First Fantasy Deep Dive: Michael Gallup

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After a year of Unfiltered Sports I have decided to take this website down a new path. I have always been enamored with fantasy football and have been playing it for about 15 years. It’s always been simple redraft leagues or daily fantasy tournaments though. This summer I have gotten into Dynasty for the first time and boy what a fucking rush! There is so much more that goes into drafting and assembling your team when considering what may happen in 5 years. Since I have started down the dynasty road, I have decided to focus all of my content on fantasy football because in dynasty there is no stoppage. You are constantly trying to make your teams better by trading future picks, players and whatever else you can do to get your team ready for the upcoming season.

For the upcoming season, one of the most intriguing players to me is Cowboys WR Michael Gallup. Gallup is a 6’1″ 200 pound freak going into his third year out of Colorado State. Anyone who has watched this guy knows he has all the tools to become an elite receiver in this league.

He had somewhat of a breakout in 2019 as he finished the season as he finished as WR20 in standard leagues, and WR22 in PPR leagues. The impressive part is he did all of this while ranking 29th in snap share and 30th in target share amongst wide receivers.

With the departures of Randall Cobb and Jason Witten, the Cowboys vacated the second most targets in the NFL with 190. Initially this seemed to skyrocket Gallup’s value as he would be one of the main beneficiaries from all of those vacated targets. After Dallas drafted Ceedee Lamb with the 17th overall pick in this year’s draft, Gallup’s value to some people took quite a hit. It really shouldn’t have though.

First I’ll mention that he has the yips. He led the league in drops last year with 11, but that is something that can easily be cleaned up and that is exactly what I think will happen. Now we can get onto everything that will make him elite this year.

Big Play Ability

In 2019 Michael Gallup finished 7th in the league in yards per reception out of every receiver in the league. He also finished 12th in yards per target and 16th in total target distance. Target distance is to receiving yards as targets are to receptions. You always look for players with a high volume of targets, but you should also be looking for players with a high volume of target distance, or air yards. The Cowboys vacated over 1,700 air yards after last season and it is reasonable to believe that Gallup will improve on his 1,400 air yards in 2019.

For reference, Chris Godwin went from 95 targets in his 2nd year to 121 targets in his 3rd year playing alongside another WR1, Mike Evans. That is an increase of 27%, so let’s assume Gallup only hits a 15% target increase in his 3rd season (Godwin played with a straight gunslinger). That puts him right around 130 targets which would translate to roughly 1,700 air yards. That would have had at 7th in the league in 2019 in total air yards.

Gallup also finished 9th in the league with 18 receptions of 20+ yards. Out of every receiver in the top 14 in that category, only one had less targets than Gallup: Stefon Diggs. Now his overall catch percentage (receptions divided by targets) is only 58%, but we already talked about how his drops should improve and that rate overall should improve this year. His big play percentage though is 27%, which means that if Gallup gets up to about 80 receptions next year, it would be fair to project that around 22 of those catches would go for over 20 yards. His ability to get downfield, and catch balls in tight windows (45% contested catch rate) cannot be overlooked heading into 2020.

Gallup’s Opportunities

Like I mentioned above Gallup finished 29th in snap share and 30th in target share among WRs in 2019. Last year Dallas ranked 12th in 3WR sets. According to Warren Sharp, Dallas trotted out 3 WRs about 69% of the time last year. That number was with Randall Cobb as their WR3 and having both Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin as TEs who can contribute. With Cobb and Witten gone, I expect the Cowboys will run a lot of 11 personnel sets leading to an even higher percentage of 3WR sets in 2020. This should lead to a hefty increase in Gallup’s snap share at the very least.

I eluded to the increase in target share that Gallup could see based on a similar situation in Tampa Bay. Based on that model, Gallup is looking at a minimum of 130 targets and probably more if he can play a full season. If you don’t like that model, you can also look to another third year breakout WR, Mike Williams. Williams finished his sophomore season with 65 targets across 16 games, but he saw that number jump to 90 in his third season in 2019. That is good for a 38% target increase over the course of 1 season. That was with the Chargers having only 117 vacated targets from the year before. Gallup is not the size or athlete that Williams is, but the situations as WR2s seem similar enough to compare the potential breakout for Gallup.

Wrap-Up

Michael Gallup is not an elite athlete (his workout measurable all rank in the 66th percentile or worse), but his talent is unquestionable. People back away from receivers all the time based on athleticism, but some of the best athletes the NFL has ever seen do not pan out to be elite WRs in the league. That is the path that Gallup is on right now.

Gallup is currently being drafted in dynasty leagues on Sleeper as WR33 with an ADP of 67. Some guys that are going ahead of him are Jalen Reagor (rookie), Justin Jefferson (rookie), Deebo Samuel, and Stefon Diggs. All of those, plus a few more will not outscore Gallup this year or over the course of the next 3-4 years. Michael Gallup is a stud and I currently have him as my WR 23 and more than likely, barring injury, he will finish as a top 20 WR this year.

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