Leading up to fantasy drafts this year, there was a lot of debate about the Cowboys’ top 2 wide receivers, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. While Amari has been the #1 guy in Dallas since his arrival a few years back, there is a lot of chatter this offseason about CeeDee Lamb potentially taking over as the top pass-catcher in the Cowboys’ offense.
Hard Knocks was predominantly focused on Lamb, while Cooper was an afterthought. Plus, it just seems like Jerry Jones views Lamb as his pride and joy. Jones had Lamb wear #88, which is a number of historical significance for Cowboys’ wide receivers: Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant all worse #88 for Dallas, and now CeeDee has it. It is a number that has traditionally been the mark of the franchise receiver.
Basically the assumption was that 2021 would be the year Lamb became the top-dog in Dallas, forcing Amari Cooper to take a back seat.
But from what we saw last night in the season opener against Tampa, there are plenty of targets to go around for both Cooper and Lamb.
Dak Prescott threw the ball 58 times last night. Amari had 16 targets, Lamb had 15. Michael Gallup even had 7 targets and he got knocked out of the game about midway through the second half due to an ankle injury.
It really doesn’t matter whether Cooper or Lamb is the #1 receiver in this offense. Dallas is going to throw the ball a lot, and both guys will have more than enough volume to finish as WR1s, in my opinion. At least top-15.
Now, that said, Dak isn’t going to be passing the pall 58 times a game going forward. The Bucs have an incredibly stout run defense, which largely took Zeke out of the gameplan. Zeke only got 11 carries for 33 yards, while Pollard got just 3. Don’t get used to the Dallas offense only rushing the ball with their RBs 14 times per game and throwing it 58 times. That’s not sustainable going forward.
In other words, for Cooper and Lamb owners: don’t assume 16 and 15 targets per game is a regular thing.
But Dak should easily average 40+ pass attempts per game this year. That I’m confident of.
So Cooper and Lamb owners have plenty of reason to rejoice this year. There are more than enough targets to go around for the both of them to be highly productive fantasy options.
And for Zeke owners, don’t hit the panic button just yet: the Bucs were probably the toughest run defense he’ll face all season long. That was always going to be a tough matchup for him. He will bounce back and get more involved in the offense going forward.
But the most important thing is that Dak looked great last night. He looked like a true top-10 QB in the league, and that’s coming from someone who has been very skeptical of him for most of his career. I’ve always thought of him the king of the garbage time stats. But last night there was no garbage time. If he had a competent kicker, he probably would’ve won that game. Dak looks like the real deal.
This Dallas offense looks like it’s going to be a fantasy gold mine.