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What fantasy rankings tell us about the Cowboys offensive skill positions

It may not be the most solid analysis, but fantasy football gives us an idea of what people are thinking.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-OTA Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There is fantasy football, and then there is real football. We should never confuse the two. So we won’t, but there is something you can tell from fantasy rankings, and that is what industry observers generally think about your team. If we look at rankings for the skill positions on offense, we can get a sense of who, and in what way, a particular team’s offense may function.

ESPN recently put out it’s Top 200 fantasy player rankings for a PPR league (points-per-reception). A PPR league obviously favors teams that pass a lot; receivers and quarterbacks that deal in volume get more juice. That is decidedly not the Cowboys offensive scheme. Still, we can get a view of who observers believe will be the producers for the Cowboys.

There is little debate about who the top Cowboy is in fantasy. He’s expected to get a ton of carries and should get plenty of opportunities to score. He might even catch some pass out of the backfield.

5. Ezekiel Elliott RB DAL RB4

Zeke is the top Cowboy on the list by a country mile, and he’s the fourth-ranked RB. The three ahead of him are Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley and David Johnson and those guys are used more in the passing game than Zeke.

Then it gets interesting. Who do the experts predict will be the next top producer? It’s the new guy.

115. Allen Hurns WR DAL WR52

It seems they think Hurns will be Prescott’s go-to guy in terms of volume catches. That's not a bad bet, Hurns was able to accomplish some good things in Jacksonville when he could stay healthy and looks like he has the tools to become a favorite of Prescott. Hurns’ relatively low ranking on the list is probably a combination of people not believing in the Cowboys passing game yet, and the fact that the team runs the ball more than almost all NFL teams.

The next guy on the list, though, is a mild surprise. It’s not Terrance Williams or Cole Beasley, but rookie Michael Gallup.

132. Michael Gallup WR DAL WR63

People seem to be betting that Gallup is going to jump right in during his rookie season and become the #2 guy behind Hurns and pushing Williams into a backup role.

But Williams isn’t far behind, so it appears that the belief in Gallup is soft.

156. Terrance Williams WR DAL WR70

The final name on the list is Dak Prescott.

162. Dak Prescott QB DAL QB18

Prescott is ranked 18th on this list for QBs, but don’t worry, the Cowboys offense doesn’t really lend itself to PPR leagues. Prescott will be doing more handing-off than almost any other QB in the league, yet he still ranks in the middle of the pack. That’s shows respect.

Again, fantasy isn’t reality, but based on these rankings, it’s clear people expect Allen Hurns to be the Cowboys lead receiver, and that rookie Michael Gallup is getting a ton of respect as the #2 guy.

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