The Cowboys may underachieve every season, but they do have weapons on offense that can help lift your fantasy team. From their quarterback to tight end, Dallas has proven veterans that you can count on.
Tony Romo may have his share of struggles as the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, but he remains a top-notch fantasy quarterback. Romo is mobile and is surrounded by playmakers in Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones are also solid receiving options out of the backfield. With the amount of weapons Romo has at his disposal, defenses will have difficulty slowing down the Cowboys offense. While throwing for 31 touchdown passes is a big plus, he only threw 10 interceptions, which shows that he is making sound decisions. After the elite quarterbacks are gone, Romo is an ideal, second-tier option.
Despite starting in only seven games, DeMarco Murray showed that he has a high ceiling when he sees the field. He is strong enough to run between the tackles, but has excellent speed when turning the corner. As a starter, Murray ran for just over 81 yards per game while maintaining a 5.5 yard-per-carry average. He is explosive, but does carry some risks. The primary concern surrounds his ankle (and injury history), which he injured in Week 14. No one knows for certain how much that will affect him entering the upcoming season. While Murray strung together some quality outings, he only scored two total touchdowns. If he stays healthy for most of the season, he should easily surpass that total. Since Dallas' passing offense was so effective in the red zone last year, the Cowboys only scored five rushing touchdowns; bet on an improvement in that area. Murray's potential makes him a high-risk, high-reward pick. Backing up the former Oklahoma Sooner is Felix Jones, who will play primarily on passing downs. Like Murray, Jones is injury-prone, but demonstrated that he could be effective in spurts. Should Murray miss time, expect the Cowboys to turn to a committee approach.
Wide Receivers and Tight End
Miles Austin and Dez Bryant form one of the top receiving tandems in the league. Austin started off the 2011 season on a positive step, but lingering hamstring injuries clearly impacted his play the rest of the year. His numbers have gone down since 2009, but with the injuries behind him and Laurent Robinson signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Austin is looking at a rebound year. Bryant showed improvement in his second season with 63 receptions for 928 yards and nine touchdowns. Those numbers are respectable given the fact that Robinson played an intricate role in their offense and scored a team-leading 11 touchdowns. With one less receiving target on the field, Bryant should take another step in establishing himself as an elite receiver. Both wideouts are high-end fantasy options who should improve on last year's totals.
Jason Witten has always been Romo's favorite target. Because he is always involved in the passing game, he will provide high reception and yardage totals. His one Achilles' heel is his lack of scores despite his usage. Witten's consistency and durability make him a top-five tight end, but he may have trouble finding the end zone as he has to compete with Austin and Bryant for red-zone looks.
Dan Bailey was impressive at home last year, as he made 95.5 percent of his kicks under the Cowboys Stadium roof. He was also third in field goals made, so expect quality numbers from him again. Bailey is in a prime spot to be one of the top kickers entering his second season.
Under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the Cowboys defense had its share of ups and downs in 2011. They were ranked seventh in sacks and run defense, but struggled in pass defense. However, the additions of cornerback Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne should help improve their 23rd-ranked pass defense. The Cowboys defense has upside, but take a wait-and-see approach before inserting this unit into your lineup.
Travis Chan is a fantasy sports enthusiast and contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter @Travischan1.
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