Daily Fantasy Week 3: Monday night picks for Eagles-Cowboys

·7-min read

By Jeff Hicks, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Yahoo is expanding its daily fantasy football options in 2021 with a single-game offering. Yahoo has a roster construction of one "Superstar" that scores at a 1.5 multiplier, while the remaining four FLEX roster spots accumulate points at the normal rate. This is half-point PPR scoring and the "Superstar" salary does not change from the Utility. All scoring and rules can be found here.

Two of the most dynamic quarterbacks take center stage as Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles head to Texas to take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys in their home opener.

It is vital to remember that single-game slates are not simply a “max salary, play as many big names as possible, and submit” format, especially in larger tournament fields. We need to identify players who can be pieces in their offense’s success, whether in the lead or trailing, as well as the players that could be focal points in a neutral game script. The ability to then take those players and identify which will succeed in the single-game format will put us in a better position to succeed as daily fantasy players.

Vegas Total and Spread

The Cowboys are 3-point home favorites with an Over/Under of 51 points. Dallas has an implied team total of 27 points, while Philadelphia’s implied team total is 24 points.

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Potential Game Flow Scenarios

The Eagles come into Monday night after a lackluster effort against the San Francisco 49ers at home. Jalen Hurts ($34) barely cleared 50% passing but once again used his legs to add real-life and fantasy value to the Eagles' offense. The good thing for Hurts is the Dallas defense ($14) ranked 25th in schedule-adjusted points allowed (aFPA) to the quarterback position coming into 2021, and has allowed consecutive 300-yard passers. Hurts may not be a 300-yard passer on a weekly basis, but he is one of the few players who can dominate a game with his run-pass skillset.

Hurts has been the running game and will probably continue to lead the team in rushing with Miles Sanders ($20) and Kenneth Gainwell ($13) averaging 4.19 yards per carry. The Cowboys entered the season as a bottom-10 rush defense according to aFPA but are allowing 60 yards per game on the ground. Running will be an issue with guard Brandon Brooks and tackle Jordan Mailata out. Sanders and Gainwell are effective out of the backfield in the passing game and will be asked to alleviate pressure with dump-offs. Both will be asked to pass protect more with two starting linemen out.

If the backs are staying in that leads to more work for the Eagles' tight end duo of Dallas Goedert ($19) and Zach Ertz ($15). Goedert leads the two in targets, receptions, and yards, but Ertz only has 20 fewer yards on three fewer catches. Goedert’s average depth of target (aDOT) is 5.7 yards compared to Ertz’s 9.5. In terms of a "safety outlet" target, Goedert is the option when Hurts is in trouble.

The only receivers on the Eagles with more looks than Goedert are DeVonta Smith ($17) and Jalen Reagor ($15). Smith has been Hurts’ main target, seeing 26.8% of the target share and 50.3% of the team’s air yards. Reagor has been utilized as the underneath option. The Cowboys have allowed two 100-yard receiving efforts from receivers that run routes closer to the line of scrimmage. Not to be completely outshined, the Cowboys have been generous to outside route runners as well. Antonio Brown and Mike Williams each logged a touchdown and at least 91 yards receiving.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 12: DeVonta Smith #6 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates with Jalen Hurts #1 after catching a 18-yard pass for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurts has a safe floor because of his running ability with upside for more if he can get the passing game going against Dallas. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Like the Cowboys' run defense, the Eagles have been stout. Ezekiel Elliott’s ($30) workload has been reduced with Tony Pollard ($17) excelling in both aspects of the offense. The Eagles have allowed one 50-yard rusher (Cordarrelle Patterson) but allow 50 yards per game through the air to the position. No backs have scored double-digit fantasy points in half-point PPR formats. In the same vein as the Eagles, expect pass protection from the Dallas backfield with two starting linemen out.

It is also easy to shy away from the Cowboys' backs with CeeDee Lamb ($21) and Amari Cooper ($21) being the focal points of the passing game. The two led the team in targets for a second straight week but game script was not necessarily favorable. There is also the Cooper cracked ribs issue. Cooper has said he is good to go, but if or when he gets hit, how will he respond and what happens to the Cowboys' offense if he cannot finish the game?

The Eagles' pass defense has looked good through two weeks but has faced an aging Atlanta offense and a 49ers offense that is not hip to passing the ball more than needed. Cooper and Lamb will test the Eagles' secondary and put on tape how good or bad the defense is against multiple passing threats. Dak Prescott ($34) and the Cowboys' offense starts a stretch where the Eagles face Dak, Patrick Mahomes, and Tom Brady in three of the next four games.

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Close, low-scoring game

  • Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard

  • Cowboys defense

  • Greg Zuerlein

  • Miles Sanders

  • Jalen Hurts

  • Eagles defense

  • Jake Elliott

Close, high-scoring game

  • Dak Prescott

  • Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard

  • Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb

  • Greg Zuerlein

  • Jalen Hurts

  • Miles Sanders

  • DeVonta Smith

  • Dallas Goedert

  • Jake Elliott

Blowout for home team

  • Dak Prescott

  • Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard

  • Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb

  • Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz

  • Cedrick Wilson

  • Cowboys defense

  • Greg Zuerlein

  • Jalen Hurts

  • DeVonta Smith

  • Dallas Goedert

  • Kenneth Gainwell

Blowout for road team

  • Jalen Hurts

  • Miles Sanders

  • DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor

  • Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz

  • Eagles defense

  • Jake Elliott

  • Dak Prescott

  • Tony Pollard

  • CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper

Cheap/Unique Stacking Option

Traditional stacks such as QB/WR1 or WR2, QB/TE, and RB/DEF are stacks seen used in winning lineups. The obvious choice is not always the winning choice. Below is a cheap stack with at least one unique quality that could break the slate.

Dallas Goedert ($19) and Kenneth Gainwell ($13)

Rostering Hurts is a near-lock for his ability to dominate a game, but a way to target his teammates is via red zone touches and targets. Hurts has four completions inside the 20, three are to Goedert. Hurts and Gainwell are tied with two rushes inside the 20 and three combined inside the 10 with one touchdown each.

Blake Jarwin ($10) and Quez Watkins ($12)

Jarwin can hold one thing over teammate Dalton Schultz’s head — he has a red zone target. Watkins is the clear third wheel in the Eagles passing game but is also the clear secondary deep target. Watkins has caught each of his five targets through two weeks.

Low-Priced Volatile Plays

Blake Jarwin ($10)

He is in a clear split with Schultz but is also the more athletic of the two.

Jalen Reagor ($15)

The targets remained similar week-to-week, but the production fell off. Reagor has shown that his production is falling in line with the offense’s success. With Reagor not playing as much of a role in pushing the ball downfield, he is going to be passed over for Smith and the cheaper Watkins.

Cowboys Defense ($14)

The defense is nothing special in terms of being overwhelming or feared but has scored seven fantasy points each week to start 2021. The unit is opportunistic and has been an early case that defenses have value in games with higher expected game totals.

Superstar Picks

Jalen Hurts ($34)

His elite combination of passing and running make him one of the game's few 300 passing/100 rushing yard threats.

CeeDee Lamb ($21)

Lamb is kind of the last starting receiver standing three weeks into the NFL season and I doubt the Eagles can slow him down.

Dallas Goedert ($19)

His red-zone usage paired with a 90-yard, two-touchdown effort from Rob Gronkowski against the Cowboys defense in Week 1 make him more than just a unique Superstar option.

Miles Sanders ($20)

Sanders has had double-digit carries in all but two games he's played dating back to Week 1 of 2020. While Gainwell will be a nagging presence and enough work is lost to him, Sanders is the better back and has played at least 66% of snaps in each game this season. Sanders is the only non-QB offensive player averaging double-digit fantasy points (Half PPR) for the Eagles.

This article originally appeared in its full form on 4for4.com

Jeff has played fantasy sports since 2001. He has covered fantasy and traditional sports at the pro, semi-pro, and amateur level for the better part of a decade. Born in Illinois and currently living where James Robinson made a name for himself in college, Jeff enjoys running (establish it), followed by doing absolutely nothing.

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