The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2023 season as one of the borderline premier offenses in Fantasy Football. They will return most of their core pieces, including a potential upgrade on the offensive line if they can get a healthy season out of Tryon Smith, but there are a few major changes. For starters, Ezekiel Elliott (currently an NFL free agent) is out and Tony Pollard has an opportunity to take over as the lead back. Also, the Cowboys acquired Brandin Cooks this offseason and lost out in free agency on Dalton Schultz. With a new offensive play caller (Kellen Moore headed to Los Angeles), things could look different in 2023.
- NFC East: | |
Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Cowboys' entire team outlook, including a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, key player projections, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for notable Cowboys players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.
Cowboys 2023 team outlook
By Chris Towers
The Cowboys fell short of expectations late in the season, and they're going to look at least a little bit different with Mike McCarthy taking over play-calling duties from the departed Kellen Moore. Steel yourself for a step backwards there, though the loss of Ezekiel Elliott should be much easier to swallow.
Burning question: Is this still an elite offense?
The tools are there, but with Brian Schottenheimer taking over as offensive coordinator and McCarthy taking over play-calling duties, I have real questions about how many points this team is going to score. Schottenheimer's offenses were pretty conservative in Seattle, and McCarthy's last three Packers teams all ranked in the bottom 12 in pace. Under Moore, the Cowboys were top three each season. Play volume alone could knock this team down from the ranks of the elite offenses, and that's bad news for a team with some expensive Fantasy options.
Cowboys player projections
|QB||Dak Prescott||PA: 533, YD: 3944, TD: 28, INT: 11; RUSH -- ATT: 48, YD: 167, TD: 2|
|RB||Tony Pollard||CAR: 239, YD: 1073, TD: 9; TAR: 64, REC: 48, YD: 408, TD: 2|
|RB||Deuce Vaughn||CAR: 48, YD: 196, TD: 2; TAR: 21, REC: 15, YD: 119, TD: 1|
|WR||CeeDee Lamb||TAR: 144, REC: 96, YD: 1253, TD: 8|
|WR||Brandin Cooks||TAR: 112, REC: 69, YD: 819, TD: 6|
|WR||Michael Gallup||TAR: 75, REC: 41, YD: 455, TD: 2|
|TE||Jake Ferguson||TAR: 27, REC: 22, YD: 195, TD: 1|
2023 NFL Draft class
1. (26) Mazi Smith, DL
2. (58) Luke Schoonmaker, TE
3. (90) DeMarvion Overshown, LB
4. (129) Viliami Fehoko, DL
5. (169) Asim Richards, OL
6. (178) Eric Scott, DB
6. (212) Deuce Vaughn, RB
7. (244) Jalen Brooks, WR
Strength of Schedule rankings by Dave Richard
- QB PSoS: 25th easiest
- RB PSoS: 24th easiest
- WR PSoS: 25th easiest
- TE PSoS: 20th easiest
|1||Sep 10, 2023||@N.Y. Giants||8:20 pm||NBC||MetLife Stadium|
|2||Sep 17, 2023||vsN.Y. Jets||4:25 pm||AT&T Stadium|
|3||Sep 24, 2023||@Arizona||4:25 pm||FOX||State Farm Stadium|
|4||Oct 1, 2023||vsNew England||4:25 pm||FOX||AT&T Stadium|
|5||Oct 8, 2023||@San Francisco||8:20 pm||NBC||Levi's Stadium|
|6||Oct 16, 2023||@L.A. Chargers||8:15 pm||ESPN||SoFi Stadium|
|8||Oct 29, 2023||vsL.A. Rams||1:00 pm||FOX||AT&T Stadium|
|9||Nov 5, 2023||@Philadelphia||4:25 pm||FOX||Lincoln Financial Field|
|10||Nov 12, 2023||vsN.Y. Giants||4:25 pm||FOX||AT&T Stadium|
|11||Nov 19, 2023||@Carolina||1:00 pm||FOX||Bank of America Stadium|
|12||Nov 23, 2023||vsWashington||4:30 pm||AT&T Stadium|
|13||Nov 30, 2023||vsSeattle||8:15 pm||AMZN||AT&T Stadium|
|14||Dec 10, 2023||vsPhiladelphia||8:20 pm||NBC||AT&T Stadium|
|15||Dec 17, 2023||@Buffalo||4:25 pm||FOX||Highmark Stadium|
|16||Dec 24, 2023||@Miami||4:25 pm||FOX||Hard Rock Stadium|
|17||Dec 30, 2023||vsDetroit||8:15 pm||ABC||AT&T Stadium|
|18||Jan 7, 2024||@Washington||TBA||—||FedEx Field|
Cowboys 2023 player outlooks
By Jamey Eisenberg unless otherwise noted
QB Dak Prescott
Prescott remains a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback, and he's worth drafting with a mid-round pick in one-quarterback leagues.
In Superflex and two-quarterback leagues, Prescott is worth drafting in Round 2. There are some Fantasy managers concerned about Prescott with the loss of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, especially after coach Mike McCarthy initially said he wanted the Cowboys to run more and lean on their defense. But McCarthy has since clarified that statement, and Prescott should continue to post quality stats. His weapons have changed this offseason with the loss of tight end Dalton Schultz and the addition of receiver Brandin Cooks, and Prescott still has CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. Dallas also lost Ezekiel Elliott, which could give Prescott more scoring opportunities near the goal line.
The nice thing about Prescott is you can wait for him on Draft Day, and he has five seasons in a row of averaging at least 20.3 Fantasy points per game, including three seasons of more than 24.5 points per game over that span. While he might not post elite stats like the top-tier Fantasy quarterbacks, he can still help you win a Fantasy title in 2023.
RB Tony Pollard
Pollard has the chance to be a breakout Fantasy running back this season, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 1 in all leagues.
He should not fall past the middle of Round 2 in most formats if he remains the leader of the Dallas backfield. At the time of publication, Pollard's main competition for touches is Malik Davis, Ronald Jones and rookie Deuce Vaughn since the Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliott in March. There is speculation Dallas can bring Elliott back, and that would hurt Pollard's ceiling. If Elliott does not return to the Cowboys and the backfield remains as is, Pollard has top-five upside. In two games without Elliott in 2022, Pollard combined for 54 PPR points, and Elliott leaves behind 12 rushing touchdowns from last season and 231 carries. Pollard already stepped up in 2022 with Elliott when he averaged 14.8 PPR points per game, and hopefully Pollard can handle an increased workload. He was already at offseason workouts in May following his broken ankle in the playoffs, which is a great sign, and Pollard should be headed for a huge year in 2023 as the expected leader of the Dallas backfield.
Should Elliott or another running back sign with the Cowboys, Pollard could fall to Round 3 in most leagues, but it's doubtful anyone is coming in to replace Pollard as the starter in Dallas.
RB Malik Davis
Davis will compete to be the No. 2 running back in Dallas, and he could be worth a late-round pick if he has that role in 2023.
At the time of publication, the Cowboys backfield is led by Tony Pollard, but behind him are Davis, Ronald Jones and rookie Deuce Vaughn. Davis could be the handcuff for Pollard, who has never been a full-time starter. There's also speculation the Cowboys could bring back Ezekiel Elliott, who was released in March, and that would change the Fantasy value for Davis. Keep an eye on what happens in training camp, and if Davis is No. 2 on the depth chart then he is worth a flier in all leagues.
He also could emerge as a waiver addition during the season.
RB Ronald Jones
By Heath Cummings
Jones joined the Cowboys in the offseason and as of time of publication, it appears he'll be in a three-way battle with Malik Davis and Deuce Vaughn to back up Tony Pollard.
If the Cowboys don't make another significant addition at the position, Jones would seem to have some chance to earn touches in Dallas, perhaps even the short-yardage role that helped Ezekiel Elliott score 22 touchdowns on the ground the past two seasons. Jones will only be drafted in the deepest of leagues unless he locks up that No. 2 role in Dallas. This could be a camp battle to watch, especially since Pollard has never tried to shoulder a full load for an entire season.
RB Deuce Vaughn
The Cowboys selected Vaughn in the sixth round of the NFL Draft from Kansas State, and he is expected to compete for a role behind Tony Pollard.
Vaughn could be worth a late-round flier in all redraft leagues if he's the No. 2 running back in Dallas coming out of training camp. In rookie-only drafts for Dynasty leagues, Vaughn is worth drafting in Round 3. Behind Pollard, the Cowboys have Malik Davis, Ronald Jones and Vaughn, and whoever is the backup could be a handcuff to Pollard and someone worth drafting in all leagues. There's also speculation the Cowboys could bring back Ezekiel Elliott, who was released in March, and that would change the Fantasy value for Vaughn.
Keep an eye on what happens in training camp, and if Vaughn is No. 2 on the depth chart, he is worth a flier in all leagues. He also could emerge as a waiver-wire addition during the season if Pollard were to miss any time.
WR CeeDee Lamb
Lamb has become one of the best Fantasy receivers heading into this season, and he's worth drafting toward the end of Round 1 or beginning of Round 2 in all leagues.
He should have another outstanding campaign as the No. 1 target for Dak Prescott. In his first season without Amari Cooper in 2022, Lamb set career highs in targets (156), receptions (107), yards (1,359) and touchdowns (nine), and he averaged a career-best 17.7 PPR points per game, which was No. 7 among receivers. He should once again command 150-plus targets from Prescott, and that puts him in rare company, as only five receivers hit that number last year.
WR Brandin Cooks
After earning a reputation as one of the most consistent producers in Fantasy, Cooks' production cratered in 2022.
The combination of an offensive system that didn't feature his skill set (low average depth of target until the midseason point) and off-field concerns (Cooks expected to be traded to a contender around the deadline) resulted in a receiver you couldn't trust on a weekly basis. However, Cooks remained excellent at defeating man coverage even when the ball didn't come his way. Now he has a real opportunity to return value with a massive quarterback upgrade, and he joins an offense with vacated targets and production (Dalton Schultz).
Draft him starting in Round 8 as WR3 with upside to settle into your WR2 role on a weekly basis and return to his consistent production.
WR Michael Gallup
The initial reports on Gallup this offseason have been encouraging, and he could be a surprise Fantasy option in 2023. At best, Gallup is worth a late-round flier in all leagues, but most likely he'll be a waiver wire option during the season.
While Gallup will have a prominent role for the Cowboys, it's a crowded receiving corps with CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks. Gallup, who is a year removed from his ACL tear, will still command plenty of targets from Dak Prescott, but he'll have to prove himself to Fantasy managers after a down season in 2022. He started to come on late in the year, scoring at least 11 PPR points in three of his final seven outings, but he only averaged 30.3 yards per game and 10.9 yards per catch, which were both career lows.
Everyone in Dallas is encouraged by Gallup this offseason, so keep an eye on him in training camp, and he could be a good receiver to have on your bench during the year.
WR Noah Brown
Brown signed with the Texans this offseason, and he's expected to compete for a role in Houston's receiving corps.
He's not worth drafting in the majority of leagues. The Texans have an interesting group of receivers but no star with Nico Collins, John Metchie III and Robert Woods the likely top trio. Rookie Tank Dell and Brown will compete for the No. 4 role, but Brown doesn't have much Fantasy upside if he wins that job. In 2022 with Dallas, Brown ended up having a pivotal role and was tied for fourth on the team in targets with 74. He had five games with at least 10 PPR points but was never consistent, scoring six points or less in nine outings.
Keep an eye on how Brown does in training camp and his role, and he could be worth adding off the waiver wire at some point during the year if he develops a quick rapport with rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud.
TE Luke Schoonmaker
The Cowboys selected Schoonmaker in the second round of the NFL Draft from Michigan, and he's expected to compete for the No. 1 tight end role this year.
If Schoonmaker wins that job, he could be worth a late-round flier in deeper leagues. He also could be someone to add off the waiver wire during the season. Schoonmaker's main competitors for the tight end job are Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot, but the Cowboys might like Schoonmaker the best. At Michigan, he didn't post huge stats with 35 catches for 418 yards and three touchdowns in 2022, but he might have a bigger role in the NFL. Dalton Schultz is now in Houston, and he leaves behind 89 targets, 57 catches, 577 yards and five touchdowns. He was a primary option in the passing game over the past three seasons.
Now, Dallas added Brandin Cooks this offseason, and the Cowboys should rely more on CeeDee Lamb, Cooks and Michael Gallup then the tight ends in the passing game. But if Schoonmaker starts off the season playing well, he could be a waiver wire option during the season.
TE Jake Ferguson
Ferguson will compete to be the starting tight end in Dallas, and he could be a surprise Fantasy option in 2023. He's not worth drafting in the majority of Fantasy leagues, but he could be a waiver-wire addition during the season.
Dalton Schultz is now in Houston, and Ferguson will compete with rookie Luke Schoonmaker and Peyton Hendershot for the Cowboys' No. 1 tight end job. Schultz leaves behind 89 targets, 57 catches, 577 yards and five touchdowns, and he was a primary option in the passing game over the past three seasons. Now, Dallas added Brandin Cooks this offseason, and the Cowboys should rely more on CeeDee Lamb, Cooks and Michael Gallup then the tight ends in the passing game.
Still, Ferguson could be a surprise Fantasy option if he outplays Schoonmaker and Hendershot, and this tight end battle is one to watch in training camp and potentially all year.
K Triston Vizcaino
is an American football placekicker for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. He signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2019 following his college football career at Washington. He has also been a member of the Minnesota Vikings and the San Francisco 49ers
The Cowboys DST should be considered among the best Fantasy options this season and is worth drafting with a late-round pick in all leagues. In 2022, the Dallas defense was among the leaders in points allowed (19.1), sacks (54), fumbles (17), interceptions (16) and DST touchdowns (three). Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence are a formidable pass rush, and the addition of Stephon Gilmore opposite Trevon Diggs at corner gives Dallas a tough secondary. The Cowboys DST could be the best Fantasy unit this season, so plan to target the Cowboys DST in all leagues on Draft Day.