Garion Thorne preps you for Monday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Cowboys and the Giants with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.
While it is far from abnormal to see the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants square off in primetime, tonight’s contest does have some intrigue. Though they haven’t looked overly dominant, the Giants are 2-0 for the first time in six years. Conversely, the Cowboys have struggled — mostly with injury — in 2022 and are searching for a way to stay afloat.
Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.
Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $2.25M Monday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st] (DAL vs NYG)
Saquon Barkley ($17,700 CP) – Barkley is the most expensive asset on tonight’s slate, yet the volume he’s seen through the season’s first two games backs up the investment. Not only is the former first-round pick averaging 19.5 carries and 5.5 targets per contest, but Barkley’s also played on a whopping 83.5% of the Giants’ offensive snaps — the third-highest rate among all RBs in the league entering Week 3. In this day and age of football, “bell cow” running backs are few and far between. New York happens to roster one, and under Brian Daboll, the team hasn’t been afraid to use him. With Dallas surrendering the fifth-most adjusted line yards per opponent rushing attempt (5.48), Barkley’s ceiling is massive.
Cowboys D/ST ($6,900 CP) – It hasn’t been difficult to identify the MVP of the Cowboys’ season so far: Micah Parsons. The sophomore has racked up multiple sacks in each of Dallas’ opening two games, while his seven quarterback hits are among the most in the NFL. The 23-year-old is almost single-handedly the reason that the Cowboys entered Week 3 with the third-highest adjusted sack rate in the NFL (11.4%). Between the team’s ability to create havoc and the fact they’ve conceded touchdowns on just 10.5% of opponent drives — the third-lowest rate in the league — Dallas’ defense has been stout. History tells us that Daniel Jones ($9,400) and pressure do not mix. If the Cowboys’ pass rush can muster a solid win rate, the likelihood for turnovers is immense.
Sterling Shepard ($7,600) – The Giants don’t pass the ball much, as they are currently one of five teams with a pass rate below 50%. However, when Jones does drop back to throw, his intended target is usually Shepard. It’s a little hard to imagine given his final stat line of 34 receiving yards, yet Shepard finished last week’s game against the Panthers with a team-high 33% target rate. The veteran was responsible for an insane 47% of New York’s total intended air yards, while he also saw one of the few red zone targets that the Giants mustered. Again, Shepard’s fantasy upside is limited by the offense surrounding him, but he’s clearly the No. 1 option in New York’s aerial attack. It’s rare to find an asset in that role for less than $8K on a Showdown slate.
Giants D/ST ($3,800) – Using both defenses in the same build? In this economy? I know it’s not the most exciting concept, but goodness is this game lacking in notable offensive talent.
The Cowboys should be welcoming back Michael Gallup ($7,400; knee) on Monday evening, yet with Cooper Rush ($9,600) still forced to start at QB, I have my doubts that will move the needle all that significantly for Dallas. The Cowboys came into Week 3 ranking third-worst in points scored per drive (1.15) and sixth-worst in yards per drive (27.0). Through two games, the team has managed an NFL-low two drives into the red zone. Two. That might not be that large an issue if Dallas was also generating explosives; however, that has certainly not been the case, with the Cowboys averaging an NFC-worst 4.7 yards per play. There’s an obvious path to the Giants defense being viable in this tilt.
Ezekiel Elliott ($8,400) – Elliott’s price point continues to fall, but not enough to make him a good choice for your lineups on Monday. Though I’d wager the RB isn’t going to score just 5.9 DKFP every single week in 2022, his early results are a reflection of Elliott’s new reality. Elliott’s only seen the field on 62.3% of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps this season, a figure that could easily be lower if not for Kellen Moore’s willingness to have him and Tony Pollard ($8,200) share the field simultaneously. Elliott’s been a non-factor in the passing game and, due mostly to Dallas’ aforementioned offensive ineptitude, he’s yet to garner a single carry in the red zone. An asset of Elliott’s archetype needs a high touchdown expectancy to survive, and he’s just not happening at the moment.
The totals for these primetime games just keep getting lower and lower and lower. Obviously, I don’t have a lot of faith in either of these offenses. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the lone above-average unit in this matchup is Dallas’ defense — and it’s almost elite. For me, that’s enough to lean towards the road underdogs in this spot. The Cowboys are 4-0 ATS in their past four road contests and 4-1 in their last four meetings in New York in this series.
Final Score: Dallas 20, New York 13