NFL free agency started on March 18th, but technically does not end until the end of the season. However, after a firehose of news the first week, and another run the second week, things quiet down to a trickle. There are still big names out there, but it’s going to take some time to get them signed, sealed and delivered.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at where teams stand after the early rush of free agency and what it means for fantasy football. We’re going to take a look at the skill positions, breaking down what the starting lineup and reserves will look like to assess fantasy value heading into August drafts.
Today, we’re taking a look at the Dallas Cowboys. The good news for Dallas is that they retained their core offensive pieces by franchise tagging Dak Prescott and signing Amari Cooper. The bad news is that they lost some strong defensive players, with CB Byron Jones, DE Robert Quinn, and DT Maliek Collins moving on in free agency. They did get DE Gerald McCoy to help make up for their losses, but he isn’t enough. A weaker defense could push this strong offense to put up even more fantasy points this season.
Starter: Dak Prescott
Backups: Cooper Rush, Clayton Thorson
Prescott didn’t get the wins he needed last season, but he sure put up strong fantasy stats, finishing second to Lamar Jackson in total QB fantasy points. He did lose Randall Cobb, but Cobb’s strong 2019 was likely a product of Prescott’s ability. It would be good to see the Cowboys add to their receiver depth in the draft, as they are weak after Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, but those two should be able to get the job done and help Prescott to another strong fantasy year.
Starter: Ezekiel Elliott
Backups: Tony Pollard, Jordan Chunn
Elliott hasn’t been able to return to the heights of his rookie season, but his 2019 season was close and showed that he can still be a Top-3 fantasy back while Dak Prescott is also a Top-3 fantasy quarterback. That’s good news for us fantasy nerds, and with a dip in defense likely coming, their upside gets slightly higher.
Tony Pollard is one of the better backup running backs in the league but likely won’t be a standalone value in 2020 without an Elliott injury. In deeper fantasy leagues Pollard is a good handcuff even if you don’t have Elliott.
Starters: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson
Backups: Devin Smith, Lance Lenoir, Tevin Jones, Ventrell Bryant, Jon’Vea Johnson
Without much depth at receiver, the Cowboys should really focus their fantasy points on Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Elliott also gets a good amount of targets, so whoever wins the No. 3 job, will likely be fourth or fifth on the target chart, depending on how well Blake Jarwin plays.
Gallup is a strong No. 2 receiver, as he can get free deep with attention on Elliott and Cooper. He won’t be as consistent as Cooper, but he will have plenty of big plays and is easily one of the best No. 2 fantasy receivers in the league.
Starter: Blake Jarwin
Backups: Dalton Schultz, Blake Bell
With Jason Witten out of the way and Jarwin signing an extension, he sets up to be the no-doubt starter for Dallas. He has shown well in limited work and has upside with Prescott throwing him the ball. Also, the lack of a strong slot receiver could help Jarwin see more work on one of the best offenses in the league. He’s not someone I’d want as my starting fantasy tight end, but he has upside to be Top-12 this season.