Next up in our team preview series are the Dallas Cowboys. Enjoy!
The Dallas Cowboys had a disappointing year last year, going 9-7 and missing the playoffs after going a league-best 13-3 in 2016. As expected, the entire offense regressed. Unfortunately, Ezekiel Elliott was dealt a 6-game suspension and crushed many fantasy owners' hopes. Without Zeke, the offense took a huge step back. After an extremely efficient 2016, Dak Prescott predictably struggled last year, throwing 13 interceptions and only 22 touchdowns.
This year, the offense is missing some key pieces. They did not resign Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten retired. Head Coach Jason Garrett finds himself on the hot seat once again, and many believe Garrett must make the playoffs to keep his job. If he wants to be there in 2019, he's going to have to up his coaching abilities, because this Dallas squad is not his best.
2018 Fantasy Football Dallas Cowboys Preview
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There's probably a whole host of teams kicking themselves for not drafting Dak Prescott when they had the chance. pic.twitter.com/Qx4nbdShm8
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) June 22, 2018
- Dak Prescott
- Cooper Rush
As I mentioned earlier, Dak Prescott was a trainwreck without Zeke. He passed for over 200 yards just once in 6 games without him and failed to throw a touchdown in 4 of those games. Even when Elliott returned, Prescott was still really bad.
He certainly doesn't have much to work with this year. 3 of Prescott's 4 favorite targets are no longer with the team and the only players of note Dallas added were Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup. Prescott has the label of a check-down QB, and many don't believe he could lead an offense without Elliott being the defense's main focus.
Many people don't think this is true of Prescott, but he certainly hasn't proved the critics wrong. Prescott is currently the 22nd quarterback off the board in fantasy football, behind Eli Manning, Case Keenum, and Alex Smith. While I don't think Prescott is going to have a repeat of his rookie season, it doesn't take much to beat out THAT position. Prescott is a fine backup QB.
— PFF DAL Cowboys (@PFF_Cowboys) May 17, 2018
- Ezekiel Elliott
- Rod Smith
There's actually not a ton to talk about with Ezekiel Elliott. Rushing yards did not come as easy last year as they did in 2016, and Zeke still averaged 4.1 yards per carry, better than Le'Veon Bell. Defenses zeroed in on Elliott last year and he still got it done. He averaged the second most fantasy football points of any back, behind only Todd Gurley. Zeke also improved his receiving game last year, averaging more receptions and targets per game.
With Dez Bryant and Jason Witten gone, a lot of targets are available in the Dallas offense. Backs are becoming more and more involved in the passing game, and the majority of the league's best offenses target their backs often. The Cowboys will realize that it's a copy-cat league and they're best served involving Elliott as often as possible. Zeke is as safe as it gets in fantasy football.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 29, 2017
- LWR: Allen Hurns
- RWR: Terrance Williams
- SWR: Cole Beasley
The Cowboys' WR group is bad. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report ranked them as the third worst in the league, which is a fair ranking. They were already lacking a true No. 1 receiver with Dez Bryant last year, and now they don't even have him. Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams will line up on the edge with Cole Beasley in the slot.
Allen Hurns peaked in 2015 when the Jacksonville offense padded their stats in garbage time. Hurns was a 1000+ yard receiver. The past two years, he has under 500 yards receiving in each season and caught a grand total of 5 touchdowns. Granted, he had an injury, but those are still unimpressive stats. Hurns is going to be the lead receiver, but that's not saying much. He could catch 60+ balls, but the odds that he does much with those are slim.
Terrance Williams has had a very interesting off-season. He was arrested for drunk driving in May and broke his foot while training. He expects to be back for training camp, but many people in the Cowboys organization are growing tired of him. Williams sees at least 60 targets every season, but never puts together a good one. He struggles with drops too. Williams typically averages about 50 receptions and 600 yards, so this year will most likely be similar.
Cole Beasley had one of his worst seasons in years last year, catching only 36 balls after catching 75 the year before. Part of that was the presence of Ryan Switzer; now with the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, Beasley has never been able to truly breakout because Dez Bryant was a big-time red zone target. With Bryant gone, Beasley could be worth a look in the late rounds.
No tight end has been more productive on a per snap basis than Rico Gathers this preseason pic.twitter.com/qeokLHsVXb
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 23, 2017
Nobody truly knows what's going to happen with the Cowboys' tight ends, so these depth charts are guesses. This is what CBS Sports had. Personally, Swaim doesn't excite me, so I'll talk about Jarwin and Gathers.
Jarwin, formerly at Oklahoma State, can do it all. He can play up on the line, out wide, and in the backfield. The Cowboys continue to bring his name up during TE discussions. The Philadelphia Eagles tried to get him, but Dallas likes him so much that they decided to keep him as the TE4! Jarwin is the gadget player which Dallas never knew they needed.
Rico Gathers used to play basketball at Baylor. And he was pretty good! But he pursued his football dreams. He has SO MUCH potential. He was awesome in preseason last year. However, he's a terrible pass-blocker, and the Cowboys may cut him because of it. He's 6'6", 285 pounds. If Gathers can figure out how to pass-block, he'll consistently get playing time. But will he figure it out?
The Cowboys offense had an awesome 2016, but a bad 2017. They've got a new look passing game. The running game is the offense, and it's very good. However, the season will come down to whether or not Dak Prescott can step up his game.
Visit the F6P Fantasy Football Draft Kit Page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2018 season.
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