DALLAS — Fantasy football will be unleashed Sunday, and the New York Giants versus Dallas Cowboys match-up at AT&T Stadium should provide a few players and units who can generate points for fantasy owners everywhere. Here are recommended sits and starts from the game.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott — The two-time Pro Bowler is entering his fourth season and has a quarterbacks coach in Jon Kitna that has improved his footwork along with an offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore that seeks to utilize his dual threat strengths.
Just as running backs such as Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara are great in fantasy for their ability to carry and catch, Prescott is in a cavalcade of quarterbacks who can generate points with his legs and his arm.
Prescott's highest fantasy game of the season, according to Pro Football Reference, came against the Giants in Week 17 when he earned owners 33.48 points. Prescott also has a 117.5 career passer rating against Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher with a 4.4 yards per carry and a 3-0 record.
Giants RB Saquon Barkley — The second-year runner from Penn State is all the Giants have, which means he will get a bunch of touches. In his last meeting with the Cowboys in Week 17 last year, Barkley produced 17 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown while catching four passes for 33 yards. It was the sixth-highest point total of his debut season for Barkley with 20.20 points.
With the Giants receiving corps severely depleted and quarterback Eli Manning not as good as he used to be, Barkley may be New York's best option to move the offense.
Cowboys defense/special teams — For some of the same reasons Barkley is a good start, so are the Cowboys defense and special teams. They have turned over Eli Manning five times in the last six meetings. At this point of the season, defenses are a little more ahead of offenses, and the Dallas defense is one that saw some of its front line players get significant snaps throughout preseason.
With linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch both possessing sideline to sideline range, and the Cowboys featuring a deep secondary led by cornerback Byron Jones, the Dallas defense should have the Giants on lock down.
Giants QB Eli Manning — The two-time Super Bowl champion has receiver Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram for targets, but he just doesn't light up the Cowboys like he used to. Dallas sacked Manning a total of seven times last year, and he has not had the big games against the Cowboys that he did from 2009-11 when he threw for 300-plus yards in five of the six meetings.
Last year, Manning was able to crest the 300-yard mark in the Week 17 game against Dallas, but it was his seventh-best point output at 18.24. Given how strong the Dallas defense is, it's just a bad combination.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott — Again, as it relates to the timing of Week 1, the two-time NFL rushing champion is a bad fit for Sunday's game. Elliott has missed all of training camp and the preseason due to his holdout, and he isn't that big of a Week 1 performer to begin with.
The only time he got over 100-plus rushing yards was in 2017 against the Giants when he rushed 24 times for 104 yards. However, he didn't score a touchdown. Though it is a new offensive coordinator calling the plays, historically it takes Elliott a few weeks to get up to really generating the fantasy points worth his high overall draft position.
Cowboys K Brett Maher — Inconsistency throughout preseason makes him an iffy proposition, and the fact the Cowboys are looking to improve their red zone offense, which converted 48.0% in 2018. In looking for the hidden points, stay away from Maher because he's not going to produce them this week.
Who do you see winning the Zeke vs Barkley running back war on Sunday? Share your predictions with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.