The Dallas Cowboys suffered a blow to their receiver corps Monday when James Washington went down with a foot injury.
The team announced he fractured his right foot, will undergo surgery and miss six to 10 weeks. The injury apparently occurred in a one-on-one drill:
Washington's absence will impact the offense, but what does it mean from a fantasy football perspective? Let's take a look.
With Washington out of the lineup, quarterback Dak Prescott will surely lean heavily on third-year wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. The 23-year-old was already expected to be Prescott's top option on the outside after his strong sophomore season.
Lamb led the Cowboys with 79 receptions, 1,102 yards and 120 targets while adding six touchdowns in 16 games. According to Fantasy Pros, he ranked 14th among wide receivers in fantasy points last season.
Lamb should continue to dominate the target share in 2022, which puts him in consideration for WR1 status. However, the Oklahoma product benefited from the presence of veteran receiver Amari Cooper, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns. While Washington is sidelined, Lamb will command a ton of attention from opposing defenses. Still, that shouldn't deter fantasy managers from using a second- or third-round draft pick to secure him.
Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz should also be targeted in fantasy drafts after his breakout year. He appeared in 17 games and recorded career highs of 78 catches, 808 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, ranking third among tight ends in fantasy scoring. His 104 targets tied Cooper for second on the team. Schultz will play the 2022 season under the franchise tag, so he will surely be motivated to put forth another big year.
Behind Lamb, there aren't many proven options for Prescott on the outside. Sixth-year pro Noah Brown is expected to play significant snaps to start the season, but he has career numbers of 39 catches for 425 yards and zero touchdowns in 50 games. It would be a risk to draft such an unproven commodity, but Washington's absence will open the door for Brown to show what he can do.
Brown is in that position because the Cowboys are also missing speedster Michael Gallup, who is expected to miss the start of the season while recovering from a torn ACL. Should Gallup return to the field before Washington, he will have substantial value. Just three years ago, the 26-year-old recorded 1,107 receiving yards in 14 games. He could be worth a late pick as a stash on injured reserve, or he could be a key waiver-wire pickup later in the year.