Roundtable Week 7

The Footballguys Roundtable panel discusses the Dallas passing game, Michael Thomas's return, receivers to buy and sell, and which players in Tampa Bay have the best weekly value. 

Welcome to Week 7 of the 2020 Footballguys' Roundtable. Our intrepid and oddball panel of fantasy pundits discuss and debate the fallout from Andy Dalton's first start in Dallas, Michael Thomas's return to New Orleans, prominent receivers they're buying or selling, and a game of "Believe or Deceive" with the Tampa Bay offense.

Let's roll...

Andy Dalton's First Start in Dallas

Matt Waldman: Last week, I asked the staff to discuss the following changes to the Dallas offense with Andy Dalton under center:

  • Target distribution
  • Run/Pass balance
  • Dalton's projected fantasy ranking based on 1-QB and Super-Flex Formats
Now that we've seen Dalton play a game, let's examine this change from a different angle:
  • Who will be Dalton's favorite receiver?
  • Is there a Cowboys receiver (or receivers) you'd be hoping to trade away or acquire?
  • Do the issues with the Cowboys offensive line hurt Dalton more than Prescott despite the fact that Dalton has experience audibling an offense into better plays or address threatening defensive looks?

I'm continuing the line of Dalton/Dallas questions because fantasy football is often a reactionary business and having good intel can help our readers navigate this landscape and earn maximum value.

Jeff Pasquino: The Dallas offense is struggling to re-define itself with not only Dak out but also numerous linemen injured. As such, the long ball is a tough one to throw, so the shorter routes are going to be favored by Andy Dalton. Dalton is very familiar with pressure and quick throws, but the top targets are going to be Dalton Schultz, Zeke Elliott, and whichever wideouts are running the shorter routes. I tend to favor both CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper as Michael Gallup seems to run routes that take longer to develop. I'd say that Schultz and Elliott will be Dalton's favorite receivers, followed by a close call between Lamb and Cooper.

I would be looking to trade away Gallup as quickly as possible as I just do not see him being as effective with Dalton and a beat-up offensive line.

Jason Wood: I'm reluctant to extrapolate one game into definitive conclusions, but in an NFL season, we rarely get the luxury of waiting for statistically significant sample sizes. In looking at the target distribution, it wasn't all that different than what we saw from Dak Prescott. Cooper and Lamb had 10 targets, Gallup had 6, and Schultz had 5. The only difference was Ezekiel Elliott getting a team-high 11 targets.

Unfortunately, they were low-value targets that led to just 31 yards. If we're to assume rational coaching, Elliott's 11 targets will be a season-high. I suspect Dalton's favorite target will be Amari Cooper—simply because I still think he's the team's best overall receiver. But I wouldn't argue against anyone choosing CeeDee Lamb, either.

In terms of the receivers' value going forward, I would be a seller presuming you don't give up significant value. When Dalton was able to stay upright in Cincinnati, he was more than capable of sustaining A.J. Green's fantasy value. So I suspect both Cooper and Lamb will have strong weeks. But whatever value they (and Michael Gallup) had with Prescott is now a thing of the past.

If you can trade them now for 90 percent of the prior value, do it. If you can get 80 percent, and it helps the overall mix of your team, do it. If you're getting vulture offers for 60 cents on the dollar, hold on and realize you now have more volatile WR2s than consistent WR1s.

And yes, of course, the offensive line issues are more problematic for Dalton. Dalton doesn't have the mobility to make pinpoint throws off-script. Prescott was arguably the league's best at it.

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