After recently reviewing the football follies surrounding the likes of the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, it's refreshing to hit on a team that actually does produce Fantasy stars. Love 'em or hate 'em, the Dallas Cowboys supply a bumper crop of fantasy studs year in and year out. Scoring 405 total team touchdowns over the past decade, the 'Boys have been a threat through the air - with 252 pay dirt strikes, and have added another 121 rushing TDs. The Boys have also had ten TDs by their special teams to go along with 22 scores from their defense.
2011 was a bit of a down year, based on the lofty standards set in the Lone Star State, as the Cowboys' 39 scores failed to get them to the 40 total TD mark for the first time in six seasons. Prior to 2011 Dallas had averaged 47.6 touchdowns per year over the previous five seasons. Let's head to Jerry Land and take an early season look at the fantasy prospects in Big D.
Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Fantasy Options
We mentioned that 2011 was a down year for TD scoring in Dallas, but that was mainly due to a lack of a ground game. After an injury related bust year in 2010, Cowboys QB Tony Romo rebounded nicely with 31-10 TD to INT ration last season. He also added a rushing TD and posted 292 FP in 15 starts. His MIA act Week 16 against the Philadelphia Eagles (hand) after just three plays, wasn't good timing. Hopefully it didn't cost anyone a League Championship.
Cowboys QB Analysis: There are tons of weapons for Romo to throw to in Dallas. In fact, I personally see 2012 being an even better year for Romo. While reaching top five status would take a supreme effort, just on the outside - looking in is a very real possibility.
Dallas Cowboys Running Back Fantasy Options
In a scene that was more confusing than a clown convention, the Cowboys had five running backs with at least 22 carries -- including two with over 128 each -- during the 2011 campaign. Felix Jones was wrongfully pegged as the full time starter before he went down with an ankle injury in Week 6. Not only was he pegged wrong (because of what Demarco Murray did as his replacement), but also his one-yard and cloud of nothing doesn't get it done in Big D.
Murray burst onto the scene in 2012 with a 25 carry, 253 yard one TD effort against the lowly St Louis Rams in Week 7. He would go on to post 103.5 FP before fracturing his ankle in Week 14 against the New York Giants. The rookie's injury was probably the most significant for any team in the NFL – as well as for fantasy owners the world over. We are fairly certain that the 'Boys would have held off the G-Men and won the NFC East with a healthy Murray. Jones limped back into the lineup and posted 23.2 FP in three games to close out the Cowboys season.
Cowboys RB Analysis: If Murray is fully healed, he will warrant serious consideration as a full time Fantasy RB1 starter. That won't be known for a little while still and the Cowboys are quoted as being "hopeful" that Murray will be ready to participate in off-season workouts. Jones will return to his "change-of-pace" role, making him a must have handcuff for Murray in 2012.
Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Fantasy Options
A new possible shining star flared up, while another one faded like a firecracker falling from the sky on the 4th of July, in the Dallas receiving corps during the 2011 season. After a five year career that's been racked by injuries, Laurent Robinson finally showed why the Atlanta Falcons made him the 75th overall pick (RD 3) in the 2007 NFL Draft. Robinson led the Cowboys with 11 receiving touchdowns and his 151.8 FP came on 54 catches that went for 858 yards. Now he has moved on - go figure?
One of the darlings of Fantasy Football the first two weeks of the season, Cowboys WR Miles Austin was one of the bigger busts by season's end. Austin busted out with 47.1 FP in the first two games – from there, he posted 53.1 FP during the other eight games he played in. Though a nagging hammy hampered him for most of the season – production is the bottom line. Bust!
Dez Bryant also showed some flashes during the 2011 season as he posted 147.3 FP in 15 games played. Still somewhat of a fantasy enigma, it's very conceivable that Bryant could emerge with the departure of Robinson.
Cowboys WR Analysis: Robinson has moved on and will wither away in Jacksonville – a move yours truly totally fails to understand. Bryant and Austin are in the middle of long-term contracts and should both be serviceable as a WR2. The Cowboys are still looking to upgrade from now WR3 Kevin Ogletree during the off-season.
Dallas Cowboys Tight End Fantasy Options
We were surprised by Jason Witten 's new five-year contract that will make him a Cowboy for life. Though he's been a fantasy stud for most of his career, TE Jason Witten fell back slightly in 2011. As just one of a handful of 'Boys to play an entire 16 game season, Witten posted 124.40 fantasy points - down from his 154.20 total in 2010. It will be all Witten - all the time as TE Martellus Bennett has jumped ship to join the hated New York Giants.
Cowboys TE Analysis: There will still be a ton of hands to feed in the Cowboys passing game during the 2012 NFL season. Remember, DaMarco Murray had 20 catches over a four game stretch in 2011. We wouldn't be surprised to see Dallas have as many as four top 10-15 players in their respective categories. That will include Jason Witten at the TE position.
Dallas will continue to be an every down scoring threat in 2012. Don't pass on Cowboys if the price is right!