It’s Monday Night Football time and the Cowboys take on the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Last time we saw the Cowboys they were getting embarrassed by the 49ers on Sunday Night Football in Week 5, while the Chargers are coming off of a bye week. The Chargers have ripped off two straight wins after starting the season with two losses. We’ll see if the Cowboys bounce back or if the Chargers maintain their momentum. However you believe it will play out should influence how you select your lineup for the Showdown Captain Mode game on DraftKings.
First off, as a reminder the Captain will give us 1.5x points but also cost us 1.5x the amount based on their salary. Now, Vegas gives this game a high O/U of 51 and the Cowboys are slight favorites (-2.5). This would suggest a back-and-forth, somewhat high scoring affair. While I think the Cowboys do bounce back and that this will be a close game, if we can glean anything from this past weekend’s games it’s that you can’t predict games in the NFL, as the 49ers lost to the Browns and a backup QB and the Eagles lost to Greg “the Leg” Zuerlein and the Jets’ defense (the Eagles let Breece run that TD in). So the rested Chargers could very well win this thing, especially since the Cowboys do not look like the same team on defense ever since the loss of Trevon Diggs.
I think this game runs somewhat as expected as far as point totals go, so I think the captain comes down to which QB you think throws for more TDs. I know it’s a leap of faith, but I think Dak throws for more TDs, and although Justin Herbert will have plenty of passing yards, he gets Austin Ekeler back tonight who will punch in a couple scores on the ground. So we’re going with Dak as our Captain.
If you use Herbert too you will need to get a little creative since both him and Dak will cost you. Herbert probably throws for 275 and at least 1 score, and I have an idea in mind that may sound a little crazy but allows us to use both QBs.
Austin Ekeler – Ekeler is pretty much matchup proof since he is effective at both running the ball and catching it out of the backfield. He doesn’t really share the touches, and no backup running back earned additional touches while he was out, so look for him to be on the field a lot tonight. You have to assume he’s fully healthy. He’s also a fantasy football player himself, so you know he wants to score those points!
Tony Pollard – In most people’s opinions I would guess that Pollard has not lived up to expectations this season, at least in fantasy based on where he was going in drafts and with the departure of Ezekiel Elliott, but we know he’s capable of breaking out at any moment. In addition to the ground game, he’s averaging almost 4 receptions per game, although the yardage totals aren’t anything to write home about. But with WRs Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup doing basically nothing of note in 2023, maybe this is game where Pollard gets a handful of targets and notches his first receiving TD of the year. The Chargers have yet to allow a RB to score a receiving TD, but the Vikings backfield had 6 receptions in Week 3 and the Raiders RBs tallied 10 in Week 4, so perhaps this is a weakness the Cowboys can exploit.
Donald Parham – Keenan Allen is going to get his catches, especially with Mike Williams no longer in the mix. Josh Palmer filled in nicely last season too when Williams missed time, but coming out of the bye week perhaps the Chargers mix in more of their promising young rookie WR Quentin Johnston. But guess who has just as many receiving TDs this season as Allen and more than anyone else I just mentioned? That’s right, Donald Parham with 3. And the Cowboys are much worse defending TEs (20th) than WRs (2nd).
Jalen Tolbert – if the Cowboys won’t throw to Cooks and Gallup keeps dropping passes, then at some point they might turn to their 2022 3rd round draft pick, Jalen Tolbert. The Cowboys can’t keep doing the same thing every week and expect to get different results, so this could be the week they mix Tolbert in more. Pretty much no one did anything for them against the ‘Niners, but in Week 4 they targeted Tolbert 4 times and he hauled in all 4 passes for 53 yards. If he can put up a similar statline Monday night, he’d be incredible value at just $200 (you read that right – $200). I mentioned above that in order to use both QBs we’d have to get a little creative, and this is what I meant.
- Captain – Dak Prescott ($15K)
- Flex – Justin Herbert ($10.8K)
- Flex – Tony Pollard ($9.6K)
- Flex – Austin Ekeler ($11.2K)
- Flex – Donald Parham ($2.2K)
- Flex – Jalen Tolbert ($200)