I thoroughly enjoyed Alex Lee’s piece about Ezekiel Elliott a couple of days ago. Personally, I don’t have any issue with Elliott in the top ten, however I agree with Alex, it isn’t an ideal position for him to be in. In order to build the most ideal starting lineup, it’s probably wise for Elliott to be your early second round pick after getting a top-end WR1, which is possible in regards to current ADP. But I’d be remiss not to point out that Alex left out a crucial element about the Cowboys backfield as a whole, so I followed up with him…

“I like Dunbar as a deep sleeper option, especially in PPR. I agree that Elliott won’t have a Murray-like workload, I’d expect them to give some whole series to Morris and have Dunbar as a 3rd-down back out of the gate, with McFadden potentially being sidelined at the beginning of the season. He could take the first few weeks of the season to carve out a nice spot for himself as a Sproles-like weapon. If he does well with it early on, that would make it tough for Garrett to force him into a reduced role when DMC comes back. The problem is that McFadden is arguable a more complete player who is a competent receiver (he caught 40 balls last season), and if Dunbar doesn’t impress early on, the team probably wouldn’t hesitate to give his opportunities to McFadden or Elliott. He’s a risky play, but worth a late round stash to see how he looks coming off his knee injury and what kind of role the team has in store for him. He could pay big dividends, or be someone you drop quickly for the waiver wire darling du jour”.

Well, I guess I don’t have to write the article then. Way to go Alex. However, there are some other things I want to say and build off of, and it involves even more Lance Dunbar. So let’s get to it…

[graphiq id=”b4RFQvKU4m1″ title=”Lance Dunbar Overview” width=”640″ height=”548″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/b4RFQvKU4m1″ link=”http://football-players.pointafter.com/l/5641/Lance-Dunbar” link_text=”Lance Dunbar Overview | PointAfter”]

Alex is right. Darren McFadden is more than capable to play as a passing-downs back. He did catch 40 passes last year. But if Dunbar plays the full 16 weeks last year, instead of only 4, then he finishes out the year with close to 85 receptions good for a total of 860 yards. If you factor in his rushing yards, which aren’t his strong suit, then we’re looking at a total of about 1,129 yards from scrimmage in the 2015 season. This puts Dunbar in the conversation as a Danny Woodhead-type back, not the likes of a Darren Sproles-type back. While Sproles is good, Woodhead brought a lot of teams to their Championship game last year in PPR formats. Woodhead finished out the year with 1,091 yards from scrimmage on the year, and in the passing game, he finished out the year with 80 receptions for 755 yards. And Woodhead finished as the 10th best running back in Standard leagues. And in PPR? The 3rd-best.

You know who isn’t a good pass-catching running back? Alfred Morris.

Last year, despite McFadden carving out a role as the featured back (especially once Joseph Randle found himself off the team), Morris still didn’t carve out a role in the passing game, finishing the year out with only 10 caught balls good for 55 yards. On the year. To put that in perspective, John Kuhn finished with more reception yards on the year.

To tie it back to what Alex had said, if anyone thinks that Ezekiel Elliott will get 2014 DeMarco-like carries, they’re obviously not paying attention.

I have full confidence that the Cowboys organization knows what they’re doing with regards to Elliott. If the Cowboys paid any and all attention to what happened to DeMarco after his 2014 season, in which he rushed the ball a total of 392 times, they would have seen how he struggled in Philadelphia, averaging close to only 47 rushing yards per game, down from the 115.3 yards per game we saw a year before. They would have seen how he failed to make an impact in a new chapter of his playing career. They would have seen how much uncertainty he brings now in Tennessee. Blame it on a bad O-Line in Philadelphia, but he failed to make an impact regardless.

If they are planning for the future, the Cowboys should know not to run Elliott into the ground. Because if they do, it isn’t a 100% guarantee he’ll be the same back a year later.

So let’s talk about this season with Dunbar. Make no mistake, tearing your ACL, MCL and platellar tendon is nothing to rub dirt on. However, dirt might have been rubbed on… the… knee… I don’t know where I was going with this.

Earlier in the year, the Cowboys signed Dunbar to a 1-year deal worth around $1.75M. It doesn’t guarantee you a spot in their plans moving forward, but consider this: Dunbar’s uncertainty in May regarding his availability was more than a little foggy. But now, there’s reason to feel good about him heading into the year.

In mid-July, before Training Camp had begun, Cowboys President Stephen Jones gave an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, saying that “the team wants to do things the right way with him, but gosh, I commend him. He’s worked so hard and come so far, so fast — a lot faster than anyone dreamed he could come. We’ve also got to do what’s right in his best interest and certainly not jeopardize any of the hard work he’s put into this. But I think we’ve got a great look at what he can for us”.

Since then, not only has Dunbar been activated from the PUP list, the team has stated that they do not plan to use him at all during the final two weeks of the preseason after the Dolphins game. Some may say that he won’t be ready, but from the reports that I mentioned above, it may be safe to say that they already know what they have with him, and they don’t want to risk further injury.

Speaking of injury, how does Dunbar fit into the Dallas offense without Romo? Well, although rookie Dak Prescott has looked good (remember, so did Bradford a few years ago), I don’t believe Jason Garrett will let the rookie have total control of the offense, so it’s is fair to assume at this point that the running game might dictate the offensive outlook for the season, or at least until Prescott has proved himself.

Two final things I want to mention before I let you go.

First, his SOS. It isn’t the most important factor, however, when we are dealing with late round picks (more on that later), it might be the deciding factor between Dunbar and another candidate. Well, Dunbar’s 2016 SOS is looking pretty sweet at the moment. In addition to getting to face the Eagles and Giants twice a year, he’ll get a date with San Francisco in Week 4, play against Cleveland in Week 9, Tampa Bay in Week 15, and Detroit in Week 16.

And finally, what will he cost you?

Well, according to current ADP, Dunbar is the 80th back off the board. That’s the 30th round in a 10-team league, and the 25th round in 12-team leagues.

All-in-all, Dunbar might not be someone you draft, and in most cases, it’s a good idea to not draft him. But it’s a name you should remember heading into the season, and once we get to fully see how he plays in the first few weeks, it’s like what our good buddy Alex said earlier.

“He could pay big dividends.”




You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @ohuhave12.

  1. billy beeeen says:

    Im revisiting my keeper decisions before my auction next week. Im in a PPR league. QB-2RB-4WR/TE-Flex-SuperFlex-6bench 14 team league. $200 auction. 4 keepers. First two are DavidJohnson$5, OBJ$19. I need two more from JordyNelson$12, JoshGordon$5, Bortles$6, MichaelFloyd$12, RyMathews$10, Cooper$29, SWare$5, ChrisThompson$5. How would you prioritize them?

    • Zach

      Zach says:

      @billy beeeen: From you list, I would go Ryan Matthews for $10 and Bortles for $6. From there, I would go Josh gordon $5, Jordy Nelson $12, Amari Cooper $29 Michael Floyd $10, Ware and then Thompson.

      • billy beeeen says:

        @Zach: thanks!

  2. Wacha wacha says:

    Hey Zach

    Off topic but I would appreciate your help on something im trying to figure out.

    I play in a10 team league with a qb, qb, RB, RB, wr, wr, te, dst, k
    format with 8 bn spots. How would you approach wr in the draft based on this format? Take wr last because there shoukd be so many decent options or is it even more important to draft wr early to hunt my tab an advantage?? Thanks!

    • Zach

      Zach says:

      @Wacha wacha: No worries, thanks for the comment!

      I would attack the draft like you would your other drafts, but instead, I would add on an early round QB selection to when you would usually draft a QB, instead of a HB/WR/TE.

      If you normally take a QB early regardless, I would wait to get a high upside pick like Eli, Stafford, Carr, Cousins, Jameis, etc. If you don’t want to wait at all on a QB, in addition to using a high draft pick on a QB, I would add one in the next 4 rounds at least.

      Apart from that, attack it like you normally would, getting as many HB’s and WR’s as you can.

  3. Wacha wacha says:

    Thanks alot! Sounds like have one less wr slot doesn’t really change much. Will plan accordingly.

  4. OldNavy says:

    Justin Zimmer DT undrafted player for Buffalo. He has not shown to much I expect him to make the practice squad. He looks more like a DE because of his speed and quickness, Buffalo played him last week at fullback. I expected more out of him,

    • Zach

      Zach says:

      @OldNavy: I’m not very familiar with him, but I’ll definitely keep my eyes out for him.

  5. Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:

    umm from this part here it sounds as if you think the butler was on DAL last year:
    “Last year, despite McFadden carving out a role as the featured back (especially once Joseph Randle found himself off the team), Morris still didn’t carve out a role in the passing game, finishing the year out with only 10 caught balls good for 55 yards. On the year.”

    so i ask, what team do you think morris was on the during entire 2015 season?

    • Zach

      Zach says:

      @Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves: My apologies, that was bad information. I meant to say that over Morris has never garnered any attention on passing downs in his 4-year career, only being somewhat reliable as a PPR option in 2014, but aside from that, he has been non-existent

      Trying to make a point about Dunbar versus Morris, and I goofed it up. My bad.

  6. Derrick says:

    Thoughts on this team I just drafted?

    1st (8) WR Allen Robinson
    2nd (17) WR Alshon Jeffrey
    3rd (32) TE Jordan Reed
    4th (41) WR Donte Moncrief
    5th (56) RB Frank Gore
    6th (65) RB Arian Foster
    7th (80) WR DeSean Jackson
    8th (89) RB LaGaratte Blount
    9th (104) QB Phillip Rivers
    10th (113) RB Jeremy Hill (KEEPER)
    11th (128) TE Tyler Eifert
    12th (137) WR Markus Wheaton
    13th (152) QB Andy Dalton
    14th (161) RB Latavius Murray (KEEPER)
    15th (176) Jets D

    • Zach

      Zach says:

      @Derrick: You crushed it dude.

  7. Butterfield says:

    12-team, 0.5ppr, pp 15 return yards, just drafted:
    QB Carr
    RB Gore
    RB Langford
    WR Green
    WR Robinson
    WR Thomas
    TE Ebron
    FLX Lockett

    BN Brady
    BN Bennett
    BN Josh Gordon
    BN Sproles
    BN Washington
    BN Jordan Howard

    I had Dunbar last season and loved him. Is it worth dropping anyone on my team for him? Howard? I’m restricted with Brady and Gordon taking up bench slots for 4 weeks.

    • Zach

      Zach says:

      @Butterfield: The issue with Dunbar is that he has great upside, but it is unclear what his role will be for the season. I wouldn’t drop anyone now, Howard has good upside as well. Wait and see for the first couple of weeks how Dunbar does and then act accordingly. It’s doubtful anyone in your league would pay that much attention to him anyways….

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