2023 Dallas Cowboys Team Preview

Jun 12th 2023

Hayden Winks

The Dallas Cowboys are handing the keys of the offense to coach Mike McCarthy. What can go wrong? We can draft all of his players on Underdog Fantasy with promo code 'UNDERBLOG' to match your first deposit up to $100. We have the biggest fantasy football tournament of all time ($15M) right now.

2022 Dallas Cowboys Advanced Stats

The Cowboys have been 2nd, 1st, and 2nd in neutral offensive pace over the last three years. In Mike McCarthy's last three seasons as play caller in GB, his offenses ranked 20th, 25th, and 19th. That's the primary downside risk, but Dallas finishing 1st in red zone TD rate last year likely regresses, too. It's possible this offense has peaked, though anything outside the top-10 in EPA per play would be disappointing still.

2023 Dallas Cowboys Starting Lineups

3-WR Sets (16th in snaps, 63% of snaps)

  • WR: Brandin Cooks --> Simi Fehoko

  • WR: Michael Gallup --> Jalen Tolbert

  • SLOT: CeeDee Lamb --> KaVontae Turpin

  • TE: Jake Ferguson --> Peyton Hendershot

2-WR Sets (13th in snaps, 27% of snaps)

  • WR: CeeDee Lamb --> Jalen Tolbert

  • WR: Brandin Cooks --> Michael Gallup

  • SLOT TE: Peyton Hendershot

  • INLINE TE: Jake Ferguson --> Luke Schoonmaker (R)

RB Usage (5th in expected half PPR)

  • GOAL LINE: Tony Pollard --> Ronald Jones

  • PASSING DOWN: Tony Pollard --> Malik Davis

Offensive Line (top five unit)

  • LT: Tyron Smith (only 401 snaps last year)

  • LG: Tyler Smith (good rookie year at LT)

  • C: Tyler Biadisz (average returning starter)

  • RG: Zack Martin (32yo future Hall Of Famer)

  • RT: Terence Steele (solid returning starter)

2023 Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Preview

Dak Prescott ran into some INTs (many of which weren't his fault), leading to a relatively quiet fantasy season. He was the QB14 in 2022 after a QB9 year in his return from a broken ankle. Prescott's rushing averages rebounded to career norms, but he threw five (5) fewer passes per game and didn't have as many downfield hits. Coach Mike McCarthy likely plays more ball control than we're used to as the undoubted play caller with a very strong defense, so Prescott likely struggles breaking out of the fantasy QB1/2 border. His OL is a definite plus, and his WR room is a tier better this year at least.

CeeDee Lamb is coming off his best year (2.4 yards per route run). He looked stronger to me, which helped him finish as the WR8 and 19th overall player in fantasy points over replacement per game. Lamb saw 2.0 more targets per game more with Amari Cooper out of town, and he slid back into his more natural possession slot position. His volume could tick slightly downwards with McCarthy playing very conservatively and with better receivers around him, but Lamb is safely a top-15 option with top-5 upside... Brandin Cooks was traded for a 5th- and future 6th-round pick and should slide in as a vertical threat next to Lamb. His target dominant years are likely behind him after a 4th-straight season with a declining yards per route run (1.6), but he fits well with Dak who isn't afraid to throw it downfield. Cooks will be 30 years old this year and is coming off a WR54 season... Michael Gallup will battle Cooks for similar looks, but he has to win on the line of scrimmage and near the sideline more often. Those factors leave Gallup as a no-floor homerun threat in fantasy, and the floor showed up last year. Gallup wasn't himself on tape, and he had a -12.4 completion percentage over expected on his deep targets. Regression and health should work in Gallup's favor at a depressed ADP, but he is a classic better in best ball asset who may never return to his old self. Last year's 0.9 YPRR is troubling, but he'll get tons of snaps because he's in year two of a 5-year, $53M contract.

Dalton Schultz leaves behind 76th and 85th overall finishes to an unsettled TE depth chart. Blocking specialist Luke Schoonmaker was drafted in Round 2, but he was a sub-par receiving prospect and missed the first months of the Cowboys' offseason with a foot injury. Any production from him would be a bonus. Instead, I turn towards Jake Ferguson (6'5/244), who mixed in as an inline option last year. He has near every-down role upside, and Fergie also had a 1.8 yards per route run in limited work as a rookie last year, after great college production at Wisconsin. He'll try to hold off 2022 UDFA Peyton Hendershot, who is more of a slot TE. They both saw 12 targets when Schultz was off the field last year, but Ferguson did more with his. This is a camp battle worth tracking.

Tony Pollard ran absolutely pure last year (again), scoring +4.7 TDs above expected. That rate likely dips next year, especially if his broken leg has any lingering effects, but Ezekiel Elliott had a whopping 10.2 expected TDs compared to Pollard's 7.3. Combining them would would make Pollard a potential RB1 overall candidate if he can handle a bigger-than-usual workload. He was the RB8 while running hot as a change-of-pace. The Cowboys likely look at some bigger backs before the season starts, with Malik Davis (5'10/207), Deuce Vaughn (4'5/128), and Ronald Jones (5'11/208) combining for one of the smallest rooms in the NFL. Davis has some burst but got tangled at the LOS and didn't force missed tackles in a small sample.

2023 Dallas Cowboys Fantasy ADPs

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  • WR7 CeeDee Lamb (10.7 overall) --> Mixing in

  • RB7 Tony Pollard (22.3) --> Buying

  • WR43 Brandin Cooks (82.5) --> Soft fading

  • QB11 Dak Prescott (99.2) --> Mixing in

  • WR58 Michael Gallup (129.0) --> Buying

  • TE30 Jake Ferguson (209.9) --> Buying

  • RB67 Deuce Vaughn (213.3) --> Fading

  • RB76 Malik Davis (215.5) --> Mixing in