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32 in 32: Dallas Cowboys

In our “32 in 32” series, we are highlighting three of the most notable fantasy football players for each team, covering all 32 teams in 32 days!


Dak Prescott (QB – Dallas Cowboys):


2022 was an uncharacteristically rough season for Dak Prescott in fantasy, seeing the QB fail to finish as a top-12 QB in points and/or PPG for the first time in his 7-year career. While he did miss 5 games to injury, Prescott threw for just 2,860 yards while passing for 23 TDs to 15 INTs, the worst TD-INT ratio of his career. It was also just the second time he failed to hit the 17 PPG threshold in a season since his ‘sophomore slump’ in 2017 that saw him struggle, yet still finish as the QB11 in fantasy. For one of the most consistent year-to-year QBs, there seems to be a lot to be hesitant about with Prescott heading into 2023. Between a down 2022 season, the departure of Ezekiel Elliott (leaving an unknown rushing attack), the departure of TE Dalton Schultz, and the loss of OC Kellen Moore, there are a lot of uncertainties around Prescott’s 2023 prospects. The addition of WR Brandin Cooks alleviates some of the uncertainty, filling a very apparent void left by the departure of Amari Cooper last offseason, but perhaps more importantly, his draft price as a low-QB1 (QB9 on ECR, QB11 on ADP) going in the 8th/9th round range makes him a targetable value QB option. I like him at that price but acknowledge that he enters 2023 as a somewhat ‘boom or bust’ option in fantasy, especially compared to previous years, with the numerous changes to the Cowboys’ offense this offseason.

 

Tony Pollard (RB – Dallas Cowboys):


Pollard saw a complete breakout season in 2022, ultimately taking over as the Cowboys’ lead RB with just under 1,400 total yards and 12 TDs despite seeing just 232 touches and very limited redzone work. His elite efficiency (5.2 YPC, 1.072 FPPT) saw him finish with career-best numbers in pretty much every category, including a career-high RB8 finish in PPR scoring. With Ezekiel Elliott released this offseason, Pollard is set to step into an expanded role with the potential to capitalize on a massive void left by Elliott in the redzone. Elliott’s 11 TDs and 26 carries inside the 10-yard line ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively in the NFL, presenting a significant opportunity if Pollard can establish the ability to handle a true starter’s workload. That’s the only uncertainty with Pollard right now – can he handle the workload? He’s never eclipsed 200 carries in a season, only has 510 total carries in his 4-year career, and never was an established lead back in college (career-high of 78 carries, 139 total collegiate carries). If he can handle the workload of a true starter, even if it’s not as a true workhorse, Pollard likely finishes as a top-5 RB in 2023. If not, he likely severely disappoints due to injury (via an inability to manage 15+ carries a game). Pollard’s projecting as a mid-RB1, going as the RB6 on ADP and the RB7 on ECR, likely to be taken in the late-1st/2nd round range. At that price, I am biting on Pollard, especially given the upside, but it is equally as important to land a safe and secure RB2 to pair with him.

 

CeeDee Lamb (WR – Dallas Cowboys):


Even despite a rough 2022 season for QB Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb thrived, posting career-best numbers in every category. With 107 catches (5th) for 1,359 yards (6th) and 9 TDs (6th), very few WRs could compare to Lamb, ranking as the WR5 in PPR scoring. The reason for Lamb’s success: volume. Lamb had no shortage of targets last season, drawing the 4th-most targets in the league (156) behind only Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams, and Tyreek Hill while also ranking 4th in target share with an absurd 28.1% of the targets in Dallas. Heading into year 4 of his NFL career, Lamb’s ceiling is as high as anyone in fantasy. However, there is reason to believe his workload may be reduced in 2023 with the departure of OC Kellen Moore and the arrival of WR Brandin Cooks. That may be a trade-off for reduced overall targets, but higher-value targets, seeing as TE Dalton Schultz departed Dallas this offseason, vacating 16 targets (18th) and 5 TDs (10th) in the redzone. Lamb’s one of the few WRs that I am comfortable with (and confident enough in) to draft in the late-1st/early-2nd round, where he is being projected to go (WR5 on ECR, WR8 on ADP). He’s one of the very few WRs offering consistent elite week-to-week production and is among the even fewer that have the realistic potential to end up as 2023’s top WR in fantasy.

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