After watching Avengers: Endgame, I couldn’t stop thinking about the multiverse. Then, my mind drifted to the Projection Machine, which acts as a fantasy football time machine. Every little tweak in the timeline of fantasy football can have a wide range of repercussions that echo across the league. So, in this series, I’ll dial up that Projection Machine to examine players who could experience big swings in fantasy value if certain things break the right way.
Jason Garrett’s Tenure
Jason Garrett has been the Twitter whipping boy for quite some time now, but in terms of pace of play and pass/rush splits, he’s been about average. In the past five seasons, the Dallas offensive splits and play volume has been reasonably consistent. Passing volume for the Cowboys has been on the upswing, hitting 55% last season. With the exception of 2015, Dallas was within six plays of league average for any given season.
We’re going to set our base expectations a little bit lower to see how the offense as a whole functions with a 53-47 pass-run split and 960 total plays.1
What Will Probably Happen …
Dallas made a splash last year when they traded for Amari Cooper. Between Cooper’s injury woes and Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout, there could be some hidden value on the Cowboys roster. Michael Gallup is heading into his second year and is largely an afterthought in fantasy right now. Over the past month, Gallup has been gaining traction a bit. Even with that bump, though, he’s currently going as WR50 in FFPC Drafts in the middle of the 12th round.
Giving Gallup just a bit over five targets per game and conserving Cooper as a target hog,2 he’d beat ADP without breaking a sweat. His catch rate left a bit to be desired last year and he didn’t score many touchdowns, so we’ll be conservative with those numbers to check out his floor.
His floor projection slots him in at 140 PPR points. That output would’ve been good for WR47. Beating ADP by three spots isn’t exactly what we’re searching for, though, so what is Gallup’s ceiling?
What Could Happen …
The competition for targets outside of Elliott and Cooper is rather weak. If Gallup is going to emerge, he isn’t going to be challenged by the Randall Cobbs and Jason Wittens of the world for targets. If he were to gain just an extra 2% of the targets from Dak Prescott, what would his season look like with just a slight bump in catch rate? That gives him fringe WR3 numbers with 160 PPR Points.
That’s not his ceiling, though. A true breakout would include an increase in both market share and touchdown rate.
In his breakout scenario, Gallup would end up with nearly 190 points which would’ve landed him at WR24 last year in PPR. This is a realistic breakout because so many little things can break his way. Whether it’s Cooper missing time, Elliott continuing his holdout into the regular season, a change in offensive philosophy, or some combination of those three, Gallup is just a small step away from beating his ADP by 25-plus spots.