After Tony Romo’s record setting performance against the Denver Broncos he looked like a lock to be a top 5 or even top 3 fantasy QB for the next two weeks with the Redskins and Eagles who ranked 24th and 27th against quarterbacks coming up. Then, just as everyone expected, Romo had his two worst fantasy weeks of the season. As a Cowboys fan I have no problem with Romo putting up pedestrian numbers in easy wins against divisional opponents, but it is incredibly frustrating from a fantasy perspective.
That being said, Romo still ranks 4th at the quarterback position and with Rivers on the bye it’s hard to imagine anyone having a better option than Romo. Even though the lions rank 11th against quarterbacks which is 13 and 16 positions better than Romo’s last two opponents, this is actually a very good matchup for Romo. The past two games have been two of the easier wins by the Cowboys and probably the two best performances by their defense. Romo turned away from his gunslinger mentality and trusted his teammates to do their jobs because he didn’t need to put up video game numbers to get a win.
The Detroit Lions have one of the more deadly and explosive offenses in the NFL with Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush. Even if the Cowboys defense steps up and continues to play the way they have in the past two games, you can bet Romo will have to do a lot more in order to get the win. Romo knows that if the Cowboys want to win this game he’s going to have to take his shots down field and with the way his receivers are playing and with the injuries in the backfield, you can expect a lot of empty back field 5 wide sets.
Next up, the undisputed fantasy star for the Cowboys. Dez Bryant is, as usual, an automatic start in any league and any format. After what A.J Green did to the lions secondary last week Bryant can’t wait to get out there to scorch the team giving up the 7th most fantasy points to receivers this year. With Calvin Johnson on the other side you can bet Bryant will want to show the world what he’s capable of.
Terrance Williams has become one of my biggest fantasy crushes this year. When Miles Austin went down with injury it was a bit of a mystery of who would emerge as the number two behind Bryant. After putting up a touchdown and 70+ yards in three of the last four games Williams has established a level of trust and chemistry with Romo that will only lead to more success. Given all of this, Williams is still not an automatic start in leagues and is available in 49.9% of ESPN leagues. If he’s available go pick him up now! Against that 25th fantasy ranked secondary Williams is at the very least worth a flex start this week and even a WR2 in deeper leagues, especially with 6 teams on the bye this week.
Aside from Bryant and Williams it’s hard to start any other receivers. Cole Beasley has emerged as a legitimate weapon in the slot. However, his short and intermediate routes prevent him from getting any really significant yardage and with so many other weapons, you can’t depend on him getting into the end zone. After Beasley you have Harris and Austin. Austin hasn’t caught a pass since week 3 and is a no go in all leagues. Harris doesn’t see enough snaps with the offense to contribute as a wide out, but if you’re in a deep league that counts return yards, with injury or bye issues, Harris is a high-risk medium reward player. A home run threat on any return but if he doesn’t bust out a huge return he won’t be giving you many points.
Old reliable, Jason Witten has eclipsed the 10 point mark only twice. That being said, he still ranks 7th at the TE position this year (5th with Gates and Bennett on the bye) and with the Lions ranking 16th against the TE this year, Witten is still worth a start. It’s hard to expect monster numbers from Witten but he’s always going to see consistent targets from Romo and should start in most fantasy line ups.
With the injury to DeMarco Murray stay away from the Cowboys backfield. Even if Murray manages to suit up this weekend you can expect it to be on a limited basis. The same goes for Randle and Tanner. Randle should see more touches but not on the goal line as that’s Tanner territory. In either case neither should be in your starting line up.
Tony Romo: 27/42 287 yards 3 TD 23.48 points
Dez Bryant: 10 rec 105 yards 1 TD 16.5 points
Terrance Williams: 4 rec 56 yards 1 TD 11.6 points
Jason Witten: 5 rec 57 yards 1 TD 11.7 points
Cole Beasley: 5 rec 54 yards 0 TD 5.4 points
Dwayne Harris: 84 return yards 8.4 points
Phillip Tanner: 4 car 10 yards 1 TD 7 points
Joseph Randle: 15 car 60 yards 3 rec 15 yards 0TD 7.5 points