Dak Prescott – The Case for QB1 Overall

Tyler Orginski @FFTylerO


On a team level, things have never been better

Let us start with a subject that is likely to be a substantial factor for a team’s success in 2020: Team Continuity.

With no offseason programs to speak of and zero preseason games, teams with the least amount of player/coaching changes stand to benefit.

HC coach Jason Garrett is out. Former Packers HC Mike McCarthy is not the ideal replacement, but he’s still an upgrade. With OC and play-caller, Kellen Moore, returning, the HC change should have little no effect on the offense. This is huge for Dak’s 2020 outlook.

Fun fact, in 2019, the Dallas Cowboys, under first-year OC Kellen Moore, led the entire NFL in yards per game and yards per play. And when talking in terms of pace, they ran the 5th most plays per game last year, while also fielding the second quickest offense in the league.

Four of the five starting offensive linemen are returning, with the lone change coming at the center position with the retirement of Travis Frederick. However, the man taking his spot, Joe Looney, started all of 2018 in Frederick’s place. He is familiar with the team and, more importantly, the players on the offensive line.

 

Dak is going to love his new weapons

Much like Jason Garrett, the losses of Randall Cobb and Jason Witten are likely a net positive. Ceedee Lamb fell right into the Cowboys lap. He is one of the better WR prospects we have seen in the past few years and excelled in the slot in college. Blake Jarwin will have no problem sliding right into the TE1 role. With a new four year/22 million contract this offseason, the Cowboys like what they see in Jarwin and have committed to him. While limited in playtime behind Witten, Jarwin was 8th among TEs in yards per route run and 6th in yards per target in 2019.

While Amari can be a frustrating fantasy asset, he is a top 12 WR in the NFL and a maven vs. man coverage, which suits Dak’s playstyle very well.  Gallup is currently one of the more underappreciated WRs in football. He was top 10 in yards per route run and yards per game in 2019. Gallup is a stud and one of the better WR2s in football. To point out the obvious and to wrap this up: Zeke is a top 3 back in the NFL.

No matter how you chop it up, Dallas is a top 5 offense. Which is, unsurprisingly, a key ingredient in the recipe of creating the #1 fantasy QB.

To top it off, first-year DC Joe Nolan has had zero face time to implement his new defense while also having to fill some big holes in the secondary and defensive line. I am not confident in the Dallas Defense in 2020, in particular the pass defense. Dak and Co. may find themselves having to throw early and often.

 

Now let’s talk about the belle of the ball, Mr. Dakota Prescott

You would be hard-pressed to find a more consistent fantasy QB. Dak has finished in the top 12 in all four of his NFL seasons, including two top-six finishes. He has never missed a game and has no real injury history to speak of.

What is most impressive is seeing Dak take such a huge step forward as a passer with Kellen Moore calling the plays in 2019. Dak set career marks in yards 4902 (previous best, 3885 yards), Passing Yards per attempt with 8.2, TDs with 30, and 300-yard passing games with 7.

In 2019, Dak clearly showed tangible evidence of improving as a passer while finishing the year as the fantasy QB2. What makes this even more impressive is he managed that QB2 finish while setting career lows in rushing yards (277) and rushing TDs (3).

Cowboys were also awarded the 5th softest NFL schedule in terms of Vegas win totals. This undoubtedly can’t hurt.

 

Now for the final piece of the puzzle and the fun part

One thing we can say for sure is that QB TD passing rate tells the story of the QB1 overall. History tells us that the fantasy QB1 overall has to have *at least* 7.5% TD rate to finish as the top dog. For reference, the league TD rate average is around 5%.

The tricky thing about TD rate is there is no real way to project TD rate, at least that I found. Being a top offense helps, but year to year, there is nothing sticky about predicting a player’s TD rate except that if it rises above 7.5%, it will undoubtedly regress to the mean the following year.

With that said, I say that Dak is due for a jump in his TD rate after four years hanging around the league average. The pieces are all there: Dak is improving as a passer, Kellen Moore is a young but very capable *returning* play-caller, the O-line is still elite, and Dak has more playmakers than ever before. Fantasy Football is fun. Sometimes that means going with your gut and making some calls, even when you don’t have all the information.

2020 is the year of Dak. The Cowboys offensive will thrive, and we will see Dak’s TD rate climb above that 7.5% threshold, rocketing him to the fantasy QB1 overall.

This isn’t me telling you to draft Dak over Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes. This is me telling you Dak presents more of a value at QB3 than you think.

 

 

 

 




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