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  • Monday Meditations: The Importance of Running the Ball

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    The game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles highlighted something the football community tends to disregard: the importance of running the ball.


    The two quarterbacks in this Monday Night Football matchup were the headliners when analysts discussed the game. The hot topic? The return of Dak Prescott to AT&T Stadium and the first true test of up-and-coming Jalen Hurts. What really took over the game was the strength of the run game in one corner, with the complete lack of any run schemes in the other.

    Run the Ball

    This was a game that seemed out of reach for the Eagles, and it became more apparent drive after drive. Philadelphia’s defense quickly scored the team’s first touchdown (their only points until the third quarter) after Jalen Hurts threw an interception attempting to hit his man deep.

    The Eagles’ inability to jump-start their offense was — I believe — due to their unwillingness to run the ball. It’s difficult to win a game when you only rush a total of three times with your running backs. This lack of utilization of the ground created no doubts in the defenses’ minds what the team would do when running play actions. This lead to multiple QB hits, sacks, and interceptions.

    On the other hand, the Cowboys did not shy away from using their two talented running backs, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Each back had over double-digit rushing attempts as Elliott led the way with 17. Dallas out-rushed Philadelphia by close to 100 yards on their way to a victory.

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    Fantasy Outlook

    With each passing week, NFL teams tell us more and more about their schemes and usage of offensive personnel. We, as a fantasy community, cannot determine the outcomes of a season based on one performance alone, but a continuous stream of data that we can collect and grow upon. Let’s do some growing.

    Dallas Cowboys

    Dallas scripted a beautiful game to tire out Philadelphia’s defense and utilize their offensive skill players. The ball was spread out with not one player commanding double-digit targets. This was also due to the fact the Dak Prescott only needed to throw the ball 26 times.

    Running Back Room

    It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys have put Ezekiel Elliot back in the driver’s seat of the ground game. With that being said, the team continued to utilize Tony Pollard as a change of pace back who looked electric every time he touched the ball. Pollard can definitely be flexed into lineups, especially in deeper leagues.

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    And the winner is…

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    It seems as if we have an answer to the question, “Who will the Cowboys use going forward as their TE1?” If this were Jeopardy, I would phrase that answer in the form of a question: “Who is, Dalton Schultz?” Schultz had an impressive outing of 80 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the team in targets, but that seemed to be the case of scheming.

    Fear not managers of Ceedee Lamb and Amari Cooper. This, of course, means Blake Jarwin will score three touchdowns next week as it goes.

    Receiver Room

    As I’ve already mentioned, even though Cooper, not Lamb, had much attention throughout the game, there is no need to fear. Lamb was one yard away from a touchdown as well. As I mentioned in a previous article from week one, you should pick up Cedrick Wilson from the waiver wire if he’s still there. He was one foot away from a 40-yard reception and got a TD this week.

    Philadelphia Eagles

    The Eagles looked out of sorts. Even though they lost by 20, Jalen Hurts still scored close to 20 fantasy points. For those who got him at a discount, you already know he is exceeding his capital. As for the rest of the team, I’d steer clear. The offense can be streaky and you should look to greener pastures.

    Not insightful or deep, but it’s about as much thought as their coaches put into a viable run scheme for this week.

    Conclusion

    The Dallas Cowboys continue to be a powerhouse on the offensive side of the ball (as well as defense for this game). The Eagles however looked as how we expected them to at the beginning of the year. Hurts is still a viable option as is essentially everyone on the Cowboys side of the ball.


    Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @FFCAnabalon, and if you enjoyed the random assortment of letters and punctuation marks above, you can find more of my work here at idpguys.org

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