Fast Connections, Week 12: Gallup aids Dak's MVP case

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This week's edition of Fast Connections highlights multiple MVP candidates as well as an emerging young wide receiver.

Dak Prescott and Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys


Dak Prescott has enjoyed a breakout campaign under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. After years of running a tired and predictable offensive scheme, Moore has given his quarterback a more creative, open scheme that generates open receivers and allows Prescott to play to his strengths. As a result, Prescott has delivered his most productive season to date, currently leading the NFL in passing yards (3,221) and yards per attempt (8.8). He will also shatter his previous career highs in touchdown passes so long as he remains healthy. As a result, Prescott has landed on the shortlist for this year's MVP award.

But the Cowboys' new offense has another breakout star this season. Second-year wideout Michael Gallup has developed a rapport with Prescott, becoming the big-play receiver opposite of Amari Cooper. Dallas probably loses to the Lions last week if not for Gallup, who hauled in nine catches on 13 targets for 148 yards. That performance followed back-to-back games where he scored touchdowns.

Next Gen Stats says ...

Though Gallup ranks as no better than the third option on the Cowboys offense, he has become the unit's No. 1 player when it comes to producing after the catch. According to Next Gen Stats, his yards-after-catch success rate of 47.6% leads the skill positions in Dallas among those with at least 25 targets. Gallup also now averages a target on just over every fourth route he runs following his big performance against the Lions.

Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens


Though Lamar Jackson's legs command considerable attention from fans as well as opposing defenses, his right arm has inflicted plenty of damage on opposing defenses in 2019. The second-year quarterback has already produced four games with at least three passing touchdowns, more than all but three quarterbacks (Prescott, Patrick Mahomes and Matthew Stafford). And outside of a two-game stretch early in the season, Jackson has thrown zero interceptions. Jackson's efforts have put him at the center of the MVP conversation.

The emergence of Mark Andrews has played a role in Jackson's MVP pursuit. The second-year tight end has already scored six touchdowns, double the total from his rookie season. Andrews also surpassed his yardage total from last year, registering 598 yards through 10 games. In a league short on quality tight ends, Andrews joins the 49ers' George Kittle as the new wave of dominant players at the position.

Next Gen Stats says ...

Though most tight ends don't see much work down the field, Andrews actually leads the Ravens in air yards through 11 weeks (692). That figure looks even more impressive when considering that the offense also includes burner Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. Less surprisingly, Andrews also leads Baltimore in end-zone targets with eight, four of which he has converted for touchdowns.

Kyle Allen and D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers


Through no fault of his own, Kyle Allen has become a hotly debated quarterback over the course of 2019. After Cam Newton's foot injury forced him to the sidelines two weeks into the year, Allen found himself running one of the league's most talented offenses in a critical year for Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and his staff. Allen's performances have varied wildly, with the young signal-caller turning in four-touchdown performances (Week 3 at the Cardinals) as well as a four-interception outing (Week 11 against the Falcons). Between Allen's inconsistent play and Newton's uncertain future, Carolina will likely enter the offseason unsure about how to proceed at quarterback.

The same uncertainty doesn't apply to the team's receiving corps, however. One year after the Panthers selected him in the first round, wideout D.J. Moore has caught 62 passes on 94 targets for 779 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers would rank No. 1 or 2 on most teams, but they look even more impressive when you consider the share of the offense that flows through superstar running back Christian McCaffrey. Moore doesn't turn 23 until April and appears on the verge of a breakout third season.

Next Gen Stats says ...

Because of Moore's speed and ability to create after the catch, he leads the Panthers with 1,003 air yards through 11 weeks. Moore currently has a YAC success rate of 37.1%, tied with teammate Curtis Samuel and behind only McCaffrey (44.1%) on the team.

-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH

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