The Dallas Cowboys project as one of the most potent, high scoring passing attacks headed into the 2020 season. The team boasts three very talented pass catchers, an above-average offensive line, top-flight running backs, and a QB that has shown the ability to get these guys the ball. While you want pieces of this offense anywhere you can get them; I see an obvious mistake with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Once we compare the Cowboys receivers for 2020, you’ll see what I mean.[sv slug=mocksim]
Comparing the Cowboys wide receivers for 2020
2020 Cowboys receivers’ projected opportunity
We’ll start by comparing the receiver’s air yards data from 2019.[table id=143 /]
As we can see, Gallup and Cooper are the same players from an opportunity standpoint. The raw targets stand out even more when you realize Gallup played two fewer games than Cooper.
Many saw Gallup’s value diminish when the Cowboys selected CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. However, as PFN’s Tommy Garrett pointed out in his vacated targets article, there are plenty of opportunities to go around.
Randall Cobb and Jason Witten left 190 vacated targets in the Cowboys offense. Dallas retained Kellen Moore as their offensive coordinator, so there is no reason to believe they are in for a dramatic overhaul in offensive philosophy. They had a 55/45 pass/run split on early downs in neutral (+/- 8 points) game scripts, according to Sharp Football Stats.
That split was the fifth-highest ratio in the league. In Mike McCarthy’s final three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, he had splits of 61/39 (first), 51/49 (Rodgers was injured), and 61/39 (tied for third). If anything, we could see more pass attempts from this offense in 2020.
While Lamb is a terrific wide receiver prospect, the shortened offseason is going to hurt all rookies. Instead of being at OTAs, working on their weaknesses, they are regulated to zoom meetings to learn as much as they can. It just isn’t the same as live training.
Cooper and Gallup already have a rapport with QB Dak Prescott which will prove invaluable this offseason. I’m not too worried about Lamb stealing targets from the top two Cowboys receivers in 2020. Both Tommy Garrett and Corey Ashburn have Cooper and Gallup with near-identical target shares, hovering right around 20% for both players.
How consistent were the Cowboys receivers in 2019?
PFN’s new addition Phillip Caldwell brings with him his famous consistency score metrics. They measure how consistent a receiver was throughout a season in terms of how often they finished as a WR1, WR2, etc. Here is what he had to say regarding Cooper.
“Even though Cooper is his team’s number one receiver, there is no chance I reach for him in the second round. His consistency numbers show that he will hurt your team just as much as help it, and that’s not a good value at 2.11.”
Cooper had just as many games where he finished as a WR1 as he did as a WR4 (in 0.5PPR.) Overall, he finished 22nd in Caldwell’s consistency score ranking.
Gallup, however, had just one fewer game as a WR2 or better than Cooper. He finished 31st in consistency score ranking, nine spots lower than Cooper. When comparing the Cowboys receivers for 2020, I don’t see a reason to think Cooper will become more consistent.
Cowboys receivers 2020 average draft position
According to Fantasy Pros, Cooper’s ADP is 31st overall, WR 12.2., while Gallup is 77th overall, WR 33.8. I think that gap is far too broad. The FFPC (high stakes season-long fantasy football) is lower on both receivers. Cooper’s ADP is 38.12, while Gallup sits at 91.32.
Cowboys receivers redraft and dynasty value
In redraft leagues, I’m all over Gallup. The only way I would want shares of Cooper is if you’re doing several best ball leagues and want to differentiate your wide receiver exposure. Even then, it’d be a minimal amount as you’re paying a premium for Cooper’s services.
When comparing the two receivers for 2020, it’s a little more complicated for dynasty. If you’re a contender, I would try adding Gallup at the “Lamb discount.” In startups, the value is still with Gallup. For full disclosure, I took Cooper in a recent PFN staff startup at the end of the third round. I wish I had done this article before then because, for fantasy purposes, the two Cowboys receivers are the same players for 2020.
Gallup is making pennies compared to Cooper for the next two years. Dallas can save $16 million by cutting Cooper after the 2021 season. It is a little bit frivolous to project roster moves two years out, but the cap could be considerably lower than we thought, so it’s worth a discussion.
Cooper’s contract is a potential detriment to his time in Dallas. Assuming the Cowboys re-sign Prescott, you’ll want pieces of this offense for years to come. I think there’s a decent chance Gallup records more snaps with Prescott than Cooper will in the coming years.
Verdict on the Cowboys receivers
I put more faith into FFPC ADP than any other source, as these are high stakes leagues that players are investing hundreds and thousands of dollars into. When comparing the two receivers for 2020, high stakes players have an even wider gap between the two than “normal” ADP. That said, I’m going against the grain here because the numbers just don’t add up.
Gallup is a far better buy at his ADP than Cooper is. The opportunity will be the same, while Gallup delivered far fewer “dud” weeks in 2019. While the talent may favor Cooper, I don’t think the gap should be as wide as it is.
I favor Gallup over Cooper in all formats at their current ADPs.