Road to QB1: Dak Prescott

Breaking down how Dak Prescott can achieve his first fantasy QB1 finish
Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders
Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

With 36 passing touchdowns in 2023, Dak Prescott led the NFL in that category for the first time in his career but was still bested by both Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts in total fantasy production. After finishing as the third-best fantasy quarterback on the season, Prescott saw his most productive season in four years.

Though injuries hampered him in 2020 and 2022, Prescott had arguably the best year of his career in 2023, appearing in all 17 games to throw for 4,516 yards, good for third in the league. His turnover rate also dropped significantly from throwing 15 interceptions the year before to just nine.

Entering 2024, Prescott will lose the presence of Tony Pollard in his backfield in favor of the return of 28-year-old Ezekiel Elliott, an undeniable step back on paper. His offensive line, a notoriously reliable unit, will also experience a period of uncertainty for the first time in his career with captains Tyler Biadasz and Tyron Smith leaving in free agency.

Prescott will also lose five-year starting receiver Michael Gallup on the outside, forcing the unproven Jalen Tolbert into a starting role. All in all, Dallas will have a lot of question marks to address with Prescott entering the final year of his contract but the star quarterback still has hope to sneak past his peers to finish as the overall QB1.

How Dak Prescott can become the fantasy QB1

At this point in Prescott's career — entering his ninth year in the league — his ceiling has practically been reached. Rarely do players ever see significant improvements to their game this deep into a career.

Since coming into his own as a passer, Prescott has thrown for over 4,000 yards in each of his last three full seasons not limited by injury. His efficiency has remained consistent throughout his career, having just two seasons ending below the league average in completion percentage.

His touchdown numbers have fluctuated, with totals of 22, 30, 37, 23 and 36 in his last five seasons, excluding his five-game year in 2020. Interceptions have often been an additional issue, though throwing just nine in 2023 is a positive sign moving forward.

Rushing production has been where Prescott has long stood the most to gain, an area that significantly lessened after he suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2020. However, the Dallas quarterback ran for 242 yards in 2023, a far cry from the numbers Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson put up but still the most he has recorded in a single season since 2019.

In the modern era, rushing production is essential to QB1 fantasy value. Prescott topped both Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts in passing yards and touchdowns but finished behind the two in fantasy solely due to the vast difference in ground volume.

Prescott will never lead the league in quarterback rushing production but topping 300 yards is a manageable goal that would go far in his push for QB1 status. Increasing his rushing touchdowns from two in 2023 would be an even bigger improvement and one that is well within reach, having reached paydirt six times in each of his first three seasons.

Adding Ezekiel Elliott back to the roster will certainly hamper Prescott's red zone rushing usage but is a substantial upgrade in the passing game as one of the best blocking running backs in the NFL. Given the uncertainty with Dallas' offensive line, that presence could prove invaluable despite Elliott's regression as a runner since his last Pro Bowl season in 2019.

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