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Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis: Cardinals vs Cowboys


Week 5 is in the books and the NFL train just keeps on rolling. Week 6 begins our first week with a heavy dose of bye teams (Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers, and Las Vegas Raiders) with each team off providing at least two majorly fantasy-relevant players this season. Navigating these bye weeks will be challenging, but luckily the Monday Night contest between the Cardinals and Cowboys boasts plenty of talent to pull your team through the bye week.

Arizona has been somewhat disappointing this year offensively but sits at 3-2 thanks to massive efforts from Kyler Murray on the ground and DeAndre Hopkins in the pass game. The Cardinals have tried (and failed) to get Kenyan Drake going, which in turn has opened up more opportunities for Chase Edmonds to have a role this season. More importantly, the Cardinals Defense looks to be improved from last season, although the loss of Chandler Jones should test their depth in the pass-rushing department.

Meanwhile, what started as an exciting matchup between two fast-paced offenses has become somewhat of an enigma. A compound fracture ankle injury has knocked Dak Prescott out for the season and has forced Andy Dalton to become the starter in Dallas. Dalton can utilize the Cowboys’ firepower at wide receiver, but only time will tell how much this changes the dynamic of their passing game. Ezekiel Elliott figures to see more work in Dak’s absence, and the Cowboys’ defense is still trying to get healthy enough to entertain stopping anybody’s offense this season.

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Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys 

  • Game time: Monday 10/19 @ 8:15 PM EST
  • Game line: Arizona -1.5
  • Over/Under: 55

 

Must-Starts

Kyler Murray (QB, AZ)

Fantasy managers who were expecting a Lamar Jackson-esque breakout from Kyler Murray in year two have undoubtedly been disappointed so far. Murray is completing nearly 70% of his passes on the year with 1,299 yards, but he only has eight touchdowns with six interceptions passing thus far. Thankfully, his running ability has sustained him as a fantasy player thanks to 296 yards and five touchdowns through five games. Murray should have an excellent opportunity to stabilize his passing statistics against a Dallas secondary that is allowing 19.8 points per game to quarterbacks thanks to 11 touchdowns surrendered.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

After two games with underwhelming rushing totals against Seattle and Cleveland, Zeke Elliott returned in a big way against the New York Giants in week 5. Elliott carried the ball 19 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns but his pass game totals (one reception for 14 yards on two targets) took a considerable hit. However, Zeke should be poised to go absolutely nuclear in Week 6. The Cowboys will likely utilize the run game to help protect Andy Dalton from having to put the ball in the air too much. However, few teams run plays as quickly as the Cardinals, which could lead to a negative game script. Those things combined give Zeke a massive upside as a runner and receiver. The Cardinals have been average against running backs this year (21.8 points per week against) but struggle particularly in the passing game against players in the backfield.

Kenyan Drake (RB, AZ)

Of all the running backs selected in the first two rounds of NFL fantasy drafts, none have been more disappointing than Kenyan Drake. Despite getting double-digit carries in all five games this season, Drake has yet to surpass 90 yards rushing and has only found the endzone twice this year. More upsetting is his complete non-factor in the pass game, collecting just six targets in five games. The Cowboys aren’t a great matchup for running backs (20.6 points per week) but just lost run-stopping defensive tackle Trysten Hill to a torn ACL. Drake will have solid value once again and could bust a big run against an ailing Cowboys’ front seven.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, AZ)

One week after disappointing against the Panthers (seven receptions for 41 yards), DeAndre Hopkins exploded against the Jets. Hopkins was targeted seven times, catching six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown against a terrible New York secondary. Hopkins has been targeted at least seven times in every game this season and now has three games over 100 yards receiving this year. It seems like a strong bet that Hopkins will exceed those numbers yet again since the Cowboys hapless secondary is allowing 32.6 points per week to opposing wide receivers this year. The Cowboys have also allowed nine receiving touchdowns to wideouts, the most in the league this year.

Amari Cooper (WR, DAL)

Amari Cooper had been everything the Cowboys hoped for as a WR1 up until a disappointing Week 5 performance against the Giants. Cooper was held in check on Sunday, catching just two of four targets for 23 yards against James Bradbury. Thankfully, Cooper’s skill set meshes well with what Andy Dalton has historically liked to do (a steady diet of slants and short to intermediate routes), so the quarterback change shouldn’t negatively impact him too much. The Cardinals have been stellar against wide receivers this season (18.1 points per week), but few teams have the offensive firepower that the Cowboys utilize. We will get a real glimpse into how legit the Cardinals secondary is this weekend, led by Cooper.

CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

If you haven’t been paying attention, you’ve likely missed the fact that CeeDee Lamb is, at this point, the 2020 Rookie of the Year. Lamb has been targeted 40 times, catching 29 passes for 433 yards and two touchdowns through five weeks. Despite being on the field for the lowest percentage of offensive plays this season (55%), Lamb had his most productive day as an NFL wide receiver. Lamb was targeted 11 times, catching eight passes for 124 yards against the Cardinals. The Dak Prescott injury may harm Lamb, but it is worth noting that he runs a lot of his routes out of the slot which could make him a nice safety valve for Andy Dalton.

Consider Sitting

Andy Dalton (QB, DAL)

If you went out and added Andy Dalton on waivers, you ultimately made the right decision. There aren’t many teams in the NFL that boast two legitimate WR1’s, much less three. However, we had a very limited sample size with Andy Dalton running the Cowboys offense and it was largely with the team trailing. Dalton was 9 of 11 passing for 111 yards while leading the Cowboys to a game-winning field goal in his first game action as a Cowboy. So why is Dalton on the consider sitting list? We just don’t know what Dallas’ offense is going to look like with Dalton as a starter. It is highly unlikely Dalton has the same passing volume as Dak Prescott did, so the uncertainty is troubling at the moment. If you can afford to give Dalton a week on the bench, then it is for the best. However, if your team has a QB on bye (or had Dak Prescott), you can fire up Dalton and hope for the best.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, AZ)

Surprisingly, Larry Fitzgerald is getting plenty of volume in the Cardinals passing game… he just isn’t doing anything with it. Fitzgerald has been targeted 25 times this season, catching 18 passes for 123 yards this season. Fitzgerald has at least three targets in every game this year and has had at least five targets in three contests. For the first time in his career, Fitzgerald is under five yards per target and has been feasting on check-downs near the line of scrimmage. Dallas has been terrible against opposing wide receivers, but Larry Fitzgerald just won’t do enough to warrant being in a starting lineup this week with all the younger, more explosive weapons around him.

Michael Gallup (WR, DAL)

Michael Gallup was on his way to another disappointing fantasy day through three quarters in Week 5, catching one pass (on one target) for eight yards. Once Andy Dalton took over, Gallup saw his workload (and big-play potential) increase. Gallup caught all three of his targets from Andy Dalton for 65 yards, including two catches for 57 yards on the final drive of the game. Gallup has been a massive disappointment this season as he has seen his targets redirected to players like CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, and Zeke in the passing game. However, if Andy Dalton isn’t afraid to throw the ball downfield, Gallup can rediscover some of his fantasy value. Give it a week with the new signal-caller before you lock him into your lineup, but a new quarterback may give Gallup new life this season.

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

After four pretty sizable weeks of production, Dalton Schultz fell flat in a big way against the Giants. Schultz saw his lowest number of targets (3), receptions (1), and yards (6) since taking over full time for Blake Jarwin in week 2. Schultz didn’t see any targets from Andy Dalton at the end of the game, which makes sense considering the Cowboys had to rely on deep shots to complete the come from behind win. After spending last season as a laughing stock against tight ends, the Cardinals have bounced back in a major way this season, utilizing their versatile defensive weapons to allow just two passing touchdowns and 6.9 points per week to tight ends on the season.

 

Potential Sleepers

Chase Edmonds (RB, AZ)

Chase Edmonds has seen his snap share rise for the Cardinals in the past three weeks (32% à 37% à45%) and with it so has his production. Edmonds has carried the ball seven times for 52 yards and a touchdown while adding 10 receptions on 12 targets for 80 yards and a touchdown the past two weeks. Most importantly, based on just the eye test, Edmonds looks like the more explosive player out of the backfield for the Cardinals this year. Dallas has been awesome against running backs in the receiving game this season (just 100 yards allowed), but if you’re desperate for some big plays, Edmonds makes for an interesting FLEX option given his rising usage.

Tony Pollard (RB, DAL)

The injury to Dak Prescott should result in a higher dependence in the run game, which in turn could mean more work for Tony Pollard out of the backfield. Pollard has been on the field for over 20% of the offensive snaps the past two weeks and has steadily seen his role grow for the Cowboys’ offense this year. In Week 5, Pollard had six carries for 30 yards and added two receptions on three targets for two yards. If the Cowboys decide to utilize their running backs more, Pollard could be in line for a jump in his work. Given his explosiveness, he just needs one play to take the ball to the house and be a viable RB option on any given week.

Christian Kirk (WR, AZ)

Christian Kirk has steadily seen his work increase each week of the season, culminating in a seven target, five reception, 78-yard performance against the Jets in week 5. Kirk is seemingly starting to take some of the deeper routes from Larry Fitzgerald and is starting to be productive with that work. Hopefully, the Cardinals are getting more comfortable with finding ways to utilize Kirk alongside DeAndre Hopkins. Given how porous the Dallas secondary is, don’t be surprised if Kirk continues his upward trajectory this week.



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Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More