After a week off, the DFS NFL cheat sheet is back for week 13.
Tonight we have a good matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys. Both teams have underrated defenses, so the Vegas total of 52.5 may be a bit high. Keyword, “may.” There should still be plenty of “fantasy goodness” in this game.
As always for these one-game showdown slates, my picks will be more of tournament plays. I choose not to play cash games on these slates. My picks are also based on the players on DraftKings. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the same plays I suggest in this article on similar contests on FanDuel or other DFS sites.
Let’s get into it.
Player to Lock-In: Amari Cooper
I know, Cooper is wildly inconsistent, but the Cowboys are doing everything they can to get him the ball. On Thursday, that shouldn’t change much, especially with the Cowboys playing at home.
Cooper will see a lot of Marshon Lattimore, which could reduce his ownership a bit. Still, the Saints’ defense as a whole, has given up catches and yards to opposing team’s No. 1 wide receivers.
In terms of DVOA, the Saints’ defense ranks 30th vs. WR 1s. Cooper is also seeing more targets at home since being traded to Dallas. In his two home games as a Cowboy, Cooper has at least eight targets in both. Small sample size, yes. Still, the way Cooper has been used in the Cowboys’ offense should not be overlooked.
Again, Kamara and Thomas will be very popular plays tonight. Meaning other players on the Saints should be relatively lower owned, that’s why I will have a ton of Tre’Quan Smith.
Smith has been one of my favorite plays in fantasy this year. Nothing is changing this week, especially because he should be fresh coming off an injury. So, fading Thomas in favor of Smith makes a lot of sense, but there are a few reasons why he’s considered a risky play.
The first being his home/road splits.
On the road, Smith has caught just six passes for no touchdowns. At home, Smith has been much better with 16 receptions and four touchdowns. Another stat that may keep people away from Smith is that the Cowboys, in 11 games, have given up just eight touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in 2018.
Another risky play on Thursday night is Cowboys’ WR Cole Beasley. Beasley’s production has gone way done in 2018, especially after the Cooper trade, which was obviously going to happen. Still, if you lock in a few expensive Saints players, Beasley may be your best option in the cheap wide receiver range.
Beasley still sees a decent amount of targets in the red zone and should be in the slot. If there is a weakness in the Saints’ defense it’s in the slot. On Thanksgiving, Mohamed Sanu caught four passes for 74 yards and should have had at least one TD.
Calvin Ridley, who also saw a lot of time in the slot against the Saints, had eight receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. Beasley is the Cowboys’ best slot receiver, he’s a nice low owned play against the Saints.