Fantasy football player profile: CeeDee Lamb


(As fantasy football dives headlong into draft season, some players warrant a little extra attention. All August, Dom Cintorino and Adam Pfeifer will do deep dives into some of the notable names. Follow along with our player profiles series. Today’s profile: CeeDee Lamb)

Fantasy football value 2021 – CeeDee Lamb

It was pretty shocking to see Lamb fall to 16th overall to the Dallas Cowboys in the 2020 NFL Draft. And even though wide receiver wasn’t exactly a position of need for the Cowboys, the team couldn’t pass on Lamb.

It was the right decision.

Lamb was impressive in his first season, hauling in 74 balls for 935 yards and five scores, adding a rushing touchdown. And of course, like pretty much everyone in this Dallas offense, Lamb’s numbers would have been even better if Dak Prescott had been healthy for the full season. During the first five games of the season, Lamb was the WR11 in PPR, ranking 10th among receivers in targets (39), ninth in receptions (29) and sixth in receiving yards (433) during that span. However, once Prescott suffered his season-ending injury, Lamb fell off a bit, finishing outside of the top-30 wide receivers the rest of the year. The Cowboys offense clearly struggled during the second half of the season, but with Prescott back under center in 2021, we know this is likely to be a top-tier offense in the league, while their pace of play is very fantasy-friendly. Last season, Dallas was sixth in the league in no-huddle plays, while also ranking inside the top-five in average seconds per play. And while the Cowboys essentially focused on the defense throughout the 2021 NFL Draft, this is still a unit that’s ceiling is likely league average, which means the team will once again throw at a pretty high rate. Lamb primarily operated as a slot receiver during his rookie season, as he lined up there around 80% of the time, while 92.7% of his targets came from the slot. I expect we see Lamb play on the perimeter a bit more during his sophomore season, but he’ll still primarily play on the inside, which creates matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. 

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Dallas will continue to use Lamb in multiple ways. He was top-20 in yards per route run from the slot last season (1.82) but also tied for eighth among all wideouts in targets off screens (16). Lamb also crushed zone coverage, which he’ll continue to do, especially if he remains in the slot around 75-80% of the time. Last season, 79% of Lamb’s receptions came against zone coverage, while his 704 receiving yards against the coverage were good for ninth-most in football. But Lamb has the talent to win against any scheme and is in one of the best offenses in the NFL. I also expect his targets to climb, as he averaged 7.8 targets per game alongside Prescott, but that number dropped to 6.3 without Dak in the lineup. Assuming Prescott can play the entire season and Dallas continues to play at a fast pace, Lamb should easily improve on his 17.5% target share from a year ago. 

FTN’s projections have Lamb finishing as the WR15, just behind D.J. Moore and Lamb’s teammate Amari Cooper. But given Cooper’s absence from camp, it wouldn’t shock me to see an updated version have Lamb ahead of his teammate. As it stands now, the projections have Cooper with 135 targets to Lamb’s 114 but I wouldn’t be surprised if that number was much closer. 

Fantasy football ADP stock watch – CeeDee Lamb

Do you have a Twitter account? Do you follow NFL and fantasy football news on said Twitter account? Then you have more than likely seen highlights of Lamb dazzling in Cowboys camp.

Every single day, the sophomore wideout is making a jaw-dropping catch and between that and the fact that Cooper (foot) hasn’t been practicing, Lamb’s ADP has been climbing. There have been drafts where Lamb comes off the board in the middle of the second round, and given the situation in Dallas right now, you are seeing him drafted ahead of Cooper more often than not. Cooper remains on the PUP list as he recovers from last year’s foot injury, and Lamb has shown that he can be the WR1 on this Cowboys team. In fact, I don’t think anyone would be shocked if he finished the season as Dallas’ WR1, regardless of the health of Cooper. By the end of August, it would not shock me one bit to see Lamb drafted as a top-12 wide receiver in fantasy leagues — and I can’t say that I disagree with it.

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NFL fantasy football ranking – CeeDee Lamb

(Check out Jeff Ratcliffe’s top 100 0.5 PPR rankings.)

If you take a look at FTN’s consensus rankings, you’ll see that Lamb is the WR12, one spot ahead of Cooper. And that is in both PPR and half PPR formats. It is very fair to wonder if he will move ahead of players ahead of him like Terry McLaurin or Allen Robinson, especially given how much hype has surrounded him over the course of training camp. Lamb has always been a top-15 receiver for me but with Cooper missing so much time, it is difficult to not push him toward the top-12. There really isn’t anything to dislike about Lamb for 2021 and if he continues to progress, a top-10 finish at the receiver position is not out of the question. 

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