It’s way too early for fantasy drafts, but ESPN gathered their fantasy experts for their annual summit and decided to go ahead and do an early fantasy mock draft. They had 12 owners pick teams in a 16-round draft. They were using a PPR format so bonus points for receptions. Of course, fantasy football is not real football, but fantasy drafts can show what knowledgeable NFL observers are thinking about the Cowboys. So let’s check in and see how the Cowboys roster did.
Was Ezekiel Elliott the number one overall pick? He was not. That honor went to Saquon Barkley. It’s hard to argue with that. Barkley proved in his rookie year that he is on the elite level of running backs. While Zeke won the rushing title, Barkley was the more productive back overall because of his proficiency in the passing game and the Giants willingness to throw the ball to him more. Given the Giants lack of other weapons at the skill position, they will rely on Barkley even more. Zeke was the second overall pick in the mock, so no problem there.
The next Cowboys player to come off the board was Amari Cooper who was the 28th overall pick, taken fourth in the fourth round. Cooper was the 12th receiver taken in the draft, which might seem low until you consider how much the Cowboys run the ball instead of pass. Cooper’s real football value is higher, especially to the Cowboys who looked like a totally different team once he arrived.
After that, it was a long wait until another Cowboys player was taken. Michael Gallup was taken in the 11th round, the 126th overall pick. Gallup is up-and-coming, at the end of the year he was proving to be a solid #2 receiver behind Cooper. We’ll have to see if trajectory continues up, but there are only so many footballs to go around so unless Kellen Moore transforms the offense, Gallup’s ceiling may be capped by opportunity in a run-heavy offense instead of talent.
With pick number six in the 15th round, number 174 overall, Dak Prescott goes off the board. He was the 17th QB chosen. That seems low and a bargain. Prescott is never going to be among the league-leaders in passing yards given the Cowboys run-heavy scheme and his cautiousness with the football. But he does provide added value on the ground and certainly finds the end zone running the ball on a regular basis.
Later in round 15 of the mock draft, the Cowboys defense was taken. They were the eighth defense taken, and that is actually a decent tribute to their promise because in fantasy football defenses are prized for their ability to turn the ball over. The Cowboys defense was decidedly middle-of-the-road in that area in 2018. Hopefully that will improve on their numbers in 2019.
The final Cowboys pick? No, not Jason Witten. The returning tight end was shut out. It wasn’t Randall Cobb, the new starting slot receiver. It was kicker Brett Maher. He was the ninth kicker taken and the fourth-to-last pick of the whole mock draft.
Fantasy football is not a direct correlation to real football, it over-values some things and has no way to measure other things. Still, it’s interesting to see how people view the Cowboys in some respects as we head into the 2019 season.