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Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Football Roundup

John Williams

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Cowboys Headlines - Giants 20, Cowboys 19: Williams, Elliott, Other Disappointments

Most of us count on at least one Dallas Cowboy for fantasy football purposes. Unless you had Dan Bailey, Jason Witten, or Cole Beasley starting in week 1 you were probably disappointed.

It was an up and down day for the Dallas Cowboys on offense. At times they looked like they couldn't be stopped. At other times, they were easily stifled by drops, errant passes, poor play calling, the New York Giants defense, and mental miscues.

The New York Giants defense looks the part of an improved unit and made things difficult on the Dallas Cowboys.

Dak Prescott

Making his first NFL start, Dak Prescott had an admirable day. He didn't turn the ball over, but he also didn't throw a touchdown. Prescott finished the day completing 25/45 passes (56% completion rate) for 227 yards (5.04 yards per attempt). He added 2 carries for 12 yards.

Prescott missed on several opportunities for touchdowns in the first half. Cole Beasley dropped a sure touchdown when Prescott's pass was a bit too high. Beasley should have made the catch, but Prescott needs to make a better throw there.

Later, Prescott found Dez Bryant on a deep ball that was initially ruled a touchdown. The review of the touchdown showed Bryant was unable to complete the catch and the call was overturned.

The Dallas Cowboys had issues running the ball for much of the game, leaving Prescott in longer down and distances than expected. I also didn't expect him to throw the ball 45 times. Dak Prescott showed that he has the tools, as we saw in preseason, but also showed some room for improvement.

Prescott is roster worthy in all leagues, but I'm looking elsewhere for someone to start week two for my fantasy football team.

Ezekiel Elliott

This was a tough day for Ezekiel Elliott. 20 carries for 51 yards is disappointing, but a touchdown saved it from being disastrous. Elliott only averaged 2.55 yards per carry (YPC). The touchdown came on Elliott's longest run of the day.

Count me as someone who thought the fourth overall pick was going to flirt with 100 yards rushing in his NFL debut.

The thing that jumped out to me wasn't what Ezekiel Elliott did or didn't do, it was the New York Giants.

The New York Giants did a really nice job of clogging up the lanes on Elliott's runs making it very difficult for him to find a crease to run through. It seemed to me when Elliott was in the game, the New York Giants were sitting on the run. On several occasions, the Giants hit Elliott at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield, which made for a difficult day.

While it was a difficult day for Elliott, don't worry, it is only going to get better. Plug him into your lineup for week two.

Alfred Morris

For months I have predicted Alfred Morris would get around 8-10 touches per game. On the day, Morris totaled 7 carries for 35 yards (5.0 YPC) and wasn't able to convert his lone target in the passing game.

Morris seemed to get a lot more room running the ball. Whether it's because the Giants weren't sitting on the run, the offensive line opened up better running lanes, or Morris was just more effective, there just seemed to be a lot more room to work with for Morris.

I don't think Morris has turned this into a complete timeshare, but he has proven throughout the preseason and week one that he deserves a role on this team.

Expect to see Morris continue to get 8-10 touches a game.

Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Season-Opening Loss To The GiantsDez Bryant

Dez Bryant probably had the most disappointing day of all and certainly the coaching staff didn't help. Bryant finished the day with one catch for eight yards on five targets. He nearly secured a touchdown pass on a deep ball from Prescott, but wasn't able to keep his hands under the ball when he went to the ground.

What's disappointing is the lack of creativity to Bryant's routes. From what I saw, it appeared that every target Bryant received was on a deep go route. No slants, no hooks or curls, and no drag routes.

I'm not sure if it was Prescott checking to that at the line or the way the coaches drew it up, but that lack of creativity for one of the best wide receivers in the NFL was disappointing. Dez Bryant is excellent at making plays after the catch.

Hopefully the coaching staff will use his route running ability a bit more in week two. Don't let one week scare you away from starting Bryant.

Terrance Williams

Terrance Williams' day was an average day before his infamous decision to not go out of bounds at the end of the game. Williams had three catches for 34 yards and zero touchdowns on four targets. It wasn't a great day, but it was efficient.

He's roster worthy in most formats and can be a starter in 14 or 16 team leagues, but until we see more, Williams is on the bench for me.

Cole Beasley

Cole Beasley had a really good day that would have been better if not for the dropped touchdown pass. Beasley had eight catches for 65 yards and zero touchdowns.

Beasley was able to get open at-will throughout the game. Only Jason Witten received more than Beasley's 12 targets.

In 12 team or more PPR leagues, Beasley is going to be a nice player in your flex spot moving forward. It's obvious the coaching staff wants to get him the ball.

Jason Witten

It sure will be sad when Jason Witten retires. Even at 34 he gives opposing defenses fits.

Dak Prescott certainly has the same affinity for Witten that Tony Romo does. Jason Witten was able to get open at will against the New York Giants in the intermediate areas and Prescott was willing to throw him the ball.

Witten received 14 targets on the day and had nine catches for 66 yards.

Witten is still a really productive tight end in the NFL and will be a must-start in 12 team or deeper leagues, and is on the cusp of must-start status in 10 team leagues.

Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey was his normal Dan Bailey self. In the game, he was 4/4 on field goal attempts with two over 50 yards. Bailey converted his lone extra point attempt.

With Dak Prescott at the helm, it wouldn't surprise me to see more weeks of Bailey getting three or four field goal attempts. With a rookie quarterback, drives may stall out in the offensive half of the field more.

Continue to start Bailey and reap the rewards.

Team Defense

The Defense wasn't horrible against a New York Giants offense that finished in the top ten last year. They gave up a couple of big plays and didn't exhibit much of a pass rush, but they held New York to 20 points.

Eli Manning doesn't get sacked very often. On average he gets sacked 1.68 times a game. Dallas wasn't able to get consistent pressure against the Giants, but they were able to get two sacks. Brandon Carr added an interception.

Not a great game, but you aren't likely counting on the Dallas team defense to start for your fantasy football team.



I didn't start out as a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quickly as I could. I grew up a Joe Montana fan when he was with the 49ers and followed him to the Chiefs, until we moved to Texas. I've now been a Fan of the Boys since the Dark Days of the Post-Aikman, Pre-Romo era of abysmal quarterback play, now relishing in more than a decade of franchise quarterbacking for America's Team.

Fantasy Football

Is Dak Prescott a Player to Avoid in Fantasy Football in 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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A Cowboys Win vs Giants Can't Be Taken For Granted 1
Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports

For the Dallas Cowboys, the plan is to stick with Dak Prescott to hopefully turn him into a successful long-term franchise quarterback. Going into his third year in the league, this could be a season that defines his future on America's Team.

However, after the entire team struggled in 2017 while trying to overcome several key absences (including Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith), Prescott's level of play has been questioned by plenty around the league. Fans, analysts and writers everywhere aren't as sure as they were in 2016 about the quarterback's future.

And now, according to NFL.com, Fantasy Football players should beware of drafting Dak Prescott once their "friendly" (we all know they're anything but friendly) seasons begin.

Earlier this week, NFL.com Fantasy Editor Marcas Grant published an article telling us ten players to avoid for the 2018 Fantasy Football season. Perhaps it may come as a surprise to some that Dak Prescott is in there among names like Ty Montgomery and Jack Doyle. You can read his full article here.

To be honest, I see his point here.

It's more than fair to say that it's not going to be an easy year for Dak. He's got to prove a lot in a year that could have a juicy extension at the end of it. After going through a sort of an expected sophomore slump, Prescott's third year in the NFL should be his best one yet.

There's a big but, though. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are long gone, leaving Dak Prescott with a promising yet unproven set of pass catchers.

Will a dominant running game led by five great offensive linemen and Ezekiel Elliott be enough to help Dak and the rest of the offense? Probably. but how much will Prescott be able to accomplish?

Through a painful 9-7 season in which the Cowboys never seemed to be able to find a steady pace, #4's stats took a hit. Here are his numbers from his two years in the pros:

  • 2016: 311 completions, 67.8% completion percentage, 3,667 yards, 23 TDs and 4 INTs.
  • 2017: 308 completions, 62.9% completion percentage, 3,324 yards, 22 TDs and 13 INTs.
  • He also ran for six touchdowns in each of his two seasons.

Per FantasyData.com, his fantasy points dropped from 286.88 in 2016 to 260.66 in 2017.

Despite his numbers dropping, Dak certainly took huge strides as a passer. From taking command of the offense as a captain to making throws he wouldn't make as a rookie, Prescott was able to demonstrate improvements during a rough sophomore slump.

Even with Dez gone, the receivers the front office brought in throughout the offseason are expected to be Dak-friendly. If the receiving corps actually make his strengths shine, the Cowboys' offense will take a huge step in 2018.

Maybe, as Jason Witten mentioned on Adam Schefter's Podcast, Dez is as good as anyone going up for the football. But that's not what will make Dak shine. This revamped WR room might be just what he needs, though.

5 Injuries the Dallas Cowboys Can't Afford in 2018

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys)

At the end of the day, even though I truly believe he'll have a good career in the NFL and that he's the future of the Dallas Cowboys, I doubt he should be marked as an early target in the Fantasy Football world.

As of right now, from a Fantasy Football perspective, I would barely rank him as a Top 15 quarterback for many reasons.

First of all, the Cowboys' game will revolve around Ezekiel Elliott. Secondly, it doesn't matter how much faith we put into these pass catchers, they haven't proved anything yet.

Dak is not a bad player at all. But taking Prescott in the middle or even late rounds of a Fantasy Draft might be the safest way to go right now.

Lastly, I leave you with some "Fantasy Nuggets" from fellow Inside The Star writer and Fantasy Football Guru John Williams:

  • Dak failed to score 10 standard format fantasy points only four times last season. He scored 15+ points nine times and 20+ six times in 2017.
  • In 2017 - even with a down second half - he finished as the 13th best QB in points per game and as the tenth best in total QB scoring.
  • In 2016, he was in the top 10 in both categories mentioned in the previous bullet point.
  • His ability to run and score touchdowns on the ground easily make him one of the best 12 QB options for fantasy football.

Tell me what you think about "Is Dak Prescott a Player to Avoid in Fantasy Football in 2018?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Implications of Ezekiel Elliott’s Suspension

John Williams

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Cowboys en Español: Ezekiel Elliott Suspendido Inicio Duro Para la Línea Defensiva

Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended by the NFL for 6 games for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy. This will leave a void in the backfield for the Dallas Cowboys and on many fantasy football rosters around the world. As it is with the real league, it's a next man up philosophy in the world of fantasy football as well.

At the moment, that next man up is Darren McFadden.

Just two years ago, with Dallas still clinging to playoff hopes in the wake of Tony Romo's injury, McFadden rushed for more than 1,000 yards. He finished fifth in the NFL that season despite not seeing more than 10 carries a game until week six. From week 6 until the end of the season, McFadden had 7 games with more than 90 yards rushing.

McFadden's touchdown total from that season leaves a lot to be desired, but let's not forget the quarterbacking chaos that went on that season. Between Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore, defenses weren't worried about being beat in the passing game.

Frankly, it's a miracle that McFadden rushed for 1,000 yards.

Over 11 games from weeks 6-17, McFadden averaged 21.45 touches per game and 108.27 total yards per game. At that pace, stretched over a 16 game season, McFadden would have totaled 1,732 yards, which would have led all running backs in total yards that season.

If you still have to draft, I would take a chance on McFadden around the 7th or 8th round in 10 or 12 team drafts.

As for Alfred Morris, he will get some touches as much as the Dallas Cowboys will look to run the ball. That being said the second half of 2016 showed who the coaches preferred as the backup.

The last time Morris ran for more than 1,000 yards was in 2014. In 2015, if you'll remember, he lost his job to Matt Jones who has since lost his job to UDFA Rob Kelley, who is starting but is being threatened by 2017 draft pick Samaje Perine.

When Morris played last year he was pretty ineffective averaging a career-low 3.5 yards per carry.

With McFadden's injury history, you can take a shot on Alfred Morris late in your fantasy drafts around the second to last or the last round.

Cowboys Work Out RBs Ronnie Hillman, Denard Robinson Before Oxnard 3

Dallas Cowboys Running Backs Ezekiel Elliott #21, Darren McFadden #20 (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

How Should You Value Ezekiel Elliott in Upcoming Fantasy Drafts?

That's a difficult question to answer, because a lot will depend on your league settings. My simple answer is, if you can get any discount on Ezekiel Elliott from his average draft position of 3.0, then you're getting a good value for at least the second half of the season.

Just a week ago I wrote to not allow this absence to sway you too much. I stand by that.

Fantasy football is about getting as much value as you can with each draft pick. Elliott is a top 5 value in any setting, even if he has to sit out. I think you can comprise a roster good enough to get into the playoffs, then you'll want Elliott for a playoff run.

Just like the Dallas Cowboys, all you need to do is tread water while he's out. If you can make it through the suspension at or around .500, you will still be in good position to win your fantasy football league.

When Elliott comes back, he will be the starter.

Even if they make him earn it, it won't take long. He's just better than McFadden and Morris. If your league lets Elliott somehow slip outside of the first round, snatch him up and make sure you draft McFadden. You'll thank me for it later.

Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Training Camp Begins

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott #4, RB Ezekiel Elliott #21 (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

While many will look at this situation as a detriment to Dak Prescott and may feel deterred from drafting him as the 9th quarterback in your league, I actually see it the opposite. While Dak was very efficient in Dallas' run-first offense, he showed throughout the 2016 season that he could be leaned upon in a shootout or to bring the team back from a large deficit.

In fact, Dak might have played his best game of the season during the playoff loss to Green Bay when the team got down 21-3. Forced to pass, Prescott completed 63% of his passes for 302 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in nearly leading the team back to victory.

With a full offseason in the Dallas offense and a really good compliment of receivers led by Dez Bryant, I fully anticipate Dak to have an excellent sophomore campaign.

Dallas may lean more on the pass during Elliott's absence, which will make Dak more valuable to me. Remember fantasy football is about acquiring stats and with Elliott out, Dak will have a great chance at putting up even bigger numbers. Especially if the run game is ineffective.



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Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football: Draft Ezekiel Elliott Early, Don’t Be Swayed

John Williams

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Ezekiel Elliott, Packers
AP Photo / Ron Jenkins

Plenty of fantasy football drafts have come and gone, but many still remain as training camp is in full swing. The question has come up in the fantasy football Twitter community; what do you do with Ezekiel Elliott amidst rumors of a suspension? And the short answer is nothing.

Investigations into whether or not Ezekiel Elliott has violated any of the NFL's policies have persisted. Supposedly, those investigations have come to a close. The personal conduct policy, the domestic violence policy, and the substance abuse policy seem to all be in play as the league decides on the appropriate punishment for the Dallas Cowboys' star running back.

You could go the safe route and drop Ezekiel Elliott down your draft boards or you could take a chance at having one of the top scorers in fantasy football on your roster.

Say a suspension does come down. At worst, a drug suspension would be four games.

The domestic violence issue seems to be circumstantial evidence that even the Columbus Police and District Attorney declined to pursue. The NFL's personal conduct policy could apply, but that seems to be more of a threat than anything. So the question is, if Elliott is out for four games, does he lose his value somehow. I'd say no.

We don't have to go back very far to see a similar star running back with a similar suspension. In 2016, Le'Veon Bell was suspended for the first three games of the season and many people slid him down their draft boards. In some mocks, I saw him going outside of the first round.

Sure he missed the first three games of the season, but he finished as fantasy football's No. 3 running back and was there when you needed him most. Playoff time.

Bell only had three games where he failed to score less than 15 standard fantasy points during his 12 game season (didn't play in the season finale). The point being, anyone who drafted Le'Veon Bell in the first round or the top of the second was quite happy with the results.

If Ezekiel Elliott misses time, it will be at the beginning of the season, but like Bell, he will be around at the end of the season when you're trying to put away a championship win.

If you're drafting at the top of the first round, don't let Ezekiel Elliott's consistency and scoring ability get by you because of a threat of suspension. He'll be available to you when you need him most.

The first few weeks of the season are tough matchups for Elliott anyway.

Dallas will face the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and Los Angeles Rams in the first four weeks--all teams with tough defenses. Though Elliott is a guaranteed starter for those four weeks, it's likely you're lowering expectations for him against some of the top run defenses in the NFL.

For me in 2017, the reward of having Ezekiel Elliott on my roster far outweighs the risk of any potential suspension. Draft Zeke and reap the benefits.



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