Cowboys RB Tony Pollard has been "privately tutored" on playing slot receiver by offensive quality control coach Kyle Valero this offseason. "Just details like route-running, getting in and out of breaks, why we’re running certain plays and what’s the meaning behind them,” Pollard said. “We’re getting into the depth of why we’re doing the things that we’re doing, so it will make more sense in the big picture. …It just shows the hard work that I’ve put in. In the offseason, during the season, it’s not going unnoticed. Guys are noticing the things that I can do with the ball to help the team, just knowing that I can contribute more and more to the team.” Pollard ranked 3rd in yards per route run last year among 51 qualifying RBs, and the Cowboys are dangerously thin at WR to open the season. So we're buying some slot usage for Pollard. That'll give him a chance to be a fantasy starter even behind a healthy Ezekiel Elliott.
RB Tony Pollard paced the Dallas backfield in production in Week 3, taking 13 carries for 105 yards. He saw the Cowboys’ first attempt of the night vs. New York but was narrowly out-carried by Zeke Elliott (15-73) overall. Elliott handled 3 of Dallas’ 4 goal line rushing opportunities, punching in 1 score. And, after seeing 7 targets in Week 1, Pollard garnered only 1 against the Giants. This backfield split will remain in place going forward, with Elliott the slightly better bet for weekly carries. Pollard’s receiving game involvement should rebound a bit Sunday vs. Washington. Also note that Dak Prescott (thumb) should return over the next couple of weeks.
The hope for anyone drafting Cowboys RB Tony Pollard in a fantasy football league is that he opens the year with a significant increase in receiving work. It sounds like OC Kellen Moore wants that, too. “There is a ton of it on film. A lot of it is coming back to him,” Moore told ESPN's Todd Archer, referring to the receiving skills Pollard displayed in college. “I think he does have more than just that. He’s not going to run [just] the running back route tree, the quick game and just kind of the completion plays. He can stretch people vertically, and I think that will be a huge advantage for him to put people in conflict of how they want to handle him.” There is room for Pollard to factor into a passing game that lost Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, and will at least see Michael Gallup (ACL) limited to open the year. Obviously, the ultimate ceiling for Pollard would include an Ezekiel Elliott injury. But he sits higher in our RB rankings than previous years because of the expected growth in his receiving role.
Cowboys OC Kellen Moore confirmed his plans to increase RB Tony Pollard’s role in 2022. “He’s a guy that we want to get the ball to,” Moore said of the contract-year back. “He’s had a ton of success when he does get those opportunities. I think the running back role is one thing, certainly when Zeke and him can kind of tag-team that role, but then it’s another opportunity for him to expand that role and play in some different positions, out in space and some of the things that certainly he’s capable of doing. I think the more we expand those roles, the more opportunities he’ll be able to get out there and get touches.” Pollard, with an ADP at mid-Round 7, is one of our favorite RB3 targets.
The Cowboys used RB Tony Pollard in a multitude of ways on the 1st day of training camp and are "committed to making Pollard a viable weapon in the offense," insider Clarence Hill writes. "Pollard opened 11-on-11 drills with the first-team offense as slot receiver. He ended practice as the primary third-down back in the 2-minute drill with [Ezekiel] Elliott on the sidelines." Hill adds that he expects Dallas to use Elliott and Pollard on the field together this season. We hear that a lot this time of year, but it certainly makes sense in this situation considering how good Pollard is and the fact that the Cowboys lost WR Amari Cooper and will likely be without WR Michael Gallup early on. We know Pollard is at least an elite fantasy handcuff, but he's also capable of providing standalone value this season.
Cowboys beat writer Jon Machota believes RB Tony Pollard is in for his most productive season yet. Machota points to the departures of Amari Cooper, Cedrick Wilson and Blake Jarwin as reason for a boosted workload. Last year, Pollard totaled 169 touches in 15 games. The contract-year back currently holds a reasonable ADP of 8.04.
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