Insider Trading, Edition #2: Brian Martin, Dallas Cowboys
Good morning my PredictionStrike Family, and welcome to our weekly expert Q&A session, also known as Insider Trading! Last week we took a deep dive into the Colts injuries woes with Josh Carney, and discussed if Jonathon Taylor ($5.76/share) was a stock we should be targeting. If you didn’t get a chance to read our conversation, remember that all Insider Trading articles, BCPS articles, and Weekly Update articles will be published on http://blog.predictionstrike.com from now on. All articles will still be sent via email blast, but also found on the PredictionStrike blog site after the email blast is sent out. If you like what you see, make sure to send it to a friend, or share it on your socials. Remember, if you spread the good word, everyone wins!
For this week’s Insider Trading article, I had the distinct pleasure of talking with Brian Martin! Brian is a Staff Writer for Blogging the Boys, a division of SI Nation. If you couldn’t tell by the name, Brian knows a thing or two about a little team called the Dallas Cowboys. Now, I have to admit, as a lifelong Washington Football Team fan, this interview was not easy. Talking about the Cowboys without becoming physically ill was difficult, but I know it had to be done for the good of the PredictionStrike community. Luckily for me, Brian was easy to get along with, and a reservoir of Cowboy’s knowledge. It has given me a whole new outlook on Cowboys fans, and they now have been upgraded from awful, to somewhat tolerable. Thanks, Brian, for opening my eyes! All kidding aside, this was a great chat and I think you readers will benefit greatly from Brian’s insight. I now present to you, my interview with Brian Martin!
Alex: So, before we get into the upcoming season, let’s reflect on the 2020 campaign. A disappointment in every sense of the word, marred with key offensive injuries, and a defense that may or may not have been good enough to win a Texas High School State Championship. The off-season saw a focus on defense with eight defensive players drafted, and more additions in free agency. The real question going into the 2021 season is the well-being of quarterback Dak Prescott ($18.73/share). I thought all signs were leading to him being ready for week one, but what’s this I hear about his throwing shoulder? Should we be concerned?
Brian: Just like the 2020 season, the Dallas Cowboys success or failure will hinge on the health of their players, especially QB Dak Prescott. If bouncing back from a rather gruesome season-ending ankle injury wasn’t enough, the new shoulder injury he’s currently dealing with certainly clouds how effective, or not, he can remain for the entirety of the 2021 season.
Fortunately Dak’s shoulder injury isn’t considered to be a serious one and shouldn’t limit him, or the Cowboys high-powered offense, in the least bit. Jay Glazer recently reported that Prescott suffered “more of a baseball injury” that originates “under the armpit”. To put it simply, it’s a muscle strain in his latissimus, a big muscle in his back that extends up to the shoulder.
Rest and time to heal is the best medicine for Dak. Mike McCarthy and the training staff will continue to be cautious with him between now and the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There’s no need to rush him back before he’s ready because this is the same offense and personnel he played with last season, with the exception of having a new center in Tyler Biadasz.
As injuries go, Dak’s shoulder isn’t one that should have any long-term issues moving forward. He should be back to 100% soon and the Dallas Cowboys offense will be better for it. He will be under center in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady in the season opener. I fully expect to see him slinging the pigskin all over the field to all of his talented offensive weapons.
Alex: Another big topic last season was how mediocre Ezekiel Elliot ($4.94/share) was, but I guess it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise considering everything happening in Dallas last season. Everything I am reading is that Zeke is primed for a big bounce back year in 2021. Tell me why you agree or disagree, and whether or not he should be on investor’s radars.
Brian: Definitely count me in as one of those who believe Ezekiel Elliot is primed for a big bounce back year in 2021. There are a lot of people out there who believe he’s lost a step and that his play in 2020 was proof of that, but I’m not one of them. I believe he’s going to put himself into contention to win the rushing title this year and I’ll tell you why.
Zeke is lean, mean and 218 entering the Dallas Cowboys training camp. He’s down ten pounds from his playing weight last year. That’s the lowest he’s been weight-wise since his freshman year at Ohio State. He’s more motivated than ever to prove last year was a fluke and because of that he’s put in the offseason work to prove his doubters wrong.
In order to improve his game, Zeke spent the offseason working on his quickness and focusing on bettering his nutrition with well-respected running back coach Josh Hicks and new hire Chef Hoppie. As a result he’s supporting a new slim and trim frame and his new physique has carried over to his game by improving his short area quickness.
The only real concern about Zeke this year is how much, if any, Tony Pollard ($1.22/share) will cut into his workload. At times last season Pollard was the one who looked the better and more explosive of Dallas’ RBs, which could gain him more playing time in 2021. But, No. 21 is still expected to handle the lion's share of the workload and should finish the year as one of the, if not the, top RB this year.
Alex: So the defense is a question, the quarterback's health is a question, Zeke's dominance is in question. The one position group that is rock solid is the wide receiver core. All reports indicate Ceedee Lamb ($4.89/share) is tearing it up in training camp, which is music to this shareholders ears. Tell me why I should buy more Lamb shares, or convince me there is more value somewhere else.
Brian: It still amazes me CeeDee Lamb was the third receiver drafted behind both Henry Ruggs ($1.48/share) and Jerry Jeudy ($1.96/share) in the 2020 NFL Draft and slid all the way to the Dallas Cowboys at 17. This is a guy who had as close to a dominant collegiate career as it gets at Oklahoma and it looks as if he could be on the verge of doing the same thing in the NFL as well.
To hear and see the catches he is making in training camp shouldn’t come too much a surprise if you’ve ever watched him play. He’s a highlight reel waiting to happen anytime the ball is thrown his way and as such, should become Dak Prescott’s favorite target for the 2021 season and beyond. It’s no wonder many are predicting he’s going to break out this year.
Like Zeke, CeeDee Lamb spent the offseason in the weight room and on the practice field improving his overall game. After playing at 189 pounds last year, he’s now up to 199 and he says he feels “a lot stronger and faster and a bit more explosive”. So far that’s showed up in practice and there’s no reason to believe it won’t carry over into the season as well.
If you need further evidence No. 88 is on the verge of superstardom know that OC Kellen Moore has stated CeeDee Lamb and the rest of the WRs will be moved all over the formation. After playing predominantly out of the slot last year this is good news for the second-year WR because the volume of his targets should go up significantly as a result.
Alex: Last but not least, the evergreen question. If you had to risk it all, and invest everything in ONE PredictionStrike stock for the upcoming season, who would it be, and why? Remember, it does not have to be a Cowboys player!
Brian: I know it doesn’t have to be a Cowboys player, and you can call me a “homer” if you want, but CeeDee Lamb would be my pick. When I said I think he’s on the verge of superstardom, I meant it. He has all of the traits to be a No. 1, go-to WR in the NFL and he just so happened to join a team who has an OC and QB who both like to air it out. There really are no weaknesses to his game. He has the size, strength, and route-running ability to be a dominant force in the passing game.
On top of all of that, he’s already starting to overtake Amari Cooper ($7.08/share) as the Cowboys top WR. With Cooper sidelined right now while he works his way back from offseason surgery, Lamb has more than proven he’s capable of stepping in and handling the job. And, considering Amari’s questionable health throughout the season he may not have to relinquish that No. 1 title either.
Lamb’s stock is going to skyrocket this season, so you may want to buy in early before it’s too late. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he ends up being a Top 5 receiver in 2021 when all is said and done.
I told you Brian knew his stuff! Excuse me if I end this abruptly, but I’m running back to PredictionStrike and buying more Ceedee Lamb stock! If you like what you see, and want more in depth discussion about The Dallas Cowboys, make sure to give Brian a follow on Twitter @BrianMartinNFL, and follow his work at www.bloggingtheboys.com. If you even remotely like the Cowboys, or become a shareholder of Cowboys players, he will prove to be a valuable insider all season long. I want to thank Brian again for helping out with this week's Insider Trading article, and for dropping those fat nuggets of info about America’s Team. Hopefully you found it as insightful as I did! Football season is ONLY 27 days away!!!! I hope you guys are getting as excited as I am! I look forward to breaking down another team for you next week.