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FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: QB Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

It’s that time of year, folks! Get out your notepads, start writing your notes and fantasize about the ways you can mix and match every player to create a fantasy football mega-team. It all starts off with research and preparation. This thread of articles aims to help you with those hard to make decisions about individual players who can make or break your season. We will not cover players who are obviously fantasy studs. Writing an article about how Aaron Rodgers is going to be the best quarterback again this year doesn’t help anybody. I know that, you know that and your competitors know that. But what about when you are in the sixth round, don’t have a quarterback and you have to pick between Dak Prescott or Kirk Cousins. That is where we are here to help. Today we are going to take a good look at Prescott. Evaluating his previous performance, team standing and expectations will allow you to make informed decisions and draft well for your upcoming league.

Last Season

In ESPN standard scoring leagues Dak Prescott was the sixth-ranked quarterback in the NFL. This was obviously a complete and utter surprise since he was a rookie and only drafted in the fourth round. Prescott racked up 271 fantasy points, averaging just less than 17 a game. He was surprisingly consistent for a team that was certainly run first-pass second. His throwing and running ability kept defenses guessing and by the end of the year Prescott became the dual threat quarterback Dallas hoped he would be when he was drafted. After throwing for 23 touchdowns and only turning the ball over four times, expectations are high in 2017. Prescott also ran for 282 yards and ranked as one of the best quarterbacks in terms of efficiency, completion percentage and turnover rate.

2017 Expectations

After exploding onto the scene in 2016, Dak Prescott is no longer an unknown identity. You will no longer find him on the free agent list like last year, but that doesn’t mean you should snag him too early in your draft. Dallas’ schedule isn’t the easiest and includes trips to Arizona, Oakland and still hosts Green Bay, Seattle and Denver along with the standard NFC East opponents. There are not many cupcakes teams on this schedule and Dallas will be a run first offense unless it is losing by a reasonably large margin. I believe that some of Prescott’s success came from the fact that teams just didn’t know what to expect. Many defenses got torched by the run, had to play conservatively and when the offense threw the ball the defense was on their heels. Not to take anything from Prescott, I mean he made the throws and kept making play after play. The running game is assumed to be just as good, if not slightly better due to the added experience of Ezekiel Elliott behind that offensive line. This will give Prescott ample opportunities to light it up in the air.

Another fact most noticed is that Dallas offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, designed plays that were very simple for him. There were not many risks and many of the passes were very short, almost fool proof. This was to help Prescott mature as a NFL quarterback and the coaches and team perfected this slow maturation better than any team I have ever seen. In Year 2, however, I expect to see Dallas be willing to open it up and take a few more risks and see what Prescott can do. This can go either way. Either Prescott truly is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he will connect with Dez Bryant often as well as others on more extravagant plays and lead what was already one of the best offenses to the top tier of offensive powers in the NFL or fizzle and resort to simple passes and running the ball. With more risks come possibly more turnovers, battered confidence and less chances to score. Personally, I think it will be somewhere in the middle. I don’t think Prescott is Tom Brady, but I also don’t think he is Blake Bortles either.

Conclusion

Prescott will be a Top 10 fantasy quarterback in 2017. Will he finish sixth again like he did last year? If he progresses well, then there is a reasonable chance that he eclipses that mark. Overall, I feel like it is too much to ask of him and would very risky drafting him expecting him to put up Top 5 quarterback numbers every week. I like to play it conservative, so I would consider him the ninth- or 10th-best quarterback and draft accordingly, just to be safe. It will be very interesting to see what Prescott’s encore is following last year’s impressive display. Don’t draft him too high, but certainly keep an eye on him because for the right price Prescott could possess the abilities to lead your team to victory week in and week out.

Do you have a player that you want to be covered in these articles? Send me a message or tweet me at @_daAdamBomb_ and your suggestion will make it into the next article!

About Adam Stewart

Adam is one of our summer guest writers. We hope you enjoy his perspective.