Previewing the Patriots-Cowboys Matchup from a Fantasy Perspective

Breaking down the SI.com fantasy recommendations and what they might mean for Sunday’s matchup at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts
Author:
Publish date:

The New England Patriots will look to make it two victories in a row at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on Sunday. One of the many ways to examine the matchup is through the fantasy football perspective.

In that vein, let's look at Sports Illustrated Fantasy Editor Michael Fabiano's Week Five Start 'Em and Sit 'Em as they pertain to the Pats-Cowboys battle on Sunday.

Here are the notable players mentioned in the matchup with Fabiano's comments, along with some additional insight, via Patriot Maven, on that particular projection.

‘Starts’ of the Week

Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys at Patriots

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Schultz has been on absolute fire in recent weeks, scoring 13-plus points in three straight games and at least 10.5 points in four of five on the season. He’s seen seven or more targets in each of his last three games as well, making him a popular target for Dak Prescott. The Patriots have been tough against tight ends on paper, but the competition hasn’t been all that impressive.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

The Patriots continue to drop multiple defensive backs into coverage, and that should continue in Week Six. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is having a great season, thus far, and will undoubtedly look to test New England’s depth in the secondary. Though the Patriots have been serviceable against tight ends, as Fabiano pointed out above, Schultz could get some open looks in the defensive backfield; especially give the fact that Dallas has so many effective targets at receiver, tight end and running back.

Hunter Henry, TE, New England Patriots vs. Cowboys

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Listed as a start ‘em last week, Henry saw eight targets and scored a season-high 19.5 fantasy points. He’s now put up at least 8.6 points in three straight games, including two with 13-plus, and I’d keep him active against the Cowboys. Their defense has allowed nine-plus points to enemy tight ends three times, and the Patriots could be throwing the ball a lot in the second half.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

Henry led all Patriots’ receivers on Sunday against Houston with 75 yards on 6 receptions with one touchdown. He also seems to be developing quite the synergy with Pats’ quarterback Mac Jones. Henry was on the field for 62 percent of the Patriots snaps in Week Five, scoring the game-tying touchdown, Henry also was on the receiving end of some quick-hitting routes over the middle, and showed tremendous effectiveness off play-action concepts. Despite sound performance from Dallas’ front seven, Henry could see the ball often, should he be able to get under the Cowboys’ secondary.

Dallas Cowboys Defense/ST at Patriots

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“The Cowboys D/ST has been one of the best in fantasy football through five weeks, and a matchup against Mac Jones and the Patriots makes this unit a solid Week 6 option. New England has committed the third-most giveaways and is averaging just 19.2 points per game. Start Dallas.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

If the Patriots are able to establish the run early on Sunday, this may be a much closer matchup than one might think. However, the Cowboys’ pass defense has shown a penchant for taking the football away from its opponents. The secondary has 10 interceptions, six by rookie Trevon Diggs. More importantly, their offense has been so efficient that teams are being forced to abandon the run in favor of the pass, in hopes of playing catch up. Should that be the case on Sunday, Dallas may win these battles more often than not.

‘Sits’ of the Week

Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots vs. Cowboys:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Damien Harris vs. Cowboys (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox): Harris suffered injuries to his chest and ribs last week, so he’ll be playing at less than 100 percent against the Cowboys. The Dallas defense has been tough on running backs, allowing the eighth-fewest points to the position after five weeks. A projected negative game script could also mean fewer carries for Harris, who should be seen as no more than a risk-reward FLEX this week.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

Harris has been spotted on the practice field this week, but his status for Sunday is still unknown. If the Alabama product is able to suit up, he will likely be limited in his productivity, as he tends to a rib injury. Still, being New England’s feature back, Harris will get his touches this week. As Fabiano points out, this may be a risky week to start Harris. However, he is always a threat to be a significant contributor of fantasy points, if he can get on track early.

Nick Folk, K, New England Patriots vs. Cowboys

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“You probably don’t know it, but Folk is tied with Tyler Bass for the most fantasy points scored among kickers after five weeks. That will make it tough to sit him, but this week’s matchup against the Cowboys isn’t favorable. Kickers have averaged just seven fantasy points per game against them.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

Patriot Maven respectfully disagrees with Fabiano on this, though his logic is understandable. His opinion is more favorable to the Cowboys ability to keep kickers off the field, than any perceived knock to Folk’s ability. However, the 36-year-old has been given the trust from Bill Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff. If the weather conditions are favorable, expect the Pats to lean on Folk for points when needed the most, especially against a team that will certainly put up points of its own.

New England Patriots Defense/ST vs. Cowboys

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“New England’s defense is a nice option when the matchup is favorable, but that’s not the case this week with Dallas in town. The Cowboys’ offense has averaged 34 points and nearly 440 yards of total offense per game, making the Patriots D/ST a hard fade in all fantasy football leagues.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

The Pats’ run defense faces a tall task this week, as Dallas’ running game is very difficult to stop. The Cowboys have two very capable backs in their rushing attack with Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard who average 5.3 and 6.4 yards each respectively in yards per carry. Also, the Pats pass defense could be subject to some difficulty, depending on the health of cornerback Jalen Mills. Because of some potential issues in the secondary, the Pats defense may be a tough fantasy start this week.