Draft or Pass: Cowboys WR Michael Gallup Not Getting Enough Credit

Most fantasy fans are assuming Dallas Cowboys rookie WR CeeDee Lamb will unseat teammate Michael Gallup. SI Fantasy analyst Ben Heisler says, "Not so fast, my friends!"
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It's never too early to start your fantasy football research, and we at SI Fantasy want to provide you with the best information possible heading into your drafts. Our "Draft or Pass" video series takes a closer look at a fantasy player that will be debated often leading up to fantasy drafts. Are our hosts targeting this player specifically? Are they avoiding him entirely?

Today's video focuses on Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup.

Draft or Pass at current ADP (average draft position): 68 (WR31)

Now that we've dived into expectations for Dak Prescott, let’s take a closer look into one of his receivers with a fascinating outlook for 2020.

Michael Gallup is the wild card of the Cowboys offense.

Even with a two-year sample to evaluate his performance, many fantasy owners enter this season with both excitement and trepidation on where Gallup should be taken. He does not have the star power nor the nine-figure contract of teammate Amari Cooper. He also doesn’t have the first-round pedigree of new first-round pick CeeDee Lamb.

But Gallup is still a terrific talent, and even with both Cooper and Lamb in the mix, it’s a mistake to think he’s just going away.

Let's start by looking at last year. Granted, it's a new head coach in 2020, but it's still the same quarterback who targeted Gallup 113 times a season ago. He still caught 1,107 yards on just 66 receptions, averaging nearly 17 yards/catch. He also led the way with Dak Prescott in NFL Next Gen's "Catch Rate Above Expectation," a metric that determines how tight of a window a ball is thrown for expected completion.

Second, let’s bring up the aforementioned Mike McCarthy. While in Green Bay, he ran a variety of three-wide receiver sets with Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb quite successfully. As ESPN’s Mike Clay pointed out earlier, the Packers in three-WR sets ranked as high as first and as low as eighth in the NFL from 2007-2018.

And finally, Gallup isn’t most third receivers. Think of how the Rams used three-receiver sets the last few seasons with Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods on the outside and Cooper Kupp functioning out of the slot. All three of those receivers saw productive seasons, ranging from 15.2 - 16.9 FPPG (although Kupp did miss half of the season).

Over at CowboyMaven, Ritchie Whitt states his case for major expectations with the new “big three” receiver tandem in Dallas:

In the last three drafts, the Cowboys have spent two first-round picks and a third on receivers with the trade for Cooper and the selection of Gallup and Lamb. It's a bold strategy; one that better pay off.

In a 12-team PPR league, Gallup's ADP stands at 68, a mid-to-late sixth-round pick going as the WR31 off the board. The concerns of Gallup falling to the third-tier option in this offense this season are laughable considering his production from a season ago. If both he and Prescott hadn't taken the step forward together a season ago, I think the concern would be warranted. Instead, I'll jump on a top-six player in receiving yards per game at mid-round value.