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Free agency shakes up Cowboys’ fantasy football forecast

Cowboys Wire logo Cowboys Wire 4/21/2019 Burke Downer
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The Dallas Cowboys have a roster full of fantasy stars. Their leading man, Ezekiel Elliott will be a top-3 pick in any points format for 2019, but he's not the only Cowboy fantasy football owners should be paying attention to. The key to winning fantasy championships is a many-sided die. Who's getting the most opportunities? What style of offense are they in? Is the offensive coordinator a gum-chewing, hair-gelling offensive genius? Above all else, the answer is vigilance. Say it with me: Roster churn, waiver burn.

Throughout the 2019 season Cowboys Wire will keep you updated with all things Cowboys fantasy. We'll get this party started with an update on the who's in and who's out following the initial wave of free-agency, and what we can expect from the new faces. The Cowboys first official workouts took place today, with that in mind here's a refresher on who's in and who's out.

Jason Witten

El Capitan, "Gold Jacket Witt" returns for season No. 16. While Witten's return is as heart-warming as that golden retriever finding his way home in Homeward Bound, it's not going to have an impact in the fantasy football world. Witten will be spot-play at best this year. The Cowboys reportedly plan to limit Witten's snap count, although things don't always go as planned.

Even if Witten returns in a full-time role, he'll have a hard time beating his 2017 totals of 63 REC, 560 YDS, and 5 TDS.

Randall Cobb

Cobb is a great-get for the Cowboys. He immediately plugs the hole that was punched when Cole Beasley departed for Buffalo. Cobb will fill in as the Cowboys primary slot receiver in 2019, if he can stay healthy. That's a big "if." Cobb hasn't played a full season since 2015. No, that wasn't one of the years the Packers knocked the Cowboys out of the playoffs.

If Cobb can stay healthy, he should be able to match Beasley's 2018 stat line of 65 REC, 672 YDS, 3 TDS. And he's got a puncher's chance at more.

Bonus: Kellen Moore

Moore is the wildcard for entire organization in 2019. He replaced Scott Linehan as the Cowboys new offensive coordinator and play-caller. Jason Garrett is on record more than once stating that game-planning and offensive scheme will be a group design, "a collaborative process." The team brought in former NFL QB Jon Kitna as the new quarterbacks coach to work in hand with Moore, and Garrett's a former offensive coordinator himself.

The bones of the offense will be Garrett's system, and Moore will be tasked with providing both new insights and a maintenance of the much-loved ground control offense. It'll be interesting to see how long Garrett leaves the training wheels on for Moore, and exactly what his play-calling style will be. Things could go sideways in a hurry for Moore if the offense starts slow, as it did in 2018 under Linehan.

Continue…

Geoff Swaim

The Cowboys decided to let Swaim walk after four years in silver and blue. The former seventh round draft pick has lasted longer in the league than could have been expected when the Cowboys drafted him 246th overall in 2015. Once thought as a possible successor to Jason Witten, Swaim was never able to maintain consistent success in part due to injuries.

Geoff Swaim has less career catches (35) than Jason Witten has years on this Earth (36). Swaim will likely have more catches than that in his first year in Jacksonville, but not enough production to warrant rostering on your fantasy squad.

Cole Beasley

It was clear from very early on that the Cowboys would not make a run at Beasley this offseason, at least not a tangible one. The Cowboys mighty-might superhero is off to Buffalo to join the Night's Watch…or something like that.

Beasley has been productive throughout his career. The Little Elm, TX native and SMU grad made the most out of his seven years with the Cowboys; his 319 career receptions is good for 10th in Cowboys history. Beasley will continue to find space in small places for the Bills, and of all the players who either came to or left Dallas this offseason, Beasley is the one guy who can make a dent in the fantasy world. He's worth a late round flyer in PPC leagues.

Bonus: Rod Smith

Smith is now an unrestricted free agent, so where is this going? After spending 2017 splitting carries with Alfred Morris as Ezekiel Elliott was out six games due to suspension, Smith had the backup job all to himself in 2018. Smith played in all 16 regular season games, piling up…127 yards on 44 carries, and 12 of those carries came Week 17 with Elliott resting. The takeaway here is not belittle Smith's production, it's to point out that even a veteran running back, who knows the system and is well regarded by the staff could only eek out 2.4 carries per game while Elliott was in uniform.

Nothing will change for whoever replaces Smith, likely a rookie drafted in rounds four through six next weekend. Elliott is here for all the touches. First down, second down, third down, fake punts. Whatever. Handcuff whoever they draft to Elliott, but don't be surprised if his year end production is lacking. The Beast wants the ball.

You can follow Burke at @BurkeDowner.

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