Week 14: TNF Fantasy Preview Cowboys @ Bears

The playoffs are here and if you have a first-round bye, congratulations. For the rest of us, get ready to chew your fingernails off as we hope to stay alive and move onto Week 15.

As always, our fantasy week starts this Thursday and we have a very interesting matchup to kick off the playoffs. The 6-6 Cowboys visit the 6-6 Bears at Soldier Field and this is a must-win for both teams.

Let’s take a look at both teams’ defenses and see if we can identify some starters to help secure a win in Week 14.

Cowboys Defense vs.

QB: 11th
RB: 18th
WR: 7th
TE: 23rd

Bears Defense vs.

QB: 8th
RB: 19th
WR: 5th
TE: 26th

Let’s all agree that we’re not starting QB Mitch Trubisky unless we are in super deep, 2 QB leagues. We also don’t have a TE of note for the Bears, which is unfortunate considering the Cowboys are 23rd worst in the NFL. There could be a sleeper option here but I don’t trust it enough to offer you any names. Of course, I could be very wrong, it’s happened before.

This leaves us with choices for RBs and WRs to start for the Bears. Let’s get the WRs out of the way first. Yes, start Allen Robison. Yes, I know Dallas been stout against WRs, but Trubisky has very few choices to target in this offense. Even with mediocre to poor QB play, Robinson has seen at least 7 targets a game this year except for Week 9 and has 4 or more receptions in each game except for Week 9. In half-PPR Robinson is ranked as the WR17 and while that’s not sexy, it’s also ahead of names like Tyler Lockett, Amari Cooper, and Courtland Sutton per FantasyPros.

Anthony Miller, on the other hand, is WR48 and I would not recommend starting him in this matchup.

How many of you are frustrated David Montgomery owners? First, blame Matt Nagy. Second, you may have to start him, even in a “meh” matchup against the 18th worst Dallas Cowboys. There should be opportunity for him, though. The Cowboys have allowed almost 30 fewer rush attempts than the 19th ranked Bears, yet have allowed almost as many yards. They have allowed 9 rushing TDs and only 1 receiving TDs to the position, so this should (should!) be a Montgomery game over Tarik Cohen.

Speaking of which, Cohen isn’t a horrible play in PPR formats. FantasyPros has him ranked ahead of Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, and Jaylen Samuels for Week 14 TNF.

Bears Starters: Allen Robinson, David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen (RB3)

On the other side of the ball, we have a plethora of fantasy choices to make before tonight’s game and some decisions just keep getting harder and harder.

Despite the Bears’ rank at 8th best versus the QB, I still feel like Dak Prescott can get the job done. The Bears have allowed 284 completions on 435 attempts for over 2,880 yards and 13 TDs. More importantly, they have allowed a WR1 to feast in a big way in three different games this year. With playoffs on the line, the Cowboys will be looking to get up early and quickly, so big plays are fully on the table. For comparison, Prescott is ahead of Kyler Murray, Ryan Tannehill, Tom Brady, and Matt Ryan. He is behind Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston, and Carson Wentz this week as the QB9.

Since we spoke of giving up big plays, this could be a huge performance for the Cowboys’ WR1. The only problem is deciding which WR will be considered the WR1 in this matchup. Amari Cooper was cleared of any structural damage to his knee in his most recent MRI, so he will be a full go.

I also don’t hate starting Michael Gallup who is ranked as the WR27 ahead of Christian Kirk, D.K. Metcalf, and Will Fuller. This is difficult for me because Gallup could very well usurp Cooper’s role as the WR1 as I mentioned before, especially if Cooper is dealing with any kind of pain management. This is the dreaded gut call that everyone hates to hear. As I said, I don’t hate starting him, but I just don’t know which of these WRs will emerge as the go-to.

Since Cooper is a full go, I would avoid Randall Cobb. Now that I have said that, watch him be the beneficiary of Prescott’s big, downfield plays. If that happens, I am sorry. It’s educated guessing, not telling you the future.

Obviously, you’re starting Ezekiel Elliot. I would like to point out that if you’re in a deep league or if you are desperate due to injuries, Pollard could be a sneaky start. Understand that he is touchdown-dependent, so it’s a HUGE risk, but the Bears 19th worst against running backs. If the Cowboys decide to get tricky around the goal-line, you may see Pollard running in a TD instead of Zeke. I am not guaranteeing that, just don’t be surprised if it happens.

Lastly, let’s talk about the dreaded TE position. Even though the Bears are ranked 26th against TEs and Jason Witten has been productive this year, you may have some better options this week. Take a look at Vance McDonald, Jack Doyle, or even Tyler Higbee if Gerald Everett is out this week against the Seahawks. If you don’t have another option, Witten isn’t a horrible start. Just remember that you may have to plan for riskier, upside starts this Sunday if Witten doesn’t find the end zone.

Cowboys Starters: Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Jason Witten (if you have to) and Tony Pollard (super deep, super risky sleeper)

Remember to move any player you have starting on Thursday into their positional roster spots. You don’t want to be stuck with fewer options if there are surprise inactives for Sunday’s matchups.

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