Dallas Cowboys Opportunity Analysis

The Opportunity Analysis – Dallas Cowboys

The Opportunity Analysis | Dallas Cowboys 2020

If you haven’t read the article on the opportunity analysis, I recommend going back and doing so before reading the team breakdowns.

Dallas Cowboys

    • Available Targets: 190
    • Potential Drop-Backs: +26
    • Total New Opportunities: 216
    • Opportunities Analysis Rank: 2

The Cowboys come in at number two with a total of 216 available opportunities in 2020. This is driven by the 190 vacated targets which are mostly from Randall Cobb and Jason Witten who make up 166 of them from 2019. Last season Dallas did (as a team) have a spike in pass volume; however, their 639 drop-backs only tied for 13th in the NFL, and only 16 more than the league average. Now in comes new Head Coach Mike McCarthy who oversaw one of the most pass heavy teams in Green Bay. McCarthy’s Packers averaged 665 drop-backs which was the second highest average in the NFL since 2013. Once we factor in the average drop-backs from McCarthy’s Green Bay teams to the Dallas total from 2019, the Cowboy’s opportunities heading into 2020 vaults to 216 which is just behind Minnesota for the top spot.

Primary Beneficiary: Michael Gallup

Michael Gallup is the biggest beneficiary of these available opportunities as his draft cost has plummeted since the Cowboys drafted CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the NFL draft. Gallup is now being drafted in fantasy as the wide receiver 30 in round seven mostly due to the fear that Lamb will overtake him or at least limit his targets. That being said, it is very rare that a team with an established number two wide receiver drafts another wide receiver the following year with high draft capital. However, there was two cases over the last few seasons where this did happen. The 2018 Falcons with Calvin Ridley and the 2016 Saints with Michael Thomas. In these cases both Mohammad Sanu and Willie Snead finished the following season with nearly identically fantasy points per game so history does show that Lamb could help the offense overall without impacting Gallup. It is easy to forget how good Gallup was in only his second season finishing as the wide receiver 13 in points per game (.5 ppr). Heading into his third season we have seen many wide receivers take a big leap in their third year including Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay and Cooper Kupp in 2019. Finally, even if Lamb flirts with 100 targets this season, there is still over 100 new projected opportunities that Gallup can capitalize on to increase his targets from the previous season. All these factors along with the robust opportunities available to the Cowboys make Gallup a value at his seventh round average draft position.

Secondary Beneficiary: Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott is already known for his elite rushing ability, but in order for him to take the next step he would need to compete in the passing game with players like Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Saquan Barkley. Insert Mike McCarthy who oversaw offenses that allowed running backs to finish in the top three in routes run in two of the his last three seasons in Green Bay. Now these high route totals didn’t show up in running back targets, but that had more to do with Aaron Rodgers than McCarthy. In the five seasons prior to his time in Green Bay, McCarthy was the Offensive Coordinator in New Orleans, and in those five seasons each of his top running backs had a target share of 15% while averaging five targets a game. Those numbers came with the Saints averaging just 535 attempts per season. If we apply those numbers to the 596 attempts from Dallas last season, Zeke could flirt with 90 targets in 2020. Zeke’s career target percentage is already similar to the target share McCarthy’s running backs saw in New Orleans at just under 15%; however, down the stretch of 2019, Zeke began to get more involved in the pass game seeing over an 18% target share the final 6 weeks. If Dak Prescott continues to get Zeke involved at that level, he could finally take his place at the top of the running back rankings. Currently going as the third overall pick in 2020, Zeke shouldn’t be drafted any later than that even in PPR leagues.