Who to buy on the Dallas Cowboys offense
By: Brady Akins
Do you know when you’re playing Madden Franchise Mode? And by year three or year four you’ve absolutely loaded your roster past any reason?
With late-round Draft gems, big-name free agent acquisitions, and unnecessary picks made of the sole purpose of just acquiring fun pieces to play with?
That’s kind of like the Cowboys’ real-life offense.
With a Pro-Bowl quarterback, an All-Pro running back, and a treasure trove of talented pass catchers– the Dallas Cowboys can be a fantasy football goldmine, but also a headache to sort through.
It can be difficult to parse out who’s worth a pick and who’s worth passing on in an offense with so many big names. But we did our best to narrow it down to three players from the Dallas offense to turn your attention toward.
Dak Prescott, Quarterback
Dak Prescott was on pace for a historic 2020 season before he got injured.
That’s not an exaggeration, or hyperbole. Prescott was on pace to absolutely destroy NFL records through the four and a half games he played last season.
With 44.4 pass attempts per game, Prescott would have finished second all-time in total pass attempts if he were to keep that pace with 710. With 371.2 passing yards per game, he would have finished just a hair under 6,000 yards– giving him the all-time record for yards in a season by about 500.
Sure, Prescott could and likely will regress a bit from that insane 2020 pace. But with three talented, highly-celebrated receivers in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb, along with one of the NFL’s premier running backs by his side, it’s fair to assume that even with regression, Prescott will still be one of football’s highest producing quarterbacks.
In Week 1 against the Buccaneers, Prescott easily outdueled Jared Goff for the best losing performance. Prescott unleashed 403 passing yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT. The Cowboys QB did this all against a Buccaneers defense that locked up Mahomes, Rodgers, and Brees last post-season. It’s safe to say – Dak is back and he’s MVP material.
Prescott’s mobility might be a question– but he’s never been much of a runner in the NFL anyway. He’s a pass-first player, and a good one at that, having completed 68% of his passes last season, and still standing tied for fifth-overall in career completion percentage.
To put it another way, Prescott was the highest-scoring fantasy football player in 2020 from Week 1 to Week 4, the four weeks Prescott played the game in its entirety. If you can get that player on your team, you should be willing to pay a high price.
Michael Gallup, Wide Receiver
Calling Micahel Gallup the second fiddle in the Dallas Cowboys offense isn’t exactly fair. Between star receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, as well as All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott, it’s probably fairer to call Gallup the fourth fiddle.
This is exactly why you should acquire him if you’re given the chance. Yes, he is now going to miss 3-5 weeks from a Week 1 injury, but that makes him the perfect hidden gem. Trust me, his value will be on a firesale from many rosters.
Gallup proved himself as an explosive threat in 2019 with over 1,100 receiving yards on only 66 catches. The Cowboys’ three-year veteran reached that catch mark through a high target volume, which he got in 2020 as well, with a combined 218 targets over his last 30 games.
That combined target total has Gallup placed 25th overall among players over the past two seasons. Again, Gallup is not your average fourth threat in an offense. He’s been a high-volume, reliable player for Dallas– even last year. In the midst of a season where Gallup lost his starting quarterback in Dak Prescott and was forced to compete for catches with the first-round rookie CeeDee Lamb, Gallup still finished with 105 targets.
Gallup rewarded the revolving door of Cowboys backup quarterbacks by turning those targets into 59 catches, 843 yards and five touchdowns– a stat line that had Gallup ranked as the WR38 without the help of Prescott for most of the season.
Remember what Prescott did in 2020 through four and a half games too. The quarterback averaged league highs per game in targets and passing yards with 44.4 and 371.2, respectively. It doesn’t matter if the two receivers ahead of Gallup are Jerry Rice and Randy Moss– those targets and yards have to go somewhere beyond the top two guys.
Gallup could be a major beneficiary from a super pass-happy offense– to the point of reaching over 1,000 yards and around the realm of 65 catches. Not so bad for the WR43.
Gallup only hauled in 36 yards on four catches in Week 1. It simply means there isn’t a better time to acquire the WR.
CeeDee Lamb, Wide Receiver
Of course, for as under-the-radar as Michael Gallup is as a fantasy football sleeper, CeeDee Lamb is the headline-grabber.
As he very well should be, too. Everything that Gallup had working against him in 2020, a constantly changing quarterback position, and an overflow of pass-catching talent competing for targets were going against Lamb as well. But Lamb also had the disadvantage of inexperience, with all those factors working against him in his rookie season.
But Lamb shrugged it all off to finish the season as a surprise star. He was an overall WR22 in PPR leagues, a low-tier WR2 in 10-team leagues, despite not having a star quarterback in Dak Prescott and despite having to share the wealth with Amari Cooper and Gallup and Elliott and despite doing all of that without any pro experience in his bag.
Lamb showed that he may be in contention for the WR1 role very soon. Lamb notched seven catches, 103 yards, and 1 TD in Week 1. He even dropped numerous passes and still had a game!
Things should be easier for Lamb from here onward. Expect that WR2 to take a massive leap with things finally playing in his favor.