2021 Fantasy Football Dallas Cowboys Preview

by Nick Spencer
2021 Fantasy Football Dallas Cowboys Preview

Up next in our 2021 fantasy football team previews, we have America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys.

Dak Prescott was lighting the league on fire by averaging over 400 yards per game before his nasty ankle injury in Week 5. From then on the Cowboys were scrambling to figure out an offense on the fly, as they turned to the likes of Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Garrett Gilbert.

Ultimately, they went 6-10 and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year, largely due to a combination of injuries and a defense that allowed the fifth-most points in the NFL. However, things are looking up for the Cowboys going into 2021.

Dak appears to be healthy as he claims he could play a game today if needed. And they have revamped their defense by hiring Dan Quin as defensive coordinator and bringing in a steady stream of offseason additions. Including six straight defensive picks to kick off their NFL Draft, headlined by star linebacker Micah Parsons.

The future is bright in Dallas.

2021 Fantasy Football Dallas Cowboys Preview

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Before his injury Dak Prescott was the QB1 in fantasy football. He had completed 137 of 201 passes for 1,690 yards and nine touchdowns, along with 86 rushing yards and three touchdowns. That is a 16 game pace of 804 pass attempts for 6,760 passing yards and 48 total touchdowns.

As much as I love Dak, that pace is simply unsustainable, 804 pass attempts would break the NFL attempt record by 77. It's just not going to happen over the course of a full season. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't draft Dak.

He finished as the QB2 in 2019 so we know he has the ceiling to be an elite fantasy option. He is currently the QB4 in ADP, the QB4 in our consensus rankings, and the QB4 according to FantasyData's projections. Dak is a safe option but lacks the rushing-upside that you get from Josh Allen and Kyler Murray, which pushes him down a bit.

The big question for Dak's fantasy success this season will be how much has the defense improved? If the defense takes a huge step forward then the Cowboys should be in the lead more often, and from there can easily control the clock with their rushing game. Leading to fewer opportunities for Dak to pile up yardage.

Running Backs

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Fantasy owners were left pretty disappointed with Ezekiel Elliott's RB11 finish last year. This is translating to fantasy drafts as he is currently the seventh running back off the board.

However, we shouldn't be too hasty in dropping Elliott down our draft boards. Elliott was the RB4 before Dak's injury, averaging over 19 points per game. He has been in the league for five years now and has been an RB1 every single year.

Some are worried about him as he appeared to be slowing down towards the end of the season. But with his quarterback out and his offensive line derailed by injuries, this was to be expected. Not to mention Dak says Elliott "is in the best shape of his life". I'm scooping up Elliott wherever I can get him.

Tony Pollard on the other hand remains one of the few elite handcuffs in fantasy football. In Elliott's one absence pollard put up a total of 132 yards and two touchdowns. He would become an immediate plug-and-play fantasy starter should anything happen to Elliott.

Wide Receivers

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Amari Cooper finished last season as the WR16, and surpassed 1000 yards for the fifth time in his six-year career. He was the WR3 before Dak's injury, however, that was partially due to the Cowboys' unsustainable passing volume pace.

Cooper has established himself as the number one option in the offense, but Ceedee Lamb could siphon some targets from him as he continues to develop, especially around the goal line. Cooper will likely be a high-end WR2 for fantasy purposes.

Ceedee Lamb had a fantastic rookie season finishing as the WR20 despite the inconsistent quarterback play. He also appeared to be in sync with Dak right from the get-go which is quite rare for a rookie.

He is currently being drafted as the WR14 just three spots behind Amari Cooper, as it appears that fantasy owners are pricing in the breakout potential of this young stud. It is possible the Lamb outproduces Cooper on his own team, in fact, FantasyData has Lamb projected for just seven fewer points than Cooper this year.

The forgotten man in Dallas, Michael Gallup finished last season as the WR38. Gallup will likely be too inconsistent to use in fantasy lineups, however, he fits the mold of a rare wide receiver handcuff. He is talented enough that if anything was to happen to Cooper or Lamb he could step up and be a low-end WR2, as we saw in 2019.

Tight Ends

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Blake Jarwin was a popular sleeper tight end last year but an ACL tear in Week 1 forced Dalton Schultz to take over in his absence. Schultz finished as the TE14 and likely did enough in Jarwin's absence to force at least some sort of split at the position.

Jarwin will likely be the better fantasy option, but with both players fighting to be just the fifth-best option on the team, I am going to look elsewhere for my fantasy lineup.

Final Verdict

The Cowboys' offense should be high-octane once again this year, and with a vastly improved defense (at least on paper anyway), they are in prime position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

This team should provide tons of fantasy value, just don't expect it to live up to the otherworldly production of the first four games last year.

That wraps up the 2021 fantasy football Dallas Cowboys team preview, next up is the New York Giants.

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2021 season.

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