In just about all fantasy drafts, regardless of format, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will be a top five pick at the very least. He’s a clear-cut top three player at the running back position heading into just his third pro season. As the Cowboys bell cow back Zeke will more than likely play just about all of the downs he can and lead the Cowboys offense in all purpose yards, touches and touchdowns, which is what everyone is looking for in fantasy football.
But after Zeke, from a fantasy perspective, there are no more real stand out big names that players are thinking they just need to draft when their leagues get going. Some will make the argument for quarterback Dak Prescott, but he’s more of a reality footballer than a fantasy one. Nonetheless, here are a few Cowboys that could offer potential to keep on your radar when draft day approaches.
WR MICHAEL GALLUP
A large part of Cowboy Nation on Draft Day was calling for Dallas to take a wideout with the 23rd overall pick. Instead, they were given Michael Gallup in the third round, 81st overall. Gallup has a nice makeup with good size and solid route running. With many jobs open on the outside for Dallas, he could step right in and give WR3/Flex appeal from the get go.
Some will be shy on Gallup though because of his lack of athleticism, and somewhat lack of speed (4.51 40-yard dash), but the opportunity and target potential can offer so much value in the Dak Prescott managed offense. The Cowboys will likely face many stacked boxes to prevent Zeke from eating as much as possible, so there shouldn’t be a ton of elite coverage thrown Gallup’s way.
WR ALLEN HURNS
When Hurns signed with Dallas in March, post Dez Bryant’s departure, I thought the upcoming season for Hurns had real potential, and it still does. Again, with the departures of Dez, Jason Witten and Ryan Switzer, Hurns has all the opportunity he could ask for to show off what he did in 2015. That was by far the best season of his career where he went for 64 catches, 1,031 yards, and 10 touchdowns on 105 targets.
Another tidbit with Hurns is that last season in Jacksonville he spent 30% of his time on the field in the slot. He brings versatility to the Dallas wideout group with his ability to play in the slot and on the outside. Hurns is also willing to do both and doesn’t have demands for himself on the field. He will likely see many of the better corners in the league when playing on the outside as Terrance Williams hasn’t demanded elite coverage throughout his career.
TE RICO GATHERS
Gathers missed the entire 2017 season after suffering a substantial head injury in the preseason. Before then though, many of the Cowboys executives and coaches were very high on him going into the season. That vibe seems to be back with camp underway. The all-time rebounds leader at the Baylor basketball program, Gathers never even began playing football until the eighth grade. But that didn’t stop the Cowboys from taking the 6-6 273 pound power forward in the 6th-round of the 2016 draft. He had the size scouts dream of at the tight end position and overall good athleticism.
And now with Jason Witten still unexpectedly, but officially out of the picture, it’s really Gathers’ job to lose at this point. Even though, Dallas has dropped hints that it is going to implement a “tight end by committee” look to start the year, I’m really not buying it. Without much competition and with his size, Gathers should win the job rather easily, maybe even throughout the preseason. He’s obviously the favorite and could turn into a sneaky red zone monster in the late rounds of deeper leagues.
QB DAK PRESCOTT
Yeah, you know this one was coming. Many people don’t like Dak as a fantasy option, especially with the overall mystery of who the bulk of his targets will go to. But I’m here to make the argument for Dak, who many forget has had an all-time great start statically to his career.
With NFC defensive coordinators building defenses to try to stop Zeke and the offensive line, Dak will have all sorts of windows to throw, and likely a lot of single, man-to-man coverage on the outside. With the right mix of Zeke, and the long drives we saw throughout 2016, and at times in 2017, Dak was able to remain a viable fantasy option and was in and out of the top 10 quarterbacks. Plus, without Dez demanding all of those targets, Dak can get back to his bread and butter: spreading the ball around the entire field.