Dallas Cowboys Helmet

Fantasy Football Projections: Dallas Cowboys

Well, I better be at my best on this one or my friends here at PFTL won’t let me hear the end of it, given our abundance of Cowboys fans. (ed note: he’s not just whistling Dixie) Our friend Ben Grimaldi wrote earlier this year about the potential for some big success for the Cowboys passing game in 2018 and I don’t disagree with him. That all starts with Dak Prescott.

Prescott burst onto the fantasy scene as a rookie in 2016 piling up 3600 yards, 23 TD to only 4 INT, and kicking in 6 rushing TD. It was an All-Star performance from what was likely the sleeper of the year that season and it looked like the sky was the limit. Then 2017 happened and the rising-star of the Lone Star state came back down to planet earth a bit. His completion %, yards, TD all decreased and his interceptions tripled, but let’s talk about the reality of that year – Ezekiel Elliott. Easy E was a monster in 2016 and many played the “chicken or egg” debate with who made who better, Zeke or Dak, for much of the year. Those questions were put to rest when Elliott’s suspension went into effect week 9 and Dak’s game went off a cliff. In the 8 games prior to Zeke’s suspension, Dak had 16 TD to only 4 INT, during the suspension those numbers dropped to 5 TD, 7 INT. The good news here is that Elliot appears poised to play all 16 games in 2018 so there’s little reason not to expect Dak to return to his rookie form or get better. He’s a starting fantasy QB in all-formats who is currently being taken as the 17th QB off the board – this is a HUGE fantasy value and a great late round option.

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Back to Easy E and the Cowboys run game. I can make this one short and sweet, Elliott is one of four guys I have in contention for the #1 overall pick and he’s likely the safest of them all. If he is on the board at any time in a draft when I’m picking, he won’t be after I’m done. That simple. Elliott’s ability to contribute in every phase of the game makes the rest of the Cowboys backfield pretty irrelevant, but I do like keeping an eye on Rod Smith as a handcuff here.

“If he is on the board at any time in a draft when I’m picking, he won’t be after I’m done.” – Ben Steckler on Ezekiel Elliott

The wide receiver group in Dallas is a little tough to weed through. With the loss of Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley is likely the go-to guy for Prescott as a possession man but his ceiling is fairly low. Terrance Williams would have been in line to be the biggest winner but he has some serious looming legal issues that probably will wind up costing him time in 2018. That puts two new additions in position to capitalize on the opportunity with veteran Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup. Hurns had 1000 yards catching the ball from Blake Bortles in 2015 before being plagued by injuries in 2016-17. He has the ability to play inside or out and has shown he can take the top off defenses from time to time. Gallup has all the makings of a consistent, day-in-day-out worker who can do everything well even if he isn’t elite at anything. He had a knack for creating opportunities for his QB’s to get him the ball and while it may take a little time, he should develop into a solid weapon for Prescott. Also lurking in the shadows is the speedy Tavon Austin who is trying to rehabilitate his career in Dallas. Austin is a multi-use weapon who will probably get his touches in specifically designed packages but may find it hard to get consistent snaps, especially if Williams is in action. This is a fairly muddled group but my money is on Beasley, Hurns, and Gallup rising to the top. Beasley is a WR4 in PPR leagues, Hurns is a WR4 in all formats with upside to be a WR3, and Gallup is a late-round flier. If Williams is playing, he’s a WR3 and you can downgrade the others slightly.

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What do you do when you lose your all-pro tight end and his 80/864/5 average line for the past thirteen seasons? It appears as if you’re the Cowboys you don’t do much. The Cowboys have strangely seemed to act as if nothing really happened and outside of picking up 4th round project Dalton Schultz, they haven’t done anything to replace Jason Witten. There isn’t much here to work with but it appears Rico Gathers will get his shot to blossom. Geoff Swaim is probably best served as only a blocking option which leaves only Blake Jarwin to steal looks and he may, given some of the hype coming out of Dallas on the youngster. Bottom line this is a wait and see for even a real-life starter to emerge, let alone anyone on a fantasy radar.

2018 Projections

NAME POSITION CMP ATT PASS YD PASS TD INT RU YD RU TD
Dak Prescott QB 320 500 3725 25 8 300 5

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Ezekiel Elliot RB 295 1360 10 45 465 4 1
Rod Smith RB 70 295 2 25 255 1

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Cole Beasley WR 70 770 4
Allen Hurns WR 55 760 4
Michael Gallup WR 50 560 2
Tavon Austin WR 15 105 1 30 330 2
Terrance Williams WR 30 415 2
Dalton Schultz TE 10 115 1
Blake Jarwin TE 15 130 1
Rico Gathers TE 25 270 2
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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
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Ben Stecker