Little Big D

First, the good news for those of you who own Cowboys: Dallas probably won't rest their starters in the final weeks.

The team is 4-3, and quarterback Tony Romo (pinkie) isn't likely to play in Week 8. There's very little chance that the Cowboys will be coasting at the end of the year.

But here's the bad news: Dallas faces an obscenely difficult schedule in Weeks 14-17. In fact, it would be tough to construct a more painful four-game stretch for fantasy purposes.

In the final four weeks -- when league championships are decided -- the Cowboys face the Steelers, Giants, Ravens, and Eagles. All four of those defenses currently rank among the NFL's ten toughest against both the run and pass.

There are literally only five teams in the league that can make such a claim, and Dallas will play four of them in the final month of the season.

Below, you'll find a quick look at the league's stingiest Ds, with their end-of-season opponents. At some point you'll need to begin thinking seriously about your playoff matchups. However, if you're struggling to qualify, this probably isn't the time.

So yeah, it's not exactly a cakewalk for Dallas in December. Unless you're accustomed to cakewalks where LaMarr Woodley, Justin Tuck and Ray Lewis try to separate you from your cake.

Does this mean that you have to actually sit your Cowboys in the fantasy playoffs? No, of course not. While no player is entirely matchup-proof, you're still not going to find a healthy Romo ranked outside the top five QBs, and we're not going to rank Marion Barber, Jason Witten, Terrell Owens, or Roy Williams as non-starters, either. Don't overreact. Those are exceptional players.

But if you've been relying on multiple Cowboys, you should consider divestment and diversification. And if you're a Barber owner with, say, a 5-2 or 6-1 record, you should explore the trade market. In Weeks 14-16, MBIII faces the three teams that allow the fewest fantasy points to running backs.

Again, this isn't to say Barber will be useless in the final month. It's not like he's a one-dimensional RB. But you can't possibly look at his schedule and expect a series of elite performances. Instead, he looks like a player who can lead you into the playoffs -- he's at home against San Francisco and Seattle in Weeks 12 and 13 -- and then quickly lead you out.


Photo via Getty Images

What to Read Next