Week 13 of the 2021 NFL season starts with Thursday Night Football as the New Orleans Saints play host to the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s a break down the fantasy football starts and sits and DFS plays for Thursday night’s action.
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints
Over/Under Points Scored: 47
QB Dak Prescott — Saints DL Marcus Davenport (shoulder) failed to play last week and will again ride the pine in Week 13. Starting perimeter CB Paulson Adebo is currently in the league’s concussion protocol and slot CB/safety Chauncey Garnder-Johnson is on Injured Reserve (foot). ‘Boys WRs Amari Cooper (COVID-19) and CeeDee Lamb (concussion) should return to play this week. Prescott’s an elite QB1.
WR CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper — Last time these two were on the field together (Week 10), Lamb ran nearly 70% of his routes in the slot (PFF.com) while Cooper cycled into the interior around 37% of the time. Both men will benefit from CJGJ’s absence, mentioned above, especially Lamb. Lamb is a locked-in WR1 while Cooper, who battled COVID-19 symptoms over the weekend is a high-end WR2.
WR Michael Gallup — New Orleans’ 10% explosive pass play rate allowed is tied for the 3rd most in the NFL, per SharpFootballStats.com, and their 36 total explosive pass plays allowed are 11th. Gallup’s a mid-to-high WR3.
WR Noah Brown — Brown’s just a contrarian DFS option/redraft WR5.
TE Dalton Schultz — Schultz’ total stat line over the last two weeks: 9 catches, 15 targets, 99 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 2-point conversion. His three red zone targets are tied for second on the team during that span. He’s a locked-in TE1.
RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard — Ever since last week’s Thanksgiving game, the public’s been inundated with a slough of word vomit on Elliott’s injured knee and the mixed messages as to his incoming workload/availability are pendulum-esque. He was a full participant in Monday’s practice though, which indicates he’s going to play in Week 13’s Thursday Night Football showdown. Given the injury, it’s reasonable to expect Pollard to see a larger-than-normal workload though. Dallas’ duo are both high-end RB2s with multi-touchdown, elite RB1 upside.
New Orleans Saints
QB Taysom Hill — Hill is New Orleans’ starting QB this week but it’s worth noting that he’s playing with a partially torn plantar fascia in his foot, which makes his floor more of a trapdoor than a guaranteed high-end, rushing infused wonder. Still, we should project the dual threat QB to run roughshod over a Dallas front-seven missing DE Randy Gregory, as well as DTs Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore, and DL Brent Urban as that’s his bread and butter. Unfortunately, the Saints’s offense is missing key figures as well. Today’s quote from NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill: “So, Saints will be without QB1, RB1, WR1, TE1, RT1, LG1 and LT1 on offense tonight.”
Expect Hill to scramble early and often. Mid-tier QB1.
WR Tre’Quan Smith — Smith garners WR4 status this week. Dallas is currently allowing 31.3 .5PPR WR PPG, T-5th most in the NFL.
WR Deonte Harris — Harris is a WR6 with return-man upside.
WR Marquez Callaway — The downfield receiver could pop off here but he’s as volatile as he always is. WR6 with zero floor and a high ceiling.
TE Nick Vannett — TE Adam Trautman is on Injured Reserve and TE Juwan Johnson is only sporadically active at this point. Vannett secured his lone Week 12 target for an 11-yard score, which should earn him at least one more outing as the team’s starter. Dallas’ 11.5 .5PPR TE PPG are top-10 in the NFL. Vannett deserves TE2 consideration and is a sneaky DFS candidate.
RBs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram — It remains to be seen whether Kamara (MCL–LP) will play and stud local reporter, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football, advised fantasy managers to “execut[e] a Plan B option, just in case”. Both Kamara and Ingram (knee swelling–FP) returned to practice on Monday but Kamara was limited throughout–Ingram was full all wekk. If both are active, here’s what we know: In Kamara and Ingram’s 2 (2021) games together (Weeks 8 and 9), Kamara played on 67.5% of snaps while Ingram was given 32.5%. Kamara averaged 16 carries, 25 routes (PFF.com), and 5.5 targets. Ingram averaged 7.5 carries, 10 routes (PFF.com), and 3.5 targets–all 7 of which were notably caught. The Cowboys’ front-seven is well-coached but very banged up. If active, Kamara is a top-5 RB and Ingram is a high-floor/high-ceiling RB3. If Kamara is inactive, Ingram becomes an immediate fantasy RB1. Tony Jones Jr. and Dwayne Washington would spell him but not frequently enough for our purposes.
Update 12/2/21: RB Alvin Kamara (MCL) is out. Mark Ingram jumps from a RB3 to a back-end RB1. Dwayne Washington and Tony Jones Jr. are borderline RB4/5s.