While traditional fantasy football formats have dominated the landscape, managers can find plenty of ways to play the game they love. Underdog Pick’em contests allow managers to test their player projection skills by predicting player stat lines. With Week 1 of the NFL season upon us, here are the best Underdog Pick’em games for Sunday Night Football between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys.
Underdog Pick’ems allows fantasy managers to predict stat lines and fantasy point totals for almost any fantasy-relevant player. Here, the more selections you add to your entry, the higher the payouts. Tiers are two players for 3x, three for 6x, four 10x, and finally, five for 20x, progressing with each additional pick’em you add to your entry.
Leonard Fournette over 84.5 total yards
For this Underdog Pick’em, I turn to running backs. Leonard Fournette was one of the top-ranked fantasy RBs because he has a legitimate three-man role in the NFL’s fastest-paced offense. Fournette is currently projected for 84.5 yards, according to Underdog, but that might be a bit low.
While some reports suggest the team want to lighten their workload, I don’t see Rachaad White finding her groove. Few players have seen more work than him, with Fournette averaging 19.7 touches and 103 total yards per game between Weeks 4-14.
During that streak, Fournette led all RBs in targets (63) and was fourth in receiving yards (344). Dallas has an average point defense, giving up 10th most yards per attempt last year with a penchant for giving up an explosive rush or two.
Tony Pollard superior to 19.5 receiving yards
While using a backup RB in a Pick’em contest might seem counterintuitive, Dallas’ dynamic isn’t typical. Sure, Ezekiel Elliott is No. 1, but Tony Pollard is a sensational player. I stay out of the rush, but focus on Pollard’s throw of 19.5 receiving yards.
Pollard erased that total in nine of his 16 games last season, and it’s also how teams attacked the Buccaneers. While No. 1 against the run, Tampa allowed RBs 46 yards per game (fifth). Pollard has plenty of momentum after career highs in rushing attempts (130) and targets (46) while finishing first in yards run at position.
Pollard has only averaged 2.5 targets in games where Elliott is active, but the Cowboys have preached using Pollard more in the passing game this year due to the lack of WR depth. Teaming up with Fournette, the duo give us a quick 3x Underdog Pick’em entry for Week 1 on Sunday Night Football.
Dak Prescott above 36.5 attempts and Tom Brady above 38.5 attempts
Both of these QBs will be in the upper range of passing attempts at the end of the season. It starts at week 1, and you can’t help but wonder how great a preview week 1 of last year is for Sunday night. Last year, Tom Brady lit up the Cowboys defense for 379 yards on 50 attempts. Tampa was No. 1 in pass rate and pace in 2021, so we shouldn’t expect much of a difference.
Dak Prescott was no exception. In their showdown last year in Tampa, Prescott beat Brady with 403 yards and three touchdowns, while Kellen Moore completed the pass 58 times.
While Dallas finished second in passing DVOA, the Buccaneers are unlikely to change who they are. The same goes for Dallas. Precipitation probably having a premium, Prescott will have to carry the offensive behind a downgraded OL while facing the defensive front which finished second in pressure rate last season.
On these single-game slates, I’m trying to keep my two-handed Underdog Pick’Ems as an injury can massively swing game scripts. Week 1 is all about building a bankroll while learning who these teams are in 2022. I’ll go for another 3x Underdog Pick’Em entry and hope for a happy Sunday night football game.