2012 Team Outlook: Dallas
WR Dez Bryant, DAL - Gamble (high risk)
The two sides of the enigmatic playmaker: Bryant topped 900 yards and hauled in nine touchdown passes with five clutch fantasy scores coming in a six-game stretch during the second half of the season. The 6-foot-2 target with blazing speed also failed to top 90 receiving once all season. Entering year three, Bryant's potential remains immense, but the inconsistencies are worth noting. The fear of more off-the-field issues also must be factored into drafting equation. Since the WR position is so deep, there should be safer and yet equally potent options available for those owners not willing to risk the drama.
WR Miles Austin, --- - Solid/Safe Pick
Generated decent production despite hamstring issues and a crowded receiver situation. Fantasy owners were expecting more. Austin enters this season in the middle of the WR2 pack though reports of renewed focus to offseason training could have him primed for a rankings rise by preseason. Expect numbers closer to his last full season (69-1041-7) rather than his 2009 breakout campaign.
UPDATE (8/11): The recent hamstring injury reminds owners that durability is a concern and it could push Austin down a touch in the deep WR class. That might not be a bad thing; if Austin lands outside the top 20 or so of receivers drafted, he suddenly becomes a nice value play. Monitor that hammy during the preseason.
WR Danny Coale, --- - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Frequently working out of the slot for Virginia Tech, Coale's 60 receptions helped move the chains for the Hokies. The Cowboys are looking for that type of route-runner, which makes the fifth-round selection a sneaky candidate for the third-receiver role if recovery from broken foot heals as expected. However, that designation in this offense comes with limited fantasy upside, making the 6-0 target a waiver wire option.
WR Kevin Ogletree, --- - Deep-league Only
The Cowboys' third receiver spot is up for grabs now that Laurent Robinson left for Jacksonville. Ogletreee (15-164 last season) has the inside track, but his first three campaigns do not speak of a breakout star. Would not be stunned to see Dallas add another target before the regular season kicks off. Like the Cowboys, look elsewhere for reserve receiver help.
TE Jason Witten, DAL - Solid/Safe Pick
Now that speed merchants and big wide receiver types populate the tight end position, Witten's plodding style is truly old school. His fantasy numbers remain mainstream. The sturdy Witten led the Cowboys with79 receptions and 942 yards, though both totals represented his lowest in five seasons. Though just outside the top five, his ability to stay active makes him a safe and steady TE choice.
TE John Phillips, DEN - Low Potential
Martellus Bennett finally escaped the hulking shadow cast by the durable Jason Witten. Now Phillips inherits the backup tight end role, which means lots of blocking and around one catch per game for the ordinary athlete with decent hands. Phillips should not be on fantasy rosters, though he could be solid in a pinch should Witten miss a start for the first time in six seasons.