Saturday - Apr 20, 2019

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Under the Microscope – Dallas Cowboys

Overview
There’s no denying the effect that Bill Parcells has already had on this team.  Two straight wins on the road, against the Giants and Jets, are a tremendous boost to their confidence.  This team now believes they can play with anyone, and they will probably notch a few upsets this season.  Now that all the teams have a few games under their belt, the stats are starting to mean something.  And the stats tell us that the Dallas Cowboys are a team with a dangerous running and passing offense, and a team that can stop the run.  I’m not saying the Cowboys are playoff-bound, but that combination has taken many a team there in the past.  Parcells is laying the groundwork for this team to be very good in the next few years.

Team Stats (numbers in parentheses are NFL Ranking)
Category Yards/Game TD’s
Rushing Offense 152.7  (4) 3  (t10)
Passing Offense 236.0  (6) 2  (t28)
Rushing Defense 72.3  (4) 1  (t2)
Passing Defense 231.7  (26) 5  (t17)

Turnover Stats Upcoming Schedule
6 takeaways  (t15)
4 giveaways  (t4)
+2 overall  (t7)
5: Arizona
6: Philadelphia

7: @Detroit
8: @Tampa Bay
9: Washington
10: Buffalo
11: @New England
12: Carolina
13: Miami
14: @
Philadelphia

Schedule Analysis
Being 2-1 is certainly reason to celebrate, especially with the hapless Cardinals coming to town.  This Sunday should be more of a “welcome back Emmitt” party than a game.  But things do get tougher in the following weeks – Philadelphia picked up its first win last week and they will be looking to post a good division mark.  And starting in week 8, every remaining game on the schedule will be a struggle.  There is a great deal of promise shown here, and Parcells will turn this ship around, but even getting to .500 looks to be a daunting task for this year.

Player Analysis

Quincy Carter, QB – He’s not what you’d call an instant sensation, and you probably have someone better on your team, but Quincy Carter has actually become a decent fantasy backup.  He will not be depended on to win the game in Parcells’ system, and this helps him be more accurate and throw fewer interceptions.  Definitely worth a pickup and could fill in nicely on your bye week.

Chad Hutchinson, QB – Carter has pretty much locked down the starting job for now.  Maybe you’ll see Hutchinson howling at karaoke one night, but don’t expect to see him on the field unless Carter goes down.

Troy Hambrick, RB – His carries and yards have been increasing every game, and he is definitely the workhorse in this offense.  Those of you who took a chance on him in your draft are about to be rewarded.  Expect to see several more 100-yard performances in his future.

Aveion Cason, RB – If not for a 63-yard TD in week one, you wouldn’t even know this guy’s name.  He won’t be getting the ball much as long as Hambrick continues to produce and stays on Coach Parcells’ good side.

Joey Galloway, WR – It has been nearly 4 years since his 1999 knee injury, and we are finally starting to see the true potential of Galloway.  He looks to be completely healthy and has finally grabbed the leadership role among this talented group of receivers.  This is another risky player that many of you took in your drafts and were rewarded for.  Pat yourself on the back and enjoy some good fantasy days.

Antonio Bryant, WR – Bryant is the prototype big receiver with killer speed, and he is looking to build on his promising rookie campaign with a lot of big plays in his sophomore effort.  Big-play guys like this are tough to predict, but you have to give him some consideration as he’s likely to blow up for some big numbers very soon.  Of course, as with any young receiver, be prepared to see a few no-catch or 1-catch days.

Terry Glenn, WR – His big 8-for-113 performance on Monday Night Football was impressive.  He was open all night!  I got excited about his potential, knowing his connection with Bill Parcells, but Glenn came out in week 4 with another goose egg.  He should be riding your bench (or waiver wire) until he can prove he’s ready to produce consistently.

Dan Campbell, TE – Has caught one whole entire pass this year.  Bill Parcells likes to make use of the tight end in the passing offense, but I suspect he just doesn’t have the personnel to make the plays at this time. 

Defense/Special Teams – While the young stars on this defense still need some time to come together as a cohesive group, this is a unit that is ready to become one of the league’s finest.  They have been stout against the run and created some turnovers at crucial times, giving their offense the chance to win games.  With no return threat to speak of, this is not an elite fantasy squad.  But they could certainly fill in for a bye week.

The Bottom Line
I’m impressed by the progress Bill Parcells has made with this young team in such a short period of time.  While their current record may be more attributable to good breaks than good plays, it’s great to get two wins on the road, no matter how they happen.  A difficult schedule combined with a lack of talent at certain positions will be this team’s undoing.  But unlike last year when they were a fantasy wasteland, the Cowboys now have a few players you can count on for some consistent points.  This is a team to watch late in the year – they may start to set a trend of good performances that carries over into next year.

Next Week … Back to the AFC as we turn the microscope to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  A string of uneven performances makes the Steelers a difficult team to read at this point.  At times, they look like an offensive juggernaut, but when their running game struggles, the whole team suffers.  I’ll try to make some sense of this talented team and see if they can return to being the fantasy machine they were last year.

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