1. RB Ezekiel Elliott. It's the 6-1 Dallas Cowboys at the 0-8 Cleveland Browns in a noon Sunday game ... and the temptation is to make announced starter Dak Prescott No. 1 this week because the Browns are No. 28 against quarterbacks in fantasy football. The only problem with that is the Browns are No. 30 against running backs in fantasy football, and given that the Cowboys are so run-based it makes sense that Elliott remains No. 1. I imagine Elliott’s production will probably fall in that 130-yard, TD area that he produced against San Francisco. That would net you more than 20 points.
Something of note in the running game here: CowboysHQ.com is reporting that both Tyron Smith and Doug Free sat out the Wednesday practice nursing aches and pains, but both did participate in the start of the Thursday work. Not available: Barry Church (broken arm), Ryan Davis (hamstring) and Mo Claiborne (groin/possible hernia), who we theorize might go on IR, with a P-squad call-up of Leon McFadden.
2. QB Dak Prescott. As mentioned, QBs are taking advantage of the Browns’ pass defense this season. The Browns have given up the third-most passing yards and are tied for allowing the most touchdown passes thus far this season. The matchup itself is inviting enough for me to believe this could be Prescott’s first 300-yard passing game of his career.
And not only am I a believer ... the Cowboys are, too, even as Prescott struggled for a bit before his football heroism topped Philly in OT. (See our expansive coverage here).
Are we being critical to say the rookie struggled? Nope. He admits so himself, noting, "You say I have the hot hand but I definitely wasn’t hot early in that last game.”
But Fish is reporting that "The Hot Hand Theory'' is part of why Dak is staying ahead of Tony Romo in this "QB competition.''
And one more bit of info at QB, where the entire Dak Prescott quote this week about "Tony's Team'' is required.
Full context matters.
Full context matters. Yup. Meanwhile, Tony Romo is doing scout-team work, with Mark Sanchez as Dallas' No. 2 QB.
3. WR Dez Bryant. Yes, the Browns are No. 28 against QBs in fantasy, which would lead you to believe it’s a great matchup for Bryant, too. But the Browns are actually middle of the road against wide receivers in fantasy football, ranked No. 17. That takes into account every receiver on the field, of course. The only thing that concerns me is that Bryant should see the Browns’ best defensive back, Joe Haden, for the majority of the game. Bryant should get his numbers, though. ... and hopefully get his "All Smiles.''
4. WR Cole Beasley. After two weeks of double-digit outings Beasley’s fantasy points dropped to five points in standard leagues, and nine points in PPR leagues, last week vs. Philly. He should bounce back this week as I believe Cleveland’s secondary will be consumed with slowing Bryant down. Plus, with just 14 sacks this season Cleveland ranks below the median in the NFL and the pressure they bring to Prescott should be less than what Dallas encountered last week against Philly. I believe the pressure Philly brought is part of the reason Prescott had such trouble finding Beasley on underneath routes.
5. TE Jason Witten. The Browns are next-to-worst in the NFL in fantasy against tight ends. Witten -- a headliner last week, of course -- is poised to have is best game in weeks from a fantasy perspective and a double-digit fantasy game isn’t out of the question in standard leagues.