As we inch closer to the first game of the NFL season, we want to prepare you for your fantasy football drafts. That process begins with our team previews, where we’ll break down each team’s offense and suggest players to target or, in some cases, avoid.
Cowboys Fantasy Football Preview
Head Coach: Mike McCarthy (fourth season as Cowboys HC)
Offensive Coordinator: Brian Schottenheimer (first season as Cowboys OC)
Key Offensive Additions
Key Offensive Departures
Key Offensive Rookies
The Cowboys Offense
Points Per Game: 27.5 (fourth)
Passing Yards: 219.8 (14th)
Rushing Yards: 135.2 (ninth)
Vacated Targets: 197 (seventh)
Pass: 56 percent Run: 44 percent
OL Rank: Fourth
Dak Prescott had a down year last season, missing five games while throwing a career-high 15 interceptions. Prescott’s 17.8 fantasy points per game was 13th among quarterbacks in 2022, which was down from his ninth-place finish at the position (19.4) in 2021.
Our head of fantasy/betting analytics, Ben Wolby, believes Prescott is in a position to have a bounce-back year. The path to that is pretty clear because Prescott’s wide receiver group has been upgraded with a speedster in Cooks. Additionally, Michael Gallup is a full year removed from a torn ACL.
The change at offensive coordinator could be an obstacle for Prescott’s fantasy prospects, especially if it reduces the Cowboys' pace of play. But ultimately, Prescott has headlined a high-performing Cowboys offense for many years, and he still has QB1 upside in fantasy.
Tony Pollard is the main event here. He finished 2022 with 15.6 PPR fantasy points per game, eighth best at the position. However, Pollard isn’t the prototypical bell cow back, and his 193 carries last season were by far the most of his career. It’s tough to see Pollard getting more than 225 carries over a full season because he’ll likely chip in 35-50 receptions, as well.
The remaining 200-250 carries likely will go to running backs not currently on the depth chart. Malik Davis was an undrafted free agent last year who hovers around 200 pounds, and sixth-round rookie Vaughn is 175 pounds and would be a historic outlier if he sees any sort of volume.
Jones is the final piece of the current depth chart, and his fumbling issues likely take him out of the running for base work and goal-line carries. There remains a clear need to fill the Elliott role, and a late offseason veteran signing appears likely.
Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
The Cowboys made a crucial move by trading for Cooks in the early offseason, solidifying their three-receiver sets alongside CeeDee Lamb. Cooks' addition allows Lamb to play inside and out, providing flexibility to their best pass catcher. Cooks is still a good wide receiver and an upgrade over Noah Brown.
Gallup is the only wide receiver who won’t offer that flexibility; he was not an explosive player coming off his 2021 ACL injury and cannot move to the slot. If Gallup regains his explosiveness, he'll be a valuable option for big plays on the perimeter.
The tight end room will not be a focal point of the offense and will be a split between Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot. Both were rookies last year but showcased enough ability for Dallas to let Dalton Schultz walk in free agency. The Cowboys also spent a second-round pick on Luke Schoonmaker, who could factor into the tight end rotation as we get deeper into the season.
Lamb will lead the team in targets again but likely won't out-target the second player by 67 like last year. Cooks should see between 100-120 targets and Lamb around the 130-145 mark. Gallup's role will be downfield with low-volume, high-potential targets. The tight ends will be utilized situationally, specifically near the red zone.
Lamb likely stays strong as the overall WR5-8 in PPR. Cooks is a reliable top-36 option at current ADP. Gallup sporadically shines as a spot start WR5-WR6 type. The tight end room is a group to avoid unless you play in deeper leagues. In that type of setting, lean toward Ferguson.
Miller: Buy Prescott (QB15)
Prescott had a 3.8 percent interception rate last year and was still nearly a QB1 last season. Prescott’s interception rate last season was more than two percentage points higher than his career average.
His rushing production isn’t there anymore, but that high interception rate probably won’t happen again this year. Prescott has a non-QB1 price tag for someone who is consistently a QB1 producer.
Cowboys We’re Targeting in Fantasy Football
Vanek: Lamb, Cooks
Other Fantasy Previews
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