2022 Dallas Cowboys Preview

The 2022 NFL Season is nearly upon us. As part of the run up to the season, we’re preview all the teams, culminating with our picks for who makes the playoffs and who wins the awards this season. Check back each day through September 5. Let’s get ready for some football!

The 2021 season worked out well for the Cowboys. The team won 12 games and captured the NFC East Title on the way to a home playoff game. That game, against the San Francisco 49ers, didn’t go as planned. The Cowboys struggled and ultimately came up short. The dream of advancing to a Super Bowl denied for another season.

Off-Season Changes

The Cowboys saw a torrent of players leave but didn’t lose either Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore or Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn. But many of the pieces at their disposal changed. On offense, the Cowboys traded Amari Cooper to the Browns and saw Cedric Wilson sign with the Dolphins. Blake Jarwin left as a free agent, while lineman La’el Collins signed with the Bengals. Center Connor Williams also went to the Dolphins, while kicker Greg Zuerlein went to the Jets. On defense, Randy Gregory went to the Broncos, Keanu Neal went over to the Buccaneers and Damontae Kazee signed with the Steelers.

While there was plenty of players who departed, the Cowboys did add some pieces. In free agency, the Cowboys snagged receiver James Washington from the Steelers. Washington is dealing with a foot injury currently, but the Cowboys hope he helps re-load their receiving corps. They also brought in Dante Fowler, Jr., to help bolster the pass rush.

In the draft, the Cowboys added another receiver in Jalen Tolbert. Tolbert, who played for South Alabama caught 146 passes for 2,559 yards and 16 touchdowns in the past two seasons. The team also added tight end Jake Ferguson and spent their First-Round pick on tackle Tyler Smith, to help bolster the offensive line.

Fantasy Prospects

Dak Prescott remains one of the best quarterbacks in the league, especially in the high-powered Dallas offense. He’s easily a QB1. Behind him is a backfield led by veteran Ezekiel Elliott and fourth year back Tony Pollard. Zeke took a majority of the carries in 2021 and finished as RB7, while Pollard showed explosion in taking a bigger role on offense. He finished as RB28. I think Zeke will remain the primary ball carrier, while Pollard takes a bigger share in the receiving game. I like Zeke as an RB2 with Pollard as an RB3.

In the passing game, it’s all about CeeDee Lamb. Now entering his third season, he’s the clear WR1 with Cooper in Cleveland and Michael Gallup recovering from an ACL injury. Lamb was WR19 in 2021 but I think he’s poised to take a big step forward. I like him to finish as a WR1. The Cowboys chose to invest in Gallup but when he’s ready remains a bit of a question. I suspect he misses some early games and ends up in the WR3/4 territory. Washington also figures to miss time, making his role somewhat suspect. Tolbert will get chances and is a decent stash in dynasty drafts, but the receiver I’m snagging at the end of drafts is Noah Brown. He’s shown explosion in the past and could well see increased opportunities the first few weeks of the season.

The other piece of the passing game I like is tight end Dalton Schultz. The Cowboys committed to Schultz this off-season, placing the Franchise Tag upon him. While he doesn’t have a long-term deal, I suspect he’s motivated to ball out once again. He saw 104 targets and finished as TE3 in 2021. I think his target share goes up, as he serves as the primary target opposite Lamb. I like him as a Top 5 TE with some potential to shoot up to TE1 overall if things break right.

Prediction

In recent years, we haven’t seen teams win back-to-back titles in the NFC East. That’s a red flag for the Cowboys, who will enter the season as favorites but not without a significant challenge from the Eagles. It’s going to come down to one-or-two games. I think the Cowboys get to 11 wins and just edge the Eagles as NFC East champs. I also think they finally win a playoff game.

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. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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