• Cowboys vs Steelers : Thoughts on 2021 Preseason Game 1

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    Football is officially back! Here are my thoughts on the Cowboys vs Steelers preseason game.

    Boy, is it nice to have football back! As usual, the first preseason game was held in Canton, Ohio kicking off Hall of Fame Weekend and the NFL preseason.

    In this article, I'm going to give my thoughts on players you should watch, based on their performance in this game. I will be breaking it down by position battle for each team, so let's dive into it!

    Dallas Cowboys

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    Battle for QB2

    There are three quarterbacks who are battling to be Dak Prescott's backup for 2021: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci, and Cooper Rush. It didn't surprise me that the Cowboys threw the ball 43 times during the game, and I don't expect it to change at all during the preseason.

    Gilbert currently looks to have the inside track to that job. He looked like the best of the group and led them to their only scoring drive. Given that Dak is coming off of injury and is dealing with an injury early in camp, Gilbert should be someone dynasty owners add in all formats.

    Battle for RB3

    We all know that Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard will be the RB1 and RB2, so the question is who will be the RB3? Well, there are four players battling for that position, Rico Dowdle, Sewo Olonilua, JaQuan Hardy, and Brenden Knox.

    Currently, it looks like it's Rico Dowdle's job to lose, as he saw the most carries of the group and was the most productive. Dowdle is worth an add in 16 team leagues and a watch list add for 12 and 14 team leagues.

    Battle for WR2

    Much like the running back situation, this position battle is for who will backup starting WRs Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. Here's who I believe will be battling for the jobs: Noah Brown, Cedrick Wilson, Malik Turner, and Aaron Parker. While Brown didn't produce much, this coaching staff really seems to like him.

    These four players are listed as 6'2" or 6'3" and, with how the Cowboys' offense operates with Dak, these are the type of receivers the team is targeting. Keep an eye on all of these guys during the preseason. If I'm adding one right now, it's Malik Turner. He was the most productive in game one.

    Battle for TE1

    This is the most interesting camp battle for the Dallas Cowboys that I will be watching. Whoever wins this job will have solid fantasy value. With Blake Jarwin not playing and Dalton Schultz playing very little, we don't have my clarity yet. If you can add either player then I would until someone separates themselves.

    Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Battle for QB2

    There are three quarterbacks who are battling to be Ben Roethlisberger's backup for 2021: Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins, and Joshua Dobbs. While these guys didn't throw as much as Dallas, they still threw it 28 times.

    Though Mason Rudolph was the most productive overall, this will be a battle to watch throughout the preseason. Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins are the two I'd be adding in all formats.

    Battle for RB2

    It's no secret that the main goal this off-season was for the Steelers to improve their running game. They drafted Najee Harris to be their RB1 and he didn't disappoint in his first NFL action. Now the question is this — who will be his backup?

    Benny Snell Jr. didn't play in this game. However, Anthony McFarland Jr., Jaylen Samuels, and Kalen Ballage did. While Samuels was the most productive with 20 rushing yards, McFarland Jr saw the most carries with nine. I would keep an eye on this group to see if anyone separates themselves over the next three games.

    Battle for WR2

    Starters Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson spent time on the field, but other than that, no one really stood out. To be fair, the Steelers were more focused on their running game than their passing game.

    A player to keep an eye on is Anthony Johnson. He had the second-most targets (three) and the second-most receiving yards (22). At most, he could be the WR5 this season, but others would need to see injuries for him to be fantasy relevant. Johnson is a watchlist add in 16 team leagues.

    Battle for TE2

    Starter Eric Ebron didn't play in this one and neither did rookie Pat Freiermuth. Of the tight ends who did play, none of them are real threats to Freiermuth's hold on the TE2 position.


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