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Cowboys fantasy football sleeper who could surprise on Thanksgiving Day vs. Raiders

Cowboys, Dak Prescott, Panthers

Week 12 of the 2021 NFL season opens up with three games on Thanksgiving Day, as usual. Among the games scheduled this Thursday will be the matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders, but we are not here to break down the game. We gather here to talk about a fantasy football sleeper on the Cowboys’ roster who could spell the difference between you winning your Week 12 matchup and losing it. There are no guarantees in fantasy football, and several champions surely have made risky moves that showed them the way to the top of their respective leagues. Will Cedrick Wilson be the sleeper who would get you over the hump this week? 

Recent Form of Cedrick Wilson

It’s been up and down of late for the Cowboys, and for Wilson, it’s been generally uneventful over the last few Dallas games. In Week 9’s 30-16 loss to the Denver Broncos on the road, Wilson was targeted five times and caught two passes for 28 receiving yards. He was only able to appear in one offensive snap in the following contest against the Atlanta Falcons at home, which the Cowboys won via blowout, 43-3. Wilson was labeled questionable to play that game due to a shoulder injury, which was a reason why he was given so little time on the field. Of course, there’s also the fact that Michael Gallup returned to action in that game after missing Weeks 2 to 9.

Nevertheless, that was a great missed chance for Wilson to rack up positive numbers. If it weren’t for his hurting shoulder, he could have benefited from the lengthy garbage time against the Falcons’ Swiss cheese pass defense. Wilson sort of bounced back in the following game, as he mustered four receptions on seven targets, albeit ending up with just 36 receiving yards in a 19-9 road loss at Arrowhead Stadium to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Why Cedrick Wilson is a fantasy football sleeper in Week 12 Thanksgiving Day Cowboys game vs. the Raiders

There are simply too many mouths to feed in the Cowboys’ offense, and Wilson isn’t among the top priorities in the team’s passing attack. But if there’s a week where Wilson could put up relatively great numbers by his season’s standards, this upcoming Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Raiders could be one. First of all, the Cowboys are once again going to miss one of the biggest of those mouths in wide receiver Amari Cooper. The former Alabama Crimson Tide wideout is on the injured reserve/COVID-19 list, which has also caused him to sit out the Kansas City game — the same contest where Wilson put up modest fantasy PPR numbers. Cooper is second on the team behind CeeDee Lamb in targets with 65 in nine games. Cooper’s roughly seven targets per game will have to be inherited by those left behind in the Dallas’ receiving corps, which includes Wilson. 

Speaking of Lamb, he was not able to finish the Kansas City game after suffering a concussion, which opened the door for Wilson to run over 90 percent of his routes out of the slot in that contest. Lamb seems to be trending positively towards an available status in Week 12, but even if he’s given a green light, who knows if he’s really going to be at his 100 percent form when he goes to battle against Las Vegas’ cornerbacks. If he struggles early, Wilson could get an uptick in targets and could end up as the No. 2 target of Dak Prescott after Michael Gallup. 

During the eight-game span in which Gallup was sidelined, Wilson manage to put together a stat line of 16-256-3. One of those touchdowns came from a target inside the red zone, which is notable, at least when considering his chances to strike fantasy flex gold in Week 12. That’s because the Raiders’ defense is doing a poor job in stopping opponents from scoring touchdowns in the red zone. In fact, Las Vegas is second-worst in the NFL in opponents’ red-zone touchdown rate.

Averaging 37.5 pass attempts per contest, Prescott and the Cowboys’ air attack could continue their heavy-volume passing game and have more success against the Raiders since Las Vegas. Prescott can enjoy more time in the pocket in this game, considering how little interest Las Vegas has it seems in blitzing opposing quarterbacks. (The Raiders are last in the NFL with a 13.1 percent blitz rate.)

On that note, we’ll leave you with this highlight from Wilson back in the Cowboys’ Week 4 home win against the Carolina Panthers.