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2023 Fantasy Football Rankings: Preview for Every Player on the Dallas Cowboys

Updated: Jul 26, 2023


👆 Destroy your friends with a draft cheat sheet that they don't even know exists! 👆

What to expect from this article

Below, we will dive deep into what we can expect from the Cowboys' offense in 2023, including thorough fantasy football previews for Dak Prescott, Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup, and, unfortunately, Luke Schoonmaker and Jake Ferguson.


And for deep leaguers, Superflexers and dynasty leaguers, we will also discuss Deuce Vaughn, Malik Davis, Ronald Jones, Jalen Tolbert and Jalen Brooks at the bottom.


Each player preview will conclude with fantasy football rankings and suggestions for how to approach them in redraft, dynasty and best ball leagues (and superflex leagues for QBs).


2023 Fantasy Football Preview: Looking Back

2022 was another solid campaign from Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys, finishing with a 12-5 record—the 4th highest win percentage of McCarthy's 16-year coaching career—and defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card round before falling to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round.


They were strong statistically, finishing:

🟢 4th in scoring

🟡 11th in yards

🟢 6th in rushing attempts (McCarthy's best finish in 22 years as an NFL head coach or offensive coordinator)

🟡 9th in rushing yards (3rd best)

🟢 2nd in rushing TDs (best)

🟠 19th in passing attempts

🟡 14th in passing yards

🟡 9th in passing TDs


Good as they were, it was actually a step back from what they accomplished statistically in 2021, finishing 1st in scoring, 1st in yards, 12th in rushing attempts, 9th in rushing yards, 17th in rushing TDs, 6th in passing attempts, 2nd in passing yards and 3rd in passing TDs.


But don't get it twisted, Dallas has been a fantasy football goldmine under McCarthy over the last 2 seasons.


It's translated to the individual level as well, where:

🟢 Dak Prescott was fantasy football's QB 7 in 2021

🟠 (But, to be fair, Prescott was just the QB 19 in 2022)

🟢 Tony Pollard was the RB 28 in 2021 while playing 2nd fiddle to Ezekiel Elliott

🟢 Pollard was the RB 8 in 2022

🟢 Ezekiel Elliott was the RB 7 in 2021

🟡 Zeke was the RB 22 in 2022

🟢 CeeDee Lamb was the WR 19 in 2021 while sharing the spotlight with Amari Cooper

🟢 Lamb was the WR 5 in 2022

🟡 Amari Cooper was the WR 27 in 2021

🟢 Dalton Schultz was the TE 3 in 2021

🟢 Schultz was the TE 10 in 2022


Say what you want about the Dallas Cowboys—I certainly have—but there's no denying that they're an offense to target in fantasy football. Or, at least they were...


The biggest concern for the Dallas offense in 2023 and beyond is that Kellen Moore—the offensive coordinator that orchestrated top 10 offenses in 3 of the last 4 years—is out and Brian Schottenheimer—who has finished in the bottom half in offensive yards and points in is in 7 of 12 years as an offensive coordinator—is in.


So can we expect Dallas to be the fantasy football goldmine that it's been in recent years?

2023 Fantasy Football Preview: Looking Ahead

It's been a fairly busy offseason for the Cowboys. So far they've:


❌ Released RB Ezekiel Elliott (unsigned)


❌ Lost TE Dalton Schultz to free agency (Texans)


❌ (Foolishly) fired Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore


✅ Traded for WR Brandin Cooks


✅ Drafted Michigan TE Luke Schoonmaker with the 58th overall pick (round 2, pick 27)


✅ Drafted Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn with the 212th overall pick (round 6, pick 35)


✅ Drafted South Carolina WR Jalen Brooks with the 244th overall pick (round 7, pick 27)


✅ (Foolishly) hired Brian Schottenheimer as the new Offensive Coordinator


That's plenty of activity to shake up the fantasy football landscape in 2023.


Perhaps most impactful from a fantasy football standpoint is going from Kellen Moore to Brian Schottenheimer as the team's offensive coordinator.


Whereas Moore ran offenses that finished 1st, 14th, 1st and 11th in yards and 6th, 17th, 1st and 4th in points, Schottenheimer's 12 offenses with the Jets, Rams and Seahawks haven't been as successful, finishing:


🔴 25th, 26th, 16th, 20th, 11th, 25th, 23rd, 30th, 28th, 18th, 8th and 17th in yards

🟡 18th, 25th, 9th, 17th, 13th, 13th, 25th, 21st, 21st, 6th, 9th and 8th in scoring


The coordinator change is especially troubling in the passing game.


Whereas Moore ran offenses that finished 10th, 2nd, 6th and 19th in passing attempts, Schottenheimer's offenses finished:


🔴 21st, 23rd, 13th, 32nd, 18th, 17th, 17th, 28th, 23rd, 32nd, 23rd and 17th in pass attempts

🔴 17th, 25th, 16th, 31st, 22nd, 21st, 18th, 27th, 23rd, 27th, 14th and 16th in passing yards

🟠 22nd, 26th, 11th, 29th, 23rd, 9th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 5th, 4th and 3rd in passing TDs


Schottenheimer's resume is less miserable in the running game, where he's finished:

🟡 7th, 13th, 19th, 1st, 2nd, 16th, 22nd, 17th, 26th, 2nd, 3rd and 17th in rushing attempts

🟡 20th, 19th, 9th, 1st, 4th, 22nd, 19th, 19th, 20th, 1st, 4th, and 12th in rushing yards

🟡 9th, 30th, 5th, 3rd, 9th, 12th, 29th, 23rd, 17th, 11th, 15th and 19th in rushing TDs


TLDR: Losing Kellen Moore hurts. Dallas will shift their philosophy from one of the pass-heaviest coordinators in football—albeit one that still ran the ball plenty, never finishing lower than 15th in rushing attempts—to a one of the run-heaviest coordinators in football.


That's the opposite of what you want to see in fantasy football.


To be fair, it has been reported that Mike McCarthy—not Brian Schottenheimer—will call the plays for the Cowboys in 2023, but he's on the record stating he wants to "run the damn ball" and didn't exactly wrap up his play calling days in Green Bay as a top notch coordinator.


Ultimately, Dallas still has explosive personnel to make this offense a top 16—or even top 10—unit in the NFL again in 2023, but it's fair to expect a step back statistically from the offense as a whole.


Expect a run-heavy approach in 2023.


👇 With that all being said, let's do a thorough 2023 fantasy football preview of each and every fantasy-relevant player on the Dallas Cowboys! 👇

Dallas Cowboys Quarterbacks

Fantasy Football Rankings and Preview

🟡 QB Dak Prescott

2022 was a mediocre—at best—campaign from Dak Prescott.


Over 12 games, the 2016 4th round pick from Mississippi State averaged:

⚫ 16.6 fantasy points per game

⚫ 238.3 passing yards per game

⚫ 1.9 passing TDs per game (23 total)

⚫ 1.3 interceptions per game (15 total)

⚫ 15.2 rushing yards per game

⚫ 0.1 rushing TDs per game (1 total)


It was a far cry from what we've come to expect from Prescott.


In 84 career regular season games where he threw at least 18 passes (prior to 2022), Prescott averaged a strong:

⚫ 19.2 fantasy points per game

⚫ 262.5 passing yards per game

⚫ 1.7 TDs per game (143 total)

⚫ 0.6 interceptions per game (50 total)

⚫ 17.3 rushing yards per game

⚫ 0.3 rushing TDs per game (25 total)


Prescott was able to hit 15 or more fantasy points in 67% of his games before scoring 15+ in just 50% of his contests last year.


He also scored less than 10 fantasy points with greater frequency (17% vs his usual 15%) and more than 20 fantasy points with (far) less frequency (33% compared to his usual 49%).


There's no way to sugarcoat it; it was a down year for Prescott as he finished as fantasy's QB 16 after finishing as the QB 11 or better in all 5 seasons where he played at least 6 games.


To make matters worse, Prescott lost TE Dalton Schultz (5.9 targets, 4.1 catches and 41.7 yards per game with 17 TDs in his last 48 contests) and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, one of the more highly coveted OCs in the game.


To be fair, Dallas did sooth the loss of Schultz by acquiring Brandin Cooks (7.3 targets, 4.8 catches, 65.3 yards and 0.4 TDs per game in his career), but replacing Moore with archaic offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer hurts from a fantasy football standpoint.


Whereas Moore ran offenses that finished 1st, 1st and 11th in yards and 6th, 1st and 4th in scoring in 3 full seasons with Prescott, Schottenheimer's 12 offenses with the Jets, Rams and Seahawks haven't been as successful, finishing:


🔴 25th, 26th, 16th, 20th, 11th, 25th, 23rd, 30th, 28th, 18th, 8th and 17th in yards

🟡 18th, 25th, 9th, 17th, 13th, 13th, 25th, 21st, 21st, 6th, 9th and 8th in scoring


And it gets worse when looking specifically at the passing game...


Whereas Moore ran offenses that finished 10th, 2nd, 6th and 19th in passing attempts, Schottenheimer's offenses finished:


🔴 21st, 23rd, 13th, 32nd, 18th, 17th, 17th, 28th, 23rd, 32nd, 23rd and 17th in pass attempts

🔴 17th, 25th, 16th, 31st, 22nd, 21st, 18th, 27th, 23rd, 27th, 14th and 16th in passing yards

🟠 22nd, 26th, 11th, 29th, 23rd, 9th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 5th, 4th and 3rd in passing TDs


It's been mostly rough at the individual level for QBs under Schottenheimer, as just 5 of 12 QB 1s have been able to land inside the top 12 of fantasy QBs.


But it's also fair to wonder if that has to do with the players themselves, and there are some shining moments if you're searching for optimism:

A tweet discussing how we should approach the Dallas Cowboys in our 2023 fantasy football rankings

🟠 2006 - Chad Pennington was fantasy football's QB 17

🔴 2007 - Pennington was the QB 23

🟡 2008 - Brett Favre was the QB 15

🔴 2009 - Mark Sanchez was the QB 25

🟠 2010 - Sanchez was the QB 18

🟢 2011 - Sanchez was the QB 10

🟡 2012 - Sam Bradford was the QB 16

🟢 2013 - Bradford was the QB 12

🔴 2014 - Austin Davis and Shaun Hill combined for a QB 20 finish

🟢 2018 - Russell Wilson was the QB 9

🟢 2019 - Wilson was the QB 3

🟢 2020 - Wilson was the QB 6


To be fair, some of Russell Wilson's best years were under Schottenheimer, including 2 of his 3 best yardage outputs and 2 of his 3 best TD outputs, despite playing in offenses that finished 32nd, 23rd and 17th in passing attempts.


And Russ was easily the best QB that Schottenheimer worked with, lending credence to the idea that a career of poor passing game statistics may have been more about the players than the coach.


Russ' success provides optimism for Dak Prescott, who is arguably the 2nd best QB that Schottenheimer has worked with.


Also working in Prescott's favor—besides Brandin Cooks being a more-than-viable WR 2—is that last year's bed-shitting does put him on the positive regression radar.


In other words, he's likely to perform closer to his 84 game sample size of 19.2 fantasy points per game than last year's 12-game sample size of 16.6 points per game.


Vegas Sportsbooks seem to agree, projecting Prescott for over/under 3850.5 passing yards—which would be the 4th most of his 8 year career—and 26.5 passing TDs—which would be the 3rd most.


Not even factoring in rushing statistics, 3850 yards and 26 TDs would net Prescott 258 fantasy points, which would have made him fantasy's QB 13 last season and his well ahead of 2022's 198.6 fantasy points.


With regression—and Brandin Cooks—on his side but with Mike McCarthy/Brian Schottenheimer running an archaic system, Prescott should meet somewhere in the middle of last year's dud and his previous career finishes.


The 29 year old (30 in late July) is best approached as a back end QB 1 who will frustrate some weeks in 2023.


Dynasty Leagues: 🟡 Dak Prescott is currently the QB 11 in dynasty start ups. With no obvious "buy" or "sell" window, Prescott is merely a "hold" for those currently rostering him.


Redraft Leagues: 🟡 Dak Prescott is currently drafted as the QB 11 around pick 102 overall (mid 9th round) in 2023 PPR drafts.


The price is right and he's a fine late round QB 1, but I'd rather target Aaron Rodgers later and use this pick on Courtland Sutton, Michael Thomas, James Cook, Tua Tagovailoa, Antonio Gibson, Alvin Kamara, AJ Dillon, Samaje Perine, Skyy Moore or Odell Beckham.


I currently have Prescott at #102 in my 2023 Draft Rankings.


Prescott gets a slight bump in my attention if I spent a 2nd round pick on CeeDee Lamb, and I'll actively target Prescott if I get both Lamb and Brandin Cooks.


Superflex Leagues: 🟡 Dak Prescott is currently drafted as the QB 11 around pick 15 overall in Superflex startups. The price is fine, although I personally would likely opt for AJ Brown or Jonathan Taylor in that spot.


Best Ball Leagues: 🟡 Dak Prescott is currently drafted as the QB 12 around pick 106 overall (late 9th round) in Underdog best ball drafts.


If you have not taken a QB yet, Prescott is a good option as a late round, low end QB 1 you can consider pairing with another QB in the next 1-3 rounds (and another later).


If you have taken a QB at this point, skip Prescott and instead target Antonio Gibson, AJ Dillon, Skyy Moore, Samaje Perine, David Njoku or Pat Freiermuth (if you haven't taken a TE yet), Rashaad Penny or Odell Beckham.


Prescott gets a slight bump in my attention if I spent a 2nd round pick on CeeDee Lamb, and I'll actively target Prescott if I get both Lamb and Brandin Cooks.


Prescott has a safe floor and high ceiling, hitting 27 or more fantasy points in more games (27) than he's scored under 10 fantasy points (13).


Max best ball exposure: 25%

Dallas Cowboys Running Backs

Fantasy Football Rankings and Preview

🟢 RB Tony Pollard

2022 was a coming out party for Tony Pollard, setting career highs across the board with 232 touches—including 39 catches on 55 targets—for 1378 scrimmage yards and 12 TDs.


Splitting time with Ezekiel Elliott didn't stop Pollard from averaging 15.6 PPR points per game—on just 14.5 touches per game—and finishing as fantasy football's RB 8, his first career finish inside the top 27.


After Pollard out-gained Elliott by 410 scrimmage yards (1378 to 968) despite 16 fewer touches, Dallas released Zeke, freeing up a bonus 16.5 touches per game for Pollard to feast on in 2023 (insert Zeke "feed me" GIF...too soon?)


Beware the teeny tiny sample size, but in 3 career games that Pollard has played without Zeke, he's averaged a league-winning:

⚫ 28.9 PPR points per game

⚫ 19.3 touches per game—including 3.3 catches on 5.3 targets

⚫ 135.7 scrimmage yards per game

⚫ 2 TDs per game (6 total)


Pollard scored 31.2 PPR points against the 49ers in week 15 of 2020, 33.7 PPR points against the Bears in week 8 of 2022, and 21.8 PPR points against the Packers in week 10 of 2022.


Want a bigger sample size?


In 30 career regular season games where Pollard has handled at least 10 touches, he's averaged a supremely efficient:

⚫ 14.9 PPR points per game

⚫ 14.9 touches per game—including 2.7 catches on 3.4 targets

⚫ 88.1 scrimmage yards per game

⚫ 0.6 TDs per game (17 total)


And in 13 career games where he's handled at least 15 touches? Those averages spike to:

⚫ 19.6 PPR points per game

⚫ 18 touches per game—including 3.7 catches on 4.5 targets

⚫ 112.6 scrimmage yards per game

⚫ 0.8 TDs per game (10 total)


He's scored 15 or more PPR points in 7 of those 13 games—including 6 games over 20—with more games over 31 PPR points (3) than games under 11 PPR points (2).


There's other signs that suggest a potentially massive workload for the 2019 4th round pick from Memphis...


1) Dallas is currently projected by Vegas sportsbooks to reach at least 10 wins this season, implying that the Cowboys will play most of their games with a lead and need to kill the clock (AKA "run the damn ball" per coach Mike McCarthy, which leads me to my next point)...


2) In early March when asked about his time with fired offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, McCarthy was quoted saying things like "I want to run the damn ball so I can rest my defense." 👀 Which leads me to the next point...


3) The Cowboys replaced Kellen Moore with Brian Schottenheimer, an underachieving offensive mind who (somehow) has 12 full seasons as an NFL OC on his resume.


And as concerning as Schottenheimer's installment is for the passing game, it also means that Pollard *should* get all the work he can handle.


Whereas Moore ran offenses that finished 10th, 2nd, 6th and 19th in passing attempts, Schottenheimer's offenses finished:


🔴 21st, 23rd, 13th, 32nd, 18th, 17th, 17th, 28th, 23rd, 32nd, 23rd and 17th in pass attempts

🔴 17th, 25th, 16th, 31st, 22nd, 21st, 18th, 27th, 23rd, 27th, 14th and 16th in passing yards

🟠 22nd, 26th, 11th, 29th, 23rd, 9th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 5th, 4th and 3rd in passing TDs


But if there's one thing that Schottenheimer has done well(ish), it's run the damn football.


Schottenheimer's units have finished:

🟡 7th, 13th, 19th, 1st, 2nd, 16th, 22nd, 17th, 26th, 2nd, 3rd and 17th in rushing attempts

🟡 20th, 19th, 9th, 1st, 4th, 22nd, 19th, 19th, 20th, 1st, 4th, and 12th in rushing yards

🟡 9th, 30th, 5th, 3rd, 9th, 12th, 29th, 23rd, 17th, 11th, 15th and 19th in rushing TDs


Vegas sportsbooks are expecting a big year from Pollard as well, projecting him for over/under 1050.5 rushing yards—which would be a new career high—and 8.5 rushing TDs (he's had more than 4 in just one of four seasons; 9 last year).


And that's not including any work Pollard does in the receiving game (Pollard and Zeke combined for 78 targets, 56 catches, 463 receiving yards and 3 receiving TDs last season).


With 248 vacated touches, a promotion to the top of the depth chart, a favorable implied win total, proven week-winning ability and coaches that want to "run the damn ball," the 26 year old is best approached as a rock solid RB 1 who's only potential hurdle is season-long durability.


Dynasty Leagues: 🟢 Tony Pollard is currently the RB 15 in dynasty startup drafts. Entering his age 26 season, he's a strong hold for dynasty league managers. Rebuilding teams should be able to cash in on selling Pollard.


Redraft Leagues: 🟢 Tony Pollard is currently drafted as the RB 7 around pick 21 (late 2nd round) in 2023 PPR leagues. That's a more-than-fair price to pay for a sky's-the-limit RB 1.


He's great to pair with Christian McCaffrey or Austin Ekeler if you want two RBs out of the gate, but he's also fine as your RB 1 if you went with Justin Jefferson or Ja'Marr Chase.


(If you already took CMC or Ekeler and want to go elsewhere, consider Jaylen Waddle, Chris Olave, DeVonta Smith, Patrick Mahomes, Tee Higgins, Jalen Hurts or Josh Allen; I'd take Pollard—and Derrick Henry—over all of them but those are alternatives if you don't want to start RB-RB.)


I currently have Pollard at #19 in my 2023 Draft Rankings, 2(ish) spots ahead of where he's usually drafted.


Best Ball Leagues: 🟢 Tony Pollard is currently drafted as the RB 7 around pick 21 overall (late 2nd round) in Underdog best ball drafts. That's a more-than-fair price to pay for a sky's-the-limit RB 1.


He's great to pair with Christian McCaffrey or Austin Ekeler if you want two RBs out of the gate, but he's also fine as your RB 1 if you went with Justin Jefferson or Ja'Marr Chase.


(If you already took CMC or Ekeler and want to go elsewhere, consider Jaylen Waddle, Chris Olave, DeVonta Smith, Patrick Mahomes, Tee Higgins, Jalen Hurts or Josh Allen; I'd take Pollard—and Derrick Henry—over all of them but those are alternatives if you don't want to start RB-RB.)


Max best ball exposure: 25%


Note: At the bottom of this article, deep leaguers and dynasty leaguers can find analysis for Deuce Vaughn (rookie RB), Malik Davis (RB) and Ronald Jones (RB).

Dallas Cowboys Wide Receivers

Fantasy Football Rankings and Preview

🟢 WR CeeDee Lamb

In his first season not sharing the spotlight with Amari Cooper, 2022 was predictably the best year of CeeDee Lamb's 3-year career, setting new career highs in targets (156), catches (107), yards (1359), 1st downs (67) and TDs (9)—all while catching balls from Cooper Rush in 5 of 17 games.


He averaged 17.7 PPR points per game, finishing as fantasy football's WR 5, easily his best finish after landing at WR 19 and WR 24 in 2021 and 2020.


After 49 regular season games, the 2020 17th overall pick is averaging:

⚫ 15.2 PPR points per game

⚫ 7.9 targets per game

⚫ 5.3 catches per game

⚫ 69.3 yards per game

⚫ 0.4 TDs per game (20 total)


And in 18 career games that he's played without Amari Cooper, Lamb is averaging:

⚫ 17 PPR points per game

⚫ 8.9 targets per game

⚫ 6.1 catches per game

⚫ 76.3 yards per game

⚫ 0.5 TDs per game (9 total)


Lamb has scored 15 or more PPR points in 11 of those 18 games (61%), with more games over 20 PPR points (6) than games under 10 PPR points (4), including 2 week-busting games over 34 PPR points.


Heading into 2023, Dallas lost Dalton Schultz—5.9 targets per game in 2022—but traded for Brandin Cooks, a true WR 2 to run opposite of Lamb.


More concerning than any of that, however, is Dallas' shift from offensive whiz kid Kellen Moore to archaic offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.


Whereas Moore ran offenses that finished 1st, 1st and 11th in yards plus 6th, 1st and 4th in scoring in 3 full seasons with Dak Prescott, Schottenheimer's 12 offenses with the Jets, Rams and Seahawks haven't been nearly as successful, finishing:


🔴 25th, 26th, 16th, 20th, 11th, 25th, 23rd, 30th, 28th, 18th, 8th and 17th in yards

🟡 18th, 25th, 9th, 17th, 13th, 13th, 25th, 21st, 21st, 6th, 9th and 8th in scoring


And it gets worse when looking specifically at the passing game...


Whereas Moore ran offenses that finished 10th, 2nd, 6th and 19th in passing attempts, Schottenheimer's offenses finished:


🔴 21st, 23rd, 13th, 32nd, 18th, 17th, 17th, 28th, 23rd, 32nd, 23rd and 17th in pass attempts

🔴 17th, 25th, 16th, 31st, 22nd, 21st, 18th, 27th, 23rd, 27th, 14th and 16th in passing yards

🟠 22nd, 26th, 11th, 29th, 23rd, 9th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 5th, 4th and 3rd in passing TDs


That said, when diving deep into Schottenheimer's resume at the individual WR level, it's not all bad:


🟢 2006 - Laveranues Coles was fantasy football's WR 14

🟡 2006 - Jerricho Cotchery was fantasy football's WR 19

🟡 2007 - Laveranues Coles was fantasy football's WR 27

🟡 2007 - Jerricho Cotchery was fantasy football's WR 20

🟡 2008 - Laveranues Coles was fantasy football's WR 24

🟡 2008 - Jerricho Cotchery was fantasy football's WR 26

🟡 2009 - Jerricho Cotchery was fantasy football's WR 29

🟡 2010 - Santonio Holmes was fantasy football's WR 25

🟠 2010 - Braylon Edwards was fantasy football's WR 37

🟠 2011 - Santonio Holmes was fantasy football's WR 34

🟠 2011 - Plaxico Burress was fantasy football's WR 39

🟡 2012 - Danny Amendola was fantasy football's WR 28

🔴 2013 - No Rams WR finished inside the top 56

🟠 2014 - Brian Quick was fantasy football's WR 36

🟡 2018 - Tyler Lockett was fantasy football's WR 16

🟢 2019 - Tyler Lockett was fantasy football's WR 13

🟠 2019 - DK Metcalf was fantasy football's WR 33 as a rookie

🟢 2020 - DK Metcalf was fantasy football's WR 7

🟢 2020 - Tyler Lockett was fantasy football's WR 8


And as you can see, Schottenheimer rarely worked with WRs of CeeDee Lamb's caliber, and Russell Wilson is the only QB on this list that in the same ballpark as Dak Prescott (unless you count 39 year old Brett Favre in one year with the Jets).

A tweet about how to approach CeeDee Lamb's 2023 fantasy football rankings

Still, for what it's worth, Vegas sportsbooks appear to be expecting a run-heavy approach from Dallas that creates an alarmingly down year from Lamb, projecting him for just 1075.5 yards—which would e the 2nd lowest of his 4 year career—and 7.5 TDs.


(Of course, perhaps that just means an opportunity to smash the over for sports bettors.)


Lamb is best approached as a solid WR 1 in 2023 fantasy football leagues, but fantasy managers should brace themselves for a few disappointing weeks from time to time.


Dynasty Leagues: 🟢 CeeDee Lamb is currently the 4th WR selected in dynasty startups behind only Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase and AJ Brown. Still just 24 years old, Lamb is a strong "hold" for dynasty managers already rostering him.


Redraft Leagues: 🟢 CeeDee Lamb is currently drafted as the WR 7 around pick 11 overall (late 1st round) in 2023 PPR leagues.


While it's a perfectly fine spot to take Lamb, I frequently find myself instead preferring Stefon Diggs, AJ Brown and Bijan Robinson who sometimes fall to 11, or even Nick Chubb, Saquon Barkley or Jonathan Taylor who all are commonly drafted after Lamb.


I currently have Lamb at #13 overall in my 2023 Draft Rankings.


Best Ball Leagues: 🟢 CeeDee Lamb is currently drafted as the WR 7 around pick 11 overall (late 1st round) in best ball drafts on Underdog.


While it's a perfectly fine spot to take Lamb, I frequently find myself instead preferring Stefon Diggs, AJ Brown and Bijan Robinson who sometimes fall to 11, or even Nick Chubb, Saquon Barkley or Jonathan Taylor who all are commonly drafted after Lamb.


Max best ball exposure: 20%

🟢 WR Brandin Cooks

2022 was a year to forget for Brandin Cooks as the Houston Texans portion of his NFL career drew to a controversial close.


Beefing with the team, Cooks caught just 57 of 93 targets for 699 yards and 3 TDs—each of which were the 3rd lowest of his 9 year career.


It was just the 2nd time in the last 8 years that the 2014 20th overall pick (Saints) from Oregon State did not reach 1000 receiving yards.


After finishing no worse than WR 20 in 6 of the last 7 seasons, Cooks' was fantasy's WR 49 in 2022.


With Cooks clearly wanting out of the Texans kitchen (get it?), Houston traded Cooks to their interstate rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, in exchange for a 2023 5th round pick and a 2024 6th round pick.


Cooks projects as one of the better WR 2s in football opposite CeeDee Lamb in an offense that just vacated 163 targets when Dalton Schultz (5.9 targets per game) and Noah Brown (4.6) walked out the door (ironically, both left for the Houston Texans).


After 128 career regular season games of catching passes from Jared Goff, Drew Brees, Deshaun Watson, Tom Brady, Davis Mills, Tyrod Taylor and Kyle Allen, Brandin Cooks is averaging a strong:


⚫ 14.3 PPR points per game

⚫ 7.5 targets per game

⚫ 4.9 catches per game

⚫ 67.3 yards per game

⚫ 0.4 TDs per game (49 total)


A tweet about how to approach Brandin Cooks in 2023 fantasy football rankings

Fun fact: Brandin Cooks has touched the football 680 times in his career and has never once lost a fumble.


The 29 year old (30 in September) even has 50 career rushing attempts for 309 yards and 2 TDs.


Somewhat boom/bust in his career, Cooks has scored fewer than 10 PPR points in 46 of 128 career games (36%), but he's also scored 15 or more PPR points in 50 of 128 games (39%).


He's had a flashy ceiling in the past too, hitting 20 PPR points in 30 of 128 games (23%), including 6 bangers over 30 PPR points (5%).


Most concerning for Cooks 2023 projection is that he will be the clear 2nd option in Dallas, an offense that may very well be one of the run-heaviest units in football with the marriage of Mike "run the damn ball" McCarthy and Brian "ok I will" Schottenheimer.


Whereas former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore ran offenses that finished 1st, 1st and 11th in yards plus 6th, 1st and 4th in scoring in 3 full seasons with Dak Prescott, Schottenheimer's 12 offenses as an OC with the Jets, Rams and Seahawks have finished:


🔴 25th, 26th, 16th, 20th, 11th, 25th, 23rd, 30th, 28th, 18th, 8th and 17th in yards

🟡 18th, 25th, 9th, 17th, 13th, 13th, 25th, 21st, 21st, 6th, 9th and 8th in scoring


And it gets worse when looking specifically at the passing game...


Whereas Moore ran offenses that finished 10th, 2nd, 6th and 19th in passing attempts, Schottenheimer's offenses finished:


🔴 21st, 23rd, 13th, 32nd, 18th, 17th, 17th, 28th, 23rd, 32nd, 23rd and 17th in pass attempts

🔴 17th, 25th, 16th, 31st, 22nd, 21st, 18th, 27th, 23rd, 27th, 14th and 16th in passing yards

🟠 22nd, 26th, 11th, 29th, 23rd, 9th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 5th, 4th and 3rd in passing TDs


That said, the individual production at WR hasn't been all that bad under Schottenheimer, and there's a documented history of Schottenheimer's offenses supporting two pass catchers despite barely throwing the football:


🟢 2006 - Laveranues Coles was fantasy football's WR 14

🟡 2006 - Jerricho Cotchery was fantasy football's WR 19

🟡 2007 - Laveranues Coles was fantasy football's WR 27

🟡 2007 - Jerricho Cotchery was fantasy football's WR 20

🟡 2008 - Laveranues Coles was fantasy football's WR 24

🟡 2008 - Jerricho Cotchery was fantasy football's WR 26

🟡 2009 - Jerricho Cotchery was fantasy football's WR 29

🟡 2010 - Santonio Holmes was fantasy football's WR 25

🟠 2010 - Braylon Edwards was fantasy football's WR 37

🟠 2011 - Santonio Holmes was fantasy football's WR 34

🟠 2011 - Plaxico Burress was fantasy football's WR 39

🟡 2012 - Danny Amendola was fantasy football's WR 28

🔴 2013 - No Rams WR finished inside the top 56

🟠 2014 - Brian Quick was fantasy football's WR 36

🟡 2018 - Tyler Lockett was fantasy football's WR 16

🟢 2019 - Tyler Lockett was fantasy football's WR 13

🟠 2019 - DK Metcalf was fantasy football's WR 33 as a rookie

🟢 2020 - DK Metcalf was fantasy football's WR 7

🟢 2020 - Tyler Lockett was fantasy football's WR 8


In 2023, Brandin Cooks is best approached as a boom/bust WR 3 with upside for a WR 2 finish in Dak Prescott's offense. He's certain to mix a few duds in with a few week-winning performances in 2023.


Currently being drafted around WR 44, Cooks looks like one of the draft day steals of 2023.


Dynasty Leagues: 🟡 Now entering his age 30 season, Brandin Cooks is currently drafted as the WR 48 in dynasty startup drafts. He's a strong "buy low" option for teams that are looking to compete this season (and rebuilding teams shouldn't hesitate to "sell," but Cooks value might be depressed after a down year).


Redraft Leagues: 🟢 Brandin Cooks is currently being drafted as fantasy's WR 43 around pick 83 overall (late 7th round) in 2023 PPR drafts.


Cooks is currently #68 overall in my 2023 Draft Rankings, way ahead of his current #83 ADP. He's one of 2023's biggest draft day steals.


Best Ball Leagues: 🟢 Brandin Cooks is currently being drafted as fantasy's WR 43 around pick 84 overall (7th-8th round turn) in 2023 PPR drafts.


Cooks is currently #68 overall in my 2023 Draft Rankings, way ahead of his current #83 ADP. He's one of 2023's biggest draft day steals.


Max best ball exposure: 25%

🟡 WR Michael Gallup

2022 was another down year from Michael Gallup, his 3rd in a row since going for 1100+ yards and 6 TDs in 2019.


The 2018 3rd round pick from Colorado State caught just 33 of 68 passes (both the 3rd lowest of his 5 year career) for just 424 yards (the fewest of his career) and 4 TDs (3rd fewest).


Averaging just 7.5 PPR points per game as the Cowboys' WR 2, Gallup finished as fantasy's WR 66, his 3rd season outside of the top 65 and his 4th season outside of the top 37.


After 68 career regular season games, Gallup is averaging:

⚫ 10 PPR points per game

⚫ 6.2 targets per game

⚫ 3.4 catches per game

⚫ 48.9 yards per game

⚫ 0.3 TDs per game (19 total)


He's scored 15 or more PPR points in 12 of 68 career regular season games (18%), but he's scored fewer than 10 PPR points per game in 41 of those 68 games (60%).


Heading into 2023, Dalton Schultz (5.9 targets per game) and Noah Brown (4.6) left for Houston, theoretically freeing up 163 targets in the offense, but Dallas also traded for Brandin Cooks, who should be one of the better WR 2s in all of football and command his fair share of targets.


Also concerning for Gallup's 2023 outlook is that Dallas parted ways with one of the better offensive coordinators in football (Kellen Moore) and replaced him with run-heavy Brian Schottenheimer, who somehow keeps getting a job despite 12 seasons of very little—if any—success as an NFL offensive coordinator.


Whereas former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore ran offenses that finished 1st, 1st and 11th in yards plus 6th, 1st and 4th in scoring in 3 full seasons with Dak Prescott, Schottenheimer's 12 offenses as an OC with the Jets, Rams and Seahawks have finished:


🔴 25th, 26th, 16th, 20th, 11th, 25th, 23rd, 30th, 28th, 18th, 8th and 17th in yards

🟡 18th, 25th, 9th, 17th, 13th, 13th, 25th, 21st, 21st, 6th, 9th and 8th in scoring


And it gets worse when looking specifically at the passing game...


Whereas Moore ran offenses that finished 10th, 2nd, 6th and 19th in passing attempts, Schottenheimer's offenses finished:


🔴 21st, 23rd, 13th, 32nd, 18th, 17th, 17th, 28th, 23rd, 32nd, 23rd and 17th in pass attempts

🔴 17th, 25th, 16th, 31st, 22nd, 21st, 18th, 27th, 23rd, 27th, 14th and 16th in passing yards

🟠 22nd, 26th, 11th, 29th, 23rd, 9th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 5th, 4th and 3rd in passing TDs


Gallup has the talent and upside to pop for the occassional big game.


But clearly running behind CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup in an offense that figures to throw (a lot) less than they have in recent years, consistency and predictability are going to be hard to come by with Gallup in 2023.


The 27 year old is best approached as a WR 5 with talent-based upside for more if he can find consistent work in a talented Cowboys offense.


Dynasty Leagues: 🟡 Entering his age 27 season, Gallup is currently drafted as the WR 70 in dynasty startup drafts. He's a "hold" for those currently rostering him and a possible "buy low" candidate if you think his 1100 yard season wasn't a fluke.


Redraft Leagues: 🟡 Michael Gallup is currently drafted as fantasy football's WR 61 around pick 135 overall (early 12th round) in 2023 PPR leagues.


It's an acceptable price to pay and the upside is there—especially with an injury to CeeDee Lamb and/or Brandin Cooks—but Zay Jones, Rondale Moore, Aaron Rodgers, Jerick McKinnon, Elijah Mitchell, Jamaal Williams, Tank Bigsby, Adam Thielen, Jonathan Mingo and others are also worthy of consideration in that range.


Gallup is currently #135 overall in my 2023 Draft Rankings, perfectly in line with his current ADP.


Best Ball Leagues: 🟡 Michael Gallup is currently drafted as fantasy football's WR 61 around pick 135 overall (early 12th round) in Underdog best ball drafts.


It's an acceptable price to pay and the upside is there—especially with an injury to CeeDee Lamb and/or Brandin Cooks—but I'm much more likely to use that draft pick on Aaron Rodgers, Jamaal Williams, Greg Dulcich, Jared Goff, Dalton Kincaid, Russell Wilson, Jaylen Warren, Dalton Schultz, Tank Bigsby, Jonathan Mingo, Adam Thielen, Kendre Miller, Tyler Higbee, Derek Carr or Gerald Everett.


Gallup is currently #135 overall in my 2023 Draft Rankings, perfectly in line with his current ADP.


Max best ball exposure: 15%


Note: At the bottom of this article, deep leaguers and dynasty leaguers can find analysis for Jalen Tolbert (WR) and Jalen Brooks (rookie WR).

Dallas Cowboys Tight Ends

Fantasy Football Rankings and Preview

🟠 TE Luke Schoonmaker

With the 58th overall pick (2nd round, 27th pick) in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Michigan TE Luke Schoonmaker.


The expensive draft capital plus the idea of Schoonmaker "replacing" Dalton Schultz—who was a top 12 TE in each of the last 3 seasons—will trick fantasy football managers into thinking Schoonmaker is a fantasy football weapon.


He's not. At least not in 2023.


Schoonmaker is a geriatric rookie who will be 25 years old in September and missed valuable time in OTAs while dealing with plantar fasciitis.


The missed time is especially valuable for a rookie who showed very little upside as a receiver in college, hitting 166 receiving yards—in a season—just once in his collegiate career.


So why would Dallas draft him so high?


Schoonmaker is a terrific blocker—another sign that Mike McCarthy/Brian Schottenheimer and company will run the ball as much as possible—and a high-end athlete on a team with a wide open question mark on the TE portion of the depth chart; Schoonmaker will only need to beat out UDFA Peyton Hendershot and 2022 4th rounder Jake Ferguson.


But Schoonmaker's age, lack of production as a receiver, and fantasy football's history of rookie TEs being bad bets make Schoonmaker someone to avoid in 2023.


Dynasty Leagues: 🟠 Already entering his age 25 season even though he's a rookie, Luke Schoonmaker is currently the TE 24 in dynasty startups. He's #44 in BBFF's rookie rankings.


Redraft Leagues: 🔴 Luke Schoonmaker—or any Cowboys TE—doesn't belong on the 2023 fantasy football radar.


Best Ball Leagues: 🔴 Luke Schoonmaker—or any Cowboys TE—doesn't belong on the 2023 fantasy football radar.


Max best ball exposure: 0%

🔴 TE Jake Ferguson

With the 129th overall pick (4th round) in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson.


Ferguson appeared in 16 games as a rookie, catching 19 of 22 targets for 174 yards and 2 TDs, most notably popping up in week 6 for 4 catches (6 targets) for 40 yards and 1 TD with Dalton Schultz on the shelf.


Schultz—who was a top 12 TE in each of the last 3 seasons—is in Houston now, theoretically freeing up 5+ targets per game.


But Brandin Cooks is in and the Cowboys spent their 2nd round pick on Michigan TE Luke Schoonmaker, a terrific blocker who's signing further hints at a run heavy approach from Mike "run the damn ball" McCarthy and Brian "fine I will" Schottenheimer.


Ferguson is 24 years old—3 months younger than the rookie Schoonmaker—and likely to start the season as Dallas' nominal TE 1.


But that's a trap if fantasy managers are expecting Ferguson—or any Cowboys TE—to be "the new Dalton Schultz."


Regardless of where they land on the TE depth chart, Ferguson, Schoonmaker and Peyton Hendershot will all be well behind CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup for targets on a team that might be one of the most run heavy units in all of football.


None of these guys should be on the 2023 fantasy football radar.


Dynasty Leagues: 🔴 Jake Ferguson—or any Cowboys TE—doesn't belong on the 2023 fantasy football radar.


Redraft Leagues: 🔴 Jake Ferguson—or any Cowboys TE—doesn't belong on the 2023 fantasy football radar.


Best Ball Leagues: 🔴 Jake Ferguson—or any Cowboys TE—doesn't belong on the 2023 fantasy football radar.


Max best ball exposure: 0%

Other Names to Know for Dynasty Leaguers and Super Flexers

See below for analysis on:

⚫ RB Deuce Vaughn (rookie)

⚫ RB Malik Davis

⚫ RB Ronald Jones

⚫ WR Jalen Tolbert

⚫ WR Jalen Brooks (rookie)


🟠 RB Deuce Vaughn (rookie)

With the 212th overall pick (round 6, pick 35), the Dallas Cowboys selected Deuce Vaughn, a 21 year old RB from Kansas State.


Vaughn went berserk at KState, compiling an absurd 3,430 scrimmage yards on workhorse touches over his final 2 years in college.


He's an elite receiver with burst, lateral quickness, vision and patience behind the line, and Dallas is already on the public record stating that they see Vaughn as a "weapon that can do explosive things."


So what's the problem?


Vaughn is about as teeny tiny as it gets for NFL players, entering the NFL at 5'5" and 179 pounds. There's almost no chance he'll ever get the type of rushing volume that RBs usually need to sustain a useful floor and make consistent noise in fantasy football.


That said, he is a dynamic playmaker and a terrific receiver that's entering a Cowboys RB room that's led by pending free agent Tony Pollard—who is entering his first year as a lead back, creating questions about his durability—with only castoff Ronald Jones and UDFA Malik Davis on the depth chart


In other words, there's a very real chance that Vaughn can work his way into the RB 2 role for Dallas and carve out work as a 3rd down receiver.


Still, Vaughn is off the radar—for now—in normal sized leagues and his long term ceiling is likely limited to/dependent on his receiving production. That's potentially useful in deep PPR dynasty leagues, but Vaughn is unlikely to make any year 1 noise without a Tony Pollard injury.


Dynasty Leagues: 🟠 Deuce Vaughn is currently #40 in BBFF's rookie rankings. He's likely to be an exciting real life NFL player, but not someone that can be relied on in fantasy football.

🟠 RB Malik Davis

Malik Davis is a name to know solely because he has a chance to operate as the Cowboys' RB 2 after the release of Ezekiel Elliott.


Tony Pollard is the new, unquestioned RB 1 in Dallas—with fair question marks surrounding whether or not he can hold up under workhorse workloads—and competition for RB 2 is between Davis (an undrafted free agent), Ronald Jones (a castoff from the Buccaneers and Chiefs) and Deuce Vaughn (a 6th round rookie).


Of course, with just 44 touches—including 6 catches on 7 targets—for 224 scrimmage yards and 1 TD on his entire resume, Davis hasn't done much to emphatically suggest he should be the team's RB 2 for an entire season.


Still, he's suddenly the 2nd most tenured Dallas RB on the team, likely giving him the early edge on the rookie and the free agent.


The 24 year old (25 in November) isn't on the radar in normal sized leagues, but he could be a popular waiver wire pickup if anything happened to Pollard.

🟠 RB Ronald Jones

Ronald Jones is a name to have in the back of your mind solely because he has a chance to compete for the Cowboys' RB 2 role after the release of Ezekiel Elliott.


Tony Pollard is the new, unquestioned RB 1 in Dallas—with fair question marks surrounding whether or not he can hold up under workhorse workloads—and competition for RB 2 is between Jones (a castoff from the Buccaneers and Chiefs), Malik Davis (an undrafted free agent), and Deuce Vaughn (a 6th round rookie).


Jones' career has been in a downward spiral since a career-best 2020 campaign where he handled 220 touches—including 28 catches on 42 targets—for 1143 scrimmage yards and 8 TDs in 14 games for Tom Brady's Buccaneers.


He played 16 games in 2021, but was eliminated from the offense in favor of leonard Fournette, handling just 111 touches—including just 10 catches on 13 targets—for just 492 scrimmage yards and 4 TDs.


The Bucs 2018 2nd round pick from USC signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in 2022—an intriguing landing spot considering Clyde Edwards-Helaire's career struggles and Kansas City's uncertainty at RB—but was a healthy scratch until week 11 where he finally appeared in 6 games and finished with just 18 touches—including 1 target/catch—for 92 yards and 1 TD (most of which came in a meaningless week 17 game).


Now, in 2023, RoJo has a chance to compete with a UDFA and a 6th round rookie for work behind Tony Pollard in an offense that should be one of the run-heavier units in football this year.


Over 55 career regular season games, Jones is averaging:

⚫ 8.2 PPR points per game

⚫ 10.2 touches per game

⚫ 1.9 targets per game

⚫ 1.4 catches per game

⚫ 50.1 scrimmage yards per game

⚫ 0.3 TDs per game (19 total)


For what it's worth, on the off chance RoJo does get a chance to handle double digit touches, he has 29 career games with 10 or more touches, averaging a decent:

⚫ 12.3 PPR points per game

⚫ 15.3 touches per game

⚫ 2 catches on 2.7 targets per game

⚫ 80 scrimmage yards per game

⚫ 0.4 TDs per game (13 total)


He's been able to score 15 or more PPR points in 11 of those 29 contests (38%), including 3 games over 22 PPR points.


Of course, he also landed below 10 PPR points in another 11 of those 29 games (38%).


Unfortunately for Jones, reports from Cowboys camp suggest that Malik Davis and Deuce Vaughn appear to have the edge on the 5-year veteran. But as we know, things change fast in football, and we're wrong about a lot.


The 25 year old (26 in August) isn't on the radar in normal sized leagues, but he could be a popular waiver wire pickup if anything happened to Pollard.

🟠 WR Jalen Tolbert

With the 88th overall pick (3rd round) in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert.


At 6'3" and 190 pounds, there was some preseason hype and optimism that Tolbert would step into a fantasy-relevant role as the possible WR 2 for Dallas With Amari Cooper out of town door and Michael Gallup battling injury.


He proceeded to catch 2 passes in 8 games for 12 scoreless yards.


Cool cool. Cool cool cool.


Heading into 2023, Tolbert is no better than 4th in line for targets behind CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup in an offense that will likely be one of the run-heaviest units in football after the union of Mike "run the damn ball" McCarthy and Brian "I'd love to" Schottenheimer.


And with Lamb and Cooks under contract through 2024 and Gallup signed through 2026, it's hard to see Tolbert making any kind of noise in fantasy football any time soon.


Already 24 years old and stuck behind Lamb, Cooks and Gallup for years to come, Tolbert needs a string of injuries to enter the fantasy football conversation.


He's a great "buy low" in dynasty IF you believe the talent is worth waiting for.


I'm just moving on and revisiting this conversation again next year.


🔴 WR Jalen Brooks (rookie)

With the 244th overall pick (round 7, pick 27) in the 2023 draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected South Carolina WR Jalen Brooks.


Brooks ran the slowest 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and has a miniscule college production profile.


#NotGood and stuck behind CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup and Jalen Tolbert—at a minimum—for years to come, Brooks can be avoided in every format.


Dynasty Leagues: 🔴 Jalen Brooks is the very last pick (#57) in BBFF's rookie rankings, and I literally just added him right now.

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