The Dallas Cowboys have an abundance of stars on both sides of the ball headed into the 2022-23 season. But in the world of fantasy football (in most standard leagues at least) it's the offense that dictates wins and losses in your eight, 10, or 12-man league.
When it comes to skill positions on offense, Dallas has back a majority of its main contributors from last season with the glaring exception of new Cleveland Browns receiver Amari Cooper. Quarterback Dak Prescott had his second-career 4,000-yard passing season, while Ezekiel Elliott, despite the concerns of decline, was one of only seven 1,000-yard rushers last season. He also added 12 total touchdowns.
And with Cooper gone, CeeDee Lamb is set to step in as the clear choice for the No. 1 receiver role after being named to his first Pro Bowl last season. These three are essentially no-brainers in fantasy leagues that have even the slightest bit of competitiveness - and tight end Dalton Schultz probably belongs near this group as well.
But as far as the rest of the Cowboys roster goes, certain names remain on the fence for fantasy purposes. It's also worth noting that just because a player shouldn't be rostered doesn't mean they won't serve an important role in the actual games. Fantasy, of course, is all about the stat sheet.
So let's take a look at the Dallas roster and decide who's a must-have (cash), who should be saved on your roster for depth (stash), and who's just not ready to produce game-changing numbers in fantasy football this season (pass).
For reference: PPR means points per reception
Tony Pollard, Running Back - 8.7 PPR fantasy points per game in 2021
Let's get an easy one out of the way. Pollard is arguably Dallas' most dynamic offensive player and has steadily seen an increased workload in each of his three seasons. Ask some fans, and they'll tell you he might be deserving of No. 1 running back duties with Elliott seen as a player that could be past his prime.
But while Elliott is the thunder that can turn it on in the red zone when it matters most, Pollard is the lightning that can help win your matchup even on minimal touches. He only had two touchdowns last season, which leaves room for doubt, but can break one open on any given touch.
Plus, running back is arguably the most important position in fantasy due to injuries being commonplace for some of the league's best ball-carriers. Should Elliott deal with injuries again like he did for parts of last season, Pollard would automatically be a top choice in fantasy. But if all goes as planned, his likely 60-40 committee role in favor of Elliott doesn't make the Memphis product a lock to start every week, but he should rostered in every competitive league.
Michael Gallup, Receiver - 10.2 PPR fantasy points per game in 2021
Gallup's average points per week is a solid sign of what he can achieve when healthy upon returning as the clear No. 2 receiver next season. But recovering from a torn ACL brings with it questions of uncertainty when it comes to fantasy.
Playing in just nine games, Gallup commanded five or more targets in eight of those contests and has the sure-handed, tough-catch ability that makes week-winning scoring opportunities come more often.
He's best left on the waiver wire to begin the season, but adding him for depth in hopes of a mid-season return could end up playing major dividends late in the fantasy year. You'll have your opponent wondering why they didn't think of the same thing.
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James Washington, Receiver - 4.4 PPR fantasy points per game in 2021
This past season, Washington had the fewest targets (44), catches (24), receiving yards (285), and touchdowns (two) since his rookie year. He appeared in 15 games for the Steelers, but was barely on fantasy radar after proving he had some FLEX appeal in the two seasons prior. Competing for targets that were commanded by Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool proved too difficult to overcome.
Despite Washington's disappointing season also coming as a result of the aging arm of the retired Ben Roethlisberger, his big-play ability has been proven in the past and could show up with Prescott now tossing him the ball.
His staying power will remain a mystery upon the hopeful return of Gallup sometime during the middle of the season. But even as the eventual No. 3 receiver, Washington's downfield speed brings boom-or-bust potential that is worth gambling on in your 12-man league.
Jalen Tolbert, Receiver - PPR points: N/A
The fantasy production of rookies is always interesting to gauge. Their unpredictability makes them an exciting late-draft selection, but there's always a gamble on whether or not their adjustment to NFL life will translate to fantasy.
In Tolbert's case, the opportunity to contribute early on could come often with Gallup not expected to be ready for Week 1. Tolbert could be one of the more productive rookie receivers to start the year because of this, thought he'll still have to compete for targets with Washington. The former Pittsburgh Steeler is set to be ready for training camp after recovering from a foot injury.
For the beginning of the season at least, Tolbert is reliable for depth or as a potential FLEX in deeper leagues. But with that said, there's definitely some better options to look for on your league's waiver wire given his inexperience.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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