NFL Free Agency Fantasy Fallout: Cowboys put franchise tag on Dak Prescott; Amari Cooper still in doubt

The Cowboys made it official Monday and applied the franchise tag to Dak Prescott. While we didn’t know whether it would be a tag or a deal, we all expected Prescott to be a Cowboy in 2020. What we still don’t know is whether he’ll have Amari Cooper as his No. 1 receiver. Cooper will hit the open market when the league year officially opens if the Cowboys can’t work out a deal first. 

I’ve been projecting Cooper as a part of the Cowboys since I first built 2020 projections, so that’s what you’ll see below. But his presence (or lack thereof) is enormous for a variety of reasons. 

First, Prescott has been a different quarterback when he’s had a healthy No. 1 wide receiver and a healthy Ezekiel Elliott. We saw that over a full season in 2019, and he was the second-best quarterback in Fantasy. I project some regression off that career year, but he’s still a clear top-four Fantasy quarterback. If Cooper signs somewhere else, I’ll adjust Prescott’s efficiency downward and it wouldn’t be surprising if he fell out of my top 10.

On the other hand, Michael Gallup’s value could explode if Cooper leaves. He’s projected for 129 targets right now, which makes him a borderline No. 2 receiver. He could see a 10-15% increase without Cooper and get into the argument for the top 15.

Finally, I’m not sure it matters all that much for Cooper himself. Unless he goes somewhere like Buffalo, I have a hard time seeing how he’s more or less than a very high-end No. 2 receiver for Fantasy purposes. He’s likely to have a stretch where looks like one of the best receivers in football and several games where completely disappears. He’s done that almost every year of his career.

Here are the current Cowboys’ projections as I project the team to look:

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