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Dallas Cowboys fantasy football team preview

Who to target and avoid in fantasy football from the Dallas Cowboys.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 Dallas Cowboys are a team to target, top to bottom, in fantasy leagues. With the NFL’s best three-wide receiver group in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and rookie CeeDee Lamb, it will be impossible for Dak Prescott to not push Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson in the race for fantasy’s QB1 spot. As listed below, Sharp Football projects Dallas to have a pass-happy season. Fallout from that should make its way to tight end Blake Jarwin, who’s on the precipice of a breakout year. Running back Ezekiell Elliott should be taken as the No. 2 overall pick and backup Tony Pollard should be rostered, regardless of who drafters took with their 1st Round pick.

Sharp Football’s Strength of Schedule:

  • 9th softest schedule overall
  • Mid-tier in terms of the opponent’s overall defensive efficiency
  • 11th softest blend of pass defenses
  • 11th softest in terms of the opponent’s pass defense efficiency
  • Mid-tier blend of run defenses
  • 6th toughest in terms of the opponent’s run defense efficiency
  • 6th softest in terms of the opponent’s overall offensive efficiency
  • 5th softest in terms of the opponent’s offensive pass efficiency
  • 11th toughest in terms of the opponent’s offensive rush efficiency

Quarterback

Dak Prescott capped a four-year top 12 QB steak in 2019 with the overall QB2 finish. With donkey head coach Jason Garrett jettisoned to New York, CEO-style head coach Mike McCarthy appears ready to hand offensive responsibilities over to offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Moore’s analytically-informed play calling obliterated opponents early in 2019. It appeared as though Moore’s success made Jason Garrett jealous—Garrett got power hungry and wrenched control of the offense out of Moore’s hands. Garrett’s predictable, old school play calling rapidly sank the promising 2019 Cowboys’ season. With Moore in the driver’s seat and the 2020 NFL Draft’s top wideout, CeeDee Lamb, now side-kicking Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, Prescott is primed to demolish a pillow-soft slate of pass defenses this year. Prescott has maintained positive Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) results in each of the last four seasons, peaking with a monster 7.3% in 2016. Prescott posted the 6th highest CPOE in the league last year (2.5%). Any questions regarding his accuracy can be put to rest. Prescott’s cherry on top is high rushing floor. Averaging 19.1 rushing yards per game automatically adds half of a passing TD every time he plays. He’s totaled exactly six rushing touchdowns in three of his four NFL seasons with a low of three last year. That’s noteworthy production.

Prescott’s .5PPR 4.12, QB3 ADP, is certainly early for a quarterback. However, if one were inclined to take Zeke in the first round, Cooper in the third, and complete a Dallas stack by taking Prescott in the fourth—effectively nabbing a piece of nearly every touchdown that Dallas is expected to score—they would absolutely be in position to win their league.

Running Back

Although Ezekiel Elliott was eased back into work in Week 1 after his holdout ended just before the season started, in Weeks 2 and 3 when OC Kellen Moore was fully running the offense, Zeke’s rushing workloads were robust. His target totals were a bit low but overall the workload is in line with what we want out of a top three fantasy pick. It would be reassuring if the Cowboys weren’t facing such a tough slate of run defenses this year, but passing is what makes offenses tick. This team should be living in the opponent’s redzone all season long, ensuring a high touchdown count for the Cowboys’ lead back. Zeke’s 1.03, RB3 ADP in .5PPR is a great get. Do not let him fall out of the CMC/Saquon Barkley/Zeke/Alvin Kamara realm.

Backup RB Tony Pollard looked exceptional as a rookie last year. Despite playing behind a running back as heavily utilized as Ezekiel Elliot is, he still found box score success from time to time. Pollard possesses outstanding pass catching ability and is rock solid as a rusher. On every play, he flashes the athleticism that University of Memphis running backs have come to epitomize. The team would do well to increase Pollard’s No. 2 RB usage to that of a “1B” level. His .5PPR 11.12, RB47 ADP is a fantastic place to take him as he comes with potential standalone flex value, in the right matchup, as well as league-winning upside were Zeke to miss time. Pollard is not just a handcuff that Zeke-only drafters should take. Every drafter needs to have him on their draft list.

Wide Receiver

Rookie CeeDee Lamb walks into an excellent situation. He’s in an analytically-infused pass-happy offense and does not have to bear the responsibility of being a team’s No. 1 receiver. His strength as playing the X-receiver fits perfectly in conjunction with Amari Cooper, who plays well on the outside but may be the best receiver in the league when operating in the slot, and Michael Gallup who’s already developed into one of the NFL’s premier downfield threats while occupying the Z-receiver role. Camp reports indicate Lamb is progressing well and will also be given access to the high-value slot role in a rotation with Cooper. Lamb’s .5PPR 8.08, WR40 ADP is a fine place to take him. Lamb may not have a high floor as he’s 3rd in the pecking order, however, his talent and situation give him a great weekly ceiling.

Amari Cooper scares drafters away with his propensity for spiked weeks—as Evan Silva noted during his guest appearance on the Wise Kracks podcast, Cooper excels against man coverage. When facing zone defense, his fantasy totals can dip. Presumably, this is because Prescott is still developing as an anticipatory passer. Against man coverage, Prescott is able to see Cooper dust his defender before throwing the football. With Jason Garrett gone though, brilliant OC Kellen Moore should be able to make Prescott’s life easier with intricate play designs. It’s also reasonable to expect that Prescott continues to develop as a passer this year. Cooper deserves far more respect than the .5PPR 3.09, WR13 ADP that drafters are giving him. He is an absolute steal in that range. He comes in as the No. 17 overall player/WR5 in my Top 100.

Non-Cowboys fans will come to understand that Michael Gallup is already a dominant downfield receiver. With the aforementioned play calling setup, bevvy of weak pass defenses on tap in 2020, Amari Cooper constantly forcing defensive attention his way, and his own phenomenal talent, Gallup is primed for a rock solid WR2 campaign. His 7.01, WR29 ADP in .5PPR is a must draft spot as Gallup is a threat in every game to take a 20-yard reception to the house. Do not pass on Gallup at the beginning of the 7th round.

Tight End

The Cowboys let Jason Witten walk and signed Blake Jarwin to a big three-year extension, despite little box score production from Jarwin in his first three-years. Jarwin replacing one of the faces of the franchise is an indicator as to how much the team believes in him. Although the raw statistics are meager, Jarwin has looked great when given opportunity. As an above average receiving tight end who’s practically going for free in .5PPR drafts, Jarwin is an excellent platoon option at tight end.

Kicker

The offseason addition of Greg Zeurlein was a great signing by the Dallas front office. Zeurlein may have the strongest leg in the league and this offense will be putting him in scoring position constantly. Zeurlein is a top-tier set-it-and-forget it kicker.

Defense/Special Teams

The Cowboys D/ST is a solid matchup-based streaming option. The Cowboys’ offense will continue to force opponent’s into desperate passing situations which will create opportunities to rack up sacks and turnovers.