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Week 14 Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 30, New York Giants 10


What you need to know

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas stayed alive in the NFC playoff race with a much-needed road win against their division rival Giants. Dak Prescott shook off a lackluster previous month with his best passing game of the season in terms of yardage and a season-high three touchdowns through the air. The backfield committee of Alfred Morris on early downs and Rod Smith as the receiving and red zone option worked to perfection as they combined for nearly 250 yards of offense between them. Dez Bryant, while still seeking his first 100-yard game of the season, scored a long touchdown. Dallas has one more game without Ezekiel Elliott, a matchup on the easier side against Oakland, before critical games against Seattle and Philadelphia to close the season.

New York Giants

The Giants passing attack was as mediocre as ever and only Evan Engram should be taken seriously as a fantasy play. Shepard's production has dropped off massively this season and Manning isn't throwing enough yards/touchdowns to support more than one player right now.

Wayne Gallman looked really impressive on Sunday and is worth a stash on the waiver if you need him. He was explosive, fast, tough and easily outproduced his teammate Darkwa.

Dallas Cowboys

QB Dak Prescott, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 30 - 332 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 13 - 0
Early in the game, Dallas struggled to finish drives. Prescott had two end zone throws tipped away by the defense and Dez Bryant dropped a potential touchdown on another foray down the field. Add in a missed field goal and the theme was empty yardage and missed opportunity for Prescott and the passing game until late in the second quarter. Prescott and Dallas’ offense finally pulled away later in the second half from the offensively-stunted Giants as Prescott delivered a strike to Jason Witten down the seam for a touchdown and Rod Smith for a long catch-and-run to ice the game. Prescott added a well-timed third down conversion scramble and shedding a defender in the pocket to convert on an Alfred Morris checkdown pass. Oakland offers another exploitable matchup in Week 15 for Prescott and the passing game to stay on course after a career-high 332 yards against the Giants.

RB Alfred Morris, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 62 - 0, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (3 targets)
Morris was active early with seven of his 22 touches on the opening drive for Dallas against the Giants. The offensive line was a positive influence to Morris success, paving the way for accessible yardage near the line of scrimmage, a stark contrast from earlier in the season. Morris consistently accrued three or more yards on his rushes with the occasional power shown through contact. Morris’ biggest run of the day, nearly 40 yards to the perimeter, was called back by holding, which would have pushed him over the 100-yard mark. While Morris caught three passes, Rod Smith was the clear preferred option in the hurry-up offense and in the red zone, optimizing Smith’s touches instead of Morris’ volume. Morris has one more game in the sun without Ezekiel Elliott before Elliott’s return in Week 16. Oakland marks a strong matchup to see a positive game script and substantial volume.

RB Rod Smith, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 47 - 1, Rec: 5 - 113 - 1 (5 targets)
The clarity of Alfred Morris’ and Rod Smith’s roles in the Dallas running back committee continued to solidify this week against the Giants. Morris was the clear preferred option on the interior and early in the game. However, Smith dominated snaps in the red zone and obvious passing situations, even seeing success as a split out receiver. Smith was a highlight player this week with a number of impact plays. Smith showed great reactions to a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage, scrambling to find the ball in the air and get a first down. Smith iced the game with two fourth quarter touchdowns. One of them came as a split out receiver, showing a strong move at the line of scrimmage to shake the defender and outrace the rest of the defense down the middle of the field for an 81-yard touchdown. On the other, Smith found the perimeter on a rushing attempt, again with no defender in the area on the third level of the defense, en route to a third down touchdown. Smith’s blend of power, speed, and hands have been a welcome addition to the depth chart, especially during the period with Ezekiel Elliott out of the lineup and making Darren McFadden expendable midseason.

WR Terrance Williams, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (6 targets)
Williams led Dallas with six targets against the Giants; however, his two highest leverage targets were missed opportunities. On one occasion a potential long touchdown was tipped away by a defender and the other saw a goal line slant tipped away. Williams struggled to shake free from the Giants secondary overall for one of his common after-the-catch splash plays. Williams has yet to find the end zone this season and has the second-most receptions (44) of receivers without a touchdown. Oakland offers a strong matchup for Williams to break his scoreless streak in Week 15.

WR Dez Bryant, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 73 - 1 (5 targets)
Bryant saw meager five targets against the Giants, but logged a successful game built around a single long catch-and-run touchdown. On a slant route, Bryant shed the trailing defender and sprinted to the end zone for a long score. Bryant had an opportunity for another touchdown on a deep target, dropping the pass. Bryant’s other two receptions were intermediate routes with little after-catch potential. Two of Bryant’s better games of this lackluster season have come over the past two games with another strong matchup (Oakland) up next.

WR Cole Beasley, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 59 - 0 (5 targets)
Beasley has been inconsistently used this season, a stark difference from his breakout 2016 production. This week against the Giants marked a season-high 59 yards, including a reception of more than 40 yards as the cornerstone of his production. Beasley shook free on a third down reception in the fourth quarter for a huge gain as Dallas began to pull away in the blowout win. On the negative side, Beasley logged a third down drop in field goal range early in the game as Dallas struggled to finish drives.

TE Jason Witten, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 1 (2 targets)
For the sixth time this season Witten had a game with a single reception. Against the Giants, however, Witten made it count with a beautifully thrown seam pass from Dak Prescott for a touchdown in the fourth quarter as Dallas took the lead for good in the road victory. Witten did not see a target until the fourth quarter as Prescott threw the other pass Witten’s direction well behind him. Witten has shown physical erosion this season, especially since the opening two weeks of the season, but has remained a red zone presence despite averaging only 8.8 yards-per-reception this year and struggling to separate on some of his long-time successful short and intermediate routes.


New York Giants

QB Eli Manning, 80 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 46 - 228 - 1 TD / 2 INT
Eli Manning had a very uneven performance in his not so triumphant return as the Giants starting quarterback. The Giants running game was decent and this allowed Manning to utilize play action at times but the lack of talent surrounding him in the passing game was evident. He had several misses down the field. Manning misfired on a seam route to Ellison in the first half and overthrew Vereen on a broken play later which would have gone for a very big pass play. His only touchdown came on a play action rollout pass in the flat to Ellison. The catch was just secured over the goal line and the play action was set up on previous plays as the Giants were a run heavy offense early. Manning almost found Lewis on a go route along the sideline but the play was broken up with an excellent play by the Cowboy defender at the last second. The Giants receivers had several drops in this game and they cost first downs. Manning had several passes inexplicably hit the ground. He threw into tight coverage as times were getting desperate and a tipped pass was easily picked off by Sean Lee. Manning floated a ball down the middle in an act of desperation that was easily picked off by the Cowboy secondary. The Giants offense doesn't look good, regardless which QB is under center.

RB Wayne Gallman, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 59 - 0, Rec: 7 - 40 - 0 (9 targets)
Wayne Gallman ran really well for the Giants and may have just secured his role as the new starting running back. He looked more explosive, dynamic and stronger upon initial contact than Darkwa. Gallman showed excellent vision, picking the correct hole to plough into and didn't rush to the line of scrimmage. He read his blocks well, hit the hole hard when he decided to take it upfield and was very productive for the Giants. He moved the chains on the ground and in the air, catching screens and checkdowns for small but consistent gains. Gallman showed power at times too, pushing back defenders and really trying for extra yards. He's earned the right for more touches going forward and fantasy owners could pick him up early if there is nobody else on their waiver wire.

RB Orleans Darkwa, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 29 - 0, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets)
Orleans Darkwa was not the lead back in this game, which is certainly a different move that is likely to continue going forward. Darkwa was easily outproduced by teammate Gallman on the ground and contributed almost nothing to the passing game. He fumbled the ball in the first quarter but was saved by a teammate who was able to secure it. Darkwa managed some productive runs off tackle but a lot of these were due to some impressive blocks up front by NYG. Darkwa has likely been upstaged by Gallman and potentially lost his role as the starting running back. Darkwa has never shown any terrific production or talent so it is time for someone else to take the lead.

WR Roger Lewis, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 46 - 0 (11 targets)
Roger Lewis jr. caught many balls but only for relatively small amount of yards. A few of these plays came on the final drive as time was running, just getting short balls undernerth for easy gains. Lewis didn't contribute a whole lot when the game was competitive. He had a nice diving catch to secure a low ball however. Lewis had a shot at a deep ball down the sideline but an excellent break up by the Dallas corner denied him the catch. The Giants offense cannot support many fantasy players and Lewis is on the outside looking in.

WR Sterling Shepard, 77 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -9 - 0, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (3 targets)
Sterling Shepard really did very little in this game and hasn't looked like himself for most of this season. He has dealt with a few injuries this season and didn't look sharp in this game. He got a first down on a easy crosser route, getting separation with his quickness over the middle. Shepard dropped a slant pattern later however, which would have easily secured a first down.

The Giants gave him the ball on a reverse play but it was shut down by LB Lee who read it very well. Shepard got a final catch as time was expiring but this was in garbage time as the game was decided at that point. He is a risky playing going forward, as Engram has been producing better than the second year receiver. A play as a low end #3 receiever in PPR leagues but only if desperate.

TE Evan Engram, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 54 - 0 (7 targets)
Evan Engram's production was saved in PPR leagues by a few balls but he wasn't able to get into the endzone this time. Engram managed to get wide open on a play action call that left him completely uncovered along the sideline for a big gain. Engram did have a drop on a curl route which is rare for him as his hands tend to be secure. He was potentially interfered with on another curl route along the sideline but the ref's deemed the contact to be legal. Engram wasn't a focal point in this offense for most of the game and thus only mustered 4 catches. He rarely got any looks downfield and Manning threw his only touchdown to Ellison. Engram has potential to score every week for this team, and luckily, games like this will be his "floor" so he is worth a play going forward.