If you’re one of those whose fantasy team is tethered to your fanhood of the Dallas Cowboys, my heart goes out to you. As some accurately predicted, the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive skill players didn’t fare well against a fierce San Francisco 49ers defense and struggled to find any positive production. The Cowboys were facing a difficult matchup overall. Still, in terms of fantasy implications, it was a tall task for any of their offensive weapons to have a fantasy-relevant output against a defense recent history suggests has their number.
However, the ‘Texas Coast’ offense being submerged in a cascade of red jerseys to the degree that it was at Levi’s Stadium Sunday night is surprising, concerning, and disappointing all at the same time. Let’s recap the fantasy output of the Dallas Cowboys in their 42-10 loss against the San Francisco 49ers.
QB: Dak Prescott - 7 points on Yahoo Fantasy, 6 Points on Sleeper
Where to begin with Dak Prescott? It’s been well-established that the 49ers defense has been thorn in Prescott’s side for some time now. Sunday continued a negative trend that saw Prescott unable to find any suitable fantasy relevance against the 49ers. Sunday was the second time Prescott failed to top 200 yards passing in a game this season. Since Prescott isn’t the dual-threat fantasy option he once was as a runner and a passer, it’s paramount that Prescott has success through the air to be relevant on your roster.
Against the San Francisco 49ers, Prescott averaged 6.4 yards per attempt. He is currently on pace for 6.1 yards per attempt this season, which would be the worst number of his career. Once again, Prescott and the offense limited themselves to mostly short passing attempts. They only drove the ball down the field occasionally, once connecting with KaVaontae Turpin for a 26-yard touchdown reception. Aside from that, Prescott didn’t find much success and, to add to a disappointing day threw three interceptions. That said, Prescott should bounce back against a generous Chargers secondary to wash the stench out of this performance on Sunday.
RB: Tony Pollard - 7 Points on Yahoo Fantasy, 10 Points on Sleeper
Like the other Cowboys’ skill players, Tony Pollard performed poorly against San Francisco. A significant factor in that was the negative game script the Cowboys were in, down by so many points and allowing the 49ers to control the time of possession. Still, Pollard didn’t help himself or his team when he lost a fumble on the Dallas side of the field. The Cowboys can’t fix their red zone troubles if they can’t make it to the red zone.
Since the Cowboys were sputtering so much offensively, Pollard couldn’t get meaningful touches on the plus side of the field. He didn’t get touches in general. Pollard had 12 touches for a total of 64 yards. (5.3 yards per touch) Despite being in a negative game script, the Cowboys only targeted Pollard five times in the passing game. It’s puzzling as to why he didn’t get more opportunities.
WR: CeeDee Lamb - 8 Points on Yahoo, 8 Points on Sleeper
Watching the Cowboys play against the 49ers, you could see a visibly frustrated CeeDee Lamb. He was targeted only five times, with the Cowboys trailing big for much of the game. Lamb had a 20% target share, which is usually good, but because Prescott threw only 24 passing attempts, Lamb needed more volume to make a sizeable contribution. Once again, Lamb was not targeted down the field, rendering one of the better run-after-the-catch receivers with a low output.
Take a look around the fantasy landscape this weekend. WR1s exploded for big days for huge performances. To name a few, Ja’Marr Chase (64 Points on Yahoo), DJ Moore (69 Points on Yahoo), and Tyreek Hill (46 Points) dominated their matchups and well-exceeded their point projections. Meanwhile, CeeDee Lamb currently stands as WR41 in fantasy. It will be a broken record this week, but the coaching for the Cowboys contributed to Lamb’s dud as much as Lamb did.
TE: Jake Ferguson - 5 Points on Yahoo, 5 Points on Sleeper
Jake Ferguson is the only fantasy-relevant tight end for the Cowboys. He caught all three targets for 28 yards, including a 20-yard catch and run after getting separation on Fred Warner. Like all his receiving counterparts, Ferguson is a victim of circumstance for a paltry passing attack against the 49ers.
Ferguson operated as the clear TE1 among the Cowboys’ tight ends with a 69% snap count of the offense’s plays. If featured, Ferguson could unlock what’s been plaguing the Cowboys’ offense and solve their problem with sustaining drives. Ferguson and the Cowboys offense look to recover against the Los Angeles Chargers next week.
Def/Spec. Teams - 4 Points on Yahoo, 0 Points on Sleeper.
If anyone was expecting a low-scoring game and defensive battle between these two teams, you were sadly mistaken. The 49ers offense has been a well-oiled machine throughout the season and outclassed Dan Quinn and the Dallas defense. The defense had no answer for what the 49ers threw at them, exposing Dallas with several defensive mismatches that Dallas couldn’t counter. Save for the forced fumble and recovery by Jourdan Lewis, the Dallas defense was abysmal and was annihilated by Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Dallas allowed over 200 yards in the first half to the 49ers. Brock Purdy had a field day against the Dallas secondary, and was efficient, throwing the same number of pass attempts as Dak Prescott. Purdy threw for four touchdowns for a passer rating of 144.4, for 10.8 yards per attempt, a ridiculous figure. The Dallas defense only managed one sack, forcing the 49ers to a three-and-out twice. The special teams unit also struggled to contribute after KaVontae Turpin left the game with an ankle injury. After scoring 28 points on Sleeper against the New Patriots, the Cowboys dropped a glaring zero on the fantasy scoreboard this weekend.