This week, because there’s no Dallas Cowboys game for us to look at, I thought I’d do something a bit different. Like a Bye Week Q&A!
Taking part in our first Q&A session is Justin McCasland. Justin is a dynasty fantasy analyst for The Fantasy Authority and co-host of the Dynasty Life Podcast. He, like me, is also a fan of your Dallas Cowboys.
You can follow Justin McCasland on Twitter @MaclandJ.
John (Inside The Star): As someone who focuses primarily on Dynasty Fantasy Football, you’ve had long looks at two prominent rookies for the Dallas Cowboys. What are your thoughts on the play of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott?
Justin McCasland (The Fantasy Authority): As a Dallas Cowboys fan, who’s also a dynasty degenerate, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way things have worked out with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Ezekiel Elliott has been exactly as advertised, putting up four consecutive games of 130 plus yards at an average of 5.1 yards per attempt for over 800 yards from scrimmage before the bye! The dude is out here hurdling defenders almost weekly, wearing down opposing defenses and taking full advantage of the amazing offensive line in Dallas.
There’s no surprise with what Zeke has done.
Prescott, on the other hand, has been more of a surprise, considering we weren’t even expecting to see him play this year outside of the pre-season. Romo gets hurt and fast-forward to mid October, and the conversation is will Tony get his job back.
In dynasty circles Prescott wasn’t even being drafted in the first four rounds of most rookie drafts, according to June ADP from Dynasty League Football. Quarterback is generally considered to be pretty replaceable in single QB leagues, so more shots are taken at other skill positions, but it’s impossible to ignore what Dak has done now.
Prescott was viewed as a project by some scouts and would likely have been learning on the sideline if serendipity hadn’t stepped in. He exudes pocket presence and moves on quickly from his mistakes, a problem which can plague young players who are less sure of themselves. One thing about Prescott is sure: he’s brought about a collective sigh of relief from Cowboys fans about the future of Quarterback in Dallas.
John (Inside The Star): They really have been great. I’ve been thrilled with Dak Prescott after I drafted him in the fifth round of my rookie draft. The best part of this start, to me, is as fans of America’s Team, we won’t have to live through the horrendous quarterback play we saw in the early 2000s.
Other than the Cowboys dynamic rookie tandem, who has been the most impressive rookie in 2016?
Justin McCasland (The Fantasy Authority): Sterling Shepard has certainly made the transition to the NFL with ease. As a fan of the University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys, I was really hoping to see him with a star on his helmet, but I’m happy to see him succeeding, even if it is with a division rival.
What makes Shepard so impressive is that he’s competing for targets with Odell Beckham Jr. and the salsa king himself, Victor Cruz. Sterling is averaging 4.3 receptions and 50.3 yards per game with a catch percentage of 63.4%, according to Pro Football Reference.
If he can keep that catch percentage up he’ll be doing better than Cruz ever has for the New York Giants in that category. To me this makes him a dependable option for Eli Manning, much like Cole Beasley is for Dak and Tony Romo. For comparisons sake, Beasley has a ridiculous career average catch percentage of 72.82 percent, counting his current rate of 84.6 percent.
John (Inside The Star): Count me as someone who was equally disappointed when Dallas didn’t select Sterling Shepard. I really thought his game would pair well with Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys. Now if second round pick Jaylon Smith is able to be what he was, then I’ll forgive the Cowboys front office for that.
Looking league wide, what rookie(s) came in with a lot of hype that are seeing their opportunities slip away?
Justin McCasland (The Fantasy Authority): I think the simple answer here would be Laquon Treadwell, but I’m not sure his opportunity is going to completely slip away considering the draft capital the Vikings put into him.
Digging a little deeper… I think Keith Marshall fits this mold well.
There was some hype surrounding him as a prospect and I think the thought was he could carve out a role in Washington with Matt Jones being very inefficient last season. That thought has been dashed with Jones playing much better than expected, and Marshall injuring his elbow and landing on IR; and undrafted free agent Rob Kelly coming in and looking great.
John (Inside The Star): I remember hearing a ton of buzz about Keith Marshall in the preseason. I also wasn’t a believer in Matt Jones after his poor showing in 2015. Laquon Treadwell is a mystery to me. I can’t understand why he hasn’t really done much this season. He has all the tools you look for in a big time wide receiver, but has been absent from the passing game.
Justin McCasland (The Fantasy Authority): There are several injured rookies who could burst onto the scene shortly. Corey Coleman showed flashes of why he was the first wide receiver selected in this year’s draft and when his hand heals, he ought to slide right into a decent target share.
Devontae Booker seems to be gaining favor with the coaching staff in Denver, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we saw a full blown committee there, much like the one in Atlanta between Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Booker has seen his snap-share gradually increase every game and — with that opportunity — should garner additional production. If C.J. Anderson were to go down, Booker would be in a position similar to Jordan Howard in Chicago.
John (Inside The Star): Yeah, Devontae Booker has been really dynamic in the Denver Broncos games I’ve watched. C.J. Anderson is a good running back, but hasn’t had the start to the 2016 season that his owners would have liked.
Justin McCasland (The Fantasy Authority): 2017 has a lot of promising players and the hype train has begun to resemble something that will inevitably leave people disappointed without record breaking production from this class.
All of that being said, that’s part of what makes dynasty fantasy football fun.
The 2017 class has top running back talent that could foster a running back renaissance if teams employ more bell cow roles in their offenses. Big names like Leonard Fournette, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, and Royce Freeman could all produce well for fantasy owners come 2017.
Lesser known running backs like James Conner, Kareem Hunt, and Elijah McGuire could reward people who do their research and dig deep next season.
Wide receiver is stacked as well with big names like Mike Williams, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Corey Davis, and James Washington expected to be highly drafted. Guys like Courtland Sutton, Isaiah Ford, Cooper Kupp, and Jehu Chesson are all names to know going into 2017.
John (Inside The Star): Thanks again, Justin, for taking the time to give us some insight from a Dynasty Perspective. Make sure you check Justin out @MaclandJ on Twitter and go give his podcast, Dynasty Life Podcast, a listen.
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.