The fantasy season has drawn to its conclusion. If you made it to your fantasy championship, congratulations. Although fantasy football is a war of attrition and hoping to survive injuries from week to week, this fantasy season symbolized that even more. Several supposed fantasy studs were placed on the shelf for a significant time, if not for the NFL season. Look no further than the quarterback position. Aaron Rodgers suffered an Achilles rupture in the season opener.
Kirk Cousins was having a terrific season before he, too, suffered a ruptured Achilles against the Green Bay Packers. Couple that with breakout stars that never emerged over the year. Take Jahan Dotson and Alexander Mattison, for example. Luckily, the Dallas Cowboys had several players step up throughout the fantasy season and delivered on Saturday against Detroit. Here is your Cowboys fantasy recap in week 17.
QB – Dak Prescott, 30 Yahoo fantasy points
Dak Prescott came to play against the Lions. Prescott hadn’t thrown for 300 yards since week 12 against the Washington Commanders, but went for 345 yards against the Lions secondary. After being one of the worst units against fantasy quarterbacks, Detroit had recently improved their pass defense. Prescott felt the pressure of the Detroit pass rush as he was sacked three times and threw an ill-advised interception while targeting CeeDee Lamb. Detroit also kept Prescott’s mobility from being a factor, as Prescott only had two rushing yards on Saturday night. Prescott’s performance against the Lions isn’t overly productive but good for QB7 in Week 17 per Sleeper.com
RB - Tony Pollard, 5 Yahoo fantasy points
In my Start ‘em, Sit ‘em piece, I had advised not to start Tony Pollard. While Detroit is susceptible to the passing game, they are formidable against the run. If you started alternatives like Javonte Williams, D’Andre Swift, and especially Najee Harris, you fared better than Pollard’s five fantasy points. Dallas has struggled to open running lanes for Pollard for most of the year, and Detroit was a challenge for Pollard. The Cowboys’ rushing attack was not prepared.
Pollard’s 16 carries for 49 yards (3.06 yards per carry) was the latest disappointment in a dismal stretch for Pollard and fantasy managers. It didn’t have to be this way. Dallas was without Rico Dowdle, and Duce Vaughn played sparingly. Pollard essentially had the backfield all to himself. Things were further complicated once left guard Tyler Smith exited the game with a foot injury. Equally disappointing is Pollard not having any impact on the passing game. He caught one pass for zero yards. It was a terrible fantasy game for Pollard.
WR – CeeDee Lamb, 57 Yahoo fantasy points
There was no bigger fantasy superstar than CeeDee Lamb on Saturday night. Lamb was the highest-scoring offensive player in all of fantasy football. Talk about starting the weekend with a bang. Lamb dominated the matchup against the Lions and went nuclear with a bevy of Cowboys legends in the building for Jimmy Johnson being inducted in the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Lamb got off to an explosive start with a 92-yard catch-and-run for a score. Lamb’s touchdown catch was the second-longest in franchise history, but he wasn’t done yet.
Lamb also set the record for the most receptions and yards in a season by a Dallas Cowboys receiver, with Michael Irvin in attendance. Lamb now has 122 receptions for 1,651 yards receiving. Following Saturday’s game, Lamb is battling Tyreek Hill for the lead league in receiving yards into the season’s final week.
Lamb had an absurd 44% target share against the Lions, with 17 targets for 13 receptions and 227 yards. Lamb finishes the 2023 fantasy season as the highest-scoring wide receiver in fantasy football. That seemed inconceivable given where Lamb was earlier this season. Lamb’s frustration with the offense and lack of involvement was the catalyst for this unexpected turnaround, and fantasy managers are thankful that Lamb sits atop all fantasy wide receivers.
TE – Jake Ferguson, 7 Yahoo fantasy points
We have Jake Ferguson at the opposite end of the fantasy spectrum. Missed opportunities underline Ferguson’s stat line of four receptions and 33 yards. Also, in my Start ‘em, Sit ‘em advice, I had advised to start Ferguson because of the offense’s upside and the offense’s ability to attack the seams of the Lions’ defense. Dak Prescott tried on two occasions, and though the passes were well-placed, Detroit defenders made great plays on the ball to dislodge the pass from Ferguson’s hands. Had Ferguson been able to reel those throws in, he would have easily surpassed his 11-point projection and yielded a better contribution to the fantasy scoreboard.
DEF/ST – 13 Yahoo fantasy points
The Dallas Cowboys’ defense allowed more yards and, to an extent, more points than you would like to see. The Lions offense has developed a reputation for fast-paced scoring and boasting a plethora of weapons that can accumulate yardage in chunks. That said, allowing over 400 yards of offense at home is not what this defense has shown throughout the season.
What separates the Cowboys from having a porous output as they did against the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins is that they did manage to get turnovers and pressure on the quarterback. Jourdan Lewis and Donovan Wilson were undoubtedly stars of the game, and each recorded an interception of Jared Goff.
The run defense also deserves praise as they stopped the Lions behind the line of scrimmage for several stops on third and short with multiple tackles for loss (seven), with DeMarcus Lawrence playing a vital role. Also, factor in holding Detroit to three 3-and-outs; suddenly, it’s not so bad of a performance. While they certainly didn’t carry much of the load, they didn’t come along empty-handed.