2020 Fantasy Previews Part 9: Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are a perfect example of a team that disappoints year after year. Last year was no different as the expectations were sky-high for the Cowboys. They had a great offense with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and a great offensive line. The Cowboys looked like they were going to be a good team after starting the season 3-0. Then, they lost 3 games in a row to drop to 3-3. The Cowboys went 3-1 in their next 4 games and looked like they were going to make the playoffs. All of this just to finish the season 8-8 and miss the playoffs entirely. The Cowboys defense wasn't anything spectacular as they finished in the middle of the pack in every team defensive stat. Almost every single staff member from that team was fired, including long time head coach Jason Garrett. In comes Mike McCarthy, who has last coached in 2018 for the Green Bay Packers. McCarthy will work with up and comer, Kellen Moore to create an unstoppable offense. Again, expectations are through the roof for the Cowboys and for them to have success this season, they will have to make the playoffs and win at least one game.

Depth chart:

Quarterback: 1. Dak Prescott 2. Andy Dalton

Running back: 1. Ezekiel Elliott 2. Tony Pollard

Wide receiver: 1. Amari Cooper 2. Michael Gallup 3. Ventell Bryant 4. Devin Smith

Slot receiver: 1. Ceedee Lamb 2. Cedrick Wilson

Tight end: 1. Blake Jarwin 2. Dalton Schultz

Quarterbacks - Dak Prescott was already a well known quarterback when he was drafted to the Cowboys in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He was the quarterback of the "Starkvegas" Mississippi State football team that for 3 weeks were the #1 ranked team in all of college football. Prescott was thrusted into the starting role after Tony Romo got injured. After a great preseason, his success translated to the regular season as he finished as the QB6 in fantasy.

In 2019, Prescott had his best season ever. He passed for 4902 yards, 30 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, with a 65.1% completion. He also ran for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns on 52 attempts. Dak was the QB2 in fantasy and was extremely consistent. He finished with above 17 points in 13 out of the 16 games he played. The ceiling for Dak was a bit of an issue as he only had over 30 points in 2 games.

For the 2020 season, I have Dak Prescott ranked as my 3rd quarterback. He will benefit from having the best trio of receivers in the league. Prescott just got franchise tagged because the Cowboys want him to use this season to prove he is worthy of a megadeal. Dak Prescott is going around the 5th-6th round and while I do like him, I would only take him if he was the best player available and I was confident I can fill the other holes on my team in later rounds.

Running backs - Like Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot was outstanding in his rookie year. Unlike Dak Prescott, he was expected to do so because he was the 4th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Zeke ran for 1631 yards (which led the NFL) and 15 touchdowns on 322 attempts. He only lost one fumble during his rookie season and showed he was going to be a force to be reckoned with for the years to come.

It's 2020, and Ezekiel Elliott is still one of the best running backs in the NFL. He has eclipsed 300 fantasy points in all but one year, which was the year has had been suspended. Last year, he ran for 1357 yards and 12 touchdowns on 301 carries. Elliott finished as the RB3 in total fantasy points. Zeke had a very high floor last year. He only scored below 13 fantasy points once.

Ezekiel Elliott is near the top of almost everybody's draft boards heading into 2020, and I'm no different. Zeke is my RB4 this year. I had a lot of trouble between him and Derrick Henry, but I put Henry over him because of backup running back Tony Pollard possibly getting involved in the offense. I would be perfectly fine taking him in the top 4 this year even with Tony Pollard taking some touches. Zeke is a true workhorse running back and he will be a great first round pick for you this year.

Wide receivers - The Dallas Cowboys' offense had been looking for a new WR1 after Dez Bryant left. They traded for Amari Cooper and it looked like the Cowboys had found their new WR1. Cooper has gotten over 100 targets in both of the years he has been in Dallas. Last year, he had his best season ever with 79 receptions for 1189 yards and 8 touchdowns. Cooper finished as the WR10, but was very inconsistent. Cooper was very boom or bust as he finished with under 10 points in 6 weeks, but had over 20 in 5 weeks.

Michael Gallup had a breakout season last year. In his second year, he caught 66 passes for 1107 yards and 6 touchdowns. Gallup finished as the WR23 and was a great flex option, if you played him in the right matchups. Gallup had over 20 points against the Giants, Packers, Lions, and Redskins. The best of those defenses was the Packers, who had the 14th best pass defense. He received 6 or more targets in 12 of the 14 games he played, which is a very promising stat.

In 2020, the receiver situation for Dallas is weird. They drafted Ceedee Lamb in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Randall Cobb, Jason Witten, and Tavon Austin are all gone this year, leaving 190 targets available. These targets will be dispersed around the offense. After doing my research, I actually like Amari Cooper and Ceedee Lamb a little bit more now. Cooper should get an increase in targets. He is going in the third round, which I think is a little too high. If you can get him in the 4th round, he could be a steal. Michael Gallup is going around the 7th round, but I think he will lose some targets and red zone looks because of Ceedee Lamb. Gallup is the candidate to regress in this offense. Ceedee Lamb is the best value of the 3 because he is going after the 10th round. All of the Cowboy's receivers will be very boom or bust this year, but I can see all three having near, or even over 100 targets. If I were to rank them I would think Amari Cooper will get the most targets at around 130, Ceedee will get the second most at around 100, and Gallup will get the least at around 80.

Tight ends - Jason Witten made the strange decision to come out of retirement and play again in 2019. In 2018, he was working in the booth for ESPN. Witten is one of the all time greats at the tight end position. For his career, he has caught 1215 passes for 12977 yards and 72 touchdowns. Last year, as the starter, he caught 63 passes for 529 yards and 4 touchdowns.

The backup tight end, Blake Jarwin, had 31 receptions for 365 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jarwin finished as the TE28 in fantasy. He only scored over 10 points 3 times. Jarwin got targeted 4 or more times in 4 games. But, he got targets 1 or 0 times in 6 games. His best game was 3 receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown.

In week 17 of 2018, Jarwin had a monster 7 receptions for 119 yards and 3 touchdowns. He showed a lot of potential in that game. Jarwin is not being drafted in most drafts right now, but I think he could be a deep sleeper as the starting tight end for the Dallas Cowboys.

Fantasy analysis:

Star: Ezekiel Elliott

Sleeper: Ceedee Lamb

Only take if best available: Dak Prescott

Regression candidate: Michael Gallup

Deep sleeper: Blake Jarwin

Should improve: Amari Cooper

I hope you enjoyed 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 9: Dallas Cowboys. 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 11: Denver Broncos is next up. Please feel free to comment your thoughts on the fantasy impact of the Dallas Cowboys' offense in 2020.

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