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Fantasy Football Team Previews: Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are absolutely loaded with options for fantasy football managers.
Ezekiel Elliott is as reliable as any player for fantasy football in 2020. (Twitter // @CBSSportsHQ)

2019 Summary

Record: 8-8 (2nd in NFC East)

2019 Offensive Points-Per-Game: 27.1 (6th)

2019 Total Defense-adjusted Value Over Average: 17.2% (6th)

The NFC East was an absolute train-wreck in 2019, yet the Dallas Cowboys still failed to clinch a playoff spot. The offense, however, was certainly not an issue for the team. Quarterback Dak Prescott had a career season, finishing his fourth campaign with 4,902 yards, 30 touchdowns and an impressive 8.2 yards per attempt. Both Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper topped 1,100 yards, while Randall Cobb topped 800 yards while serving as the offense’s third wide receiver. Ezekiel Elliott was his reliable self, finishing with 1,372 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, while adding 54 receptions, 420 yards and two touchdowns through the air as well.

Major additions

  • DT, Gerald McCoy
  • FS, HaHa Clinton-Dix
  • K, Greg Zuerlein
  • DT, Dontari Poe
  • OLB, Aldon Smith
  • CB, Daryl Worley
  • QB, Andy Dalton
  • WR, CeeDee Lamb
  • CB, Trevon Diggs
  • DT, Neville Gallimore

Major subtractions

  • DE, Michael Bennett
  • C, Travis Frederick
  • OLB, Chris Covington
  • WR, Tavon Austin
  • LB, Robert Quinn
  • TE, Jason Witten
  • CB, Byron Jones
  • SS, Jeff Heath
  • WR, Randall Cobb

4 major storylines for 2020

How will CeeDee Lamb fit into this offense?

How CeeDee Lamb was available to the Dallas Cowboys at 17th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft is still a mystery to me. Lamb was my top-rated wide receiver entering the draft, yet he somehow was the third WR selected in the draft. Lamb has all of the tools to make an instant impact in the NFL, despite having this offseason heavily altered due to COVID-19. What will help Lamb is that the Cowboys have the second highest total (190) of vacated targets in the NFL. Additionally, new Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has historically deployed a pass-first, 11-personnel heavy offense which will help Lamb see the field with both Gallup and Cooper. He’s my favourite rookie from this year’s crop of players.

Here’s a bold take: By the end of the season, Lamb will be the No. 1 passing option in this offense.

Can Dak Prescott replicate his success from 2019?

Prescott’s production went to another level last season. Some of that has to do with the fact that the Cowboys threw the ball more frequently (58% of plays) than any past team that he has been a part of, but most of it has to do with how efficient he was. He set a new career-best yards-per-attempt mark (8.5) to go along with the highest intended air yards number (9.3) since he entered the league. Keeping in mind the stats listed above regarding McCarthy’s last season in the NFL, Prescott will be asked to sling the football a lot in 2020. He should be locked-in for another top-3 finish at QB.

Can Blake Jarwin finally land on the fantasy football TE1 radar?

With Jason Witten on the Oakland Raiders, Jarwin is the clear No. 1 tight end option in Dallas. The issue, however, is that the selection of Lamb makes Jarwin the No. 4 passing option. Jarwin, however, will benefit from the 190 vacated targets as mentioned earlier. Currently being selected as TE19 in NFFC drafts, it appears people think he has a chance to outperform his draft position.

I’m not as bullish, however, and think he’s a fair value at his current ADP. I wouldn’t expect Jarwin to be a TE1 in fantasy football for 2020.

How will Lamb’s presence affect Cooper and Gallup?

Lamb’s arrival is not good news for either Cooper’s or Gallup’s fantasy football value. Lamb projects to be a true alpha wide receiver in the NFL, which is not great for either player’s target share. For starters, Cooper owns one of the most frustrating home/road splits in the NFL. Last season, Cooper recorded 869 of his 1,189 yards at home despite playing an equal eight games in both situations. Unfortunately, this is par for his career. In 38 career home games, Cooper has piled up 3,008 receiving yards. In 39 road contests, Cooper has notched just 2,089 receiving yards. Gallup was much more consistent in that regard during 2019, actually accumulating more yards on the road (559) than home (548), while playing in an equal seven games in both situations.

If Cooper can’t get it done on the road, there are now two capable players on this roster who may supplant him on the team’s depth chart. Cooper is someone I am staying away from in fantasy football drafts.

I think Gallup is an ok value at his current ADP. Currently going as WR32 in NFFC leagues, there is certainly some intrigue considering the vacated targets in this offense and his WR20 finish in weeks 1 through 17 last season. This will also be Gallup’s third season and at 24-years-old, he may have another gear.

Sleeper: CeeDee Lamb

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a big believer of Lamb’s talent. There’s a reason why Jerry Jones has requested he wears the sacred No. 88 for the Cowboys. He’s going to hit the ground running as a rookie.

Bust: Amari Cooper

I know the Cowboys just inked Cooper to a five year, $100,000,000 contract, but I have my doubts with Cooper. As mentioned earlier, the splits concern me, and there’ll be no flexibility for having bad games in a loaded wide receiver room.

Cowboys Players in Rally Towel’s Top-200 Fantasy Football Rankings

3. RB, Ezekiel Elliott

41. WR, Amari Cooper

57. QB, Dak Prescott

87. WR, CeeDee Lamb

95. WR, Michael Gallup

109. RB, Tony Pollard

154. TE, Blake Jarwin

Download Rally Towel’s 2020 PPR Fantasy Football Cheatsheet here.

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