Will it be a Sophomore Spike for Michael Gallup?

Will it be a Sophomore Spike for Michael Gallup?

With some flashier names in the fantasy landscape, Michael Gallup is a player people don’t seem to be talking about. His rookie campaign was a mixed bag, as the former CSU Ram finished as WR77 in PPR points, averaging just 6.0 points per contest.

As we head into the 2019 season, he stands as the WR2 in Dallas behind Amari Cooper and could be due for a sophomore breakout season. Plus, he comes with a dirt-cheap price tag.

Here’s a look at Gallup’s road to the NFL, what’s in store for him this year and why he’s a guy to target in later rounds in both best-ball and redraft formats.

College and Year One

At CSU, Gallup was known for his strong catching ability and physical play once the ball was in his hands. His 657 yards after the catch in 2017 was the fourth-highest in the nation, and 20 missed tackles forced, sat fifth among D-1 wideouts. Plays like this one showcase his NFL potential, and the reason he was CSU’s best weapon for his two-year stint in Ft. Collins.

 

In the Cowboys regular 2018 season, Gallup grabbed 33 receptions for 507 yards and two touchdowns. That’s decent for a third-round rookie, something that can certainly be built upon as he becomes more comfortable in the NFL and the Dallas offense. Gallup’s been dinged for his meh catch rate of 48.5%, but the positive here is he averaged 15.4 yards per reception, which ended as 15th in the league last season.

Opportunity is Knocking

Gallup was fourth last year behind Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley and Amari Cooper in targets in the Cowboys’ offense with a total of 68 on the season. Elliot and Cooper will still be highly involved, but Beasley, the second-highest targeted player is now in Buffalo, leaving 86 balls up for grabs this season.

While some may think that having Cooper in the mix for an entire season may hinder Gallup’s potential, (the former Raider played only 11 games for Dallas in 2018), last season’s numbers prove otherwise. Without Cooper on the field, Gallup averaged 3.1 targets per game for the first six games, and for the last nine contests, the rookie saw 5.1 balls per game. This included a Week 15 outing with zero targets.

With more volume comes production, and Gallup delivered his best outing of the season in the Cowboys 30-22 Divisional Playoff loss to the Rams, grabbing six of nine targets for 199 yards. His first NFL 100-yard game was the last for Dallas in 2018 but showed us a glimpse of Gallup’s future in the league.

What to Expect from Gallup in Year Two

Some are scared off from Gallup for fantasy purposes due to mediocre perceptions of quarterback Dak Prescott and the run-heaviness of the Dallas offense. Prescott gets no respect from both real and fake football fans, and when looking at the numbers, it’s not exactly warranted. He boasts a career completion percentage of 66.1% with a 96.0 QB rating and has improved each year in the league. He’s being asked to do more with each season, as his passing attempts jumped from 459 as a rookie in 2016, up to 490 in 2017, then bumped again up to 526 last year.

The Cowboys offensive line is stellar but they’re experiencing some injury issues that could potentially impact their run-heavy design. Prescott could be called upon to throw more in 2019, as he did at the end of last season. In Weeks 9-17, Prescott threw more than 30 passes in all but two games, while there were five contests at the start of the season where he aired it out fewer than 30 times.

The changing of pass-catchers in Dallas is favorable for Gallup in his sophomore season. Both Beasley and TE Geoff Swaim are sporting different uniforms in 2019, and free agent acquisition Randall Cobb should demand attention in the slot. With Cooper receiving heaps of interest outside, that leaves Gallup plenty of room to improve and do his thing.  

As we head into draft season, Gallup is currently going undrafted in redraft mocks and is coming off boards as WR55 in the 12th round in best-ball formats. As a WR2 in a productive offense, 600-plus yards and a handful of touchdowns is a realistic expectation for the second-year wideout. He’s a guy who could be a difference maker in your season, and he's available for peanuts.  

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