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Weak Sauce/Hot Sauce For Week 4 Fantasy Football

John Williams

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Cowboys Headlines - Plays Of The Week: Zeke Leap Helps Cowboys Soar Past Bears

What's up Inside The Star Fantasy Football Family!

At my house growing up, we regularly had taco nights. Mom and Dad would cook up some ground beef and re-fried beans, we'd have hard shells and flour tortillas, tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, onions, and salsa.

What I found as a kid, is the salsa was pretty important.

If you didn't have good salsa or hot sauce, the tacos would be good, but missing something. And if the salsa or hot sauce wasn't very good, as you know, it could ruin the tacos.

With that in mind...

Welcome to the first addition of Hot Sauce/Weak Sauce!

There are players in the NFL who are matchup-dependent, and there are players who are unaffected by matchups and extenuating circumstances. A lot of what Fantasy Football is about is taking risks given the right matchup.

This is the space where I'll highlight several players each week that will surprise. They'll either bring the Hot Sauce or that Weak Sauce.

Fantasy Football - Week 4 Fantasy Football: Weak Sauce, Hot Sauce 5

Photo by Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post

Hot Sauce

These are the guys who aren't too highly ranked going into their team's matchup, but have a chance to have a big game.

Defining the Hot Sauce

[table id=84 /]

This is based on the consensus rankings put together by FantasyPros.com

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers

Cowboys Headlines - Rookie Review:

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Dak Prescott is becoming the quarterback of the future before our very eyes. Each week he seems to get better and better.

This week, he's on the road to face the San Francisco 49ers, who have been Jekyll and Hyde in the 2016 season.

After shutting out the Los Angeles Rams' anemic offense in week one, the 49ers have given up 37+ each of the last two weeks, to the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks.

This is a very good matchup for Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. I'd be willing to start him in any and every format in Fantasy Football.

Flawless Forecast: 275 yards passing and three total touchdowns. 

Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions

Fantasy Football - Week 4 Fantasy Football: Weak Sauce, Hot Sauce 1The rookie running back for the Chicago Bears had probably the most productive day of any Chicago offensive player not named Zach Miller.

He turned 15 touches into 92 total yards while averaging five yards per carry, including a 36 yard run on his first carry of the game.

The Detroit Lions aren't very good on defense. They're giving up an average of 114.67 rushing yards per game this season. Chicago needs to run it well in order to keep the Detroit offense off the field and make things easier for their quarterback, whoever plays.

Flawless Forecast: 17 touches 97 total yards and one touchdown

Terrelle Pryor, WR, Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins

Fantasy Football - Week 4 Fantasy Football: Weak Sauce, Hot Sauce 3I think it's time to admit Terrelle Pryor is no longer a quarterback trying to play wide receiver, he is a wide receiver. Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns are finding ways to get him involved on multiple levels and he has been dynamic.

On Sunday, Pryor completed 3/5 passing for 35 yards, rushed four times for 21 yards and a touchdown, and caught eight passes on 14 targets for 144 yards. His day included a 40 yard reception.

Maybe the most diverse and dynamic stat line we will see from a player in 2016.

In week four, the Cleveland Browns face a Washington Redskins defense that has one of the best corners in the league, but not much else.

I have a feeling the Redskins aren't going to use Josh Norman to shadow Pryor. I also expect Hue Jackson to continue to find clever ways to get Terrelle Pryor the football.

Flawless Forecast: 25 yards rushing, 6 catches for 110 yards, one touchdown.

Tyrell Williams, WR, San Diego Chargers vs New Orleans Saints

Seriously, the New Orleans Saints can't stop anyone. They've allowed over 400 total yards each week this season.

The San Diego Chargers are putting up plenty of yards as well. Tyrell Williams has been the biggest beneficiary of the season-ending injury to wide receiver Keenan Allen. In week three, Williams led the Chargers with 9 targets and converted those to six catches for 69 yards.

Flawless Forecast: Six catches 97 yards, and one touchdown. 

Weak Sauce

Defining the Weak Sauce

[table id=85 /]

This is based on the consensus rankings put together by FantasyPros.com

These are the guys who will be starters for more than half of your fantasy football rosters that may struggle.

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers

cowboys-saints-football-drew-brees-everette-brown_pg_600-1024x652.jpgIf you've followed me for very long, you know my feeling about Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints away from the Superdome. I don't like it.

I'm a big investor in Drew Brees on an annual basis, but they aren't the same team on the road as they are in New Orleans. Now take them out doors and they aren't very good.

Week two in the New Meadowlands, the New Orleans Saints only scored 13 points. In week one and week three they put up over 30 points at home. That's a huge difference.

Also take into account the San Diego Chargers are pretty good against the pass. They held Andrew Luck without a touchdown pass until T.Y. Hilton broke free for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

I will probably start him, because my other quarterback's matchup is worse, but if you have a QB with a better matchup, I'd roll the dice.

Flawless Forecast: 225 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions. 

LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

Fantasy Football - Week 4 Fantasy Football: Weak Sauce, Hot SauceLeSean McCoy had a great week three against the Arizona Cardinals. He eclipsed 100 yards rushing and added two scores.

In week four, the Buffalo Bills have a more difficult task ahead of them facing the New England Patriots.

The Patriots have only allowed one team to reach 100 yards in three games. The Bills didn't rush for more than 90 yards in each of the first two weeks of the 2016 season.

I think the 2016 version of the New England Patriots defense is really good and it's going to be tough for the Bills to gain much traction.

I have McCoy as a low end RB2 or flex play in week four.

Flawless Forecast: 20 touches, 60 yards, and zero touchdowns

Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers

Fantasy Football - Week 4 Fantasy Football: Weak Sauce, Hot Sauce 2The San Diego Chargers held some really good passing teams in check during the 2015 season. For much of their game Sunday vs the Indianapolis Colts, they kept Andrew Luck from throwing a touchdown pass until late in the fourth quarter.

In week two they held the Jacksonville Jaguars to 14 points and only 207 passing. They are very good.

Brandin Cooks got locked down by an Atlanta Falcons pass defense that had allowed over 800 yards passing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders to start the season.

Odds are you are going to start Cooks in week four, but the odds are better that he is going to disappoint.

Flawless Forecast: Three Catches, 46 yards, and zero touchdowns. 



I didn't start out as a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quickly as I could. I grew up a Joe Montana fan when he was with the 49ers and followed him to the Chiefs, until we moved to Texas. I've now been a Fan of the Boys since the Dark Days of the Post-Aikman, Pre-Romo era of abysmal quarterback play, now relishing in more than a decade of franchise quarterbacking for America's Team.

Fantasy Football

Is Dak Prescott a Player to Avoid in Fantasy Football in 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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A Cowboys Win vs Giants Can't Be Taken For Granted 1
Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports

For the Dallas Cowboys, the plan is to stick with Dak Prescott to hopefully turn him into a successful long-term franchise quarterback. Going into his third year in the league, this could be a season that defines his future on America's Team.

However, after the entire team struggled in 2017 while trying to overcome several key absences (including Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith), Prescott's level of play has been questioned by plenty around the league. Fans, analysts and writers everywhere aren't as sure as they were in 2016 about the quarterback's future.

And now, according to NFL.com, Fantasy Football players should beware of drafting Dak Prescott once their "friendly" (we all know they're anything but friendly) seasons begin.

Earlier this week, NFL.com Fantasy Editor Marcas Grant published an article telling us ten players to avoid for the 2018 Fantasy Football season. Perhaps it may come as a surprise to some that Dak Prescott is in there among names like Ty Montgomery and Jack Doyle. You can read his full article here.

To be honest, I see his point here.

It's more than fair to say that it's not going to be an easy year for Dak. He's got to prove a lot in a year that could have a juicy extension at the end of it. After going through a sort of an expected sophomore slump, Prescott's third year in the NFL should be his best one yet.

There's a big but, though. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are long gone, leaving Dak Prescott with a promising yet unproven set of pass catchers.

Will a dominant running game led by five great offensive linemen and Ezekiel Elliott be enough to help Dak and the rest of the offense? Probably. but how much will Prescott be able to accomplish?

Through a painful 9-7 season in which the Cowboys never seemed to be able to find a steady pace, #4's stats took a hit. Here are his numbers from his two years in the pros:

  • 2016: 311 completions, 67.8% completion percentage, 3,667 yards, 23 TDs and 4 INTs.
  • 2017: 308 completions, 62.9% completion percentage, 3,324 yards, 22 TDs and 13 INTs.
  • He also ran for six touchdowns in each of his two seasons.

Per FantasyData.com, his fantasy points dropped from 286.88 in 2016 to 260.66 in 2017.

Despite his numbers dropping, Dak certainly took huge strides as a passer. From taking command of the offense as a captain to making throws he wouldn't make as a rookie, Prescott was able to demonstrate improvements during a rough sophomore slump.

Even with Dez gone, the receivers the front office brought in throughout the offseason are expected to be Dak-friendly. If the receiving corps actually make his strengths shine, the Cowboys' offense will take a huge step in 2018.

Maybe, as Jason Witten mentioned on Adam Schefter's Podcast, Dez is as good as anyone going up for the football. But that's not what will make Dak shine. This revamped WR room might be just what he needs, though.

5 Injuries the Dallas Cowboys Can't Afford in 2018

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys)

At the end of the day, even though I truly believe he'll have a good career in the NFL and that he's the future of the Dallas Cowboys, I doubt he should be marked as an early target in the Fantasy Football world.

As of right now, from a Fantasy Football perspective, I would barely rank him as a Top 15 quarterback for many reasons.

First of all, the Cowboys' game will revolve around Ezekiel Elliott. Secondly, it doesn't matter how much faith we put into these pass catchers, they haven't proved anything yet.

Dak is not a bad player at all. But taking Prescott in the middle or even late rounds of a Fantasy Draft might be the safest way to go right now.

Lastly, I leave you with some "Fantasy Nuggets" from fellow Inside The Star writer and Fantasy Football Guru John Williams:

  • Dak failed to score 10 standard format fantasy points only four times last season. He scored 15+ points nine times and 20+ six times in 2017.
  • In 2017 - even with a down second half - he finished as the 13th best QB in points per game and as the tenth best in total QB scoring.
  • In 2016, he was in the top 10 in both categories mentioned in the previous bullet point.
  • His ability to run and score touchdowns on the ground easily make him one of the best 12 QB options for fantasy football.

Tell me what you think about "Is Dak Prescott a Player to Avoid in Fantasy Football in 2018?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Implications of Ezekiel Elliott’s Suspension

John Williams

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Cowboys en Español: Ezekiel Elliott Suspendido Inicio Duro Para la Línea Defensiva

Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended by the NFL for 6 games for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy. This will leave a void in the backfield for the Dallas Cowboys and on many fantasy football rosters around the world. As it is with the real league, it's a next man up philosophy in the world of fantasy football as well.

At the moment, that next man up is Darren McFadden.

Just two years ago, with Dallas still clinging to playoff hopes in the wake of Tony Romo's injury, McFadden rushed for more than 1,000 yards. He finished fifth in the NFL that season despite not seeing more than 10 carries a game until week six. From week 6 until the end of the season, McFadden had 7 games with more than 90 yards rushing.

McFadden's touchdown total from that season leaves a lot to be desired, but let's not forget the quarterbacking chaos that went on that season. Between Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore, defenses weren't worried about being beat in the passing game.

Frankly, it's a miracle that McFadden rushed for 1,000 yards.

Over 11 games from weeks 6-17, McFadden averaged 21.45 touches per game and 108.27 total yards per game. At that pace, stretched over a 16 game season, McFadden would have totaled 1,732 yards, which would have led all running backs in total yards that season.

If you still have to draft, I would take a chance on McFadden around the 7th or 8th round in 10 or 12 team drafts.

As for Alfred Morris, he will get some touches as much as the Dallas Cowboys will look to run the ball. That being said the second half of 2016 showed who the coaches preferred as the backup.

The last time Morris ran for more than 1,000 yards was in 2014. In 2015, if you'll remember, he lost his job to Matt Jones who has since lost his job to UDFA Rob Kelley, who is starting but is being threatened by 2017 draft pick Samaje Perine.

When Morris played last year he was pretty ineffective averaging a career-low 3.5 yards per carry.

With McFadden's injury history, you can take a shot on Alfred Morris late in your fantasy drafts around the second to last or the last round.

Cowboys Work Out RBs Ronnie Hillman, Denard Robinson Before Oxnard 3

Dallas Cowboys Running Backs Ezekiel Elliott #21, Darren McFadden #20 (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

How Should You Value Ezekiel Elliott in Upcoming Fantasy Drafts?

That's a difficult question to answer, because a lot will depend on your league settings. My simple answer is, if you can get any discount on Ezekiel Elliott from his average draft position of 3.0, then you're getting a good value for at least the second half of the season.

Just a week ago I wrote to not allow this absence to sway you too much. I stand by that.

Fantasy football is about getting as much value as you can with each draft pick. Elliott is a top 5 value in any setting, even if he has to sit out. I think you can comprise a roster good enough to get into the playoffs, then you'll want Elliott for a playoff run.

Just like the Dallas Cowboys, all you need to do is tread water while he's out. If you can make it through the suspension at or around .500, you will still be in good position to win your fantasy football league.

When Elliott comes back, he will be the starter.

Even if they make him earn it, it won't take long. He's just better than McFadden and Morris. If your league lets Elliott somehow slip outside of the first round, snatch him up and make sure you draft McFadden. You'll thank me for it later.

Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Training Camp Begins

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott #4, RB Ezekiel Elliott #21 (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

While many will look at this situation as a detriment to Dak Prescott and may feel deterred from drafting him as the 9th quarterback in your league, I actually see it the opposite. While Dak was very efficient in Dallas' run-first offense, he showed throughout the 2016 season that he could be leaned upon in a shootout or to bring the team back from a large deficit.

In fact, Dak might have played his best game of the season during the playoff loss to Green Bay when the team got down 21-3. Forced to pass, Prescott completed 63% of his passes for 302 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in nearly leading the team back to victory.

With a full offseason in the Dallas offense and a really good compliment of receivers led by Dez Bryant, I fully anticipate Dak to have an excellent sophomore campaign.

Dallas may lean more on the pass during Elliott's absence, which will make Dak more valuable to me. Remember fantasy football is about acquiring stats and with Elliott out, Dak will have a great chance at putting up even bigger numbers. Especially if the run game is ineffective.



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Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football: Draft Ezekiel Elliott Early, Don’t Be Swayed

John Williams

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Ezekiel Elliott, Packers
AP Photo / Ron Jenkins

Plenty of fantasy football drafts have come and gone, but many still remain as training camp is in full swing. The question has come up in the fantasy football Twitter community; what do you do with Ezekiel Elliott amidst rumors of a suspension? And the short answer is nothing.

Investigations into whether or not Ezekiel Elliott has violated any of the NFL's policies have persisted. Supposedly, those investigations have come to a close. The personal conduct policy, the domestic violence policy, and the substance abuse policy seem to all be in play as the league decides on the appropriate punishment for the Dallas Cowboys' star running back.

You could go the safe route and drop Ezekiel Elliott down your draft boards or you could take a chance at having one of the top scorers in fantasy football on your roster.

Say a suspension does come down. At worst, a drug suspension would be four games.

The domestic violence issue seems to be circumstantial evidence that even the Columbus Police and District Attorney declined to pursue. The NFL's personal conduct policy could apply, but that seems to be more of a threat than anything. So the question is, if Elliott is out for four games, does he lose his value somehow. I'd say no.

We don't have to go back very far to see a similar star running back with a similar suspension. In 2016, Le'Veon Bell was suspended for the first three games of the season and many people slid him down their draft boards. In some mocks, I saw him going outside of the first round.

Sure he missed the first three games of the season, but he finished as fantasy football's No. 3 running back and was there when you needed him most. Playoff time.

Bell only had three games where he failed to score less than 15 standard fantasy points during his 12 game season (didn't play in the season finale). The point being, anyone who drafted Le'Veon Bell in the first round or the top of the second was quite happy with the results.

If Ezekiel Elliott misses time, it will be at the beginning of the season, but like Bell, he will be around at the end of the season when you're trying to put away a championship win.

If you're drafting at the top of the first round, don't let Ezekiel Elliott's consistency and scoring ability get by you because of a threat of suspension. He'll be available to you when you need him most.

The first few weeks of the season are tough matchups for Elliott anyway.

Dallas will face the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and Los Angeles Rams in the first four weeks--all teams with tough defenses. Though Elliott is a guaranteed starter for those four weeks, it's likely you're lowering expectations for him against some of the top run defenses in the NFL.

For me in 2017, the reward of having Ezekiel Elliott on my roster far outweighs the risk of any potential suspension. Draft Zeke and reap the benefits.



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