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Monday night magic: Recapping the fantasy impact of Cowboys 20-17 win against Chargers

Did any Cowboys win you your fantasy football matchup last week?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys offense has been very uneven if you’ve been playing them in fantasy. There have been games when a player or two had some real impact, but many owners of Dallas players have been disappointed. Everyone was waiting on a CeeDee Lamb breakout game, more production from Tony Pollard, and for Dak Prescott to solve the redzone woes. Much of that happened on Monday night.

Here is your fantasy recap of last night’s game.

QB - Dak Prescott, 28 points on Yahoo, 26 points on Sleeper

Entering the week, Dak Prescott fantasy managers knew they were facing a vulnerable Chargers pass defense. Prescott posted a season-high 272 yards passing and that is a great milestone for his fantasy season but was perhaps expected. However, what was a pleasant surprise was the mobility of Prescott. The eight-year veteran made several plays outside the offense’s framework, using his legs to extend plays and find receivers downfield. Prescott’s 18-yard touchdown run was vintage a flashback to the Prescott of old as he raced past the Chargers defense to the end zone. Prescott provided a total of 40 yards on the ground against Los Angeles.

Equally as important was Prescott making any big mistakes. Prescott was under considerable pressure but didn’t compound the offense’s protection problems by forcing passes into bad spots. Prescott had zero interceptions and fumbles lost. Prescott could have had more on the fantasy scoreboard. He made an excellent pass to Michael Gallup that could have been caught for a touchdown. He also was just a bit off-target on a late touchdown pass attempt to Tony Pollard. Prescott had a bounce-back game, and he did it both running and passing.

RB - Tony Pollard, 19 points on Yahoo, 17 points on Sleeper

Against Los Angeles, the Cowboys running game struggled to gain any traction. This is likely because of predictable play-calling on early downs and a run-blocking unit not playing anywhere near the level it could. Still, Pollard’s 21 touches provided the workload needed to surpass his 16-point projection, none bigger than Pollard’s 60-yard catch and run after he connected with Prescott scrambling from the pocket. Pollard recorded over one hundred yards from scrimmage.

The notable part about Pollard’s performance is he answered questions about his explosiveness in the open field. Thankfully, he has remained healthy and enters the bye at the right time to recover from his workload in the first half of the season. His usage remaining high is a good thing for fantasy managers. Plus, he also saw targets in the red zone, which, if the Cowboys can crack that code, Pollard’s fantasy upside is even higher.

WR - CeeDee Lamb 18 points on Yahoo, 20 points on Sleeper | Michael Gallup, 5 points on Yahoo, 5 points on Sleeper | Brandin Cooks 14 points on Yahoo, 15 points on Sleeper

There could be more with the totality of targets for CeeDee Lamb (more on that in a moment), seeing the team involve him early in the game plan was encouraging. Lamb has expressed his dissatisfaction with the amount of targets thrown. (22% target share from passes from Dak Prescott) That said, you knew it would be a matter of the squeaky wheel getting the grease, and the team would pepper Lamb with an uptick in targets, and Lamb made the most of them. Lamb caught all seven of his targets for 117 yards, each resulting in a first down.

Against the Chargers, the average yards to gain for a first down on Lamb’s targets was 9.4 yards. This number means that Lamb was being targeted on average nine or more yards down the field on Monday. If you’re playing in a full PPR league in Yahoo leagues, Lamb and his 16 yards per reception provided nearly three fantasy points per target. He was efficient on all counts against Los Angeles.

However, who could have been more efficient was Michael Gallup. There’s a disconnect in the chemistry between Gallup and Dak Prescott, and at times, it appeared that Prescott was trying to force the issue on passes underneath in the direction of Gallup. Gallup struggled to beat press man coverage, disappointing in the volume he received.

Prescott threw ten passes to Michael Gallup, who caught only three for 24 yards. In contrast to Lamb, Gallup averaged .5 fantasy points per target. Gallup could have salvaged his fantasy performance had he been able to haul in a deep pass from Prescott that would have been a 35-yard touchdown.

Brandin Cooks also had an efficient game, catching all four of his passes from Dak Prescott for four receptions, 36 yards, and a touchdown. He also had a productive jet sweep run. He scored his first Cowboys touchdown in the game and picked up a crucial first down on the Cowboys game-winning field goal drive. This is the first game where Cooks made a real impact, but hopefully a sign of things to come.

TE - Jake Ferguson, 2 points on Yahoo, 2 points on Sleeper

There’s little to say on Jake Ferguson’s night against Los Angeles. He wasn’t featured when the Chargers had appeared to be an ideal matchup for steady volume. Entering the game, the Chargers allowed six receptions per game to tight ends. As well as Prescott played, one could question the target share favoring Gallup as much as it did and largely ignoring Ferguson.

The Chargers were very giving up the middle of the field, and Prescott and the Cowboys didn’t use the open area to incorporate Ferguson. Monday was a disappointing outing for Ferguson’s fantasy managers because he can produce better if given the chance. He did catch his lone target for 12 yards, but he’s capable of much more. Hopefully, better days are ahead for Ferguson and his fantasy managers.

DEF/ST, 11 points on Yahoo, 4 points on Sleeper

The fantasy stat sheet will leave something to be desired for fantasy managers, but it’s not to say the Dallas defense had a poor showing. Despite pressuring Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, they could not get home enough times and ended the game with one sack. The sack proved vital because they were likely headed for a single-digit score across all leagues and formats in fantasy. As mentioned earlier, the sack came right before Stephon Gilmore’s game-winning interception.

The Chargers’ offense and their vast assortment of weapons challenge most teams. Still, the Cowboys fared admirably and managed to keep the Chargers below their scoring average. The Chargers scored once on their opening drive which was a short field set up by a punt return, and again after a muffed punt by the Dallas special teams. The Chargers scoring on short fields was a byproduct of being put in inopportune circumstances. However, they did buckle down when it mattered, such as the game-ending series and a fourth down stop in the red zone.

Holding the Chargers to 17 points is an achievement. The fantasy scoreboard could be more impressive, but Dallas’ defense played a terrific game. It’s a shame that their constant pressure on Justin Herbert led to only one sack and one turnover. As for the return game, KaVontae Turpin got few opportunities to make any plays on special teams, and the team only had 36 return yards.

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