“Thursday Night Football” is back to kick off another fantasy football week. Week 13 brings an intriguing matchup between the Cowboys and Saints in New Orelans (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video). As always, you want to make the right fantasy start ’em, sit ’em decisions, either by deploying players who can give you a nice early lead going into the Sunday or avoiding players who are bound to bust in prime time.
The Cowboys’ offense to set to have its the top wide receivers back (Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup), while the Saints’ offense still isn’t quite ready to restore it’s familiar 1-2 punch at running back (Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram).
Cooper (COVID), Lamb (concussion) and running back Ezekiel Elliott (knee) should all be good to go, while wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (shoulder) will exit the lineup. The Saints are starting Taysom HIll (foot) at quarterback, hoping to get a complementary rushing boost from returning Mark Ingram (knee) with RB Alvin Kamara (knee) set to miss another game.
Here’s breaking down the entire start ’em sit ’em picture for TNF, including a couple DFS lineup suggestions for FanDuel and DraftKings:
WEEK 13 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em
Cowboys: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: QB Dak Prescott
Rayne Dakota rebounded well from the clunker against the Chiefs, finishing as QB3 the Week 12 Thursday afternoon loss to the Raiders with 375 yards and two TDs. He’s finished below the top 10 in only four games. Expect him to light it up with his dynamic trio back. The Saints’ pass rush is down Marcus Davenport, and their secondary coverage hasn’t been good away from Marshon Lattimore. Another thing in Dak’s favor is the fact the Saints are strong against the run, so the Cowboys will need to throw often to win.
WEEK 13 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Start: RB Ezekiel Elliott | Sit: RB Tony Pollard
There were early reports coming out of Thanksgiving that the Cowboys were thinking of giving Zeke a load management break to get his knee fully healthy. But with no short week, he practiced in full. Even though the matchup is tough, the Cowboys will stick with feeding Elliott and making sure he’s involved at times in the passing game. The game script in the second half also can play into his favor. Pollard scored on special teams last week to have decent RB2/flex numbers, but that’s been more exception than the rule despite recent favorable results. When facing a Saints defense that allows 3.2 yards per carry, it’s hard to extend to Pollard when not knowing exactly how many touches he or Zeke will get.
Start: WR Amari Cooper
Cooper has missed two games and is expected to return. He has admitted he doesn’t feel great post-COVID, but here the issue is also the coverage of Lattimore, given CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup should see a lot more favorable coverage. There are games when Dak hasn’t forced the ball to Cooper, and he’s had just four WR3 or better finishes on the season, believe it or not. You might be stuck starting him in deeper leagues, but in some shallow league and all DFS you should go in a different direction.
WEEK 13 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo
Start: WR CeeDee Lamb
Lamb should come back well rested and ready to roll to big numbers in the slot drawing P.J. Williams often. Lattimore might be on him when outside, but Lamb is simply the more skilled and versatile receiver than Cooper is now. Lamb will leap back into lion status and march to a big yardage night on the Saints with a good shot at least one TD.
Start: WR Michael Gallup
Gallup exploded as the No. 1 in Week 12, helped by no Cooper and Lamb. He has had a healthy 30 targets in his four games and finished as a strong WR2 last week. With Cooper not and full strength and Gallup having the more favorable matchup vs. Paulson Adebo, it feels like a game for him and Lamb to dominate the production and targets from Dak.
WEEK 13 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Sit: TE Dalton Schultz
Dawson Knox, with his similar sounding name, went off for two TDs against the Saints last week, but he’s been treated more like a hybrid slot receiver with former Cowboy Cole Beasley aging and hurting. Schultz isn’t that type of player and won’t be needed as much with the wideouts locked and loaded with Dak. He’s a TD-or-bust play. The Saints have only allowed three tight end TDs total.
Start: Cowboys D/ST
The Cowboys have enough playmakers with Trevon Diggs and Micah Parson leading the way to get some sacks and takeaways. New Orleans’ offensive line is hurting, and Taysom Hill will be in trouble in obvious passing situations.
Start: K Greg Zuerlein
The Cowboys aren’t always as good in the red zone as they should be, and Zuerlein seems back on track after some midseason slumping and a missed game. He’s been an easy K1 in seven games, and there’s no weather concern in the Superdome.
WEEK 13 DFS: Best values | Best stacks | Lineup Builder
Saints: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: QB Taysom Hill
Hill, when starting for Drew Brees four times last season, averaged these numbers: 209 passing yards, 10 rushing attempts and 52 rushing yards. He also compiled eight total TDs, exactly two per game. He averaged nearly 26 fantasy points per game in six-point pass TD leagues. He is a hybrid of Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson given his high running floor. He helps his cause when delivering as an underrated downfield passer when needed.
Start: RB Mark Ingram
Ingram will get the start again for Kamara (knee) in his own return from a knee injury and can get it done playing off Hill in the running and passing games, even if Hill might be positioned to vulture TDs from him. The Cowboys’ run defense has been solid but sputtered against fellow Alabama product Josh Jacobs last week. You cannot, however, extend to Tony Jones Jr.
Start: WR Tre’Quan Smith | Sit: The rest of the WRs and TEs
He was a good WR3/flex play for four consecutive games until the four-catch, 31-yard clunker against the Bills’ tough pass defense. The Cowboys are burnable in the secondary, and Smith figures to be Hill’s most trusted target. Everything else has gone by commitee without Michael Thomas and now also Adam Trautman. Hill also should drop the passing volume big time from Trevor Siemian.
Sit: K Brett Maher
In real time, it would be politically incorrect to start the latest Wil Lutz replacement.
Sit: Saints D/ST
There will be no Fat Thursday here. “Laisse la defense s’asseoir!”
Cowboys vs. Saints: FanDuel single-game lineup
Are we taking full advantage of the fact Hill is severely underpriced as a starting QB and we save a few bucks knowing Kamara is set to miss the game? Yes, we are. On the flip side, we also get Dak and his wide receivers with the juiciest matchups. Boom!
Cowboys vs. Saints: DraftKings Showdown lineup
Here’s doubling up on the QBs and creating a mega Dak stack and a Hill combination with his best receiver. Hill should run more than expected with no Kamara, too.
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