The NFL season is a week away. That means fantasy drafts are going on everywhere as fans attempt to heighten their football enjoyment by creating a vested interest in the weekly action. With each new year comes a clean slate, with new sleeper picks and a new crop of heroes just waiting to help people bring home the fantasy title.
When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, there is no shortage of fantasy-relevant players. The offense always provides a handful of key contributors, and all of a sudden the Cowboys' defense/special teams will not just be waiver wire fodder. While it’s easy to allow our Cowboys bias to influence our decision-making process, it’s always wise to be as objective as you can. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the Cowboys have to offer in the world of fantasy football.
Go after these guys...
I can not scream loud enough when advocating for a Cowboys player. This is the guy you want to own. This is not to say that Prescott is going to be a top-three quarterback (he could be though), but more to say that he is coming off the board as QB10 and that is so disrespectful.
Prescott’s stock is down for a multitude of reasons. First, owners of him last year witnessed a huge drop off in fantasy production from when he was tearing it up early versus not so much after his calf injury. Second, the team lost Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup will miss the first part of the season. Where are his weapons, they say? Finally, the Cowboys' offensive line could be an issue as three of their starters from a year ago are out of action for one reason or another. That could mean trouble for Dak.
Despite all the dark clouds, this is still a quality offense with a quality signal-caller behind center. A healthy Dak offers some of those big game moments and while the names at WR may not be as big, there are some good options for him to spread the ball around. Anything past QB5 will be a nice value for Dak owners.
The Cowboys' tight end was already heavily targeted last year, which is why him getting the franchise tag this offseason wasn’t all that surprising. Make no mistake about it, Prescott loves him some Schultzy.
Now, with 165 targets vacated by Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr. combined with the notion that the Cowboys didn’t bring in any big names to replenish those targets, that means there are a lot of extra receptions up for grabs. With Schultz once again in a contract year and the established safety blanket he has provided for his quarterback, look for a heavy dose of Schultz this year. He’s already priced pretty high at TE6 so he’s not sneaking up on anyone, but youc an go as far as TE4 with the type of volume and red zone work he’s expected to get.
Avoid these guys...
We all can agree that Lamb is a very good reality receiver as everything we’ve seen thus far supports that. It’s easy to be excited about his upside as he takes on the new role as the team’s number one receiver. Even with Cooper on the squad, Lamb has eclipsed 100 targets in each of his first two years in the league and finished with a team-high 120 last year.
But with Lamb cast as the WR1 in the offense, that means he’s now going to draw the opponent's top corner. It’s very easy to believe that Prescott may look to challenge corners who pose less of a risk as he works his way through his progressions. And it’s those other options that also take some of the appeal away from Lamb. If Dak chooses to spread the love rather than being overly aggressive in looking for CeeDee, it could lower that ceiling a bit.
There is a lot to like about Lamb this year, but with an average draft cost of WR7, that’s a little too inflated.
After giving up a franchise-record 473 points in 2020, no fan in their right mind would’ve drafted the Cowboys defense last season. However, if you were just too much of a homer to lay off of them, then you were rewarded handsomely with the top fantasy defense in the league. With a league-leading 34 takeaways and an ama-za-zing nine defensive/special teams touchdowns, the Cowboys D ran away with the top spot.
As great as that was, fans should not be expecting similar results this season. Too many balls bounced their way and significant regression is expected. They do have an easy schedule, including six games in the NFC East, so they’re definitely rosterable, however, just don’t pass up on some of the top-tier defenses to land Dallas.
Accidentally draft these guys...
Similar to Prescott, Zeke comes in with a discounted price as recency bias looms large. Elliott’s decline in production can’t be overlooked as he enters fantasy drafts ranked outside the top 10 for the first time in his career. And with uncertainty along the offensive line and the explosive Tony Pollard breathing down his neck, it’s understandable to see Elliott slide down the rankings.
But don’t let him slide too far. Elliott is ranked as RB16 which isn’t too unreasonable, but there are reasons to believe he could get himself back inside the top 10. For starters, he’s healthy at the moment, which wasn’t the case throughout most of last season. He also gets all the goal line work in an offense that is pretty good at scoring points (he found the endzone 12 times last year). Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger if the price is right.
Laugh all you want, but why not take him? The Cowboys are a good scoring team and the opportunities are going to be there. Sure, he might be shaky at times, but unless you’re in a league that punishes you for missed kicks, it’s not a terrible idea to take Maher. Plus, he’s going to give your fantasy team some five-point opportunities with those long kicks the Cowboys trust him to attempt, which he has a decent conversion rate, so snag Maher at the end of your draft and buckle up for the ride.
Take a flyer on...
Nobody has this guy on their radar because he was absolutely invisible in the preseason. While other rookies are getting all the love, people are forgetting a couple of really important pieces of the puzzle. First, Tolbert lands in a very opportunistic situation with no legitimate no. 2 WR at least until Gallup returns from injury. That means he should have a chance to see what he can do in this offense.
The second element is that despite his lackluster preseason performance, Tolbert was turning heads in training camp when the ball was being thrown by Prescott. Forget all the Cooper Rush and Will Grier preseason shenanigans. Put your trust in what matters the most, and that’s the connection he has with Dak. He’s practically free, so there is essentially no risk.