Last updated: August 1st at 2:59am ET.
Cowboys Offensive Profile Under Jason Garrett
2014-2018 Pass Attempts Rank: 31st, 23rd, 30th, 29th, 21st
2014-2018 Rush Attempts Rank: 3rd, 18th, 1st, 5th, 10th
2014-2018 Play Volume Rank: 18th, 29th, 20th, 18th, 11th
2014-2018 Yards Per Play Rank: 3rd, 14th, 4th, 15th, 22nd
Unaccounted for Targets from 2018 (Rank): 155 (10th)
Unaccounted for Carries from 2018 (Rank): 44 (22nd)
Projected Starting Lineup
QB: Dak Prescott
RB: Ezekiel Elliott
WR1: Amari Cooper
WR2: Michael Gallup
SLWR: Randall Cobb
TE: Jason Witten
LT: Tyron Smith
LG: Xavier Su’a-Filo
C: Travis Frederick
RG: Zack Martin
RT: La’el Collins
Cowboys Passing Game
Dak Prescott enters his contract year as a screaming fantasy value pick after a white-hot 2018 finish, forming a stunningly fast in-season bond with Amari Cooper en route to QB4 fantasy results in Weeks 9-17. Dak averaged 0.75 more yards per pass attempt, 71.7 more passing yards per game, and 4.25 more fantasy points in nine with-Amari starts. Over the course of the season, Dak’s 72 rushing attempts were a career high. Replacing luddite OC Scott Linehan is wide-eyed 31-year-old Kellen Moore, whom coach Jason Garrett promises will bring “evolution” to a similar offense that remains run committed. Despite Prescott’s low-volume projection – Dallas has ranked 30th, 29th, and 21st in pass attempts in his three years as starter – Dak’s dual threat and upward-trending supporting cast make him one of 2019’s most-undervalued QB2s and an elite early-season streamer candidate. The Cowboys’ pass-defense schedule is especially attackable in Weeks 1-6 against the Giants, Redskins, Dolphins, Saints, Packers, and Jets.
Acquired from Oakland for what became the 27th overall pick (SS Johnathan Abram), Amari Cooper injected immediate dynamism into a 2018 Cowboys offense that had gone boringly stale. Long criticized for his unsure hands, Cooper dropped just 4-of-94 targets and posted a mouth-watering 96/1,303/10 (13.6 YPR) full-season receiving pace across 11 games, including the playoffs. This is Dak and Cooper’s first offseason together, and both are in contract years. Still only 25 – Cooper just turned in June — all signs point to a breakout season as the Cowboys’ clear-cut passing-game focal point. Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, only six players have logged more receiving yards before age 25 than Amari’s 3,908. Dak-Cooper stacks in best ball and DFS deserve to be popular against Dallas’ soft Weeks 1-6 pass-defense slate.
Michael Gallup became just the tenth third-round rookie wideout to clear 500 yards in the last decade, then exploded for 8/137/1 in last January’s two playoff games. Amari’s in-season acquisition didn’t drain Gallup’s usage; the ex-CSU Ram topped 50 yards in 6-of-18 games, five coming after Dallas’ pre-Week 9 trade for Amari. A solid-if-unspectacular talent, Gallup finished 32nd among 125 qualified receivers in yards after catch per reception (5.1) and kept earning more playing time as his first season progressed. This year’s Cowboys are missing nearly 30% of their 2018 targets following Cole Beasley (Bills), Geoff Swaim (Jaguars), Deonte Thompson (Jets), and Terrance Williams’ (unsigned) departures. Gallup is still best viewed as a WR6/7 best-ball roster filler as a complementary pass catcher on a run-first team.
The Cowboys took a one-year, $5 million flyer on Randall Cobb, who wore out his Green Bay welcome due to repeated nagging injuries. Hamstring woes and a concussion cost Cobb seven games in 2018, and his balky ankles are longstanding. Cobb’s receiving line is a pedestrian 68/665/5 (9.8 YPR) over his last 16 games. His chances at fantasy relevance are low as the run-first Cowboys’ fourth pass option.
At age 37, Jason Witten returns from the Monday Night Football booth for what’s expected to be a lead timeshare role ahead of H-back Blake Jarwin and block-first sophomore Dalton Schultz. OTA reports suggested Witten looked fluid after taking 2018 off, and he reportedly ran his best-ever 20-yard split early in the spring. A catch-and-fall guy in 2017, Witten set career lows in yards per catch (8.9) and yards per target (6.4). He’s a low-ceiling TE2/3 limited to best-ball and tight end-premium leagues.
Cowboys Running Game
Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing yards per game for the third straight year and shattered career highs in targets (95) and catches (77) as the Cowboys smartly featured Zeke in the passing game for the first time. Elliott logged a career-high 381 touches, and there’s reason to believe he has a future 400-touch season in him. Zeke also benefited from the Cooper trade, averaging 37.6 more total yards and 7.0 more PPR points in eight games with Amari. Returning is All-Pro C Travis Frederick, PFF’s No. 2 run-blocking center in 2017 before he missed 2018 due to Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Off the field, Elliott was cleared of NFL discipline after bumping a security guard and getting handcuffed at a Las Vegas concert in May. Elliott did not report to training camp on time in seek of a lucrative long-term extension, however, at least temporarily removing him from consideration as this year’s 1.01 fantasy pick.
Elliott’s off-field history, workload-driven injury risk, and contract situation combined with Dallas’ run-first philosophy and powerful line heighten the intrigue of Zeke’s backup. Fourth-round pick Tony Pollard may be in the driver’s seat after an immensely efficient and versatile career at Memphis, where Pollard backed up Rams third-rounder Darrell Henderson but averaged 6.8 yards per carry and 12.4 yards per reception, caught 104 passes in three seasons, and returned seven kickoffs to the house. Pollard blazed 4.42 at 6-foot, 210 at the Tigers’ Pro Day. His competition consists of journeyman early-camp signing Alfred Morris, seventh-round grinder Mike Weber (Ohio State), and practice-squad vet Darius Jackson, who has six carries in three NFL seasons.
2019 Vegas Win Total
The Cowboys’ Win Total opened at 9.0 games, a number they matched or beat in four of the last five seasons. Last year’s team caught positive variance by going 8-3 in one-score games to finish 10-6 and advance to the Divisional Round with a two-point win over Seattle. Dallas’ +15 point differential was still far from dominant, and they outkicked their Pythagorean Win Expectation by 1.6 to 2.4 games. Jason Garrett’s club does draw 2019’s tenth-softest schedule based on Opponent Win Totals, and the roster looks like a top-ten group with an abundance of ascending talent. I’m leaning toward the over on nine wins.