|By Shawn Childs, Tuesday, August 20, 2019|
(Editor's note: This is the free preview of the Dallas Cowboys team outlook. If you already are a premium subscriber to FullTime Fantasy, click here for our premium expanded Dallas Cowboys Team Outlook. The expanded team outlook also includes sections covering the coaching staff, offensive line, schedule, free agency, 2019 draft picks, defense & more.)
Cowboys Offense Outlook
Dallas would like to run the ball as much as possible while having success with rushing TDs in the red zone. A healthy offensive line and a stronger defense should ensure a balanced attack in 2019. Last year the Cowboys ran the ball 45.4 percent of the time.
QB Dak Prescott - Quality Backup
Over three seasons as the starting QB for the Cowboys, Prescott has a 32-16 record with two playoff appearance. In 2018, Dak set a career high in completions (356), pass attempts (526), and passing yards (3,885) with a rebound in his completion rate (67.7). His passing TDs have been in a tight range (23, 22, and 22) in his career while doing an excellent job minimizing the damage in Ints (25 over 48 career starts). His success last year was surprising considering the regression of his offensive line (56 sacks). Daz has six rushing TDs in each season in the league while upside his rushing chances to 75 in 2018. He passed for over 300 yards in two games (455/3 and 387/4), which came over the final four games of the season. In 2019, Prescott will have a full season with the rising Amari Cooper plus Ezekiel Elliott emerged as a real threat in the passing game. When adding a developing Michael Gallup and a veteran Randall Cobb, Dak should push his way to 4,500 combined yards with his first season with more than 30+ combined TDs.
RB Mike Weber - Dynasty Only
Weber came from a top college program (Ohio State), but he never worked his way into a full time starting job. His best opportunity came in his freshman season (1,187 combined yards with nine TDs and 23 catches). Mike regressed in 2017 (101/626/10 with ten catches for 94 yards) while battling a hamstring issue. Last season he finished with 1,066 combined yards with six TDs and 21 catches while receiving 193 touches. Weber projects as grinder type back with limited upside in the passing game. He'll make plays over the short areas of the field with the ability to break some tackles. Mike struggles to create in the open field with his questionable quickness. May surprise on early downs if Elliot did have a long term issue.
RB Ezekiel Elliott - Stud (low risk)
In two of his three years in the NFL, Elliot led the NFL in rushing yards (1,631 and 1,434) while playing 15 games in both seasons. At the same time, he had the most rushing attempts (322 and 304) while also leading the NFL in rushing yards per game in 2016 (108.7), 2017 (98.3), and 2018 (95.6). His stats in 2017 were cut short by a six-game suspension. Last year the Cowboys figured out how to get Ezekiel involved in the passing game. He set career highs in catches (77), receiving yard (567), receiving TDs (3), and targets (95). Over his 17 games played (including the playoffs), Elliott had eight games with over 100 yards rushing and four other contest with over 100 combined yards. His only area where he failed to reach expectations was TDs (9). This year his offensive line should be back to full strength after playing without their Pro Bowl center for the whole 2018 season. I expect growth in the Cowboys' offense where one TD per game is reasonable even with Dak Prescott vulturing some TDs. Ezekiel will be drafted a top three player in 2019 with his next step being 2,300 combined yards with 80+ catches and about 15 TDs. High floor player who offers consistency and explosiveness.
RB Tony Pollard - Sleeper (undervalued)
The secret is out! The longer the Zeke holdout continues the more valuable Pollard becomes. While the masses are drafting Tony Pollard ADP 160, the high stakes community is already taking him at an ADP 103.
Memphis primarily used Pollard as a pass-catching back over the last two seasons with minimal chances in the run game. In 2017, he gained a combined 766 yards on 66 touches with most of the damage coming in the passing game (36/536/4). Even so, Tony averaged 7.7 yards per rush and 14.9 yards per catch that year. In 2018, his touches pushed to 117, which delivered 1,010 combined yards with nine TDs and 39 catches. His explosiveness (7.1 yards per carry and 11.7 yards per catch) is why the Cowboys were interested in him as a change of pace type RB. Pollard has work to do in his route running along with questions in his pass protection skills. At the very least, he'll improve the return game thanks to averaging 30.1 yards per kickoff in his college career with seven TDs. Tony should be drafted as the top handcuff for Ezekiel Elliott even with a short college resume on early downs.
WR Amari Cooper - Solid/Safe Pick
2018 was a tale of two different seasons for Cooper. Early in his career, Amari projected as an elite WR after being drafted in the first round in 2015 supported by two active years (72/1070/6 and 83/1153/5). He lost his way for the Raiders in 2017 (48/680/7) when he saw his catch rate fall to 50 percent. Oakland struggled to get him the ball again last season, which led to a trade to Dallas after poor stats over the first six games (22/280/1). Cooper flashed in Week 2 (10/116) and Week 4 (8/128/1) with the Raiders, but his other four contests (1/9, 2/17, 1/10, and 1/0) infuriated Fantasy owners. With the Cowboys, Amari showed his upside and explosiveness in two games (8/180/2 and 10/10/217/3). Over six other games for Dallas, he had four other disappointing games (3/36, 4/32, 4/20, and 5/31) with two of those weeks coming when Fantasy championships were on the line. Cooper did show up in the NFL playoffs (7/106 and 6/65/1). Game flow is going to be a big key in his week-to-week value for the Cowboys while also needing Dak Prescott to develop into a better passer beyond the first 20 yards past the line of scrimmage. Cooper is a beast who is still disliked by many Fantasy owners due to his lack of consistency. At age 25 with a full season in Dallas, I expect him to push his way to 90+ catches for 1,300+ yards and score double-digit TDs. I would much rather own him as a WR2 until he shows he can be trusted for a high percentage of games during the year.
WR Michael Gallup - Bye Week Fill-in
In his rookie season, Gallup failed to live up to expectations in the Fantasy market. He caught only 48.5 percent of his 68 targets with 33 catches for 507 yards and two TDs. The Cowboys gave him eight starts. His highlight game came in the second round of the playoffs (6/119). During the regular season, Michael only had three playable games (3/81/1, 5/76, and 3/53/1). I expect growth in his second season, but his opportunity won't be high enough to be trusted a starting WR in PPR leagues. Possible push to 50+ catches for 750+ yards and low value in TDs. Over two seasons at Colorado State, Gallup caught 176 passes for 2,690 yards and 21 TDs. He looked more explosive in 2016 when Michael gained 16.7 yards per catch with 14 TDs, but he did set a career high in catches (100) and yards (1,418) last year. Gallup needs to get stronger to help his release in press coverage. His speed (4.51) and quickness can't match the best WRs in the NFL, but he has the mid-range gear to beat a defender to the ball while offering good hands. Michael has a knack for breaking tackles with open field moves to beat a defense for a long TD on a short pass. His biggest challenge will be defeating better cornerbacks and handling the tough throws over the middle of the field.
WR Randall Cobb - Over the Hill (decreased production)
When a wide receiver can't make an impact with Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball, it's tough to believe in more upside in another NFL city. Cobb posted an electric season at age 24 in 2014 (91/1297/12), but his game has been declining while also battling some injuries. His catch rate was elite in his best year (71.7) with follow through in 2016 (71.4) and 2017 (71.7). Last year Randall only caught 38 balls for 383 yards and two TDs on 61 targets, which came after two fading seasons (60/610/4 and 66/653/4). At the very least, Cobb gives Dallas a possession type WR who can make plays in the red zone. A good season would be 65 catches for 700+ yards with a handful of TDs.
TE Jason Witten - Over the Hill (decreased production)
Based on name value, Witten will draw some Fantasy interest in 2019. At age 37 with a year removed from football, his bar will be lowered tremendously in 2019. Dallas projects him as a part-time player this year, which they stated when they resigned him in February. Ideally, they would like to use him on about 45 percent of their plays. I expect him to be on the field on passing downs where he'll continue to be a dump off option. Jason has never caught fewer than 63 passes in his career. I'm going to set his bar at about three catches per game for 450 yards with less than five TDs.
TE Blake Jarwin - Low Potential
Other than one game (7/119/3) in 2018, Jarwin struggled to make an impact in his second year in the NFL. He finished with 27 catches for 307 yards and three TDs on 36 targets with only one other playable game (7/56). Over three seasons at Oklahoma State, he caught only 41 passes for 616 yards and five TDs. His one great gives him room for improvement, but Dallas is going to rotate in multiple TEs this season.
PK Brett Maher - Bye Week Fill-in
In his first season in the NFL, Maher finished as the 9th highest scoring kicker. He made 29 of his 36 field goal attempts with a high-level of success from 50 yards or longer (6-for-7). Brett missed one of his 33 extra point tries. Dallas will run the ball well with success in the red zone. Their field goal chances were high last year, which was helped by some injuries on the offensive line. This season the Cowboys' offense should score more TDs as the expense of some of their field goal chances. Maher made his living in his early career in the Canadian Football League. Viable top ten kicking option helped by his ability to make long kicks.
Dallas - Sleeper (undervalued)
Dallas finished 5th in rushing yards allowed (1,513) with 12 TDs and nine runs over 20 yards. They allowed 3.8 yards per rush.
Their pass defense ranked 13th in yards allowed (3,755) with 22 TDs and nine Ints. Dallas allowed 7.4 yards per pass attempt with 39 sacks.
DT Maliek Collins enters his fourth season in the NFL with no defining edge in any area. His run defense is improving while remaining a liability. Over 13 games in 2018, Collins picked up three sacks. DT Tyrone Crawford set a career high in sacks (5.5) while coming in a league average player defending the run.
DE Robert Quinn came to the Cowboys via a trade with the Dolphins after delivering 15 sacks over the last two years. When at his best earlier in his career, Quinn posted 40 sacks over 48 games with the Rams. DE DeMarcus Lawrencewas the best defensive player on Dallas in 2017 and 2018 where he picked up 25 sacks while being an edge defending the run. Unfortunately, Quinn suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery in April. His recovery is expected to take four to six months.
Jaylon Smith turned into a beast in his sophomore year in the league. Smith finished with 121 tackles with four sacks, four defended passes and two forced fumbles. Jaylon is an asset in run support. Sean Lee missed seven games in 2018 while also losing his starting role. His game is fading while owning a high tackles resume in his career. In his rookie season after getting drafted in the fours round in 2018, Leighton Vander Esch was a force defending the run while offering minimal value in the pass rush. He made 140 tackles with seven defended passes and two Ints.
S Jeff Heath set a career high in tackles (85) while picking up five defended passes and one Int. He did miss a ton of tackles with risk against the run. S Xavier Woods started all 16 games last year, but he showed risk defending the run with growth in the passing game.
CB Byron Jones played at a high level in coverage despite making some mistakes in the deep passing game. Jones added value against the run while failing to pick up any sacks. CB Chidobe Awuzie was unable to make an impact in his first season with starting snaps. He allowed too many big plays while failing to create Interceptions (1). His value in the open field tackling did have some risk.
Dallas has talent at all three levels of their defense, but they need to create more turnovers plus add a few more sacks in 2019. They project as a top ten Fantasy defense after finishing only 17th last season. The health of DeMarcus Lawrence is key to their upside while Tony Pollard should add value to the return game.
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