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.
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.
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.
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.
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‘ 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 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.
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 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.
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.