clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fantasy football outlook: Which Cowboys players should you target? Who should you avoid?

Taking a look at how some Cowboys might perform in fantasy football.

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys are expected to be one of the better teams this year. The offense should be good, the defense should be good, and even the special teams might do some stuff. With great production comes the opportunity to cash in on the fantasy value of certain players. With all the changes that have happened, just how will it affect things in 2023? We have run through the gauntlet and identified some key components that could influence the fantasy value of certain players.

Dak Prescott

Current position rank: 11

Draft Value: HIGH

Dak Prescott is one of the most disrespected players in the league and that disrespect carries over into the fantasy world. The mainstream sports media has done a great job convincing people that Prescott is just your average Joe player. And recency bias that contains games due to injury and a league-leading 15 interceptions last year has many people looking for better QB options.

Look, we’re not here to tell you that Dak is an elite fantasy QB. What’s important here is that Prescott is better than he’s being given credit for. When you consider that his wide receiving options have been seriously upgraded from a year ago, the upside here is enticing. Prescott has 5,000+ passing yards, 30+ TDs capability. And while those numbers aren’t likely to happen in a more conservative-driven McCarthy offense, he should still be able to produce good numbers this season.

Tony Pollard

Current position rank: 6

Draft Value: LOW

Pollard lovers have all waited for this moment. Ezekiel Elliott is out of town, so now he gets the touches all to himself. Pollard finished last season seventh in fantasy points for running backs despite having fewer rushing attempts than Zeke, so clearly he’s going to run all over the fantasy world, right?

Hmm, not so fast. Yes, Pollard will see an uptick in touches and he’ll absorb some (not all) of the goal line work that his former partner in crime monopolized for years. But while his overall volume will increase, it’s a little optimistic to think he’s going to continue to run at such a high efficiency. Consider this, in Pollard’s 62 career games, he’s only had three instances where he’s rushed for more than 15 carries in a game. In two of those games, his yards per carry were 3.3 and 3.9. It’s not unreasonable to think we could see Pollard come back down to earth and regress a bit from those elite efficiency numbers. Now, does that mean you should avoid him? Absolutely not. We just wouldn’t recommend using your top draft resources to acquire him.

Deuce Vaughn

Current position rank: 72

Draft Value: HIGH

The rookie is the handcuff you want and he’s going dirt cheap. While his everyday role doesn’t make him fantasy-relevant, things change considerably if something happens to Pollard. Currently, Rico Dowdle is the RB2 choice and should see more touches early on, but he has a defined role in this offense that brings limited upside. If Pollard were to get hurt, Vaughn’s opportunities would increase and he would offer more big-play ability. There have always been fantasy points to be had in the Cowboys backfield and Vaughn could be one of the top in-season waiver wire adds if he’s given a larger role.

CeeDee Lamb

Current position rank: 7

Draft Value: EVEN

Last year, Lamb answered the question of whether he can take on the alpha WR role. What did we learn? We learned he’s a great player and now the entire fantasy world knows it. The addition of Brandin Cooks and a healthier Michael Gallup will both help and hurt Lamb’s value. With more help, he won’t command so much of the defense’s attention, but at the same time, some of these other guys will be earning some of his targets. And in fantasy, targets are gold. Lamb was fourth last year in targets with 156, trailing only Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams, and Tyreek Hill. Expect that to come down a bit, but he’ll still be one of the higher-producing receivers. His current ranking seems spot-on.

Brandin Cooks

Current position rank: 40

Draft Value: HIGH

It appears people are overlooking just how good Brandin Cooks is. The veteran receiver has played in at least 14 games in six of his nine seasons. And he’s had a top-20 finish in each of them, including of couple of top-eight finishes. The only thing that could hinder his fantasy production is health, but Cooks has been more available than one might remember. He’s played in at least 10 games in every one of his NFL seasons so even when he gets nicked up, it’s not for long.

He’s also shown that he can produce when he’s the alpha, when he’s part of the cast, when he’s got a great QB, and when he doesn’t. The guy is just a sneaky good WR and he’s not being ranked as such. Look for Cooks in the WR30 range and cash in on that great value.

Jake Ferguson

Current position rank: 34

Draft Value: LOW

First off, Ferguson’s position rank of 34 as well as Luke Schoonmaker’s rank of 39 is right where it should be, so we have no issue with that. What we do take issue with is how some are trying to sell Ferguson as some type of tight end sleeper this season. The reasoning is that they believe he could insert himself into the Dalton Schultz role this year.

While we have complete faith in Ferguson's progress and believe he will be a solid reality tight end, don’t expect him to flirt with Schultz’s fantasy production. Both Ferguson and Schoonmaker will be a part of this offense and will eat into each other’s fantasy value. Fantasy is all about volume and neither of these guys will have enough to be fantasy-relevant. Avoid.

Cowboys DEF/ST

Current position rank: 2

Draft Value: LOW

The Cowboys have a great defense and it wouldn’t surprise us if they finished as the top defense in the league both in fantasy and reality. The problem is, being viewed as the second-best defense in the league is hard to live up to and there is much more room to drop than to rise. Additionally, with an improved Cowboys offense, opposing teams will be forced to score more points and it could hurt the D’s points allowed total. However, at the same time, it could also help their sacks and takeaways.

We love the Cowboy's defense and if you can get them, great. Just be smart about it and don’t be reaching too early.

Brandon Aubrey

Current position rank: 26

Draft Value: HIGH

The Cowboys kicking situation is a precarious one as we don’t have any idea how this is all going to play out. That said, we do know how it’s going to start and that’s with the rookie Brandon Aubrey owning the gig. If he ends up working out, he could be one of the top fantasy kickers in the league. Kicking is about opportunity. You want a good leg, but you also want a kicker who’s on a team that is scoring points and the Cowboys are such a team. In fact, Brett Maher finished last season as the third-best kicker in fantasy. He finished top 10 in field goal percentage and nobody made more extra points than Maher last year (of course, we’re talking about the regular season).

While everyone is taking the recognizable names, just sit back and use your last draft pick on Aubrey. Last year, we recommended doing the same thing with Brett Maher for the same reasoning and it worked out nicely.

Donovan Wilson

Current position rank: 18

Draft Value: HIGH

If you play in a league that uses individual defensive players, then Donovan Wilson is your guy! The Cowboys' breakout safety is healing from a calf injury he suffered on the first day of training camp. He’s had a lot of time to recover and once he’s a full go, look for him to once again be a big part of this defense. As we know the Cowboys are lean at linebackers and will use their abundance of talent at safety to fill gaps, Both Jayron Kearse and Wilson play down low at the line of scrimmage and will be there to rack up the tackles.

Wilson finished as the seventh ranked DB last year as he led the entire Cowboys team in tackles. And it’s not just the tackles. Wilson gets the sacks, the forced fumbles, and an occasional pick. He’s a splash-play maker who offers nice DB value for a guy who will be used as a pseudo-linebacker.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys