2018 Fantasy Football - Dallas Cowboys - Team Moves





By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Each offseason brings change to NFL rosters, and those changes often have fantasy implications. Below, I lay out the changes at the skill positions and how those moves impact the fantasy status of the new roster.


2017
    QB: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush
    RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, Alfred Morris
    WR: Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley
    TE: Jason Witten


2018
    QB: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush
    RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, Bo Scarbrough
    WR: Michael Gallup, Terrance Williams, Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley
    TE: Rico Gathers, Dalton Schultz




Pre-Draft Offseason:

The Cowboys did look to help themselves out at wide receiver, as Dez Bryant continues to show decline in his game, but they didn't go after any of the top free agents and instead got Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson. Thankfully for Dallas, Hurns is a true starter and could take over for the do-nothing Terrance Williams. Hurns will be an upgrade but overall, the position will remain weak unless Bryant finds a second wind or they go after receivers in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Ezekiel Elliott's season was in limbo all last year, and the Cowboys should have just taken his suspension early and then moved on. Instead, it dragged throughout the season, and when it hit, it hit the team hard. The biggest change this season will be a year without constant legal battles and 16 games from their star running back. That right there is enough to feel good about the team as a whole and the stars' fantasy prospects, as Elliott does grease the wheels of this offense.

Dak Prescott didn't play as well as I had hoped after Elliot's suspension, but it doesn't help that Prescott had few receivers who could beat coverage. Elliot helps loosen that coverage up overall, and Prescott's ability to run with the ball boosts his fantasy numbers from okay to solid. He is someone who I will likely be targeting in fantasy, based on his consistency.



UPDATE:
Dez Bryant has been released. As far as the salary cap is concerned, this is a good move for Dallas, as Bryant's skills have deteriorated, while his salary has not. He also was not in the mindset to take a pay cut, so I'm not going to hate on this decision, although it sure does put Dak Prescott and company into a bind, and that is not good for fantasy.

Allen Hurns will likely be the No. 1 receiver in Dallas and gets a boost in the rankings. After him, the Cowboys have Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Deonte Thompson and Ryan Switzer. Williams is the veteran and will start on the outside along with Hurns, while Beasley stays in the slot and the geriatric Witten keeps his butt groove in the tight end spot. That could be the worst group of receivers in the league, which means Prescott is going to have to really do work as a runner to keep his fantasy life going. I think he can supplement his stats enough to be an on-and-off fantasy starter, but I'm dropping him a rung or two in the rankings.



Post-Draft Update

Since the Cowboys let Dez Bryant go and Jason Witten is likely retiring to become an analyst, Dak Prescott will have 244 targets of his 490 pass attempts doing other things than accepting passes from him. Those losses meant that Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams were Dallas' top-2 wide receivers going into the 2018 NFL Draft. The Cowboys ended up waiting until the third round, but they did draft a wide receiver, Michael Gallup out of Colorado State. Gallup was the highest-graded receiver by PFF last season, and despite being drafted 81st overall, he is primed to open the season as a starter, and possibly the No. 1 receiver on the team. This was no doubt a great landing spot for him, and he should be considered a fantasy asset early on.

Tight end was a big need, and the Cowboys grabbed Stanford's Dalton Schultz with their 137th overall pick. He was primarily a blocker in college, but he showed ability as a receiver and put up strong numbers in the combine. There is a wide-open job at tight end in Dallas, but I expect Schultz will need more seasoning before we can stick our fantasy forks into him, which points me toward Rico Gathers as the fantasy tight end in Dallas.

The Cowboys also grabbed offensive lineman Connor Williams of Texas in the second round, which should help their offensive line, which slipped a bit last season. This team is going to likely slow things down and grind out some games with Ezekiel Elliott, and some new blood in the line is always helpful.



2018 Fantasy Outlook:

Stud: Ezekiel Elliot

Solid: Dak Prescott

Sleeper: Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Rico Gathers

For more recommendations, check out WalterFootball.com's Fantasy Football Rankings.




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