2020 Preview: Dallas Cowboys


Report: Cowboys met with Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper again ...

The 2020 NFL Season is nearly upon us, and in anticipation of the new season we’ll be previewing the action team-by-team, using the draft order from last season. The previews will kick off with the Bengals and run right through the reigning champion Chiefs. Come back each day to check out your favorite team. All ADP and Rankings reflect PPR scoring. 2020 Projections are based on a 12-team league (i.e. WR1 (Top 12), WR2 (13-24), WR3 (25-36)).

            The Cowboys began the 2019 season with some lofty expectations and a 3-0 record. But it wasn’t to be. The team struggled with consistency, losing three straight and then alternating wins and losses, more or less, the rest of the way. The Cowboys finished 8-8 and fell short of the playoffs in the saddest of division races with the Eagles. The Cowboys seemed to have more talent than their record showed, and the failure to live up to expectations led to a host of changes.

            The Cowboys bid farewell to coach Jason Garrett, who moved over to serve as Offensive Coordinator for the rival New York Giants. Now the Cowboys head into the 2020 season with veteran Head Coach Mike McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. McCarthy is tasked with taking the talented Cowboys’ core and turning it into a winner.

Off-Season Changes

            The Cowboys bid farewell to another familiar face as long-time tight end Jason Witten departed in free agency. The Cowboys’ receiver had retired prior to the 2018 season but came back for another round in 2019. He saw 83 targets and caught 63 passes for 529 yards and four TDs. Now he’s set to play for another team for the first time in his NFL career after signing with the Raiders. The Cowboys also saw slot receiver Randall Cobb, who caught 55 passes for 828 yards and three TDs in his lone Cowboys’ season, sign with the Houston Texans. But it wasn’t all bad news as the team retained quarterback Dak Prescott through the Franchise Tag and added veteran quarterback Andy Dalton as a backup.

            The Cowboys also re-loaded through the draft, too, spending their First-Round pick on wide receiver CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma. Lamb is a physical freak, and should be an awesome weapon for McCarthy, Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore and the Cowboys’ offense. He had 65 receptions for 1,148 yards and 11 TDs in 2018 and caught 62 for 1,327 yards and 14 TDs in 2019. He’s a top dynasty rookie pick and gives Prescott another top tier weapon in the passing game.

Fantasy Impact

            Prescott was incredible in 2019, throwing for 4,902 yards and 30 TDs, good enough to be QB2. He should have another 4,000-yard season in him with Moore and McCarthy, and he should be a Top 5 QB in 2020. The Cowboys have a fierce, Top 5 option at running back, too, in Ezekiel Elliot. Zeke rushed for 1,357 yards and 12 TDs, catching 54 passes for 420 yards and two more TDs. He’s a first-round pick in all formats. Running back Tony Pollard, now in his second year, is a decent handcuff that could have some RB5 appeal on his own.

            In the passing game, the Cowboys are led by receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup in addition to Lamb. Both Cooper and Gallup saw more than 100 targets in 2019, and both produced when targeted. Cooper turned in 79 receptions for 1,189 yards and eight TDs, while Gallup added 66 receptions for 1,107 yards and six TDs. I think Cooper will be a WR2, Gallup a WR3 and Lamb a WR4, but any of them could move higher. I think all three could see at least 100 targets in 2020. I’m less bullish on tight end Blake Jarwin, who steps in for Witten. Jarwin saw 41 targets and caught 31 passes for 365 yards and three TDs. He should see an uptick, but I think he’s still a TE2 at best.

Prediction

            I love the pieces of the Dallas offense for fantasy, and I think that must translate into production on the field and on the scoreboard. The Cowboys were more talented than their record in 2019, and hopefully a new coach will be the kick in the pants they need. I see the Cowboys winning the NFC East and making the playoffs this season.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.

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