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Michael Gallup unlikely to play Week 1, Dallas Cowboys taking ‘conservative’ approach

Matt Johnson

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup avoided landing on the Physically Unable to Perform list to open the 2022 NFL season, but he likely won’t be on the field in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gallup suffered a torn ACL against the Arizona Cardinals on Jan. 2, going down on a play when he scored a touchdown. Despite the devastating injury, Dallas signed him to a five-year, $57.5 million contract this offseason.

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After trading Amari Cooper and losing Cedrick Wilson to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Cowboys anticipated Gallup becoming their No. 2 receiver this season. However, his recovery from knee surgery in February limited his participation in practices this summer and clouded his status for the start of the 2022 season.

Addressing reporters, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones acknowledged that Gallup will likely be inactive for the season-opening matchup against the Buccaneers. However, circumstances would be different if it was a must-win game.

“If Tampa were the Super Bowl, he would be lining up and playing. And, so, we’re going to be cautious — not cautious, but conservative — with him. He won’t be out there more than likely against Tampa, but if it were the Super Bowl, he would be out there. He’s that ready.”

Jerry Jones on Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (H/T Pro Football Talk)

Related: Week 1 fantasy football rankings

It’s a promising sign that he is this close to making a return, even if he is extremely doubtful to play in Week 1. Dallas could give him another week and start him in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals. However, the team’s conservative approach could push a return to Week 3 as it would allow the young wideout additional time to rest before making his return on Monday Night Football against the New York Giants.

Fantasy impact of Michael Gallup injury

NFL: NFC Wild Card Playoff-San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys
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CeeDee Lamb is the obvious beneficiary from a fantasy perspective for any Gallup absence. Although, it will make it easier for Tampa Bay to scheme up its defense with only one dangerous receiving threat to cover. With James Washington on injured reserve, tight end Dalton Schultz might be the second biggest beneficiary.

While Dallas will try to establish the run game, featuring Ezekiel Elliott heavily, Tampa Bay’s run defense is one of the best in recent history. It should force the Cowboys to make adjustments, using shorter passes to move the football and that sets up nicely for Schultz in a solid matchup.

Rookie wide receiver Jalen Tolbert could be an option for quarterback Dak Prescott. He offers intriguing tools and size, but this is going to be a challenging matchup for an unproven player. He’s a far better flier in daily fantasy than a recommended option for season-long leagues.