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Sophomore Slant - Michael Gallup

Michael Gallup galloped his way to the NFL via the scenic route. By Gallup’s senior season, his 2nd year at Colorado State, he was a well known prospect. Gallup was nominated for the Fred Biletnikoff award that year (presented to the best wide receiver in college football). A modest senior bowl, a slightly above average combine, and outside forces who refused to rank Gallup inside their top 10 wide receivers in his class, led to his 3rd round selection in the NFL draft.

With the power of hindsight, Michael Gallup being the 9th wide receiver taken in the 2018 NFL Draft seems criminal. His draft position marks a tier drop among wide receivers. It perpetuates the rule of thumb regarding the top 3 rounds. A rule of thumb backed by eye-popping hit rates that extend to fantasy.

In his rookie season, the Cowboys still operated a run first and run heavy offense. Once Amari Cooper was acquired, Gallup was rendered a frustrating asset for the future by some, but this offseason with Kellen Moore being given play calling duties, we had a light at the end of the tunnel. A light we reached in the preseason. With Amari Cooper battling a foot injury (which he still is) Gallup took advantage and flashed his talents for us before fantasy drafts. Michael Gallup moved up my board during the preseason.

The Cowboys have more than delivered for fantasy purposes in the regular season. Dallas is #1 in the NFL in total yards on offense, and top 10 in yards per play. They’re averaging over 430 yards on offense per game! Also atop the league are the Cowboys in passing yards per game. Dallas is the only team throwing for over 300 yards a game. Meanwhile Dak is throwing almost 40 times per game.

The overall volume and efficiency has been on display for the Cowboys. With that, has come a ceiling for this passing game and their weapons we haven’t seen from the Cowboys. The offense has almost 60 passing plays this season of 20 or more yards and 12 that have gone for 40 or more yards. Both are top 5 in the league. With Kellen Moore and Dak Prescott jiving, The Cowboys quarterback is having a career season, throwing over 2 touchdowns per game and supporting multiple wide receiver in fantasy.

Michael Gallup’s rookie season can be trashed. Not because of rookie wide receivers and their need to acclimate (truth). More because it’s been an entirely different vibe from last year. The pre-snap motion and play action has been so exciting in Dallas (for the most part). The biggest difference is a common one: Gallup has experienced a 20% increase in snaps this season. He’s playing on 85% of the Cowboys snaps and he’s become a clear priority in this new and improved offense.

The stats and fantasy numbers have arrived for Gallup as this offense has unfolded. With 5 games this season of 17 or more points in PPR, 5 games with 6 or more catches and 4 games with 10 or more targets, Michael Gallup has crept into top 20 wide receiver status in dynasty.

Amari Cooper is likely slapped with a franchise tag this offseason. The contract negotiations between both sides have a path of negativity written all over them. The range of outcomes includes a scenario where Michael Gallup is the team’s top wide receiver inside the next two years.

Gallup trails Amari by just 150 receiving yards currently. When you factor in missed games, Gallup’s 82.3 receiving yards per game is a tad better than Amari Cooper’s 81.1. Both players have 15 catches of 20 or more yards, while Michael Gallup enjoys one of the leagues highest yards per reception figures.

Dallas has been playing matchups and compensating for Amari Cooper’s history of struggling vs shutdown corners by using Gallup down the field. Amari Cooper leads the team with 28.6% of the Air Yards. Gallup is close behind with about 25% of the Cowboys Air Yards.

Missing just two games earlier in the year after knee surgery was impressive for Michael Gallup. Unfortunately it’s left him under the radar compared to players like DJ Chark and DJ Moore. I think he deserves to be in the conversation with any sophomore wide receiver.

Among the sexy sophomores Michael Gallup leads them in receiving yards per game. In fact he’s 5th in the NFL behind only Julio Jones, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Michael Thomas.

Dynasty owners usually hold Courtland Sutton in a higher regard than Gallup. They’re very comparable statistically this season. The differences long term between the two favor Gallup though. He is attached to quarterback we love. An offence on the come-up which produces far more passing yards and touchdowns than the Broncos offense. The only Difference between Sutton and Gallup right now on paper is a couple games played and a few touchdowns.

Touchdowns are the key. Yearly fluctuations for fantasy scoring often pertains to a spike in touchdowns. Up or down. Michael Gallup has a positive regression on the way for touchdowns. Gallup has gone 4 straight games without scoring. Although his receiving yards per game are among the league lead, he sits at just 3 touchdowns on the season.

Touchdown rate is used in relation to quarterback statistics. It’s a receiver stat as well. Over the last 5 seasons, on average, wide receivers score a touchdown approximately for every 160 receiving yards they accumulate.Gallup has over 900 yards receiving, which projects out to around 5 or 6 scores.

No matter the change in landscape, we should have Michael Gallup ranked as a WR 2 in dynasty leagues. Depending on his performance down the stretch and possible playoff appearance, for redraft in 2020 Gallup could be a steal in the 6th-8th round. Gallup will fall in the pocket of the draft that provide solid hit rates for wide receivers.

His long term outlook is amazing. I’m operating under the assumption Kellen Moore will be given a shot at the head coaching vacancy that is all but certain to exist in Dallas this offseason. At the very least I expect them to allow Moore to exude his influence on this offense for 2020. Amari Cooper is not a lock to be a Cowboy in 2021. Ezekiel Elliot is no longer the focal point of the offense in Dallas and his best years are behind him already. Gallup up and at ‘em!

Tyrell Maclachlan