DALLAS — The Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys face each other at 3:25 p.m. CT Sunday at AT&T Stadium. It will be the fifth time in series history that the two sides will have the same record. Fun fact: the Cowboys have prevailed all four previous times.
However, in the fantasy football realm, there are probably incalculable games where the two opponents are coming into it with the same record. One thing is certain: everyone wants to be on the better side of that record walking out of the encounter. To get to that point, here are some fantasy sits and starts for Week 5 between Dallas and Green Bay.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers — Better go with a proven commodity in Rodgers, who has a career 109.7 passer rating against the Cowboys, not to mention a 3-0 career record at AT&T Stadium. There is something about the venue and the team that tends to bring out the best in the Super Bowl XLV MVP.
Rodgers' touchdown production is low with just six through the first four games, tied for the 16th-most in the NFL, but his interceptions are reduced to one. It indicates that, though he is working through new coach Matt LaFleur's offense, he still is being careful with the football.
His sack numbers are low as he's tied for the 15th-most sacks in the league with eight. Rodgers is tied with Deshaun Watson for the third-highest "time to throw," according to Next Gen Stats, at 2.92 seconds. Unlike Watson, who has been sacked 18 times, Rodgers has been using that time to survey the field. Dallas got five sacks against Teddy Bridgewater in Week 4, but they probably won't approach that number with Rodgers.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott — The Packers give up 5.0 yards per carry. Even with Elliott producing just 4.4 yards per carry and coming off of an anemic performance at the New Orleans Saints, those are nice figures to consider. While left tackle Tyron Smith will be out and Cam
Fleming will spell him, the second-most prolific area for Elliott's rushing yards are behind center Travis Frederick.
According to Next Gen Stats via NFLSavant.com, Elliott has gained 43 yards behind center on first down, the second-most behind 47 behind left tackle. On second down, the majority of Elliott's yards have come behind center at 34 compared to 13 behind left tackle. Even with the less than optimum talent at left tackle, the Cowboys offensive line will still be formidable enough, and playing against an opponent anemic enough in run defense, to where Elliott should produce quality points.
Packers WR Davante Adams — The 27-year-old has been a frustrating No. 1 receiver to have in fantasy. He has 378 receiving yards, which are the fifth-most in the NFL, but he has yet to record a single touchdown reception. In fact, he joins Oakland tight end Darren Waller and Rams receiver Michael Woods as the only receiving targets to record 300-plus yards and not score a touchdown.
Why Adams is a start – if a foot injury allows him to play – is because he is going against a less problematic match-up than his Cowboys counterparts in Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and presumably Michael Gallup. Green Bay has given up the fewest receptions (28) and fewest receiving yards (462) to receivers this season, though they have surrendered two receiving touchdowns.
Compare that to the Cowboys, who have given up the 15th-fewest receptions (51) and the seventh-fewest yards (544). It will be challenging for both sides, but less challenging for Adams. Plus, there may be a chance Dallas cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is in the wrong place at the wrong time playing excellent coverage on Adams, a la all the big catches that have miraculously been made on Awuzie this season.
Packers RB Aaron Jones — Dallas is tied with the Tennessee Titans and the Cleveland Browns for the 12th-most rushing yards surrendered with 4.6, but the Cowboys defense keep improving throughout the season. Jones isn't exactly Saquon Barkley. In fact, he has 195 rushing yards on the season, the 25th-most in the league. He does have four rushing touchdowns, tied for fourth-most in the league.
However, Dallas linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith are quick backers who will be able to limit Jones if he does see any daylight. The former UTEP Miner averages 1.3 yards after contact, tied for the third-fewest in the league.
Cowboys WR Amari Cooper — The temptation is to play Cooper, but the Cowboys receiving corps has gone on a dip in production since the injury to Gallup in Week 2. The Week 4 12-10 loss to the Saints was one of the most noticeable examples. While two tight ends probably won't be the leading receivers for Dallas in Week 5, Cooper has a much tougher challenge facing the Packers defense, who has given up 28 passes for 462 yards, both of which are the fewest in the NFL.
Where Green Bay does have a vulnerability is with touchdowns, as they have given up two. If hitting the century mark and catching a touchdown are what you need out of your receiver this week, don't go with Cooper because he'll probably only fulfill the latter.
Cowboys defense/special teams — Rodgers isn't having an awful season, but he's not having the most productive of his career. However, he is still pretty careful with the football. With the lack of giveaways and sacks, it makes it a hard proposition to treat Rodgers like a Kirk Cousins or Case Keenum in terms of bullying a team for points.
Similarly, the Packers defense may not fare much better when it comes to Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. Dallas-Green Bay could be trading offensive blows on Sunday, and if that is the case, keep the Cowboys defense away.
Has loading up with Cowboys players helped your fantasy team so far this season? Share your league strategies with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.