The Cowboys ended 2019 with a (8-8) record. The team ranked top six in points scored despite the .500 record. Kellen Moore returns as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2020, as he found success in that position last season. Moore was successful in expanding the offense through running more run pass options (RPO). These RPO’s were effective and meshed well with the skillset of QB Dak Prescott. Looking at this Cowboys team on paper entering 2020 they are arguably one of if not the most talented at the skilled positions on offense; especially with the addition of CeeDee Lamb. Mike McCarthy enters 2020 as the new head coach of Dallas and will no doubt bring in his west coast philosophy and concepts that he will use to expand on what Moore created last season. McCarthy will no doubt be running lot of 11 personnel, 3 wide receiver sets, with the talent they have at position in Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb. This is an easy assumption to make because the 11 personnel is what McCarthy historically runs a lot of, as his time in Green Bay proved. The area the team must improve on in 2020 is their red zone efficiency. Last season the team converted less than 57% of their trips into touchdowns.
Dak Prescott (QB) – Kellen Moore was highly effective for Dak in 2019, as he was able to maximize his talents as a runner and passer. Dak had his best season as a pro by far in 2019. Dak was heavily motivated last season as he was seeking a long-term deal with the organization, which is always good motivation for a player to perform well. Well, Dak did not receive the deal he had hoped as he was franchise tagged by the club this off season. The team has come close on a deal, but they remain apart on the length of the contract as Dak wants four and the team wants five. So, with this said Dak will be in prove it mode again entering 2020 which should bode well for the team and our fantasy teams. The big glaring concern for Dak is his protection in 2020. Star center Travis Frederick has retired from the league leaving a big hole in that once dominant offensive line, which appears to be the biggest weakness on that side of the ball.
Fantasy Spin: Dak Prescott proved valuable to fantasy teams in 2019, and we feel he should again in 2020. Dak ranks as our third ranked quarterback in redraft and our fourth ranked in dynasty formats. With this said he should be the quarterback being taken after Mahomes and Jackson. The addition of Lamb was shining a light on Dak more than it was prior pushing his ADP up, but the hype on Lock and Murray should start pushing his ADP down enough to be a great steal on draft day.
Zeke Elliott (RB) – when watching the tape on Zeke from 2019, it appeared he seemed a little less explosive than in years past. Despite this lack of explosion Zeke still averaged 4.5 yards a carry in 2019. Zeke has always been a volume back and last year that was evident when he once again played on 85%-88% of the team’s offensive snaps. Zeke has averaged over 20 carries a game prior to last season where he fell below that mark (19), for the first time in his pro career. Many view this slight drop in carries as a negative or concern, as the Moore scheme leans more towards the passing attack. We should not get carried away with this as Zeke will get his in this offense as he is too talented of a player not to use. Since 2016 Zeke ranks number one in rush yards with 5,405 yards topping Gurley (4,298), and Jordan Howard ‘s 3,895, believe it or not.
Fantasy Spin: Zeke comes into 2020 ranked as our 3rd running back in redraft and dynasty formats. The concern with Zeke entering the year is likely regression in receptions as his role will decrease with the addition of Lamb and the team running more 11 personnel. We see this as a real possibility, but this scheme will help Zeke in another way. With the teams running 3 wide receiver sets the defenses will not be able stack the box and key in on Zeke, thus creating more running lanes for the talented Elliott. This offense should also improve in the red zone which could lead Zeke to having more touchdowns, like his rookie season.
Amari Cooper/Michael Gallup/CeeDee Lamb (WR) – as stated above the Cowboys under McCarthy will run pretty much exclusively in three wide receiver sets. The offense will be very multiple in terms of how they use their personnel, meaning each of these receivers will be moved all around the formation. Michael Gallup will be the receiver who will likely be the guy staying in the same position of the formation more times than not. Gallup is listed on the Cowboy depth chart as their WR1, likely because he projects as the teams X receiver. Gallup excels at this X position, and likely will play there exclusively in 2020. When looking at Gallup it is easy to see he is severely underrated in fantasy circles. He is being looked at as the odd man out in Dallas, and he should not be. Gallup is incredibly talented and last season ranked 10th in yards per route run, meaning he is very efficient, which is incredibly good. With Gallup playing exclusively outside that means Lamb and Cooper will be the two players moved inside and out the formation this season. When looking at Cooper it is easy to see he performs better in the slot. In fact, Cooper ranks 5th in yards per route run from the slot and compared to when he is outside, he ranks significantly less. Cooper is most productive and deadly when lined up as the inner most receiver on the trips formation, which we could see a lot of in 2020 under McCarthy. The team will look to maximize Coopers production much like they will first round pick CeeDee Lamb. In Year one we see Lamb being used mostly inside as their slot. Lamb will allow this offense to add new wrinkles such as pre snap shifts and motions. This pre snap movement will maximize what Lamb is good at and that is his versatility of lining up all around the formation. The only knock on this receiver group is the depth, as past these three studs there really is nothing special behind, which could be a problem for the offense with Copper and Gallup’s injury history.
Fantasy Spin: In terms of fantasy when looking at Lamb we would not anticipate a big rookie season from Lamb. Lamb comes in as our 47th wide receiver in redrafts. Lamb is more of a dynasty guy who will emerge as a valuable fantasy asset in as early as year two. Lamb ranks as our 21st wide receiver in that format. Gallup projects as a WR4 in redraft and a WR3 in dynasty formats, as we have him ranked as our WR41 in redraft and WR34 in dynasty. Cooper ranks as our highest wide receiver in both formats as he will need to be taken the earliest out of the three. Cooper ranks as our 18th receiver in redrafts making him a mid pack WR2. In dynasty formats he comes in as WR1 ranking as our 9th wide receiver.
Blake Jarwin (TE) – is a very intriguing player entering 2020 as the team’s top tight end, with Jason Witten now in Las Vegas. Jarwin is a big athletic tight end who should excel in this system. When it comes to Jarwin we can not expect a lot of targets and volume, but we could be seeing a tight end who is featured a lot inside the red zone, which could lead to a lot of touchdowns in 2020. One thing that we have come to learn about Dak is he likes to have a security blanket in the middle of the field, and it’s not out of the question Jarwin could be viewed as this blankey.
Fantasy Spin: Blake Jarwin is athletic and will be used as the teams detached tight end in 2020 at times. We could see him making big plays down the seam this year with Cooper, Lamb, and Gallup stretching the field. We view Jarwin as a TE2 in redraft as he is our 20th ranked tight end. In dynasty he ranks as our 21st tight end. The thing is Jarwin may not see the targets and end up catching 70 balls, but he does offer the upside we like in pairing with a true TE1.
Defense – ranked 11th in points allowed in 2019. The team’s biggest weakness last season was safety and entering 2020 is still a big weakness, despite add HaHa Clinton-Dix this offseason. The cornerback position also took a big hit this offseason when the team lost Byron Jones in free agency. This loss led to the team drafting Trevon Diggs in the second round and could figure in as a starter by the end of the season. So basically, this defense will be very vulnerable in the secondary, and offenses will beat the Cowboys there. Mike Nolan comes in to take over as the team’s defensive coordinator and will bring a base 4-3 defense. Nolan will use this base defense with added formations mixed in, as he historically has been an aggressive schemer.
Fantasy Spin: This defense will be vulnerable in the back end and will only offer fantasy value when our quarterbacks and receivers are going against them. This defense ranks as our 24th defense entering 2020.
Strength of Schedule
The Cowboys wide receiver corps will face the 8th easiest schedule this fantasy regular season. Their playoff schedule will be the 13th toughest during weeks 14-16. Zeke will be looking at the 4th easiest schedule during the fantasy regular season. The back will then have the 10th easiest schedule during the fantasy playoffs. Dak will face the 2nd easiest schedule during the fantasy regular season, and the 14th toughest during weeks 14-16. Jarwin will face the 4th easiest fantasy regular season schedule and will face the 4th easiest playoff schedule from weeks 14-16.