As we move toward the 2023 NFL Season, I’m turning my focus to a series of sleeper candidates. I’ll be offering four players at each of the positions—QB, RB, WR, and TE—that I think can make a positive impact for you in fantasy. This will be a list of veteran players, as we already have our expectations set for the class of 2023. Today I continue with my look at wide receivers.

The Dallas Cowboys have been one of the better offenses in the NFC the past few seasons, but last year was more of a struggle. The team let Amari Cooper go to the Browns, betting on tight end Dalton Schultz, who received the Franchise Tag, and Michael Gallup, who got a new contract coming off an injury the previous season. Neither had a great year. Schultz is now in Houston, and Gallup faces additional competition for targets, but could he actually be a value in 2023?

The Case For Michael Gallup

There’s a reason the Cowboys essentially chose him over Cooper last off-season. Gallup has been with the Cowboys since he was drafted in 2018. In 2019 and 2020, he was an integral part of the offense. He caught 66 passes for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 and followed up with 59 receptions for 853 yards and five touchdowns in 2020. He saw more than 100 targets each year. He seemed to be on track for another strong season in 2021 when a knee injury ended his season.

Last off-season, Gallup’s rookie deal was up. The Cowboys signed him to a new, five-year, $57 million deal. He figured to assume the WR2 role alongside CeeDee Lamb. Gallup, coming off a knee injury, was slow to return. He missed the team’s first three games and took some time to get going. Significant knee injuries can take time to recover, which could explain Gallup’s struggles in 2022. Starting the season healthy, more than a year removed from injury, Gallup could be ready to produce again. In 2019 he was WR22, and in 2020, he was WR38. He’s currently going off the board as WR61, meaning a return to form could be a good value.

The Case Against Michael Gallup

The case against his return to form comes down to competition for targets and his history. First, let’s look at Gallup’s stats. While he’s had some solid seasons, those came when he got 100-plus targets. He needed those targets because, in five years with the Cowboys, he’s never had better than a 58 percent catch rate. That’s something that would likely need to improve if Gallup was going to make strides, and yet his career high in catch rate came in 2019. Last season, he caught just 52.7 percent of his targets, the lowest rate since his rookie year.

In addition, the Cowboys appear to have moved on from the idea Gallup can be a solid No. 2 option. The team made a move to bring in veteran Brandin Cooks this off-season. Cooks has 630 receptions for 8,616 yards and 49 touchdowns in his career, serving as a solid option for four different teams. He could easily slide in and usurp targets from Gallup, relegating him to a lesser role in the offense and making his WR61 ADP closer to reality.

The Bottom Line

Gallup is something of an unknown. Was it injury or inefficiency that caused a down 2022 season? The Cowboys are also changing up their offensive scheme after Kellen Moore departed and added competition in Cooks. Still, Gallup’s 2022 season came when the Cowboys’ offense supported three receivers with 100-plus targets. The team throws a lot, and Gallup is certainly familiar with Dak Prescott. I think there’s a strong chance he outplays his ADP, returning value in 2023.

Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.

Get Our Newsletter

Get notified periodic notifications about our content and future subscription deals.

You May Also Like

Unit Grades: AFC QBs, Part 2

The second part of the AFC QB rankings features the top eight QB rooms in the division.

Unit Grades: NFC RBs, Part 1

It’s time to focus on RBs and @Knighthawk7734 tackles the NFC RBs first – here are the 16th thru 9th ranked units in the conference!