We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2021 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.
The first five games of the 2020 Dallas Cowboys were a magical time. The fantasy football business was booming, as essentially every key contributor found themselves ranked among the top producers at their position:
- Dak Prescott fantasy QB4
- Ezekiel Elliott RB3
- Amari Cooper WR8
- CeeDee Lamb WR11
- Michael Gallup WR33
- Dalton Schultz TE12
They scored only 17 points against the Los Angeles Rams to open the year but then ripped off totals of 40, 31, 38 and 37 before losing Prescott for the season. Yes, the defense was almost equally as bad as the offense was great. Also yes, this combination tends to be a fantastic combination in fantasy land as opposed to real life.
What follows is a breakdown on the main pieces of the Cowboys’ devastatingly effective aerial attack as well as what to make of them as fantasy assets ahead of 2021.
Cooper deserves to be in any argument surrounding the league’s top-five route-runners
Anyone selected as the No. 4 overall pick of the NFL Draft faces heightened expectations during their career, and Cooper is no exception. After relatively tame 72-1,070-6, 83-1,153-5 and 48-680-7 receiving lines in his first three years with the Oakland Raiders, the Cowboys acquired Cooper's services halfway through the 2018 season.
All Cooper has done since is become one of the league’s top players at his position:
- PFF receiving grade: 88.5 (No. 15 among 92 qualified wide receivers)
- QB rating when targeted: 110.6 (No. 21)
- Receptions: 224 (No. 7)
- Receiving yards: 3,028 (No. 5)
- Receiving touchdowns: 19 (tied for No. 7)
- Yards per reception: 13.5 (tied for No. 37)
- Yards per route run: 2.06 (tied for No. 15)
- Percentage of catchable passes that were caught: 92.6% (No. 14)
Sometimes the results have been borderline not safe for work.
That time Amari Cooper killed a guypic.twitter.com/5vpstbOhwZ
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) February 2, 2021
Cooper finished as the WR15 in PPR points per game in 2019 and the WR21 in 2020. The Cowboys have 100 million reasons to continue to treat Cooper as their No. 1 pass-game option, a role that was fully on display during the first five weeks of last season before Prescott went down. Overall, only four players had at least 50 targets in Weeks 1-5, 2020:
Of course, Cooper isn’t the only stud receiver in this Cowboys offense.
Lamb looks a lot like the position’s next-big thing
It’s been next to impossible to scroll through Twitter in recent weeks without being bombarded by Lamb’s training camp escapades. One highlight reel catch after another has graced the ole timeline, with Lamb seemingly making an early play at reaching his immense potential.