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Washington Football Team vs. Dallas Cowboys Week 16 Sunday Night Football Showdown Game Breakdown & NFL DFS Picks

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Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Week 16 Sunday Night Football. Here we will provide a quick overview of the game’s key storylines and highlight some of the key insights from Awesemo’s world-class suite of tools to find the best NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel showdown lineups. Let’s dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Week 16 Washington vs. Cowboys Sunday Night Football matchup.

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Week 16 Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Showdown Picks

The Washington Football Team heads to Dallas to face the first-place Cowboys at Jerryworld this Sunday, and if the Vegas-total and spread is to be believed, not many people are giving Washington much of a chance in this contest. The Cowboys, who rank 14th in offensive EPA per play but suddenly rank first on the defensive side of the ball, are in an need of a win to remain a single game behind the Packers for the top spot in the NFC, while Washington is scrambling to remain playoff-relevant in the final three weeks of the NFL season. At the very least, Washington will get back their starting quarterback, and should be at near full-strength in the receiving corps. Still, with so many superb weapons on the Cowboys, and Dallas favored by ten points heading into Sunday’s game, DFS players should focus-on which of Dallas’ star players they want to prioritize, and mix-in Washington players from there.

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Even if there’s likely some room for error, the Cowboys will still rely on quarterback Dak Prescott ($11,400 DraftKings/$16,000 FanDuel) to put the offense in consistent positions to score. Prescott, who will certainly be one of the most popular players on the slate, hasn’t needed monster performances in the last two weeks, but it’s still worth mentioning that he’s failed to top 220 yards passing in each of his last two games, and he hasn’t topped 240 yards passing since Week 12. He’s also had two or fewer total touchdowns in seven straight games, as the Cowboys continue to utilize a balanced offensive approach, especially while their defensive continues to dominate. Nonetheless, accuracy has not been the problem for Prescott. This season, Prescott ranks top ten in the NFL in clean-pocket completion percentage, play-action completion percentage, red zone completion percentage and top-five in the NFL in true completion percentage, which factors out dropped passes and throwaways. He ranks ninth in passing yards and in passing touchdowns as well.

Prescott’s supporting cast is one of the best in the NFL, and PlayerProfiler ranks their collective efficiency as top-ten in the league, which bodes well for the Cowboys’ quartet of pass-catchers, CeeDee Lamb ($10,000 DraftKings/$13,500 FanDuel), Amari Cooper ($7,800 DraftKings/$12,000 FanDuel), Michael Gallup ($7,400 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel)
and Dalton Schultz ($6,200 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel), who have combined for a collective 74% target share when on the field together. The four should all see between 15% and 25% of Precott’s targets, with Lamb most likely to see double-digit looks, and all have solid chances at 100 yards receiving and a touchdown, as Washington ranks well below league-average in defending opposing passing attacks this season. Cooper is quietly the most touchdown-reliant of the bunch, as he’s seen five or less targets in four of his last five games, and hasn’t had more than seven targets in any contest since his 13-target explosion against the Vikings in Week 8.

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Since Week 10, the Cowboys have also shown a propensity to get their running backs involved in the red zone passing attack, as Ezekiel Elliott ($9,400 DraftKings/$13,000 FanDuel) and Tony Pollard ($6,800 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) have combined to receive 40% of the team’s red zone pass attempts since Week 10. Elliott has a whopping 30 total targets during that span, just three less than Schultz. Only CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup have more end zone targets than Elliott during this six game stretch. Elliott should also see 13 to 18 rush opportunities, and could called-upon to be the closer if the Cowboys find themselves up by multiple scores late, as they did in Week 14 when these two teams met. Pollard has more home run ability, but his plantar fascia injury certainly diminishes his top speed. Nonetheless, he’ll likely receive 10 to 15 total opportunities, which very likely include three-plus targets.

Washington will certainly be glad to get Taylor Heinicke ($10,400 DraftKings/$15,000 FanDuel) back under-center after a one week absence on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Heineke hasn’t been spectacular by any stretch of the imagination this season, but he ranks top-20 at the position in true completion percentage and total expected points added. He’s been particularly strong in the red-zone and under-pressure, as he ranks top five in the NFL in completion percentage in those two scenarios. He even adds a bit of upside with his legs, as he ranks seventh among all quarterbacks in total rushes, and typically adds at least one red zone rush per game in his starts. He’ll be primarily looking to get Terry McLaurin ($8,800 DraftKings/$13,000 FanDuel) involved, as McLaurin has seen 12 more targets than any other Washington wideout over the last six weeks, and has commanded 40% of the team’s air yards during that span.

In the backfield, Washington will once-again feature Antonio Gibson ($8,400 DraftKings/$14,000 FanDuel), who will get as much work as he can handle now that J.D. McKissic has landed on injured reserve, ending his season. Gibson had an extremely healthy 22 total opportunities a week ago with Garrett Gilbert at the helm, but that wasn’t the first time Washington decided to lean on their feature back this season. Gibson has seen 25 or more total opportunities in three of his last four, and four out of his last six games. He has 22 targets in his last four outings, as well. Gibson is looking like one of the stronger value plays on the slate, considering his middling salary and high guaranteed workload, even on a heavy underdog.


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The Cowboys focus a massive amount of their offense around their four pass primary pass-catchers, as well as Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, which makes all other offensive weapons extremely low-probability plays, even at near-minimum salaries. Wideouts Malik Turner ($800 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel) and Cedrick Wilson ($1,200 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) combined for exactly zero targets in Week 15 but have seen a combined 23 targets since Week 10. They’ll likely be asked to fill-in for Gallup, Cooper, or Lamb if they need a breather, but in a typical game flow, neither player should have much fantasy relevancy to speak of. Occasionally, the Cowboys will design plays for Sean McKeon ($200 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel), who has four targets and a red zone look on a 22% snap share over his last five games.

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The Washington auxiliary weapons are, at the very least, plentiful, even if they’re all looking like they have slim chances of being in the optimal lineup. Over the past two weeks, 12 different Washington skill position players have been targeted at least once, with Adam Humphries ($5,200 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) surprisingly leading the team in opportunities with 13, and DeAndre Carter ($5,000 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) leading all non-Terry McLaurin wideouts in fantasy scoring since Week 10. Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones ($4,600 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) saw seven looks a week ago, tied for the team lead, but is still losing playing time to backup John Bates ($2,200 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel), who’s been targeted three times in the last two games himself. Cam Sims ($2,000 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) has seen 99 air yards, second most on the team and three times as many as Dyami Brown ($400 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel), who was drafted as a deep threat in the mid-round of the 2021 draft, during that same span.

The Bottom Line

While Dallas’ has already locked-up a playoff spot due to San Francisco’s Thursday night loss, losing to an undermanned and underwhelming Washington team would count as a catastrophic result for the Cowboys. Dallas has no excuse but to dominate the game from start to finish at home. The Cowboys ($4,000 DraftKings) defense, a turnover-forcing machine this year, must remain dominant, and – while they are nearly impossible to predict – a defensive touchdown seems like something that could absolutely happen in this contest. Washington, who has improved as a defense in terms of per-play efficiency despite myriad injuries on the defensive line, will need to play near-perfect football in order to keep pace in this contest. Having their starting quarterback back in the lineup adds to Washington players’ probability of hitting their ceiling score in DFS, but it won’t be enough to change the outcome of this game. Dallas takes this one easily at home.

Week 16 Sunday Night Football Prediction: Cowboys 31, Washington 14.

Check out all of the best NFL bets for this Sunday Night Football matchup over at OddsShopper, where you can find winning bets in 30 seconds or less.


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We also have NFL DFS showdown projections and NFL showdown ownership projections. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL tools for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, DFS NFL rankings, and NFL DFS stacking. View our FanDuel NFL ownership rankings and our DraftKings NFL DFS rankings. Take a look at our NFL inactives, starting line-ups and NFL depth charts.

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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