Between Dak Prescott’s near 5,000 yards passing and both Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup topping the 1,000-yard mark as receivers last season, the Dallas Cowboys were pretty impressive through the air. With Mike McCarthy now in charge, it is very reasonable to expect that the Cowboys are even better throwing the football this season.
While both Cooper and Gallup are back in the fold at receiver, the Cowboys did lose some production from its pass-catchers this offseason. Randall Cobb and his 55 catches, 828 yards, and three touchdowns on 83 targets are off to Houston. Jason Witten is taking his 63 catches, 529 yards, and four touchdowns on 83 targets to Las Vegas.
As a result, there is room for a third receiver and a tight end to step up and make up for that production. Obviously, first-round pick CeeDee Lamb and third-year tight end Blake Jarwin are the two expected to fill in and replace — if not improve on — Cobb’s and Witten’s numbers from a season ago.
The Cowboys have the second-most vacated targets from the 2019 season.
When the Cowboys selected Lamb with the 17th overall selection, many were excited about the fit of the former Oklahoma star joining the Cowboys’ high-powered passing attack. Still, others — such as Peter King, for example — were questioning the pick and why the Cowboys did not choose a defender. After all, the team did not really need another offensive weapon, right?
Wrong. With Cobb off to the Texans, the Cowboys were without a legitimate third receiver option behind the talented Cooper-Gallup tandem. One can argue that wide receiver was not the biggest team need, but it was clear heading into the draft that the team needed to add another pass catcher to its roster. We just didn’t think that a talent like Lamb would be sitting for them to grab.
More so, according to Yards Per Fantasy’s Alex Johnson, the Cowboys have among the most vacated targets in the entire NFL heading into the 2020 season. As mentioned earlier, this means that there are opportunities to be had for other pass catchers on the team to make an impact and create a connection with Prescott.
Teams with the Most vacated targets:— Alex Johnson (@a_johnsonFF) June 23, 2020
1. Falcons: 258
2. Cowboys: 190
3. Jets: 183
4. Texans: 167
5. Cardinals: 156
Interestingly enough, the Falcons — who picked one spot ahead of Dallas in the 2020 draft and opted to take corner A.J. Terrell over Lamb — have the most vacated targets with 258, albeit 42 of which can be attributed to Mohamed Sanu, who was traded during last season.
Atlanta did acquire former first-round pick Hayden Hurst at tight end, but a trio of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and CeeDee Lamb would have been something. Fortunately, the Cowboys get to have the insanely exciting trio consisting of Lamb.
Lamb should immediately become a factor in the Cowboys’ passing attack. His special combination of reliable hands, body control, and after-catch ability should allow him to smoothly transition to the NFL level and give Prescott a dangerous target to get the ball to.
Blake Jarwin now has the opportunity to truly showcase what he can do without sharing snaps with a Cowboys legend. Jarwin possesses special athletic ability and has flashed during his young career. The Oklahoma State product has yet to reach 400-yard receiving in a single season so far in his young career, but the opportunities should certainly be there for Jarwin to post a career season in 2020.
Pro Football Network’s Tommy Garrett wrote a fantasy-related piece regarding the most vacated targets, and he sees Jarwin putting up numbers with more passes from Prescott thrown his way.
Wide receiver Michael Gallup (57.3) and tight end Black Jarwin (187.3) offer a high upside with limited risk. Gallup has weekly WR2 talent and will see over 120 targets in this high powered offense. Jarwin is one of my favorite tight ends to snag later on in drafts for both dynasty and redraft if you choose to pass on the top-tier guys like Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Mark Andrews. I will not be shocked if Jarwin ends up with 80 targets by season’s end and is a borderline TE1 for fantasy football.
Mike McCarthy has no shortage of weapons to work with in Dallas. Can the former Packers coach help elevate this squad to new heights?