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NFL Matchups: Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Football Preview

Nolan Kelly



A mic'd up Ezekiel Elliot was shocked and stunned when the clock ran out following the Dak Prescott draw play in the Super Wild Card loss to Niners

This a snippet of Adam Pfeifer’s NFL matchups column, previews the Miami Dolphins vs. Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys for Fantasy Football Lineups. Fantasy rosters needed protective spray because players were bit hard by the injury bug in Week 2. Multiple starting quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers all suffered injuries this past weekend, with a handful of key offensive linemen also going down. As a result, we missed on plenty in this article, but we hit on plenty, as well. Back on the horse. With that in mind, let’s dig into some NFL matchups and NFL game breakdowns for your Week 3 Fantasy Football Lineups.

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Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys

Total: 47.5

Line: DAL -21

Dolphins passing game

What are you doing here? Like… you’re not legitimately considering using a Miami quarterback, right? Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed three more interceptions on Sunday, two of which were returned for touchdowns, which ended up breaking the entire slate. Josh Rosen entered the game with about nine minutes left in the fourth quarter and joined the party with a late turnover of his own. The Dolphins are going to have all of the negative game script in the world this season, but you still don’t need to look to either of these passers this week. Or, you know, ever.

Surprise, surprise, the Miami wide receivers leave much to be desired, as well. I guess Preston Williams is somewhat interesting in the deepest of leagues, as he continues to operate as Miami’s number-two receiver with Albert Wilson still recovering from hip and calf injuries that kept him out of practice all last week. He played a career-high 52 snaps last game and DeVante Parker will continue to see the top cornerback from each opposing defense. In this case, Parker would see Byron Jones, who did allow a touchdown in coverage last week, but still makes for a poor matchup.

Dolphins running game

The Dolphins are three-touchdown road underdogs. They are the worst team in the NFL. They are currently averaging 13.5 rushing attempts per game. You are in bad shape if you are relying on a Miami running back for fantasy purposes. Kenyan Drake is pretty clearly the most talented back in this offense, but the Dolphins are tanking, which means they are playing Kalen Ballage enough snaps to take away from Drake. If you drafted Drake this summer, you are praying he gets dealt to a team like the Bucs in the coming weeks.

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Cowboys passing game

Dak Prescott and this Dallas passing game look unstoppable right now. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is implementing more play-action, and when you have arguably the best back in football in your backfield, play-action will work quite a bit. So far this season, Prescott has completed 25-of-27 passes for 333 yards, four touchdowns with a 157.6 QB rating off play-action. He’s been putting on a clinic and it should continue to be a huge part of this offense going forward.

Through two weeks, Prescott has completed 82.3 percent of his passes for 674 yards and seven touchdowns, while leading the NFL in yards per attempt (10.9). And he has run the ball nine times through two games. He is looking like a legitimate top-seven fantasy quarterback and should be viewed as at least that in a home meeting with a Miami defense that has allowed seven passing touchdowns through the first two weeks. Miami also does not generate much of a pass rush, as Tom Brady was under duress on just 16.7 percent of his dropbacks last week, the lowest rate in the league. Meanwhile, only the Giants have rated worse in coverage than the Dolphins this season, according to PFF. Fire up Dak as a top-five quarterback this weekend.

We got word that Michael Gallup will miss the next two-to-four weeks with a knee injury. Because Gallup has emerged as a key cog in this offense, this is huge news. Amari Cooper will obviously see more looks and has found the end zone in each of the first two games. He should be viewed as a top-12 wide receiver but in terms of DFS, I can’t say he’s a must for me, even with Gallup out. Again, the Cowboys are 21-point home favorites and Cooper will likely be shadowed by Xavien Howard, the only notable defender on this team. He’s allowed just three catches for 31 yards in coverage through the first two games. You aren’t benching him, but given the price of him and other elite receivers this weekend, Cooper isn’t my favorite option.

So who benefits from Gallup’s absence? Well, Randall Cobb will continue to line up out of the slot, where he has been 87.8 percent of the time through two weeks. He could certainly see a few more targets, making him worth a look in deeper PPR leagues. His floor hasn’t been awful during the first two games but Prescott still spreads the ball around so much. Perhaps Devin Smith could be a viable Week 3 punt? He is only $3,400 on DraftKings and is coming off a game where he caught all three of his targets for 74 yards and a 51-yard touchdown. Smith already saw an uptick in snaps last week and that number likely climbs even higher with Gallup out of the lineup. If he played 21 snaps (12 out wide, 6 in the slot) with Gallup active, he could easily get to the 30-range, which is enough for GPP consideration as a salary saver, mainly because he’s facing the gift that keeps on giving in the Dolphins.

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Jason Witten has now scored in both of his first two games this season, but if he doesn’t score, he’s giving you nothing. With all of the tight end injuries and busts, I won’t fault you if you stream him in seasonal leagues this week. However, I am not paying $3,700 for Witten this weekend. I am sorry, just can’t do it.

Cowboys running game

After being limited a bit in Week 1, Ezekiel Elliott returned to his workhorse role in Week 2, carrying the ball 23 times for 111 yards and a touchdown. He played 76 percent of the snaps, while backup Tony Pollard, who had a touchdown called back, played just 24 percent. The only negative has been Elliott’s lack of involvement in the passing game, but perhaps he sees more looks with Gallup sidelined. Of course, it isn’t as if you need it if you’re getting 25 carries from arguably the best runner in the NFL. Elliott should be viewed as maybe the top overall play of the week, facing a Miami defense that has allowed four rushing touchdowns through two weeks of play. Opposing offenses are calling run 58.7 percent of the time against the Dolphins thus far, the highest rate in the league. Pencil in Elliott for 20 carries and at least one touchdown with upside for, well, much, much more.

Click HERE to go back to the matchups column.

I've been obsessed with fantasy sports since as long as I can remember. Back in 1993, while seated in the last row of Mr. MacMillan's math class, I'm fairly certain a few buddies of mine and I invented daily fantasy sports -- popping down our fivers and using nothing more than a newspaper box score, we'd make our NHL player picks for the night's action. Twenty years later I started out playing DFS on DraftStreet, when three-max tourneys with 490 people were a big deal, and I've been hooked ever since. More than anything, I'm interested in using my technical writing skills to articulate and clarify our content in order to help you become a better fantasy sports players player. Armed with Awesemo's grades and the projections from our experts, we're here to help you take the next step. You can contact me by emailing [email protected].

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