Cowboys Fantasy Football Wire

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With two preseason games in the books, your fantasy football league is probably gearing up for draft day. Most leagues hold draft day toward the end of August, when fantasy owners have a pretty good sense of who is going to be a starter, who is a flash-in-the-pan player, and who is simply a roster cut waiting to happen.

The Cowboys disappointed fans and fantasy owners last season with a porous defense and an anemic offense, but numerous offseason acquisitions and key players returning from injury last season will open up opportunities to snag players who may have breakout years for fantasy teams.

Cowboys backup QB Garrett Gilbert has handled first-team snaps since the beginning of training camp. Gilbert started both preseason games and played the entire first half of both matches without scoring a touchdown. There is no doubt that Dak Prescott will be QB1 when the season starts, but we’ve yet to see if his surgically-repaired ankle is as good to go as training staff has indicated. Prescott has not been participating in throwing drills since spraining his shoulder on the first day of pads. It’s common for players coming off big injuries to have limited snaps in preseason, but coupled with a new injury, it might be a few weeks before Prescott takes off for fantasy owners.

Like Prescott, fans have seen very little of WR Amari Cooper in the preseason. Cooper underwent surgery on his ankle in the offseason for what the team describes as “a cleanup procedure.” Cooper said in early August that he is beginning to work on route running drills with the trainers, but has not suited up for the team as of yet. Head Coach Mike McCarthy has said that he anticipates Cooper being game-ready by Week 1 and he could see action as soon as the third preseason game.

CeeDee Lamb will be one of the biggest risks for receiving corps players out of the Cowboys locker room. Lamb had a stellar rookie season in 2020, but the loss of Prescott significantly derailed Lamb’s options for putting up big numbers. In year two, Lamb will either be one of the best WR2 options or a total bust. It’s just unlikely that he will have a mediocre season.

Cowboys running back Ezekial Elliot is looking to bounce back from a statistically down year for him, despite putting up numbers many RB1 players on other teams would have loved. Elliot suffered a calf bruise and contracted Covid-19 last season while trying to find his way in an offense that featured a carousel of QBs. Prescott said that Elliot is in better shape than at any point in his playing career and has been working on footwork drills to improve his quickness in the offseason. He’s probably going to be one of the top running backs in your league’s draft, whether you’re a Cowboys fan or not.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys have a bevy of new, young players along with a few once-great cast-offs from other clubs as they look for resurrection after the disappointing 2020 season that saw the unit picked on by almost every offense they faced.

First-round pick Micah Parsons is demonstrating why he was taken so high in 2021, getting involved on almost every play he is on the field for. Parsons is a big, burly linebacker with a motor that doesn’t quit and an appetite for destruction behind the line of scrimmage. He’s an upgrade for the defense and likely a great pick for your fantasy team.

So far in the preseason, newly-hired defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is showing that he knew what he was doing in bringing in new players and working with the line to improve play. Despite dropping two preseason contests, the first-team starters who have played are on another level than last year.

Key to the success of the defense will be the return of Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence is rehabbing from off-season back surgery but is expected to be ready to play on Week 1. Whether the lack of snaps in preseason will affect his play is yet to be shown, but for this unit to function at the expected level, Lawrence is going to need to be 100 percent when the season starts.

It’s still early to make too many predictions about how Cowboys players will do in fantasy football this season. Final roster cuts won’t happen until the Tuesday after the final preseason game, so there is a possibility that some of the lesser-known players may make the jump to starter and provide fantasy owners the opportunity to score otherwise overlooked options.

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