Jerry Jones agreed to make Mike McCarthy the Dallas Cowboys next head coach. Amid plenty of speculation, the Cowboys decided upon the proven winner and the most incredible selection from Jones. A safe, thoughtful pick that lacks splash but has plenty of substance.
What will McCarthy be able to accomplish with Dak Prescott? Will McCarthy feature Ezekiel Elliot in his offense? What type of fantasy impact will Mike McCarthy have on the Cowboys? Find out the answers to those questions and a whole lot more.
Proven Success in Green Bay
Green Bay made nine trips to the postseason in his 13 years under McCarthy. The 56-year-old was out of football this season after getting fired during what ended up being a second straight losing season for the Packers in 2018.
McCarthy was the head coach at the end of the Brett Favre era and helped pilot the growth of Aaron Rodgers into a franchise quarterback.
He finished with a 125-77-2 regular-season record while going 10-8 in the postseason, including a victory in Super Bowl XLV in the 2010 season.
Jason Garrett is finally out in Dallas.
— NFL 32 (@NFL32__) January 3, 2020
The Dallas Cowboys are known as America’s Team, but the team has been a symbol of mediocrity, posting an 8-8 record without a postseason berth in four of the last nine seasons under Jason Garrett. Jerry Jones allowed Garrett to stay on through his contract.
Dallas won its division in three of the last six seasons but never made it past the divisional round of the playoffs. Since the Cowboys’ three Super Bowls in the 1990s, the team hasn’t even advanced to a conference championship in 24 years.
The inevitable conclusion was a necessary one for the Dallas Cowboys franchise. Jerry Jones was Jason Garrett’s biggest fan, and that is the main reason he held onto his job as long as he did.
During his tenure, Garrett produced a losing playoff record of 2-3, and his weak game management and decision making never seemed to develop. Typically, the team didn’t look ready to play or just lost to talent-inferior teams.
The Dallas Cowboys have one of the most talented teams in the league. Dak Prescott led an offense that led the NFL last season, averaging 431.5 yards per game. Ezekiel Elliot is one of the top five running backs in the league. The offense produced a two-1,000 yard receiving duo in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. The Cowboys offensive line was rated by the best by Pro Football Focus.
The fact that the Cowboys didn’t advance in the playoffs annually can be traced back to the leadership or lack thereof by Jason Garrett.
McCarthy era begins in Dallas
McCarthy has spent the past year preparing for his next head coaching gig, studying ways to improve. McCarthy came under fire in Green Bay for fielding a struggling, stale offense despite the presence of All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers under center.
Lauded for his work developing the star quarterback, under his guidance, Rodgers won two Most Valuable Player awards. It was not always peaches and cream in Green Bay, the relationship toward the end of their time together with the Packers became unraveled. Multiple reports appear showing the frustration on the play-calling and not being more aggressive.
McCarthy will no have the opportunity to guide Prescott into another level. The drama in Dallas this offseason will be centered on Prescott. They need to lock him into a long-term deal or place a franchise tag on him. It’s hard to believe that Prescott will be anywhere but in Dallas. Additionally, the team still needs to negotiate with wide receiver Amari Cooper.
The Fantasy Impact of Mike McCarthy on the Cowboys
McCarthy steps into a tremendous situation. The team is super talented. He took a year away from football and studied football analytics, which is a departure for the coach who seemed allergic to data-driven statistics.
Fantasy Football owners should be encouraged that McCarthy will get the opportunity to work with Prescott. Prescott is coming off a 2019 season where he passed for 4,902 yards. That’s more than the career highs of Rich Gannon, Brett Favre, or Aaron Rodgers.
McCarthy will run a more fast-paced offense. During his final five seasons with the Packers, McCarthy’s offense used a no-huddle at the rate of 21 percent, the third-highest use of the no-huddle during that span. In contrast, the Cowboys have only used no-huddle on nine percent of their plays with Prescott as their signal-caller.
McCarthy ran a pass-happy offense in Green Bay, incorporating more vertical passing routes. Fantasy owners should see an uptick from Dak and the wideouts in Dallas.
Ezekiel Elliot is a stud in the backfield. Elliot produced 1777 total yards and 14 scores last season. He was one of the most dependable backs in the league and should be getting over 300 touches every season.
However, McCarthy isn’t known for running the ball. In his final three seasons with the Packers, his teams had among the lowest rushing attempts in the NFL. In his twelve full seasons, less than half saw the team produce a 1,000-yard rusher. McCarthy never had an elite back with Eddie Lacy, Ryan Grant, and a young Aaron Jones leading the way.
Regardless of any success of the passing game, McCarthy is smart enough to realize that Ezekiel Elliot must be running the ball a ton. He never had the luxury of having an elite back like Elliot. At worst, Elliot drops to the number five running back in fantasy football. Some fantasy football owners will shy away from Elliot, please don’t be that fantasy owner.
Both wideouts-Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup-had outstanding seasons, and it will be interesting to see what the team does with Cooper. If I am McCarthy, I scream if Cooper is not in my Game 1 lineup 2020. Still only 23 years old, Gallup broke out last season with 66 catches for 1107 yards and six touchdowns in just 14 games. He is turning into a superstar, and if Cooper leaves, Gallup can turn into a fantasy football WR1.
Look for the Cowboys to resign wide receiver, Randall Cobb. Cobb played under McCarthy in Green Bay and played well for the Cowboys this season. He averaged 10.0 yards per target and is a sneaky option as a WR3 as you prep for fantasy football drafts this summer.
The tight end position is not absolute in Dallas for the 2020 season. Will Jason Witten come back? If not, who takes over for the veteran? Blake Jarwin looks to be the next man up and has impressed in his limited playing time. If Richard Rogers can score eight touchdowns in this offense, then fantasy owners should not shy away from whoever lines up at the tight end position.
Mike McCarthy will have an immense fantasy impact, and fantasy football owners should look to target Dallas Cowboys players in their fantasy football drafts or auctions. McCarthy will put the players in the best places to succeed, and that’s all you can hope for in fake football.