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Cowboys-Raiders fantasy football preview: Who to start, sit

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday Night football, two of the NFL’s most disappointing teams will face off in a game that will, most likely, eliminate the loser and keep the longshot playoff hopes of the victor alive.

In the fantasy realm, both teams had incredible offenses a season ago but have struggled in 2017. On Sunday, two of the biggest fantasy names, Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliot, will be missing.

The rest of the fantasy options have been wildly inconsistent this season and don’t provide much optimism especially on the Raiders’ side.

Start:

QB Dak Prescott

As many have figured out, Oakland can make any quarterback look phenomenal and Dak Prescott is obviously no slouch.

The one saving grace for the Raiders is their recent uptick in pressure. Oakland has accrued 12 sacks in the last three games, albeit against Geno Smith, Alex Smith and Paxton Lynch, compared to just 14 sacks in the first 10 games.

However, the Dallas Cowboys still boast one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and a mobile quarterback in Prescott who can extend plays and evade free rushers.

As such, the Raiders might not be able to get to Prescott like they have in the last three games. If the pressure isn’t dominant, then the Oakland secondary will get exploited. Especially by Cole Beasley and Dez Bryant who has struggled this season but is playing better the last few weeks.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

RB Marshawn Lynch

Recently, Marshawn Lynch has been the most consistent Raider on offense. He has tallied over 60 yards in each of his last four games and has also found the endzone in three straight games and five times in the last five weeks.

Furthermore, Lynch had just seven carries against Kansas City but still put up a very productive week with over 60 rushing yards.

With Lynch’s recent production, Todd Downing has no choice but to keep giving the ball to Lynch as he is the only thing that is working at the moment.

It will be tough to run the football with Sean Lee back in the lineup since he improves the Cowboys’ run defense mightily, but Lynch is finding the endzone regularly as of late making him a worthwhile play.

WR Michael Crabtree

Dallas has not been strong against the pass this season allowing the No. 23 most passing yards per game. They have also given up nine touchdowns to the wide receiver position over the last seven weeks.

Even if Derek Carr doesn’t have a great game, Carr will probably be without Cooper, so Michael Crabtree should assume the majority of the targets against a vulnerable defense.

Sit:

QB Derek Carr

As much as this matchup screams for Carr to have a big game, so did the last week’s matchup in Arrowhead.

But Carr has been a disappointment under Downing this entire season and provides no confidence that the offense will experience any long term success through four quarters in a game.

Maybe Carr will get some garbage points, but good coaching staffs have been able to suffocate whatever Oakland tries to do on offense early in games.

TE Jared Cook

Like Carr, Jared Cook has a matchup that normally one would like as he will go up against safety Byron Jones who has allowed five touchdowns this season (2nd most at safety) and has been targeted by opposing teams 50 times (5th most at safety) this season, per Pro Football Focus.

But Cook has only seen production in garbage time over the last four games. Aside from his late push against Kansas City, he has only caught four passes in the three games before Oakland took on the Chiefs.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

TE Jason Witten

Jason Witten is an experienced veteran who probably could take advantage of any mistake that the Raider defense is bound to make.

However, I believe it is a better matchup for NaVorro Bowman. Since Witten in his 15th NFL season and has never been a burner, Bowman should be able to run with Witten.

Also, Witten only reaches fantasy respectability when he scores touchdowns considering he has just 457 receiving yards this season and six games with just one reception.