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Fantasy Football News 2022

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Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy praised 2nd-round DE Sam Williams after the team's 1st rookie minicamp practice over the weekend. "I think we'd all agree that Sam Williams looks like a guy that was born to play professional football," McCarthy told the Dallas Morning News on Saturday. "He has the gifts. He has the physical traits." Williams set the Ole Miss single-season record with 12.5 sacks last season and then delivered a 99th-percentile speed score at 6'4, 261 pounds in pre-draft testing. Off-field concerns might have pushed him into Round 2. Williams landed in a defense that presents immediate opportunity if he proves ready to seize it. Keep an eye on Williams as a potential late-round sleeper in 2022 IDP drafts. And check out his spot in our dynasty rookie IDP rankings.

Jon Machota of The Athletic believes rookie WR Jalen Tolbert “should be able to immediately compete for a starting spot.” That, of course, would be the WR3 job behind CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, who’s recovering from a January ACL tear. Consider him questionable for Week 1 right now. As for Tolbert, the words of VP of Player Personnel Will McClay speak volumes about the team’s interest. "Tolbert can play multiple spots,” McClay said. “He’s got size, he’s extremely intelligent and the type of player you want to grow in that room. The upside is there because he’s an NFL style receiver, body style, size, ability to find space to be able to play inside and outside, so that versatility made him very attractive to us.” Tolbert’s main competition will come from former Steeler James Washington, who signed just a 1-year deal worth ~$1.2 million.

The Cowboys added Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson in the 4th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He opened his college career with a 36-456-4 line as a freshman but never progressed from there. Ferguson was primarily an in-line TE for the Badgers. He has reliable hands and is comfortable working in traffic at 6’5, 250 pounds. But he has 4.8 speed with a below-average vertical, leaving him as a low-upside fantasy prospect. Ferguson will compete for scraps behind TE Dalton Schultz in Dallas this year.

The Cowboys added South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert in the 3rd round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Tolbert was just a 2-star recruit out of high school and didn’t win a starting job until his 3rd year at South Alabama. He led that 2019 squad with 6 receiving TDs and ranked 2nd with 521 receiving yards. 2020 brought a true breakout: 64 catches for 1,085 yards and 8 TDs. Tolbert accounted for 40% of South Alabama’s receiving yards and 44% of the TDs that year. He was even more productive as a redshirt senior this past season, posting an 82-1,474-8 line. Only 5 WRs in the country tallied more receiving yards. Tolbert ranked 18th among 251 qualifying WRs in Pro Football Focus’ 2021 receiving grades. The 6’1, 194-pounder is at his best working deep. He has good-not-great speed (4.49-second 40 time) and is an excellent ball tracker with sticky hands. Tolbert is already 23 years old and faced lower-level college competition, though, so the ceiling feels capped. He likely maxes out as a field-stretching #2 or #3 WR as a pro. He’ll compete for the #3 WR job with James Washington in Dallas.

The Cowboys selected DE Sam Williams in Round 2 of the NFL Draft. Williams sports plenty of on-field potential. After 2 solid years at Ole Miss, he delivered 57 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in his final campaign. Williams then delivered a 99th-percentile speed score at 6'4, 261 pounds. He may have fallen in the draft for off-field issues. Williams lands in a Dallas defense with immediate opportunity on the edge and looks like a high-upside pick for IDP dynasty rookie drafts.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has resumed throwing and is "fully recovered" from offseason surgery on his left shoulder, according to Rob Phillips of the team's official website. "Pumped up is the way I feel, the leg feels, arm feels, body feels. I'm excited," Prescott said. That non-throwing shoulder isn't a concern as we look ahead to the 2022 season. Dak is QB8 in early FFPC best-ball ADP.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted that WR Michael Gallup (knee) is iffy for the start of the season. “Optimistically, I expect him to give us a question mark around the first game," Jones said. "And I see a conversation that says conservatively, you would like to have a couple more games to get him out there.” This is just confirmation considering Gallup tore his ACL on January 2. Drafters shouldn't be expecting to have him for the start of the season. As Dallas' depth chart currently stands, WR James Washington would be in for a big role for however long Gallup is out.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that former Steelers WR James Washington is signing a 1-year deal with the Cowboys. Washington averaged just 28.5 receptions across 4 seasons in Pittsburgh. That he apparently couldn't find more on the open market means we shouldn't count on a 2022 breakout. But he lands in an intriguing spot. Dallas has already shed Amari Cooper (trade) and Cedrick Wilson (free agency) this offseason. The Cowboys re-signed Michael Gallup, but we'll see whether his Jan. 2 ACL tear allows him to start the season on time. Washington has been primarily undrafted in early best-ball drafts. As long as he doesn't leap up in ADP, he's an interesting late-round consideration.

The Cowboys are bringing S Malik Hooker back on a 2-year, $8 million deal, according to multiple reports. Hooker operated as the 3rd/4th safety in his 1st season with Dallas on a 1-year deal that paid him just $920,000. The new contract points to Hooker likely elevating to a starting role in 2022. Expect him to take over Damontae Kazee's spot. We'll see whether the team retains Jayron Kearse for the other safety spot. Hooker has yet to prove useful for most IDP formats -- even when he was healthy with the Colts.

The Cowboys are re-signing DE Demarcus Lawrence to a 3-year, $40 million deal with $30 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports. Many expected Lawrence to move on, given Dallas' salary-cap issues. But the 8-year veteran heads into his age-30 campaign looking like he might finish his career a Cowboy. Lawrence lost 10 games to a foot fracture in 2021 and logged just 3 in the other 7. We'd bet on a 2022 rebound, but it's worth noting that Lawrence also tallied just 10 QB hits in 2020 -- his fewest in a season since becoming a starter. So he's probably not a great bet for double-digit sacks.

The Cowboys and WR Michael Gallup have agreed to a 5-year extension worth $62.5 million, according to multiple reports. This has been the expected move. The question for Gallup in 2022 will be how soon he can make it back from the ACL tear.

The Cowboys are re-signing WR Noah Brown to a 1-year deal, according to Nick Eatman of the team website. Brown ranked 5th among Dallas WRs in targets each of the past 2 years and figures to remain in a similar role going forward. The former 7th-round pick heads into his 6th season in the league and turned 26 in January.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Cowboys are expected to apply the franchise tag to TE Dalton Schultz today. Dallas is up against the salary cap, so the team would surely prefer to knock out a longer-term deal with Schultz. For fantasy football purposes, draft as though Schultz will remain a Cowboy at least through 2022. He could find himself in an even better situation for target volume than last year, with WR Amari Cooper expected to leave and WR Michael Gallup coming off an ACL tear.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Cowboys are "close" to a new deal with impending free agent WR Michael Gallup. This news, of course, comes alongside the expected trade/release of WR Amari Cooper. We'll be curious to see how much Gallup commands in his extension, coming off his Week 17 ACL tear. We'll also see about Gallup's progress through the offseason in judging his 2022 outlook. He certainly carries risk as an early best-ball selection. It at least appears that you should assume he'll remain in Dallas.

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones commented on the status of RB Ezekiel Elliott. “I want Zeke on my team,” Jones said. “Obviously, his contract, his money is guaranteed. He’s going to be here [in 2022], no question. We’re fortunate to have him.” Zeke carries a massive $18.2 million cap hit for the upcoming season, but moving on would cost Dallas ~$30 million. 2023 is the first year the guarantees in Elliott’s contract dry up, so it’s quite possible the team cuts him then. It’s worth remembering that the veteran played through a partially torn PCL from Week 4 on in 2021, which surely contributed to his decline in play. Still, it’s clear that the explosive Tony Pollard — who enters a contract year — deserves a bigger share of backfield touches. Zeke averaged 16.7 touches per game; Pollard was at 11.2.

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy said Tuesday that QB Dak Prescott underwent offseason shoulder surgery. Described as a "clean-up," the procedure was done on his left shoulder. Said McCarthy: ”It's not a concern. We have no concerns. He is doing well." Prescott will be a full-go for offseason activities, but this news is certainly worth filing away. Prescott finished as the QB6 last year, missing only 1 game.

WR Michael Gallup is "recovering well" from his torn ACL, according to insider Doug Kyed, and the "current expectation" is that he'll be back to 100% by August. That'd be about 7 months after his injury -- a relatively quick recovery. We'll keep an eye on Gallup's progress this offseason. And we'll see where he signs when he hits the free-agent market next month.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott said after Sunday’s loss to San Francisco that he played part of the season with a PCL injury. "It was hard," Elliott said. "It's never fun being banged up. But it's my job to make sure I get my body right and be ready for this team, for the fanbase and for the coaches. It's hard, but that's my job. I won't need a procedure. I just partially tore my PCL this year. It was an injury that wasn't going to get worse, but it was just going to take time. I was just doing my job in playing through the injury. I was going out there and doing what I needed to do for my team.” Zeke, 27 in July, will return for his 7th season in Dallas next fall.

Cowboys RB Tony Pollard (foot) was a full participant in Wednesday's practice. That's confirmation that he'll be available for Sunday's Wild Card game vs. the 49ers.

Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones said Monday that RB Tony Pollard (foot) will be "ready to roll" in Saturday's Wild Card game vs. the 49ers. It's confirmation that Pollard was held out of the regular-season finale as a precaution. Pollard averaged 7.7 carries and 3.7 targets over his final 3 games and is likely looking at a similar workload in the playoffs.

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