and saw 60 targets for 37 catches, 408 yards and two touchdowns, and neither player turned heads.

However, over the final five regular seasons games with Everett sidelined by a knee injury (playing just six total snaps in that stretch), Higbee was a fantasy monster who carried his teams into and through the fantasy playoffs. He averaged 11.2 targets, 8.6 receptions and 104.4 receiving yards, adding two touchdowns. He also had four 100-yard games, and the lone outlier was an 84-yard game that included a touchdown.

That kind of production is not sustainable, but we know that the Rams will be using a fair amount of two-tight end sets and Higbee will be hard for coach Sean McVay to ignore. As a teaser, on DK we have the field landing 29.1% / 8.5% Higbee and on FanDuel it is 18.0% / 2.6%.

Defense/Special Teams

Most projection systems have the Rams as a bottom five unit this week. Last year Prescott was brought down more than twice in a game on just three occasions. In ten appearances he was sacked zero or one times. Interceptions are hard to come by as well with none in seven games, one in eight games and the other had three. The Cowboys only lost seven fumbles all season as well. Keep in mind it just takes one return touchdown for a D/ST to pay off, but we are looking for lightening to strike.

SNF NFL DFS Showdown + Single Game Strategy

This is a unique situation we are in tonight. We have no preseason games to draw from, and it has been a couple weeks since the enhanced scrimmages. We also have some incredibly top-heavy, massive-field NFL DFS tournaments for our first foray into Sunday Night Football. The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three max lineups and also for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value — but for those of you who are taking the MME approach, remember that correlation with your lineups is key.

This means matching a receiver or two if you have a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their signal-caller.

EMac’s Single Game NFL DFS Rankings

Top 10

  1. Dak Prescott: with Dak we get the entire passing game consolidated which cuts down our variance. Plus in his career he has averaged just shy of one rushing touchdown every three games.
  2. Ezekiel Elliot: he should have the rushing market cornered and he also contributes as a receiver.
  3. Robert Woods: it will be a shock if he has less than 8-10 targets. He gets the nod over Kupp on DraftKings for the$600 salary savings which is almost 8% and 12% as the Captain. 
  4. Jared Goff: on FanDuel he projects out as the second best play behind Prescott and the second best points per dollar behind Higbee. For DraftKings, I would still have Kupp and probably Higbee ahead of him with the full-PPR scoring.
  5. Cooper Kupp: if you need the extra $1,000 on FanDuel, go with Woods, but I prefer Kupp about 55/45% there.
  6. Tyler Higbee: looks to be popular on DraftKings for his price and about a third of the field will be on him. On FanDuel it he is drawing about half of that projected popularity.
  7. Michael Gallup: I want the discount over Cooper on both sites. It will be interesting to see who Jaylen Ramsey works against between the dynamic Dallas duo.
  8. Amari Cooper: yeah, we can’t drop him much further.
  9. Greg Zuerlein/Sam Sloman: for me I prefer the veteran option of Greg the Leg. Do kickers have “revenge” in their hearts? Afterall, this will be the first time in eight seasons that he is not in a Rams uniform. Sloman is a 7th round rookie hailing from Miami-Ohio where he converted 79% of his field goals and 97.4% of his extra points.
  10. Cam Akers: in theory he will see the majority of the backfield opportunities, but that may only be 50%ish.

Secondary Plays

  1. Blake Jarwin: he moves into some vacated opportunities with Witten gone, but he has struggled as a blocker in the past which could cost him some snaps.
  2. CeeDee Lamb: there are four or even five other options ahead of him, but he is a talented youngster with big play upside.
  3. Malcolm Brown: technically the starter, but he is not exciting. In five season he has appeared in 54 games with 197 carries for 769 yards and a 3.9 average with six touchdowns.
  4. Dallas D/ST: even though they are on the road team, I can envision Jared Goff melting down at some point.
  5. Rams D/ST: meh, at least they will be on the field.

Lottery Ticket

  1. Tony Pollard: he can score from long range, but that is hard to pin our hopes on. He is going to return kickoffs.
  2. Gerald Everett: until he was dinged up down the stretch, he was the Rams TE1. We are all assuming that it is going to be Higbee, but here is our direct leverage play.
  3. Darrell Henderson Jr: the third round pick did not do much of anything last year and he would need to get lucky with a spot rotation in the red zone or something fluky. He will be returning kickoffs.
  4. Josh Reynolds/Van Jefferson: ugh, I would rather do the dishes.
  5. Cedrick Wilson: second year man will be returning punts for the Cowboys. He did see eight targets for 5/46/0 in half a dozen appearances last season.
  6. Blake Bell and Dalton Schultzboth are better blockers and are well down the read progressions for Dak.
  7. Nsimba Webster: listed as the punt returner for the Rams. He was active for five games as a rookie returning seven punts and two kickoffs.

As always, you can reach out to me in Premium Slack or Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.

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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

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  1. Avatar


    September 13, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    EMAC! Dak went to Mississippi St, not Ole Miss. This Texas A&M grad is well aware, unfortunately.

  2. Eric MacPherson

    Eric MacPherson

    September 13, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Yikes, my apologies!EMac

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