TYLERS NEW HEADSHOT

I’ve made it no secret here that I’m not a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. Owner Jerry Jones has always rubbed me the wrong way and it brings me great joy to see the team each year be talked about in the preseason as a playoff/Super Bowl contender, only to be something like 7-9 or 8-8 and never tap into that potential.

That being said, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott deserved much better than the fate that was handed to him on Sunday, as he left the game with a gruesome compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle — an injury so bad that the man literally had surgery on it just hours later.

In the offseason, the former 4th round draft pick out of Mississippi State had reached the end of his rookie deal and wanted a long term contract, one that was to reward the guy for being a starter for the team for the past four seasons. Since coming into the league in 2016, Prescott was paid $450,000 in 2016, $540,000 in 2017, $630,000 in 2018 and $2,020,000 in 2019. Add that all up and that’s $3,640,000 over a total of four seasons for a starting NFL quarterback. That’s the equivalent of buying a car for $500 and using it as your daily driver for the next 15 years. To put that in perspective, QB Joe Flacco made $22.1 million with the Denver Broncos in 2019 alone.

I get that people argue that “oh, they’re paid way too much, nobody is worth that kind of money!” Whatever, I’m not here to argue that point. What I am here to say, however, is Dak was criminally underpaid in terms of the market value for his services. So for me personally, I’ll channel John Malkovich’s character in the movie “Rounders” and say “pay that man his money!”

Except Jones was hesitant and Prescott reportedly wanted something around the $40 million a year mark — something that would’ve made him the highest paid professional athlete at that time until Patrick Mahomes signed his massive 10-year deal worth up to $502 million in incentives just months later.

Do I think Dak was worth that much? Not really. Do I blame him for wanting that? Absolutely not. This league can chew up and spit out the best of athletes and injuries — such as the one that literally just happened Sunday — can derail someone to the point where the can lose millions because of it.

The Cowboys did give Prescott the franchise tag for this season and he was set to make $31.4 million. The guy had been on pace to break the NFL record for passing yards (albeit a lot of that has been because the Cowboys defense has been abysmal this year). But in terms of a long term contract now, who knows what’s going to happen, especially with Jones in Dallas.

I haven’t even mentioned yet what the guy went through off the field prior to the season, as he lost his very close brother due to suicide and then came out and told the world about his depression because of it. The guy is a role model and that showed as he was showered with support by fans and players alike Sunday evening. So I hope the guy gets back to what he does best and gets compensated fairly for doing so.

I kind of thought this might happen as this volatile season began and it finally did — I made some studs/duds predictions and then after the column was published, the game was canceled. Because of this, I’m now going to give myself a tie whenever this occurs. I figure I can do with I want with this because the last time I checked, this is my column, so yep, that’s what we’re doing. That being said, I was still semi-awful and finished the week at 4-4-2 and am now 12-26-2. Have I mentioned how much I hate 2020? Here’s your picks for this week barring cancellations ...

Studs

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions. Years ago, Stafford was owned in too many fantasy leagues to be considered for a stud. But with him being available in 26 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues (I try and keep this under 80 percent owned), he’s a great fit this week against a Jacksonville defense that is nothing like the feared defense it was some 4-5 years ago. He’s likely one of the best bye week options that is on your waiver wire.

Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers. I’m a lifelong fan of Penn State and Notre Dame and I just loved Claypool with the Irish and was beyond thrilled when Pittsburgh took him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. It only took him four weeks to show the world what I saw in the guy with a four touchdown performance against the Eagles Sunday. He’s likely your biggest waiver wire pickup and while four scores a week isn’t sustainable, I think he’s going to be a big part of the offense here on out — even if Diontae Johnson ends up playing. Look for big things against rival Cleveland this week.

Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars. Another second round pick out of this year’s draft, Shenault has had plenty of targets this season, scoring double-digit numbers in standard fantasy leagues three out of five weeks thus far. With fellow WR D.J. Chark looking iffy against the Lions this week, look for the rookie to be the focal point in the passing game.

Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins. He’s solidified himself as the primary back in Miami now, as offseason signing Jordan Howard was actually a healthy scratch last week as the Dolphins upset the Niners. This week, they’ll face a Jets team that doesn’t know sunrise from sunset at this point. So look for the Dolphins to gain a big lead and for Gaskin to pick up a nice chunk of fantasy points.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Chicago Bears. He’s back, you guys. He’s back. What a world of a difference it makes whenever Mitchell Trubisky isn’t throwing you the ball. Nick Foles found Graham for his fourth touchdown of the year last week and if you have a TE on a bye, he’s still weirdly available many leagues. It’s not the best of matchups against Carolina, but again, he’s talented. Just give him the ball.

Duds

Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills. Allen started out this year on fire with legit MVP possibilities. The Tuesday night’s game against the Titans happened and Allen looked like the guy that’s driven the Bills fanbase nuts up to this point — unbelievable potential mixed in with questionable plays and dumb decisions. They’ll get a Chiefs team on Monday night that’s coming off an upset loss to the Raiders, likely meaning they’ll bring their A-game on all facets and shut down Allen.

D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers. Taking Moore might be my only current regret in regards to my West Branch Football League team at the moment, as I could’ve had guys like Allen Robinson, Odell Beckham Jr. and D.K. Metcalf. He’s not been terrible this season, just not the consistent WR1 or even WR2 that you likely drafted him for. The matchup doesn’t get better against a tough Chicago Bears defense this week, not to mention Robby Anderson has flourished under Matt Rhule’s regime and is outperforming Moore by leaps and bounds in the wide receiver department.

Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers. In Samuel’s two games since his season debut from injury, he’s racked up five receptions for 54 yards. San Fran even pulled QB Jimmy Garoppolo because he was that bad against Miami. I don’t see this getting better overnight, especially against a pretty good Rams defense this week.

Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals. Drake came into this season wearing a walking boot a month prior to games being played. And this year, he’s only averaged 3.7 yards per carry thus far — as backup Chase Edmonds has clearly outperformed him. I think you’re eventually going to see more of a committee backfield here if Edmonds keeps it up, thus slashing the fantasy value of the former Dolphin that was traded to Arizona midseason last year.

Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles. Ertz is probably on Philly milk cartons listed as missing at this point, as he caught one more reception and gained six more yards against the Steelers last week than you and I did. He’s only posted double-digit fantasy points in one game this year — even with fellow TE Dallas Goedert out. You drafted him and you’re still likely starting him. But odds are, you’ll likely be going down with the ship this week.