Dalton Schultz: The Second Coming of Jason Witten (2020 Fantasy Football)
It was a rough week for injuries that have sent the fantasy world into a frenzy for Waiver Wednesday. With everyone looking for reinforcements, there will be some players who slip through the cracks and go either unclaimed or will be next to nothing when it comes to your FAAB spending. One of those players is the Dallas Cowboys new TE1, Dalton Schultz.
Schultz is a third-year pro who has been a depth piece for the Cowboys thus far in his career. He played his college ball at Stanford as a backup to Austin Hooper in his freshman season. He was never utilized heavily as a receiver in college, maxing out at 23 receptions and three TDs in a season. Stanford’s offenses also weren’t very explosive,pass-heavy offenses as J.J. Arcega-Whiteside led the team with just a line of 48/781/9 in 2017. That was the best season-long receiver stat line during Schultz’s tenure at Stanford. Schultz was primarily used as a run blocker paving the way for Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love. It’s not that Schultz is incapable of being a decent pass-catcher, though. His workout metrics are right about average for the position, and he flashed some nice plays in Week 2.
Can we take a moment to appreciate just how sure-handed and reliable of a target Dalton Schultz was for Dak Prescott today? I can’t help saying it was a little Witten-esque. pic.twitter.com/UnDRyVj9rc
– Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 20, 2020
State of the Offense
The Cowboys offense continues to be one of the highest-volume attacks in the league. They’ve run 150 plays through two games, tied for third-most in the league at 6.3 yards per play, tied for fifth-best. They have also attempted the third-most passes in the league resulting in the third-most passing yards.
The WR corps is loaded with Amari Cooper, a threat to be a target hog on any given week, while rookie CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup will fight for looks behind him. Ezekiel Elliott has also been promised more looks in the passing game after seeing his target total drop from 95 in 2018 to 71 in 2019. This would theoretically make Schultz the fourth or fifth option in the passing game, though that won’t always be the case as he led the team with 10 targets in Week 2.
Week 1’s gameplan for Dallas was very one dimensional from a passing-game standpoint. The team fed Amari Cooper 14 targets, more than twice as many as the next receiving option. It didn’t work well for the offense as they scored just 17 points in that game. In Week 2, the team went with a more balanced attack from the passing game, which led to a greater outcome with the team putting up 40 points. Schultz didn’t have the best debut once he took over for the injured Blake Jarwin as he had two drops in Week 1, but bounced back in Week 2 to catch 9-of-10 targets for 88 yards and one TD, finishing as the TE7 on the week. It wasn’t a completely flawless performance as he lost a fumble, but even Zeke and Dak each lost a fumble in the same game.
A lot of fuss was made about the impact rookie CeeDee Lamb was going to have on the target share in Dallas amongst the WR corps. While Lamb’s presence has been caused a dent in Michael Gallup’s target share, it was Dalton Shultz, who led the team with 10 targets (21% share), including two red-zone targets and receptions and the team’s only receiving TD in Week 2. He was also on the field for 70% of the team’s snaps per Jared Smola. In comparison, Jason Witten was on the field for 77.2% of the team’s snaps last season.
Schultz is currently the TE9 on this young season in PPR leagues, and on one of the most explosive, high-volume offenses. You want to see him iron out some of these mistakes like the drops in Week 1 and the fumble in Week 2. His target share will regress from that massive 21% he saw in Week 2, but if he can stay somewhere in that 14%-16% target share range, that would put him in the neighborhood of the exact role that Witten had last season where he saw 83 targets which ranked tenth-most amongst TEs. That leaves plenty of room for more opportunities for Schultz to be a matchup-based back-end TE1 this season.
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