by Alex Kurpeski (@3COAK)
In case you haven’t heard, the Dallas Cowboys drafted a wide receiver by the name of CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, despite featuring two receivers (Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper) who each compiled over 1,000 receiving yards last season. With slot receiver Randall Cobb departing for the Cowboys in-state, cross-conference rivals the Houston Texans during free agency, the team was expected to bring in at least one startable receiver to replace him. Dallas’s front office went above and beyond in their pursuit of Cobb’s replacement, using premium draft capital to acquire Lamb, a player who profiles as a true WR1 in the NFL.
Adding Lamb to an offense that will need to replace 190 targets vacated by Cobb, Jason Witten, and Tavon Austin will definitely open up the Cowboys passing attack even more, as no secondary in the league has the personnel to match up with Dallas’s top three wideouts. Yet the addition of Lamb and the further integration of tight end Blake Jarwin into the team’s game plan will not come without a small sacrifice, as there will be some targets siphoned away from an incumbent starter. Given the fact that the team just signed Amari Cooper to a huge extension, his place as the WR1 in this offense should remain the same, leaving Gallup as the odd man out. As great of a talent as Gallup is, there will simply be too many mouths to feed for him to repeat his performance from last season.
— PFF (@PFF) July 20, 2020
Gallup’s second-year breakout was quite remarkable, as he doubled his reception totals (from 33 as a rookie to 66 in 2019), more than doubled his yardage totals (from 507 yards to 1107 yards), tripled his touchdown numbers (from 2 to 6), and raised his yards per-target from 7.8 to 9.5. He did so while battling some nagging lower-body injuries, which only leads me to believe that he could have put up even crazier numbers. While his overall numbers were much better, there were some troubling things about Gallup’s efficiency, as evidenced by his 9.7% drop rate. With fewer targets to go around this season, Gallup will need to fix his issue with drops and continue to make the most of his opportunities.
I wouldn’t completely count Gallup out this season, as I 100% believe in him as a player. With the inconsistency of Amari Cooper, it’s entirely possible that Gallup isn’t in fact the odd man out from this receiving core. For the time being, however, the guy with the cheapest contract and the issues with drops should be the one to take the biggest hit. We’ve seen HC Mike McCarthy’s offenses produce a trio of fantasy-relevant receivers in the past — Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb/ James Jones or Nelson/Cobb/Davante Adams are both acceptable examples of this, Nelson/Donald Driver/Greg Jennings also works — although it’s unclear how much of that can be attributed to Aaron Rodgers. While Dak Prescott is a very decent quarterback, he’s no Rodgers by any means. The best-case scenario for Gallup this season would be one where Lamb struggles to develop chemistry with Prescott due to the pandemic shortened offseason, a completely plausible scenario. However, seeing as how the team has committed a significant amount of money and draft capital to roster Cooper, Lamb, Jarwin, and Ezekiel Elliott, it’s hard to imagine that quartet not being emphasized in the game plan.
- 55 receptions (-11 from 2019)
- 98 targets (-15 from last season)
- 891 receiving yards (-216 from last season)
- 4 receiving TDs (-2 from 2019)
- 168.1 fantasy points ~WR35 (-13 spots from 2019)
As far as regressions go, dropping from a WR2 to a WR3 is far from the worst outcome for a guy like Gallup.