Dynasty fantasy football is our beloved stripped-down approximation of the NFL. We are the head coaches and general managers of our teams, choosing who stays or goes, and who plays or sits. NFL Training Camps are perhaps the best opportunity we have on the dynasty calendar to project how useful our assets will be in the coming season, particularly when it comes to managing the bottom third of our roster. The better you know the rosters of every NFL team, the more prepared you’ll be to execute the corresponding dynasty moves when camp news breaks. I’m mining all the beat reports, team websites, and post-practice press conferences to bring you a comprehensive overview of what’s going on this summer in all 32 training camps.
Our fifth stop on the 2017 DLF Training Camp Tour is with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys enter the 2017 season trying to build on an improbable 2016 season in which their franchise quarterback went down and a fourth round rookie helped lead them to double-digit wins and a playoff appearance. Expectations are high and there’s no shortage of drama or attention in the land of the navy star, just the way owner Jerry Jones likes it.
Dallas had a top five scoring offense in 2016, anchored by the NFL’s top rushing attack and complemented by a low-volume, yet highly-efficient passing game. Major themes for dynasty players to monitor among the high-end investments include: Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant making a year-two leap, Ezekiel Elliott’s seemingly inevitable personal code of conduct suspension, and his possible increased role in the passing game.
Cowboys rookies have been in camp since July 19 and veterans arrived on July 22.
Prescott presents an interesting dynasty case as there is no discount at all despite his fourth round draft pedigree and only one season of data. However, with elite weapons at his disposal, there’s no reason to project him for a rough year two. If Prescott can repeat his 2016 performance he could find himself in the top six dynasty quarterbacks next year on the strength of two QB1 seasons to begin his career.
Elliott has reportedly been unaffected on the field by the ongoing media swirl related to his off the field conduct investigation. I expect elite production moving forward and foresee no adjustments to his bell-cow role. Jerry Jones has experience dealing with similar situations involving his stars. Dez Bryant once had personal chaperones assigned to him for a season due to his frequent poor decision-making patterns. Jones stands by his studs, so dynasty owners can breathe easy even if a suspension is handed down. Despite leading the NFL in rushing as a rookie, there is still room for Elliott to grow his production. An early focus of camp has been getting him more involved in the passing game.
Ezekiel Elliott TD catch in 7 on 7 pic.twitter.com/zovoVDgZVK
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 31, 2017
If Elliott can become a plus matchup in one-on-ones with outside linebackers in the passing game, he would solidify his dynasty RB1 ADP for years to come. Darren McFadden is the handcuff to own in Dallas, as Alfred Morris seems to have fallen out of favor and has been taking reps as the fourth-string running back. I think Morris could find himself in danger of being cut.
Dez Bryant looks to begin this season healthier than last and will have all of camp to build consistency with Prescott. The pair ended last season on a fantasy high note as Bryant torched Green Bay for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs. Bryant is an attractive pivot from Allen Robinson at their current ADPs, as Bryant is tied to the better team and the better quarterback. The team is giving Bryant scheduled days off throughout camp in order to keep him fresh.
Cole Beasley is an underrated flex play in dynasty who can be had for very little. His DLF positional rank of WR72 speaks to his relative lack of upside, but he’ll produce like a WR4 or WR5 for your team. He’s not a building block, but could be a nice bye week safety valve for competing teams. Rookie Ryan Switzer profiles like Beasley’s replacement in a few years, but the team also reported that they envision an immediate role for the University of North Carolina alum.
Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan says of Switzer, “He’s a classic slot receiver, he has a similar game [to Beasley], but he has his own things. We would really like those two guys to be able to complement each other and run real similar route trees.”
Switzer has missed some camp reps as he’s dealing with a hamstring injury, but is expected to return next week. Switzer is an interesting stash in deeper dynasty leagues. Linehan’s comments also seem to imply that the team could go with more four wide receiver sets this season.
Possible Cuts (among dynasty relevant players): Alfred Morris
Projected ADP Risers
Players Who Will Rise 1 or more rounds in startup ADP by the end of the 2017 Season: Dak Prescott, Ryan Switzer
Projected ADP Fallers
Players Who Will Fall 1 or more rounds in startup ADP by the end of the 2017 Season: Jason Witten
Waiver Wire Watch List (players with ADP >240): Alfred Morris (if he’s cut, does he land somewhere with opportunity?)
- Mount Bust-More? Historical Context for 2017’s Early First Round WRs - December 28, 2017
- The Return of Josh Gordon - December 2, 2017
- Player Value: Two Wide Receivers Who Might Never Be Cheaper - September 15, 2017