Bears and Cowboys clash on TNF

Connor Allen
Rotoworld

With the three-game Thanksgiving slate behind us, we only have one game tonight between the Cowboys and Bears. This is both teams' second-straight game played on Thursday after both played on turkey day. Before we dive into this NFC matchup be sure to check out Ian Hartitz' Week 14 WR/CB matchups.

 

Thursday Night Football

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This week’s installment of Thursday Night Football features the Dallas Cowboys traveling to Chicago to take on the Bears. The Cowboys have remained steady as three-point favorites and the total has moved half a point towards the over at 43. This means sportsbooks are projecting a score of 23.25-21.75 in favor of the Cowboys. 

The Bears Offense has had their share of offensive struggles this season and rank just 27th in rushing success rate (43 percent) and 18th in passing success rate (45 percent). Mitchell Trubisky played one of his best games of the year against Detroit last week as the team barely squeaked out a win.  They have a plus matchup against Dallas’ average defense that ranks 21st in rushing success rate allowed (49 percent) and 23rd in passing success rate allowed (47 percent). Even with a decent matchup Mitch Trubisky shouldn’t be trusted in fantasy. WR Allen Robinson has seen 22 targets over the past two weeks and will likely continue to be targeted at a high rate with Taylor Gabriel out. Using TheQuantEdge.com’s injury tool, with Taylor Gabriel off the field, Robinson has seen a three percent higher target share (H/T Derek Brown). David Montgomery has seen between 13 and 17 carries in each of the past five games but has turned that into just 228 rushing yards on 74 carries (3.08 yards per carry). Anthony Miller has seen 33 targets over the past three weeks but is still an incredibly volatile fantasy play.

The Cowboys Offense has been in a bit of a lull the past two weeks with just 24 combined points against the Patriots and Bills. They also haven't beaten an opponent with a winning record. This week’s matchup against the Bears won’t be much easier as they rank 15th in rushing success rate allowed (46 percent) and 16th in passing success rate (45 percent). WR Amari Cooper underwent an MRI last Friday which revealed there was no structural damage to his knee and practiced in full on Monday. The Bears secondary has allowed big games to opposing top receivers in the past making this a ripe matchup for Cooper. Prescott is a top-10 QB this week and should be started in leagues you have him. Ezekiel Elliott is an obvious start but may not be able to break a long run against the Bears' third-ranked explosive run defense (eight percent).  

Prediction: 21-20 Cowboys

 

Injury Report

Matthew Stafford said his back injury won't be an issue in 2020 or beyond. Stafford is considered week-to-week but there’s a chance he won’t play again this season. With the Lions at the bottom of the NFC North and no shot of making the playoffs it doesn’t make a ton of sense for Stafford to play again. After David Blough’s above-average performance on Thanksgiving he’ll probably get the nod for the rest of the season.

Josh Jacobs said he's been playing through a fractured shoulder since Week 7. He missed practice on Wednesday but plans on playing through the pain. He’s on the RB1 border against the Titans in Week 14 barring any setbacks.

Adam Thielen (hamstring) didn't participate in Wednesday's practice. Thielen was out last week despite most sources saying he’d be good to go leading up to Sunday. His practice participation should be monitored closely over the next few days. His absence would bump up Kyle Rudolph and Bisi Johnson’s potential target share in Week 14 against the Lions. Teammate Dalvin Cook (shoulder) has reiterated that he’ll play in Week 14 despite suffering a game-ending injury in Week 13. His status is one to monitor.

James Conner (shoulder) remained limited for Wednesday's practice. This is a sign that Conner’s closer to returning after a full week of practice. Conner’s return would likely send Benny Snell back to the bench with Jaylen Samuels still handling some of the pass-catching work.  Conner is an intriguing play against the Cardinals if he returns.

T.Y. Hilton (calf) is unsure when or if he'll return this season. This would be a massive blow to the passing offense and Hilton wasn’t able to confidently provide much clarity in his situation. He said “If I can, I can. If I can’t, then I’m going to have to shut it down, but I’m doing everything I can [to return].” Parris Campbell practiced in full on Wednesday which means he would share snaps with Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, and Ashton Dulin as long as Hilton remains out.

JuJu Smith-Schuster said he considers himself "week-to-week". Smith-Schuster suffered a knee injury and concussion in Week 11 against Cleveland and is looking to return. He’s still probably a couple of weeks from returning and said he isn’t able to cut upfield yet. This means James Washington will continue to be a boom-bust fantasy option with Devlin Hodges at QB.

Marlon Mack (hand) returned to practice Wednesday. This is a great sign for his potential availability as he was targeting a potential Week 14 return. The matchup against Tampa Bay is extremely difficult but he would likely step right back into a massive role which gives him plenty of upside.

Daniel Jones (ankle) is in a walking boot and is expected to miss Monday night's Week 14 game against the Eagles. With Jones banged up, Eli Manning is expected to get the start. Jones has turned the ball over in eleven straight games to start his career but has flashed upside at times. Manning may have TE Evan Engram (foot) back who expects to play Week 14 against the Eagles Monday night. Engram has missed the past two games but should assume a prominent role as long as he suits up.

Dolphins placed RB Kalen Ballage on injured reserve with a leg injury, ending his season. Ballage had one of the worst campaigns in NFL history as a running back, averaging just 1.82 yards per carry on 74 carries. Without Ballage the Dolphins will turn to the savior himself, Patrick Laird. A workhorse back with pass-catching chops out of Cal, Laird will split touches with Myles Gaskin and newly signed Zach Zenner for touches. Laird saw 14 touches in last week's game after Ballage went down.

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Quick Hits

Calvin Ridley (toe) was a limited participant for Wednesday's practice. The Falcons are likely taking it easy with their young star and he should play barring any setbacks. … Derrick Henry (hamstring) was limited for Wednesday's practice. He was listed as limited last week before eviscerating the Colts and should be fully expected to play …. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Ronald Jones is "still the starter." Jones was benched last week after missing a blitz pickup. It’s possible they give him a fresh slate after last weeks mishap. … A.J. Green (ankle) is out for Week 14 against the Browns. Coach Zac Taylor continues to believe Green will play, but it’s tough to imagine the aging wideout to risk his health as an impending free agent on a one-win team.

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