Every summer, we take a deep dive into the fantasy football average draft position (ADP) of players on each real-life NFL team. We do this so that we can determine which guys are undervalued, overvalued, or valued just right. As we Goldilocks this ADP, our draft board forms based on our opinions of players and where they go in fantasy football drafts. Since drafters draft (mostly) by site algorithms, site algorithms drive ADP on that site. So, we use FantasyPros’ aggregate average draft position data in order to smooth out those edges. To really smooth out the edges, I will use half-PPR average draft position, which you can find here.
The Dallas Cowboys feel like an easy contender for “team whose offense falls apart in a way we didn’t see coming” but also, they might just pull it off, at least for another season. They traded Amari Cooper to relieve cap space, Michael Gallup tore his ACL in January, and Ezekiel Elliott may or may not be on the downside of his career. But, they also have CeeDee Lamb, Jalen Tolbert, Dalton Schultz, and Tony Pollard. So, there might be replacements waiting in the wings for these players, but the questionable offensive line could make all the depth a moot point. There’s only one way to find out. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the fantasy football sleeper, breakout, and bust candidates for the 2022 Dallas Cowboys!
Sleeper: Jalen Tolbert, Wide Receiver (WR76, 215 OVR)
Jalen Tolbert is one of a handful of rookie wide receivers likely walking into 100+ targets, and for that reason alone, he should end up on your fantasy football rosters. The 6’1” 194-pound rookie went to the Cowboys in the third round thanks in part to his 8.55 RAS. He’s a YAC monster as well as a deep threat, and his versatility should help him immediately pay dividends not only for the Dallas Cowboys but also for your fantasy football rosters. While his hands are a bit of a concern, we’ve learned that Drops Don’t Matter, so don’t worry about that.
Tolbert has a chance to immediately hop in and get enough targets to matter for fantasy football. Not only that, but he has a chance to immediately hop in and be the Cowboys’ #2 wide receiver while Gallup convalesces. That’s huge, given the volume of opportunities available to Tolbert in Dallas. He gets not only a portion of Amari Cooper’s targets, but also Cedrick Wilson’s, and if Gallup misses an extended period of time, a portion of his targets, as well. All of that for a guy going outside the top-200 picks.
Breakout: Tony Pollard, Running Back (RB33, 89 OVR)
Pollard had himself a mini-breakout in 2021, notching 1,056 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in part-time work for Dallas (169 touches). Pollard did this all while never notching more than 42% of his team’s snaps, and going over 40% just three times. He was a true “small side of the platoon” back for Dallas in 2022, and he produced in a myriad of ways. Pollard had four games over 70 rushing yards, and five games over 30 receiving yards (with 3+ catches in four of those games). He’s an extremely versatile running back for the Cowboys, and he averaged a higher yard per touch than Ezekiel Elliott not only last year but also… every other year of Ezekiel Elliott’s career. A lot of that has to do with Zeke shouldering 300+ carries for three out of his first four years, but that wear might be taking its toll on Zeke.
Pollard is ascendant and is a great flex play immediately. Should Zeke miss any time with injuries, he also represents one of the single greatest value adds from RB2 in the NFL. He’s a guy you should go out of your way to get onto your fantasy football rosters this season.
Bust: Michael Gallup, Wide Receiver (WR43, 109 OVR)
Talk about kicking a man while he’s down! I want to be clear here that this has nothing to do with Michael Gallup as a football player. I loved Gallup coming out of the draft, and I have had trouble shaking that feeling through his first few years in the NFL. The caution here is twofold: one, Michael Gallup was WR53 in points per game last season (mostly due to 59 receptions on 106 targets), meaning that we are already giving him a 20% bump in ADP based solely on Amari Cooper leaving. But, that would move him up to the #2 role in the offense (at best). Assuming that Tolbert gets Gallup’s targets, Gallup gets CeeDee Lamb’s, and Lamb takes over as the number one leaving us with Gallup getting… three more targets. Lamb finished the year with 109, meaning that moving from the Gallup role to the Lamb role only gives Gallup a handful of extra targets.
All of this ignores my biggest issue with Gallup: he tore his ACL in January. The normal recovery time is six to nine months, meaning we should be hearing very soon about how Michael Gallup’s recovery is going. For me, I’m somewhat tired of waiting for injury players to come back, hamstringing a roster slot until their return, and giving us one less spot to work with. This is what I learned from Michael Thomas last season. There isn’t a world where I’m drafting Michael Gallup at his ADP because we then have to wait around for him to come back, and then likely be a backend WR3. The upside isn’t there to take the plunge on Gallup at his cost.