The Super Bowl is the goal every year in "Big D," and just like the last 28 years, the Cowboys did not reach the promised land in 2023. Finishing first in the NFC East, they fell to the Packers in the wild-card round. One reason for their defeat was the lack of a consistent run game. With Tony Pollard lost in free agency, the Cowboys must not only replace his output but also improve upon their ground game as a whole this season.  

Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Cowboys' entire team outlook including changes to the top of the depth chart that matter for Fantasy, a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for all of the notable Cowboys players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.

Cowboys 2024 lineup changes

1/1/2024Week 1 2024 (proj)
QBDak PrescottDak Prescott
RBTony PollardEzekiel Elliott
WRCeeDee LambCeeDee Lamb
WRBrandin CooksBrandin Cooks
WRMichael GallupJalen Tolbert
TEJake FergusonJake Ferguson

Burning question: Who will step up on the other side of CeeDee Lamb?

In a wide receiver-rich draft class, the Cowboys elected to pass on a wide receiver to address needs across their offensive line and defensive front. This means they will once again rely on a 30-year-old Brandin Cooks as their No. 2 receiving option. Cooks caught 54 passes for 657 yards and eight touchdowns last season, which was tied for eighth among all receivers. If he can at least duplicate those numbers this season, it would mean that he's lived up to the expectations typically placed on a No. 2 receiver. Despite turning 31 in September, Cooks has an uncanny ability to separate, and his aptitude for doing so likely won't leave him until his playing days are over. With Lamb likely to receive the majority of targets this season, Cooks should have success due to the attention secondaries will give to Lamb every week.  

2024 NFL Draft class

129Tyler GuytonOLOklahoma
256Marshawn KneelandDLWestern Michigan
373Cooper BeebeOLKansas St.
387Marist LiufauLBNotre Dame
5174Caelen CarsonDBWake Forest
6216Ryan FlournoyWRSE Missouri St.
7233Nathan ThomasOLLouisiana
7244Justin RogersDLAuburn

Cowboys 2024 schedule

1Sep 8, 2024@Cleveland4:25 pmFOXCleveland Browns Stadium
2Sep 15, 2024vsNew Orleans1:00 pmFOXAT&T Stadium
3Sep 22, 2024vsBaltimore4:25 pmFOXAT&T Stadium
4Sep 26, 2024@N.Y. Giants8:15 pmAMZNMetLife Stadium
5Oct 6, 2024@Pittsburgh8:20 pmNBCAcrisure Stadium
6Oct 13, 2024vsDetroit4:25 pmFOXAT&T Stadium
8Oct 27, 2024@San Francisco8:20 pmNBCLevi's Stadium
9Nov 3, 2024@Atlanta1:00 pmFOXMercedes-Benz Stadium
10Nov 10, 2024vsPhiladelphia4:25 pmCBSAT&T Stadium
11Nov 18, 2024vsHouston8:15 pmESPNAT&T Stadium
12Nov 24, 2024@Washington1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
13Nov 28, 2024vsN.Y. Giants4:30 pmFOXAT&T Stadium
14Dec 9, 2024vsCincinnati8:15 pmESPNAT&T Stadium
15Dec 15, 2024@Carolina1:00 pmFOXBank of America Stadium
16Dec 22, 2024vsTampa Bay8:20 pmNBCAT&T Stadium
17Dec 29, 2024@Philadelphia4:25 pmFOXLincoln Financial Field
18Jan 5, 2025vsWashingtonTBAAT&T Stadium

Cowboys 2024 player outlooks

By Heath Cummings and CBS Fantasy staff

QB Dak Prescott

We're drafting Prescott as a top-eight quarterback no earlier than Round 6 in a one-quarterback league. He's a first-round pick in most Superflex leagues, and if he repeats what he did last year he'll be a value at cost once again. If you wanted to look for reasons Prescott won't repeat, you start with his 6.1% pass TD rate, which was about a point higher than his career average. However, he's been at 6% for three years now. The truth is, he has essentially been a top-five Fantasy quarterback since the start of 2020, except for 2022 which was marred by injury and some terrible turnover luck. Prescott is one of the best reasons not to draft a quarterback early because he should give you 90% of their production four rounds later. In Dynasty we'd feel better about Prescott if he signed a long-term deal. For now, view him as a high-end QB2 who is more valuable than that to contenders.  

QB Trey Lance

With Dak Prescott on the last year of his deal and positive reports coming out of Dallas about Lance's improvement, it's understandable to wonder whether we'll finally get to see Lance in extended action. Barring an injury, it still seems highly unlikely. Lance's potential and upside is only enough to make him worth a roster spot in the deepest of Superflex Dynasty leagues. We don't have any reason to believe he's going to score any Fantasy points any time soon.   

RB Ezekiel Elliott

Elliott rejoined the Cowboys in the offseason and it sure looks like he'll get every chance to be their 1A running back once again. We're not expecting a return to what Elliott once was, and we wouldn't draft him before Round 9 in full PPR leagues. While Elliott's age and efficiency are both concerns, it is worth noting how much he mattered after Rhamondre Stevenson went down last year. Elliott averaged 15.9 PPR Fantasy points per game in the final six games of the season, which was good enough to make him a top-12 running back. He also averaged more than six targets per game in that stretch, and we don't expect him to have that type of workload in the passing game in Dallas. Still, we wouldn't exactly be shocked if he scored double-digit touchdowns and finished as a top-24 back. He's a nice target if you go zero-RB and need a starting running back Week 1.  

RB Rico Dowdle

Dowdle will once again be the 1B in a committee approach this season, but this time he's sharing with Ezekiel Elliott, who is either nearing the age cliff or has already fallen over it. Either way, there is a better chance that Dowdle could carve out a bigger role than he did when sharing with Tony Pollard. Dowdle was extremely efficient on his targets last season, picking up a well above average 6.5 yards per target. It's more likely he'll wrestle that work away from Elliott than the goal-line work, at least early in the year. For now, view Dowdle as a flex to be drafted in the double-digit rounds.   

RB Deuce Vaughn

If you weren't a believer in Vaughn coming into the NFL, he did nothing to change your mind as a rookie. The Cowboys treated him like a gadget player and Vaughn wasn't very good on the opportunities he received. If you were a believer, you see Ezekiel Elliott replacing Tony Pollard and just enough of a glimmer of hope that Vaughn will get more opportunities due to Elliott's age and inefficiency. We're not advising drafting Vaughn in a redraft league and are only holding him in deeper Dynasty leagues at this time.  

WR CeeDee Lamb

Lamb became one of the best wide receivers in the NFL last year and we're buying a repeat. We aren't opposed to drafting him as early as 1.02 in a PPR redraft league and he's an easy top-five pick in a Dynasty startup as well. It's rare that a player's volume and efficiency spike like this, but Lamb saw 25 more targets in 2024 and somehow produced more yards per target as well. His 135 catches led the NFL and even that might sell him short. From Week 8 on Lamb averaged 12.6 targets per game and was on pace for 156 catches over a full season. The Cowboys added no competition for targets and appear ready to feature Lamb like no other wide receiver in the league this season.  

WR Brandin Cooks

The good news is that Cooks should hold on to the WR2 role in Dallas in 2024. The bad news is that role wasn't particularly valuable in 2023 -- at least not in any sort of sustainable way. He did score eight touchdowns last year which made him startable about half the time, but he only saw 81 targets in 16 games and only had one game with more than 60 receiving yards. Don't draft Cooks before Round 13 in any format, and don't hesitate to drop him if his 2024 role looks the same as his 2023 role.

WR Jalen Tolbert

Tolbert will get every chance to take targets away from Brandin Cooks and it's worth holding the 2023 third rounder in Dynasty to see if he can get it done. Tolbert didn't do anything last year that inspires a lot of hope and is already 25 years old, so if he begins the year as a third receiver he'll be droppable in all formats.  

WR Ryan Flournoy

Flournoy is an exceptionally speedy wide receiver with good size and great burst. A solid performance at the Senior Bowl and NFL combine elevated the small-school pass catcher into Round 6 of the NFL Draft but he has a lot more work to do to become an NFL-caliber wide receiver. Flournoy would be best in leagues where you have a taxi squad spot and can stash him for a year, but he's also already 24 years old, which hurts his prospect profile. Starting looking for him in Round 5 of rookie-only drafts.

TE Jake Ferguson

One of the most consistent aspects of the Dak Prescott era is that his tight end is going to be a low-end starter in Fantasy. Ferguson kept that tradition alive in 2023 and he'll open the season in the same role. That means you should start looking for Ferguson in Round 10, as a borderline top-12 tight end. The case for upside beyond that is in how he finished the season. In his final 11 games he was on pace for 77 catches, 882 yards and six touchdowns. In his lone playoff game he caught 10 of 12 targets for 93 yards and three touchdowns. If no one steps up in the WR2 role, Ferguson could be the value of the tight end position. Tradition says it's more likely he'll finish between TE8 and TE12.

K Brandon Aubrey

Aubrey took the Fantasy world by storm in 2023 and is in the conversation to be the top kicker taken on Draft Day. Because he's a kicker, we'd still prefer to wait until the final three rounds before drafting him. Last year Aubrey led the NFL in field goal makes and made first-team All-Pro as a rookie. He also made every kick he attempted beyond 40 yards. He plays on one of the best offenses in the NFL and only seven of his games are truly outdoors in the elements. Justin Tucker is the only kicker we would consider drafting before him.

Cowboys DST

The Cowboys lost Dan Quinn, but they still have Micah Parsons, and we're still drafting them as a top three DST in Fantasy Football. That means you should be thrilled to land them in the final three rounds of your Fantasy draft. While the Cowboys had an offseason devoid of big additions, it could be argued that's just fine on this side of the ball. After all, the 2023 Cowboys led all defenses in Fantasy points, and were top five in both points and yards allowed. This should be one of the most exciting, and highest scoring defenses in Fantasy Football.