Thursday Night Football Fantasy Projections: Cowboys at Vikings

Week 13 is a do-or-die week for many fantasy owners as Week 14 often begins the playoffs in most leagues.

As fantasy owners begin such a critical week, I will discuss my outlook and fantasy football projections for all relevant fantasy options playing on Thursday Night Football.

[Note: Since my projections are based on usage ratios, efficiency, among other items, all items are rounded to the nearest 1/10th even though a player can’t actually have 2.2 receptions, as an example.]


Dak Prescott, Cowboys: 20.4/31.4, 241.0 Pass Yards, 1.5 TD, 0.4 INT; 16.0 Rush Yards, 0.4 Rush TD

Playing beyond his years yet within himself by not trying to do too much, Prescott has been incredibly consistent despite being a fourth-round rookie starter.  During the team’s 10-game winning streak, Prescott has scored a minimum of 17.48 fantasy points every week and averaged 21.31/G over that stretch.  And since Week 3, Dak has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in all but one game (Week 6 in GB, QB13).  Even with Ezekiel Elliott scoring double-digit rushing touchdowns so far this season, Prescott has five rushing scores on the year to go along with an 18:2 TD-INT ratio.

Sam Bradford, Vikings: 26.6/37.4, 264 Pass Yards, 1.4 TD, 0.3 INT; 1.0 Rush Yard

Losers in five of their past six games, Bradford has averaged 37.2 pass attempts per game this week.  With only six pass touchdowns in those six games, Bradford is a low-ceiling option.  With 16-plus fantasy points in only one of those six games, Bradford has averaged only 11.88 per game over that span.  Bradford is a low-end QB2 in 2-QB leagues for this week.


Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys: 24.6 Carries, 117.0 Rush Yards, 0.9 TD; 2.3 Rec., 23.0 Rec. Yards, 0.1 Rec. TD

Not only does Elliott lead the NFL in carries (243) and rushing yards (1,199), but he’s averaging 21.6 rushing yards per game more than Le’Veon Bell (87.4/G), who ranks second in the NFL in that category.  With more than 90 rushing yards every week since Week 3, Zeke also has three multiple-score games over his past four.  While the Vikings allowed only 3.71 YPC to opposing running backs through Week 7, they have been much more generous over their past five games (4.68 YPC allowed to RBs).

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings: 13.4 Carries, 44.4 Rush Yards, 0.2 TD; 1.6 Rec., 10.2 Rec. Yards

The good news is that McKinnon has more than half of the team’s rush attempts in back-to-back games.  The bad news is that he has averaged just 2.58 YPC since Week 5 with no rushing scores.  While Matt Asiata hasn’t been more efficient than McKinnon, he’s a better bet for the goal-line carries and third-down work.

Matt Asiata, Vikings: 8.3 Carries, 28.8 Rush Yards, 0.4 TD; 1.5 Rec., 10.5 Rec. Yards

Asiata has rushed for a total of 87 yards in his past four games combined, but he has scored in three consecutive games.  He’s a TD-dependent play every week.


Stefon Diggs, Vikings: 7.9 Rec., 88.5 Rec. Yards, 0.3 Rec. TD

After sitting out on Thanksgiving, Diggs is a high-end WR2 assuming that he’s active in Week 13.  In his past four games, Diggs has racked up a total of 40 catches for 357 yards and a touchdown on 49 targets.  With 13-plus targets in three of the four games (or the one where he wasn’t shadowed by Patrick Peterson), Diggs should see double-digit targets once again.

Dez Bryant, Cowboys: 4.4 Rec., 66.0 Rec. Yards, 0.6 Rec. TD

Since returning in Week 8, Bryant has averaged 80.0 yards per game with four touchdowns in five games.  The matchup isn’t great as the Vikings have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers and there’s always the chance that Dez is not targeted as much as his fantasy owners would like given the team’s run-heavy offense.  That said, he remains a borderline WR1/WR2 in Week 13.

Cole Beasley, Cowboys: 5.1 Rec., 55.4 Rec. Yards, 0.4 Rec. TD

With the exception of Week 10, Beasley has 50-75 yards in every game this season.  In fact, he has 50-59 yards in six of his past seven games.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have Beasley projected to finish in that same 50-59 range once again.

Adam Thielen, Vikings: 4.3 Rec., 47.3 Rec. Yards, 0.3 Rec. TD

With Diggs out, Thielen had eight catches on 11 targets, both of which were season highs, but he finished with only 53 yards in Week 12.  He now has at least 40 yards in six of seven games.


Kyle Rudolph, Vikings: 4.3 Rec., 42.3 Rec. Yards, 0.5 Rec. TD

Rudolph’s target share has been a bit inconsistent lately — three, eight, three and 10 over his past four weeks, respectively.  That said, I expect Rudolph to see another high volume of targets in another fantasy-friendly matchup against the Cowboys, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Jason Witten, Cowboys: 4.4 Rec., 49.3 Rec. Yards, 0.2 Rec. TD

There isn’t a ton of touchdown upside with Witten, but he sees a consistent volume of targets from Prescott.  Witten now has less than 50 yards in seven of his past nine games and is more of a TE2 this week for me.

Good luck in Week 13!

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