DraftKings Week 5 Showdown: Cowboys vs. Texans Top Optimal Lineups

The NFL is offering up a battle for the state of Texas on Sunday Night Football in Week 5 between the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans. And to go along with the big prime-time matchup, DraftKings is offering up quite a few showdown games for daily fantasy football players.

The headliner as always is the massive $10 game with 150-max entries, and this one features $800,000 guaranteed and $200,000 going to first place. There’s also a $3 game with 20-max entries that has $100,000 guaranteed, a $6 single-entry option with $20,000 guaranteed and quite a few others.

I’m going to break down the Sunday Night Football showdown slate by offering two optimal lineups and a few of the key names I’ll be mixing into my other lineups. While there are quite a few intriguing targets on both the Cowboys and Texans, much of how you build lineups will come down to what type of game you’re playing.

In 150-max games, you’ll want to get more unique with players who could potentially be lower-owned. In the single entries having a few more “chalk” plays is fine, but you’ll need to differentiate a bit there as well. Before diving into the lineup, here’s a quick look at how showdown games on DraftKings work.

  • Six total players (one captain, five flex players)
  • Captain selection costs 1.5 times standard salary but scores 1.5 times the standard points
  • Can choose from any position (QB, RB, WR, TE, K, DST)
  • $50,000 salary cap
  • You can use more than one quarterback

*Note: ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed the Texans are “pessimistic” about Lamar Miller’s chances of playing. I’m basing my lineups off Miller not playing, but will update if that changes ahead of kickoff, so be sure to check back.


Cowboys vs. Texans Sunday Night Football Optimal Lineup No. 1

  • CAPTAIN: Geoff Swaim ($4,200)
  • Deshaun Watson ($12,200)
  • Ezekiel Elliott ($8,800)
  • DeAndre Hopkins ($11,000)
  • Will Fuller ($8,800)
  • Jordan Akins ($1,400)

**This is the optimal lineup for 150-max games.

Aside from the top players, this game has a lot of question marks in terms of who’ll produce. The Cowboys offense has been incredibly inconsistent, but the Texans defense hasn’t been very good. On the flip side, the Cowboys have had a very strong defensive unit, but the Texans are loaded on offense and playing on their home field.

In turn, I’ve opted to go with an inexpensive captain who I think has sneaky upside here in Geoff Swaim in order to open up the rest of the lineup and fit more top players in.

Swaim has seen 12 targets over the past two games, resulting in eight catches for 86 yards and one touchdown. He also saw two red zone targets last game, one of which he hauled in. It seems the young tight end is slowly becoming Dak Prescott’s safety blanket, taking on Jason Witten’s former role.

A big selling point for me on Swaim is how much the Texans have struggled against tight ends this season. They’ve allowed 18 receptions for 236 yards and three touchdowns, and in turn, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cowboys tight end receive a few targets in the end zone.

Using Swaim in the captain spot allows us to get in Deshaun Watson with his top-two targets in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. To be honest, this isn’t an ideal spot for either wideout, as the Cowboys have been solid against opposing receivers. They’ve given up 589 yards and four touchdowns on 39 receptions.

What stands out there, though, is that the Cowboys are susceptible to giving up big plays to receivers. This is why Fuller is a key play for me, as he can hit a home run at any point, while Hopkins is more than capable of doing the same. I expect both players to garnish high ownership, but based on how poor the Cowboys passing offense has been, eating the chalk and playing them makes sense.

Ezekiel Elliott will probably have 70-85 percent ownership or higher in almost all formats, but not using him is too risky. Maybe if you’re doing 20 of the 150-max games I’d hold him out of one or two, but he’ll be in the bulk of my builds. The Texans aren’t bad against the run, allowing 350 yards and one touchdown on the ground on 98 attempts, but the issue is that they’ve given up three receiving touchdowns to running backs.

I can’t blame anyone for not using Texans tight end Jordan Akins (or knowing fully who he is). But in a massive tournament like the $10 option, you need to differentiate, and the young tight end has my attention. Here’s a look at Akins’ offensive snap counts since Week 2, per Football Outsiders:

  • Week 2: 22 percent (15 snaps)
  • Week 3: 37 percent (25 snaps)
  • Week 4: 43 percent (37 snaps)

In Week 1, the Texans gave Akins 50 percent of the snaps, and it seems the team didn’t feel the former minor league baseball player was ready for such a big workload. But since his snaps have increased he’s seen some work in the passing game, catching 2-of-3 targets for 24 yards last week and even getting a red zone target.

The Cowboys defense is surprisingly good this year, and Akins is going to be under 5 percent owned. I’ll happily take a chance in a 150-max game on a player who could see around 50 percent of the work in a pass-first offense who could be without their starting running back.

Cowboys vs. Texans DraftKings Showdown Optimal Lineup No. 2

  • CAPTAIN: Geoff Swaim ($4,200)
  • Deshaun Watson ($12,200)
  • Ezekiel Elliott ($11,400)
  • Dak Prescott ($9,600)
  • Will Fuller ($8,800)
  • Brett Maher ($3,400)

**This lineup is for single entries or smaller tournaments.

I’ll keep my core of Geoff Swaim at captain, Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott, and Will Fuller. Akins is too risky for single entries in most cases, and I wanted to build a lineup around my projected game flow.

The additions of Dak Prescott come due to the fact that the Texans have had major struggles against quarterbacks. On the season, they’ve allowed opposing signal-callers to complete 104-of-150 passes for 1,155 yards for 10 touchdowns and just one interception. Prescott has the potential to play efficient football while being incredibly smart, and that’ll benefit him here.

Based on that thought process, I also used Brett Maher, who’s quietly been reliable for the Cowboys after replacing Dan Bailey. He’s made his last eight field goals over a three-game stretch while scoring 15, nine and eight DraftKings points dating back to Week 2. If Dallas moves the ball then it benefits Prescott, Elliott and Maher here.


Additional Notes & Intriguing Plays

I’ll have ownership in Texans running back Alfred Blue, assuming Lamar Miller is out. After the top players here, Blue will be one of my next highest-owned options and his price tag of $4,600 is appealing. For a very well-balanced lineup, I’m good getting Blue into the mix, even considering it’s not an ideal matchup.

The Cowboys wideouts are painful to choose between, but their matchup is solid, as Houston has allowed 61 receptions for 740 yards and four touchdowns this season. I’ll be using Cole Beasley as my favorite target, along with Allen Hurns and a little of Deonte Thompson.

Hurns has seen his targets increase over the past two weeks, as he’s totaled nine looks and five receptions for 52 yards. The numbers aren’t great, but he’s just $4,200 and eventually, he and Prescott are going to connect, so stacking them in a few spots makes sense.

Source: Heavy Sports