Dak Prescott: High Risk, Low Reward for Fantasy Football

Jul 10, 2023
Dak Prescott: High Risk, Low Reward

Dak Prescott had a challenging year in 2022. He finished as the QB18 in fantasy football, the second-lowest finish of his career. The only season he finished lower was 2020 when he fractured and dislocated his ankle in Week 5. He missed time with a thumb injury this past season. How will returning to a new play-caller and different personnel impact Prescott's fantasy outlook in 2023?

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Dak Prescott’s 2022 Season Review

Prescott suffered a thumb injury in Week 1 against Tampa Bay that required surgery to repair. He missed the following five games before returning in Week 7 to face the Detroit Lions. Despite the missed time, Prescott still managed to throw 23 touchdowns, tied for the third most in his career, due to the explosiveness of the Dallas offense.

Prescott set a new career high in interceptions with 15 thrown last season. That was enough to tie him with Davis Mills for the lead in a category no quarterback wishes to top. Prescott also fumbled four times last season after putting the ball on the ground an alarming 14 times in 2021.

Prescott did finish top-10 in EPA per play and fourth in touchdown rate, but he was 30th in interception rate and 21st in adjusted yards per attempt.

Dallas Cowboys’ 2023 Offensive Outlook

The Cowboys’ offense will be undergoing an overhaul this season. The team parted ways with offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, following the 2022 season. Brian Schottenheimer has been hired to replace Moore as OC, but head coach Mike McCarthy is slated to call the offensive plays. With Moore at the helm, Dallas has had a top-six scoring offense three out of the last four years. They ranked first in this category in 2021.

McCarthy told reporters that while Moore wanted to “light up the scoreboard,” McCarthy would prefer to “run the damn ball.” He cited resting his defense as his primary concern. “I don’t desire to be the No. 1 offense in the league. I want to be the No. 1 team,” McCarthy said, “If we have to give up some production and take care of the ball a little better to get that, then that’s what we’ll do.”

These words may sound foreboding to anyone considering selecting Prescott as the starter for their fantasy team in 2023. With Moore as his coordinator, Prescott has enjoyed the best stretch of his career. During that span, Prescott had two seasons surpassing 4,400 passing yards. In 2019, only Jameis Winston had more passing yards in the NFL. That was also Prescott’s finest fantasy performance, finishing second to Lamar Jackson during his MVP season.

Over the course of his career as an offensive coordinator, Schottenheimer has never led an offense that topped 4,400 passing yards. McCarthy had some memorable seasons calling plays in Green Bay, but keep in mind that was with a surefire Hall of Famer in Aaron Rodgers.

Ezekiel Elliott is no longer with the team, leaving Tony Pollard in line for the majority of the work in the running game. Pollard is also one of the more capable receiving backs in the league. The Cowboys added Brandin Cooks to bolster their receiving corps and, as always, the Cowboys look to have a formidable offensive line in front of Prescott, assuming they can stay healthy.

Tight end Dalton Schultz is now in Houston. Prescott was sixth in the league in targeting his tight end, so this could be a bigger issue for the Cowboys.

Projecting Dak Prescott’s 2023 Fantasy Season

Currently being selected as the ninth quarterback off the board, according to Yahoo! ADP, Prescott is less likely to return value on the selection. Kirk Cousins, Geno Smith, Tua Tagovailoa, and Daniel Jones are quarterbacks being chosen later in drafts that have the potential to outscore Prescott in 2023. All four quarterbacks rank higher than Prescott according to 4for4 QB rankings.

In fact, Prescott stands near the bottom in ADP Bargains being drafted a whopping 47 spots ahead of his 4for4 rank. Only Deshaun Watson is ranked lower.

With the Cowboys publicly stating that they plan to lean more on the run in order to rest the defense, it is hard to be optimistic that Prescott will maintain his fantasy scoring average. He was 14th in fantasy points per game in 2022.

The Bottom Line

  • Prescott is ranked QB16 at 4for4 but he is being drafted as the QB9 on Yahoo!, making him unlikely to return value at his current ADP.
  • An expected decrease in passing volume will diminish Prescott’s fantasy points per game.
  • The departure of tight end Dalton Schultz figures to be relevant considering how often Prescott targeted his tight ends in recent seasons.
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