DAY 31: Dallas Cowboys

As we anticipate the start of the 2017 NFL season, the DFF Degenerates (@DFF_Degenerates) are tearing down every team in the NFL – #32Teams32Days. We’re going round-trip to tackle the entire country – AFC East to West, then NFC West to East. We didn’t have to do it, but we did.

Buckle up! It’s a bumpy ride. We’re traveling to another dimension between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge… that’s the signpost up ahead – our next stop – the RED ZONE.



Continuing our series, we visit the

Dallas Cowboys

Zeke – Given the current suspension situation, is he a Buy or Bye-Bye in Dynasty?

@DiBari22: I’m buying. His legal team is already exploring the appeals process. I’m thinking he might not even miss time this season. In dynasty, even if he misses all of 2017, he still has tremendous long-term value. In redraft, nobody you’re taking in the 3rd round has his upside. Even if he misses the first 7-games, he’ll carry you through the second half of the season and to a fantasy championship.

@DynastyGOAT: If the glove doesn’t fit… Elliott is a must get! Even with his suspension being upheld, I’m buying all the Zeke shares I can get my hands on.

@TravisNFL: I’d be buying if I could. It appears the dynasty community is playing this one intelligently, not offering much of a discount on Zeke, if any. It’s obvious this dude is a stud and an elite producer as well as a foundational piece on any dynasty roster. And he is still being valued that way, as he should be. If you’ve got him, there is no way you can sell him cheap right now. The only discount I’m seeing is in redraft, which obviously makes sense. That discount is quickly disappearing, though, as news continues to filter through hinting at a lesser chance of missed time in 2017. I think Zeke misses 6-games this year and you can get him at enough of a discount that he could win the league for you.

@DFF_Walk: When possible I love playing the fear card when proposing dynasty trades.  Paint the picture however you want: he misses early, he misses late, he misses next year… I would try to get Zeke below market value anywhere I can in dynasty. In redraft, I’m a risk taker and have recently used a mid-2nd to acquire Zeke. The early weeks are easy to cover-up since bye weeks don’t start until Week-5 – at which point more than half of his “current suspension” is over.

@ChristipherBean: I’m not seeing a Dynasty discount… if there was a discount, then sure. But who is paying ADP 5 Overall player pricing? Who is selling?

@DFFMemphis: Zeke is going to be a “Buy” for me if he’s healthy and under the age of about 28. The six-game suspension is a mere speed bump in what should be a long, productive fantasy career. I’m buying if I can find a fellow owner that just isn’t willing to wait out six little games. Give me all the Ezekiel Elliot shares.

@DFF_Madman: Zeke is a “buy.” The kid is a once-per-draft talent. I know the Dallas offensive line is considered great, but you don’t just plug in any RB and get the excellent results Elliot achieved as a rookie. While his between-the-tackles rushing was superb, Zeke also did well outside the tackles, creating on his own.


Zeke is a complete back. One of the best skills he brought to the pros was his pass-blocking efficiency. In over 100 college snaps, Zeke allowed only one pressure on the QB. That’s outstanding to the point of being best-in-class for 2016 rookie RBs. Zeke is legit. And if he can refrain from getting in stupid situations, he can become an elite RB.


Is Dak Prescott legit?

@DiBari22: What does legit mean? I guess so. He looked good, but a terrific O-line and strong running game can do that for a QB. I like Dak, but I think we have seen his ceiling.

@TravisNFL: Dak is the real-deal. There are few players that I’m more excited to see this season than Dak Prescott. Sure, his situation is nothing short of perfect for a rookie QB, but he seized his opportunity fully, having one of the best rookie QB seasons in NFL history. He’s football all day every day and is constantly working to get better. With the Cowboys’ secondary losing key pieces and their schedule going from one of the easiest last season to one of the hardest this season, more negative game scripts should only provide more opportunity for Dak to pad his passing stats this year. I see him easily finishing in the top-8 QBs in 2017.

@DFF_Walk: The Eagles fan in me says 2016 was an aberration, but Dak showed poise and composure beyond his years taking the torch from Tony Romo as captain of America’s Team (speaking of, can we re-vote that?). I’m not impressed by his receiving options outside of Dez Bryant, but he has reliable pass catchers in Witten and Beasley to help keep the offense on schedule. I was extremely interested to see what role Rico Gathers would play after an impressive preseason, but he landed on the regular season IR and is unavailable until Week-9 at the earliest. Dak will need to find those 6-rushing touchdowns again in 2017 to maintain QB1 level production.

@DynastyGOAT: I think you meant to ask, “Is Dak elite?” For me, the answer is “no.” Don’t get me wrong, Dak was very good in his rookie year, throwing 23 TDs and just 4 INTs. My question is, how much did Dak’s success stem from Zeke and the running game? We will find out as soon as the Zeke suspension kicks in.

@ChristipherBean: Dak Prescott didn’t benefit from the running game.  The running game benefited from DAK. You run when you’re winning, you don’t run to win.

Dak’s 7.86 Adjusted Net Yards/Attempt (ANY/A) was 3rd in the NFL last year, behind Matt Ryan and Tom Brady. It’s the highest ANY/A of any Rookie QB since the 1970 merger (min 100 attempts), and the highest volume. Did he benefit from an outstanding Offensive Line? Sure. Is he an elite prospect worth talking about like Russell Wilson? 100%.

@DFFMemphis: I don’t know. Dak finished as QB6 overall in 2016, but he was only 23rd in pass attempt last year. He only threw for 23 touchdowns, which was good for 15th among all QBs. However, he finished tied for 1st in QB rushing touchdowns. Dak has many positive metrics and – many that I am concerned with. My final note on Dak is this: I’d love to have him as my QB2 behind a Tom Brady or Drew Brees. That way, I can be conservative – wait and see if Dak really is the man we all saw in 2016.

@DFF_JamesH: I managed to get Dak in the 30th round of a dynasty startup last year. Potentially the biggest steal ever. He was good at Mississippi State and looked like somebody with NFL quality. Put him behind that offensive line so he isn’t like a rabbit in headlights and suddenly you don’t have an NFL player, you have an NFL stud.


The Cowboys starting slot WR in 2018 is? Beasley or Switzer or?

@DiBari22: It’s Switzer and I don’t think it’s even close. Reports before he got hurt indicated he was looking great and was building rapport with Dak. I expect that to grow over the next 12 months and Switzer will be a guy to own in all formats next year.

@TravisNFL: Beasley has been a solid producer for the Cowboys the last couple of years, and showed tremendous rapport with Dak Prescott last season, becoming his top target while Dez Bryant was out. There’s a very good chance that if Ryan Switzer continues to play well, the Cowboys could part ways with Beasley after the 2017 season. Cutting his contract after this year would save the Cowboys $3.25 million in the salary cap, and only cost them $1 million in dead money.

@DFF_Walk: Everyone likes the shiny new toy but what about old (relatively speaking) faithful. Beasley was Dak’s binky in 2016. He turned 98 targets into a very respectable 75-833-5 stat line. Did Beasley thrive in games that Dez missed? Yes. Has Dez missed 10 of a possible 32 games the last 2 seasons? Also, Yes. I like Switzer as a plus punt-returner and gadget guy but my money is on the guy that I’ve seen do it in the NFL.

@DFFMemphis: I’m going to say Switzer, based on age and contract situation. Beasley is 28 and is in year 3- of a 4-year $13 million-dollar contract. Dallas can cut Beasley going into the 2018 season for about a $1mil cap hit, which would save Dallas a few million bucks. A cap-strapped team like Dallas is always looking to save a buck or two. Look for the younger Switzer and his cap-friendly deal to assume the slot-role going into 2018.


Rico Gathers is the next Antonio Gates. Fact or Fiction?

@DiBari22: He’s looked good in the preseason, against backups and bums, but c’mon, Gates is arguably one of the best tight ends in the history of football, let’s not get carried away.

@Dynasty GOAT: I love Rico Gathers, but the hype is out of control. As @Dibari22 said above, Gates is one of the best tight ends of all time. Gathers needs to get himself healthy and try to compete with Jason Witten before we have this conversation.

@TravisNFL: Agreed that calling him the next Antonio Gates is just ridiculous, but Gathers does have a ton of upside. He officially made the Cowboys 53-man roster, but was immediately placed on IR with a severe concussion. I wasn’t expecting much production this year anyway, so the silver lining is you can now stash him in your IR slot until at least week-8 this year. He’s a hold in dynasty leagues, as he has the upside to replace Witten as the TE1 on this team. Gathers was already splitting first-team reps with Witten this preseason. If Gathers eventually takes Witten’s place, he automatically becomes a top-10 TE.

@DFF_Walk: The question just drips with hyperbole. Sure, Gathers and Gates share the same letters in their last names and a basketball background – but let’s travel back to reality on Gathers’ Preseason Hype Train. I see a ridiculously large gentleman who shouldn’t be able to move the way he does, which is extremely intriguing to us Dynasty enthusiasts. However, he’s also attempting to learn the TE position on the fly and that takes time. What he does have is a great mentor in Jason Witten. Given the IR stint, he’s unlikely to do much in 2017, but 2018 could very well be a breakout season for Uncle Rico!


@DFFMemphis: Rico “Suave” Gathers is not a Hall of Famer. He should get an expanded role in 2018, as 35-year-old Jason Witten can’t possibly play forever. Or can he? Rico looked great in the 2017 preseason, say it with me: Preseason! He probably won a lot of guys a bunch of money in preseason DFS, but let’s slow our roll. He’s a guy still learning the game and he’ll have more time to learn as he is currently on IR going into the 2017 regular season. I’ll expect big things from Gathers in 2018 if Dallas does not address the TE position in either free agency or the draft. I’ll double my expectations if they don’t address the position and Witten retires. Then, we could be talking about Rico as a legit TE1 candidate in 2018. Bench/Taxi stash with crazy upside? Yes! Hall of Famer after three decent preseason games. Nope!

@DFF_Madman: Fiction! Hey, great minds think alike… I always think of Uncle Rico and this terrible, cheesy song when I hear the name Rico “gigolo” Gathers.

Rico… Suave… He’s not the Witten replacement. You cannot replace a God. Witten is immortal. The guy doesn’t get hurt; he just blocks, gains yardage like an automated machine, moves the chains on third downs like his life depends on it, and catches glorious TDs. NFL teams should focus less on the NBA and start figuring out what makes guys like Witten so good and indestructible. Or, just clone the guy. Say what you want about injuries not meaning anything unless they are repetitive or largely soft tissue damage. I’ve seen that movie before. Jason Witten is the living embodiment of Bruce Willis’ character in the movie “Unbreakable.”

I don’t care how much basketball he played, Gathers is not Antonio Gates. This copycat league has no shame.

That’s all the time we have with Jerry Jones, his weird facial experiment, and the stranglehold he has on Dallas. And about that slogan, “everything’s bigger in Texas…” even Jerry would admit it applies equally to the egos. Tomorrow, our nationwide journey concludes with the New York (New Jersey) Football Giants.

Thank you for joining us on our inaugural road trip. We hope this helps you on your quest to find the otherworld of dynasty football.


You can follow us on Twitter: @DFF_Degenerates

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Previous articles in this series are available here.


Co-Host @DynastyTradesHQ / Senior Editor, Writer & Analyst @DFF_Dynasty / Member @FSWA / "Building Dynasties One Player At a Time" #2QB #Superflex #Devy #Cleveland #Buckeyes

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