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Fantasy Football

Week 10 Fantasy Football Starters, Sitters, And Waiver Wire Grabs

John Williams



Cowboys Headlines - #FantasyFootball Week 10 #Sauce and Waiver Wire Adds 6

For the first time in the 2016 fantasy football season, the Sauce results have brought us even for the season. This was the best week yet, going 6-2 in week nine and actually hitting on our Le'Veon Bell prediction. I won't gloat too much, because as the standings show, I've missed on as many as I've gotten right in our version of the bold predictions.

Still, being at .500 on the season has me feeling like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott after a touchdown.

Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Big Win In Cleveland 1Week 9 results

Hot Sauce

Jameis Winston, TB - 23/37, 261 yards, 3 TDs. ON FIRE
Dak Prescott, DAL - 21/27, 247 yards, 3 TDs, 4 carries for 20 yards. ON FIRE
Allen Robinson, JAC - 7 catches on 11 targets for 76 yards, 1 TD. ON FIRE

Weak Sauce

Eli Manning, NYG - 22/36 for 257 yards 4 TDs and 2 INTs. BURNED (But Eli, tried to Eli).
Derek Carr, OAK - 20/31 for 184 yards and 0 TDs. ON FIRED
Le'Veon Bell, PIT - 14 carries for 32 yards, 6 catches for 38 yards. ON FIRE
Jay Ajayi, MIA - 24 carries for 111 yards, 3 catches for 19 yards, and 1 TD. BURNED
Marvin Jones, DET - 1 reception on 5 targets for 5 yards. ON FIRE

The Results

[table id=104 /]

Week 10 Hot Sauce - The Starters

Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos @ New Orleans Saints

Yes, there are a lot of things not to like about Trevor Siemian's game. He doesn't have a big arm and gets rid of the ball before allowing plays to develop. What I do like about him is he's facing a New Orleans Saints defense that just allowed Colin Kaepernick to look like an All-Pro quarterback, throwing for nearly 400 yards.

Yes, you read that right.

If you're in need of a week 10 quarterback stream, Siemian can be your guy. Against Oakland in week nine, he threw for 283 yards and two scores. This week he'll surpass those totals in a shootout.

Flavorful Forecast: 350 yards, three touchdowns, one interception. 

Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos @ New Orleans Saints

Devontae Booker was a hot commodity in dynasty league rookie drafts this season. Many even predicted that he would force the Denver Broncos running back situation into a committee at some point in the 2016 season.

With C.J. Anderson out, he is now the lead back in an offense that is tailor-made for his one-cut ability. The question at this point is; can he handle a full-time workload?

Against New Orleans in week 10, he answers that question.

The New Orleans Saints are middle of the pack in rushing yards allowed, allowing 108.5/game. They have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns in eight games, which is tied for the second most in the NFL. Start Booker in the Superdome.

Flavorful Forecast: 18 touches for 120 total yards and two touchdowns. 

Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens vs Cleveland Browns

Terrance West has been up and down the last several weeks. In a good week nine matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers (allowing 4.2 yards per carry), West was only able to manage 1.4 YPC on 15 attempts. That's in a game in which Baltimore led for much of the contest.

This week West and the Baltimore Ravens face the Cleveland Browns, a team that has given up the second most rushing yards in the NFL through nine weeks. The Browns have allowed 146.44 yards per game and 12 rushing touchdowns.

West will have to contend with rookie Kenneth Dixon for touches as Dixon is rumored to see more of the workload, but West should still get 15-plus touches in this contest.

Flavorful Forecast: 17 touches for 90 total yards and a touchdown. 

J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers

This is a name most people may not be familiar with.

Coming into the 2016 season, J.J. Nelson was an afterthought in Arizona with a passing game featuring Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown.

Fitzgerald is still Fitzgerald, even at this age. With Floyd being ineffective, and Brown suffering from concussions and injuries for much of the season, Nelson has stepped up. In weeks seven and eight, Nelson was targeted 19 times and caught 11 passes for 163 yards, and two touchdowns.

In week nine, the San Francisco 49ers allowed over 300 yards passing and three touchdowns to Drew Brees & Co. The Cardinals likely won't have to air it out, but if they do, look for Nelson to have an impact.

Flavorful Forecast: Five catches for 85 yards, and one touchdown. 

Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens vs Cleveland Browns

Mike Wallace. What an enigma this guy has been throughout his career. He was stellar early on, when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since then, and before arriving in Baltimore, he has been pretty average.

But Wallace has gone over 90 yards four times this season, including the last three games.

Cleveland is pretty bad on defense, and Wallace has been the biggest pass-catching threat Baltimore has to offer. He's worth a start this week in every format.

Flavorful Forecast: Four catches for 120 yards, and one touchdown. 

Week 10 Weak Sauce - The Sitters

Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins vs Minnesota Vikings

We've seen this show all year long... The Minnesota Vikings are really good on defense. They are also really good against the pass.

In week nine, they held Marvin Jones to one catch for five yards. That's really good. Only three times in 2016 have the Minnesota Vikings allowed a team to throw for more than 240 yards. On the season they've only allowed eight touchdown passes and are one of only four teams to have more interceptions than touchdowns allowed.

Kirk Cousins has been playing really well as of late, having thrown for 260 yards or more in four straight games. His last time out, Cousins threw for 458 yards and two touchdowns in an overtime game against the Cincinnati Bengals in London. While he has played well, he's still prone to throw interceptions. His TD:INT ratio this year is 12:7.

I look for Minnesota to rebound after their third straight loss and put an end to Cousins' statistical explosion.

Flavorless Forecast: 230 yards passing, one touchdown, two interceptions. 

Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Giants

Jeremy Hill has been good in 2016. He has also been not so good. Against the New York Giants in week 10, I expect the not-so-good Jeremy Hill to show up.

The New York Giants are currently 8th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed with just 3.6 yards per carry. He hasn't been getting the majority of the work for the Bengals and I expect his yardage totals to be down this week.

Flavorless Forecast: 14 total touches for 48 yards and zero touchdowns. 

LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks

LeGarrette Blount leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns with nine. Even after a week off, he still leads the league in rushing touchdowns. He's been really good this year and the New England Patriots are actually using the running game this season.

Against Seattle in week 10, I wouldn't have such high hopes for him. The Seattle Seahawks have only allowed four rushing touchdowns in 2016 and allow 3.4 yards per carry.

Flavorless Forecast: 12 carries for 36 yards, zero touchdowns. 

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers vs Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are the only team in the NFL to not allow a 100-yard rusher or 100-yard receiver in any game in 2016. I see that trend continuing against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Dallas' ball control style combined with their bend-but-don't-break defense is going to limit the Steelers' big-play ability, as well as the amount of plays they'll be able to run.

In week nine, the Baltimore Ravens essentially shut off Antonio Brown and made Ben Roethlisberger go to his other options.

If the Cowboys use a similar game plan, and with the possibility that Morris Claiborne isn't out as long as originally believed, the Dallas secondary could have its full compliment of talent available for this huge road game.

Flavorless Forecast: Four catches for 55 yards, zero touchdowns. 

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints vs Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos are really good against the pass. If you've read this column, we've gone over that a ton. While the Oakland Raiders won the game, the Broncos were able to keep Derek Carr and the Oakland passing offense in check.

Oakland's top two targets -- Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree -- combined for only 83 yards on eight catches.

While New Orleans is a better passing offense, they've shifted their focus to a much more balanced offensive attack. The last couple of weeks they've been closer to a 50/50 rush/pass balance than anytime we've seen in the Sean Payton era (the Dallas effect). I expect them to employ more of the Oakland Raiders game plan against Denver and try to beat them on the ground.

Michael Thomas has been great in his rookie season and really stands out in the New Orleans Saints passing game, but I'd look for other options this week.

Flavorless Forecast: Four catches for 40 yards, and zero touchdowns. 

Cowboys Headlines - #FantasyFootball Week 10 #Sauce and Waiver Wire Adds 5

Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group

Week 10 Waiver Wire Adds

Trevor Siemian, QB, Denver Broncos - QB Stream of the week. See above for further explanation.

Kapri Bibbs, RB, Denver Broncos - He got some runs against the Oakland Raiders, to the tune of 80 total yards and a touchdown. Has some explosive ability, though Booker is still the lead dog.

DuJuan Harris, RB, San Francisco 49ers - Though you may not want to start him this week against the Arizona Cardinals, he may be a good add and flex-play if Carlos Hyde's shoulder injury lingers.

Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo Bills - 10 catches for 168 yards against the vaunted Seattle Seahawks defense. He's shifty and someone in Buffalo needs to catch the ball.

Eli Rogers, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers - With the Baltimore Ravens shutting off Antonio Brown, Rogers saw 10 targets in week nine and converted that into six catches for 106 yards. He may get similar opportunities against Dallas in week 10, though he will have a much more difficult time against Dallas' outstanding pair of slot corners, Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown.

Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles - Finally!!! On the season, Ertz has 247 yards receiving. On Sunday he went for 97 of those yards. With all of the problems in the Eagles' wide receiver core, it doesn't make sense they would under-utilize Ertz. Many people have likely given up on him already so you should be able to snatch him up.

I didn't start out as a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quickly as I could. I grew up a Joe Montana fan when he was with the 49ers and followed him to the Chiefs, until we moved to Texas. I've now been a Fan of the Boys since the Dark Days of the Post-Aikman, Pre-Romo era of abysmal quarterback play, now relishing in more than a decade of franchise quarterbacking for America's Team.

Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Implications of Ezekiel Elliott’s Suspension

John Williams



Cowboys en Español: Ezekiel Elliott Suspendido Inicio Duro Para la Línea Defensiva

Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended by the NFL for 6 games for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy. This will leave a void in the backfield for the Dallas Cowboys and on many fantasy football rosters around the world. As it is with the real league, it's a next man up philosophy in the world of fantasy football as well.

At the moment, that next man up is Darren McFadden.

Just two years ago, with Dallas still clinging to playoff hopes in the wake of Tony Romo's injury, McFadden rushed for more than 1,000 yards. He finished fifth in the NFL that season despite not seeing more than 10 carries a game until week six. From week 6 until the end of the season, McFadden had 7 games with more than 90 yards rushing.

McFadden's touchdown total from that season leaves a lot to be desired, but let's not forget the quarterbacking chaos that went on that season. Between Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore, defenses weren't worried about being beat in the passing game.

Frankly, it's a miracle that McFadden rushed for 1,000 yards.

Over 11 games from weeks 6-17, McFadden averaged 21.45 touches per game and 108.27 total yards per game. At that pace, stretched over a 16 game season, McFadden would have totaled 1,732 yards, which would have led all running backs in total yards that season.

If you still have to draft, I would take a chance on McFadden around the 7th or 8th round in 10 or 12 team drafts.

As for Alfred Morris, he will get some touches as much as the Dallas Cowboys will look to run the ball. That being said the second half of 2016 showed who the coaches preferred as the backup.

The last time Morris ran for more than 1,000 yards was in 2014. In 2015, if you'll remember, he lost his job to Matt Jones who has since lost his job to UDFA Rob Kelley, who is starting but is being threatened by 2017 draft pick Samaje Perine.

When Morris played last year he was pretty ineffective averaging a career-low 3.5 yards per carry.

With McFadden's injury history, you can take a shot on Alfred Morris late in your fantasy drafts around the second to last or the last round.

Cowboys Work Out RBs Ronnie Hillman, Denard Robinson Before Oxnard 3

Dallas Cowboys Running Backs Ezekiel Elliott #21, Darren McFadden #20 (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

How Should You Value Ezekiel Elliott in Upcoming Fantasy Drafts?

That's a difficult question to answer, because a lot will depend on your league settings. My simple answer is, if you can get any discount on Ezekiel Elliott from his average draft position of 3.0, then you're getting a good value for at least the second half of the season.

Just a week ago I wrote to not allow this absence to sway you too much. I stand by that.

Fantasy football is about getting as much value as you can with each draft pick. Elliott is a top 5 value in any setting, even if he has to sit out. I think you can comprise a roster good enough to get into the playoffs, then you'll want Elliott for a playoff run.

Just like the Dallas Cowboys, all you need to do is tread water while he's out. If you can make it through the suspension at or around .500, you will still be in good position to win your fantasy football league.

When Elliott comes back, he will be the starter.

Even if they make him earn it, it won't take long. He's just better than McFadden and Morris. If your league lets Elliott somehow slip outside of the first round, snatch him up and make sure you draft McFadden. You'll thank me for it later.

Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Training Camp Begins

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott #4, RB Ezekiel Elliott #21 (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

While many will look at this situation as a detriment to Dak Prescott and may feel deterred from drafting him as the 9th quarterback in your league, I actually see it the opposite. While Dak was very efficient in Dallas' run-first offense, he showed throughout the 2016 season that he could be leaned upon in a shootout or to bring the team back from a large deficit.

In fact, Dak might have played his best game of the season during the playoff loss to Green Bay when the team got down 21-3. Forced to pass, Prescott completed 63% of his passes for 302 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in nearly leading the team back to victory.

With a full offseason in the Dallas offense and a really good compliment of receivers led by Dez Bryant, I fully anticipate Dak to have an excellent sophomore campaign.

Dallas may lean more on the pass during Elliott's absence, which will make Dak more valuable to me. Remember fantasy football is about acquiring stats and with Elliott out, Dak will have a great chance at putting up even bigger numbers. Especially if the run game is ineffective.

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Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football: Draft Ezekiel Elliott Early, Don’t Be Swayed

John Williams



Ezekiel Elliott, Packers
AP Photo / Ron Jenkins

Plenty of fantasy football drafts have come and gone, but many still remain as training camp is in full swing. The question has come up in the fantasy football Twitter community; what do you do with Ezekiel Elliott amidst rumors of a suspension? And the short answer is nothing.

Investigations into whether or not Ezekiel Elliott has violated any of the NFL's policies have persisted. Supposedly, those investigations have come to a close. The personal conduct policy, the domestic violence policy, and the substance abuse policy seem to all be in play as the league decides on the appropriate punishment for the Dallas Cowboys' star running back.

You could go the safe route and drop Ezekiel Elliott down your draft boards or you could take a chance at having one of the top scorers in fantasy football on your roster.

Say a suspension does come down. At worst, a drug suspension would be four games.

The domestic violence issue seems to be circumstantial evidence that even the Columbus Police and District Attorney declined to pursue. The NFL's personal conduct policy could apply, but that seems to be more of a threat than anything. So the question is, if Elliott is out for four games, does he lose his value somehow. I'd say no.

We don't have to go back very far to see a similar star running back with a similar suspension. In 2016, Le'Veon Bell was suspended for the first three games of the season and many people slid him down their draft boards. In some mocks, I saw him going outside of the first round.

Sure he missed the first three games of the season, but he finished as fantasy football's No. 3 running back and was there when you needed him most. Playoff time.

Bell only had three games where he failed to score less than 15 standard fantasy points during his 12 game season (didn't play in the season finale). The point being, anyone who drafted Le'Veon Bell in the first round or the top of the second was quite happy with the results.

If Ezekiel Elliott misses time, it will be at the beginning of the season, but like Bell, he will be around at the end of the season when you're trying to put away a championship win.

If you're drafting at the top of the first round, don't let Ezekiel Elliott's consistency and scoring ability get by you because of a threat of suspension. He'll be available to you when you need him most.

The first few weeks of the season are tough matchups for Elliott anyway.

Dallas will face the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and Los Angeles Rams in the first four weeks--all teams with tough defenses. Though Elliott is a guaranteed starter for those four weeks, it's likely you're lowering expectations for him against some of the top run defenses in the NFL.

For me in 2017, the reward of having Ezekiel Elliott on my roster far outweighs the risk of any potential suspension. Draft Zeke and reap the benefits.

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Fantasy Football

2017 Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Football Primer

John Williams



Cowboys en Español: Proyectando el Roster de 53 Jugadores
Kevin Jairaj - USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys were one of the more surprising teams in 2016. Both on the real side of the game and the fantasy football side as well. Armed with a top-notch offensive line and a shiny new running back in Ezekiel Elliott, fantasy footballers and fans alike saw big things from the Dallas Cowboys offense.

That is until Tony Romo was injured in the third preseason game, against the Seattle Seahawks.

With only his preseason work to go off of, which was Tom Brady-esque, we saw a glimpse of what Dak Prescott could do leading the way for the Dallas Cowboys.

Little did we know, Prescott would end up in MVP conversations with Mr. Brady.

Heading into 2017, expectations for Prescott & Co. have sky rocketed. From a team perspective as well as a fantasy football perspective.

Dallas Cowboys 2017-18 Schedule: Game Predictions For Entire Season 9

Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)


Dak Prescott heads into his second season in the NFL with a lot of exposure as the quarterback for "America's Team."

With little-to-no expectations for his rookie season, Prescott came out and provided plenty of QB1 finishes on the season. In total scoring, Prescott finished 6th at the quarterback position in fantasy football. At 18.4 points per game, he ranked 11th. That also includes his one series against the Eagles.

The Dak Knight finished in front of fantasy football stalwarts Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, and 2017 hype-man Jameis Winston.

Prescott was quite good and is a safe bet to repeat his QB1 numbers in 2017.

Currently ranked 13th in's consensus quarterback rankings, that is an excellent price to pay for someone who was a solid contributor to fantasy teams a year ago.

Not much has changed for Prescott. In fact, his offense may have gotten better. They will be younger on the offensive line and have a potential upgrade at right tackle. His receiver core is exactly the same as it was a year ago and they made an addition during the draft by adding Ryan Switzer out of North Carolina -- more on him later.

I would be willing to take Dak Prescott as high as the 7th quarterback drafted in fantasy football drafts.

My Top 20 Quarterbacks for Redraft leagues:

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
  2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
  3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
  4. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
  5. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
  6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
  7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
  8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
  9. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
  10. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  11. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
  12. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
  13. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
  14. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
  15. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
  16. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
  17. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
  18. Eli Manning, New York Giants
  19. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
  20. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
Dallas Cowboys 2017-18 Schedule: Game Predictions For Entire Season 4

Dallas Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott #21 (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Sports)

Running Back

The running back position for the Dallas Cowboys is pretty much set in stone. Ezekiel Elliott is the man.

Currently the third ranked running back in's consensus rankings, Elliott finished as the RB2 in total points and third in points per game. Elliott is my number one overall player in standard league scoring and PPR formats.

As I argued earlier in the offseason, Elliott is the only one of the top three 2016 FFB running backs to see a potential increase in workload in 2017. Elliott is the only running back in the NFL to have over 300 carries in 2016 and he remains the focal point of one of the top offenses in the NFL.

Le'Veon Bell's near 450-touch pace last year would be very difficult to replicate, especially for a player who has only played 16 games once in his four-year career. Though Bell is going to get at minimum 20 touches a game, I think it's unlikely he matches the 28-touch per game average he played in 2016. With the addition of James Conner in the 3rd round, Bell will cede some carries. With Martavis Bryant returning and the drafting of Juju Smith-Schuster, Bell isn't going to be counted on as much in the passing game.

On David Johnson. Yes, he led the league in touchdowns and yards from scrimmage. But he needed an extra game and 19 more touches than Zeke to do so. If we talk about carries+targets, Johnson had 52 more total opportunities to have the ball in his hands than Ezekiel Elliott.

Johnson scored only four more touchdowns and had only 124 more yards from scrimmage than Elliott. Remember, Elliott sat out week 17. If Elliott played all 16 games like Johnson, Elliott would have led the league in yards from scrimmage.

Johnson is unlikely to see 25-touch opportunities per game (Carries+Targets) in 2017 with John Brown back and healthy. And with Andre Ellington moving to wide receiver, they won't be leaning on Johnson near as much in the short passing game.

The Dallas Cowboys coaches have already expressed interest in getting Ezekiel Elliott more involved in the passing game. As he should be. Go back and watch the highlights from the Pittsburgh game and see his ability in the screen game.

Ezekiel Elliott is flat-out dangerous anytime he has the ball in his hands.

After Elliott, the running back to own is former thousand-yard rusher, Darren McFadden. You might see a lot of people giving you Alfred Morris as the back up to own; don't fall for it.

Yes Morris is younger than McFadden. The team, however, showed the world what they thought of the former Redskin in the second half of 2016 after McFadden returned from the Non-Football Injury list.

From weeks 10 to week 16, Morris saw a grand total of... four touches. His most extensive work in the second half of the season was week nine -- where he received four carries -- and week 17. With everyone resting against the Eagles, Morris was only given eight carries.

McFadden, on the other hand, received 27 touches from weeks 14-16, including 14 in a pivotal game against the Detroit Lions.

Morris is as far down on the depth chart as one can be and it's likely he doesn't make the 53-man roster out of training camp. A potential suspension to Elliott will be a factor in that decision, however.

McFadden is a better backup because he can play all three downs and even return kicks, if needed. He's a good pass blocker and showed just two years ago he can carry the load for a team if needed.

My Top 30 Running Backs:

  1. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
  2. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
  4. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
  5. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
  6. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
  7. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
  8. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
  9. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
  10. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
  11. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
  12. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns
  13. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
  14. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
  15. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
  16. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders
  17. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
  18. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs
  19. Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers
  20. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
  21. Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks
  22. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
  23. Paul Perkins, New York Giants
  24. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
  25. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
  26. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
  27. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
  28. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  29. Mike Gillislee, New England Patriots
  30. LaGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys - Detroit Lions: Staff Picks And Predictions; Merry Christmas

Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Dez Bryant #88 (Leon Halip/Getty Images))

Wide Receivers

The wide receiver position for the Dallas Cowboys saw a bit of turnover in 2016. Not in personnel, but in production. Dez Bryant, who had been a sure-fire WR1 finisher from 2012-2014 was hindered by injuries in 2015 and then again at the beginning of 2016.

Bryant missed three games -- from week four to week six -- which kept Dez from a 1,000-yard season for the second year in a row.

After a slow start prior to the injury -- only one game with more than 70 yards -- Bryant had an excellent second half recording only two games under 70 yards receiving.

If you take away the Philadelphia game at the end of the season (where he played one series) and project his total over 16 games, Dez was on pace for 67 catches on 128 targets for 1,061 yards and 11 touchdowns.

If you look at the second half, after he came back from injury, it seemed he and Prescott began to really hit their stride, the numbers are quite staggering. If we look at his numbers from week seven through the playoff game and taking away week 17, we get a better appreciation for Bryant's ability.

Here are his numbers for those 10 games: 48 receptions on 84 targets for 778 yards and nine touchdowns. If you take those 10 games and project them over 16 games Dez looks like a monster; 76.8 receptions on 134.4 targets for 1,244.8, and 14.4 touchdowns!!!

Those numbers look a lot like the Dez Bryant who had three straight double-digit touchdown seasons from 2012-2014.

While many in your fantasy league will sleep on Bryant as a top-24 overall selection -- unless they are Cowboys fans -- don't let the injury issues fool you. Dez is easily a top-12 fantasy wide receiver with a top-24 floor. He's a safe bet for 1,000 yards and close to double-digit touchdowns.

Don't overthink it. Bryant is the WR9 in's consensus wide receiver rankings. That's about right.

You'll find a lot of people who'd rather have Amari Cooper instead, but not me. I would actually be more likely to draft Dez ahead of the 7th and 8th-ranked wide receivers on their list, T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts and Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints.

While Dez and Prescott seemed to struggle to get on the same page at the beginning of the season, the rookie quarterback had no such struggle with Cole Beasley.

Beasley in his 5th season in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys posted career highs in nearly every statistical category including targets, yards, receptions, catch percentage, and tied his career high with five touchdowns.

While the man who provides "The Sauce" benefited from extra targets during Bryant's absence, his statistical output wasn't much different when Dez was out of the lineup.

Beasley is going to be a late round addition for your team and is going to be hindered a bit by the run-first mentality of the Cowboys. As someone who will be a bye week fill-in, however, you could do worse in PPR leagues.

His consensus ranking as the WR73 is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too low. To me he's more in the 50-55 range with the likes of Rishard Matthews and Sterling Shepard.

Bease may not repeat his 2016 output, but he will have some big games. Week one versus the Giants is a game I could foresee him leading the team in targets, catches, and yards with Bryant's difficulties with them last year.

Terrance Williams and Brice Butler aren't really worth your consideration unless you are in 14 team leagues or deep bench best-ball leagues. Their values would increase if there is an injury -- God forbid -- to Dez Bryant or Cole Beasley.

In leagues that offer return yards, Ryan Switzer could be worth a late round flier as a flex play. It's likely he will beat out Lucky Whitehead as the punt returner and 5th wide receiver for the team. He will get some opportunities in the pass game as Dallas began using more empty backfield sets in 2016.

If Scott Linehan's been reading my Twitter timeline, Switzer may even see some time as a Danny Woodhead-type of running back, where he dominated in high school.

My Top 30 Wide Receivers (Standard Scoring):

  1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
  3. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
  4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
  5. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  6. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
  7. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
  8. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
  9. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
  10. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
  11. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
  12. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
  13. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
  14. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
  15. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
  16. Alshon Jeffrey, Philadelphia Eagles
  17. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
  18. Terrelle Pryor, Washington Redskins
  19. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
  20. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders
  21. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
  22. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
  23. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
  24. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
  25. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
  26. Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears
  27. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints
  28. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
  29. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
  30. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
Cowboys Headlines - 104

Dallas Cowboys Tight End Jason Witten #82 (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Tight End

It's the Jason Witten show once again for the Dallas Cowboys.

Despite the change at quarterback from best friend and passing game soul mate Tony Romo, to hot young thing Dak Prescott, Jason Witten still maintained relevance in fantasy football.

Yes, he saw a decline in receptions and yards and hasn't had a thousand-yard season since 2012, but Witten still had the 14th most fantasy points at the position. The future Hall of Famer's 5.6 points per game put him right there as a high-end TE2.

Still playing every game and never coming off the field, you could do worse than Witten.

Now entering his 15th season, Witten hasn't missed a game since his rookie season and has started every game since his second season. That's incredible durability for a tight end who made his living over the middle of the field.

Witten may cede some snaps in four and five receiver sets to rookie fourth round pick Ryan Switzer, but it's likely that Witten will still be on the field for 90% or more of the team's offensive plays.

He's a reliable player and knows his job, even if he's not performing at the same level.

Witten is the 16th ranked TE on's consensus tight end rankings. That seems about right. The guys in front of Witten have more potential and scoring upside while Witten is on the downside of his career.

Behind Witten are question marks.

James Hanna and Geoff Swaim are returning from injuries. Rico Gathers is still trying to re-acclimate to football, though reports are he is getting better and more comfortable.

Beyond Witten, you aren't going to roster a Cowboys tight end unless it's Gathers in a dynasty league.

My Top 16 Tight Ends:

  1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
  3. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
  4. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
  5. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
  6. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks
  7. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
  8. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
  9. Martellus Bennett, Green Bay Packers
  10. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
  11. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
  12. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
  13. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
  14. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  15. Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
  16. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys Headlines - Gettin Saucy for Week Five in #FantasyFootball 1

Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Sean Lee #50 (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)

Team Defense and IDP

Sean Lee is the IDP to own from the Dallas Cowboys. Coming off his first NFL All-Pro selection after recording 145 combined tackles, Lee is at home as the weak side linebacker.

Jaylon Smith may be a consideration, depending on what he looks like when/if he plays. If he can rediscover the form that would have led him to be a top-five draft choice in 2016, he will be a dominant force.

As a team defense, the Dallas Cowboys made a lot of moves in the offseason trying to upgrade their defense.

Nolan Carroll was a veteran addition and had two interceptions last season.

Ball-hawking defensive backs Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods, and Marquez White were drafted to add some play-making ability to the defensive backfield. They'll compete with Anthony Brown, Jeff Heath, Orlando Scandrick and others for snaps.

The defensive line is in need of taking the next step. There are some players with potential here, but they need to realize it.

As a team the defense shouldn't be high on your list when drafting the position. There are plenty of options, but Dallas does offer some potential sleeper opportunity later in your drafts or even off the waiver wire.

My Top 15 Defenses:

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Houston Texans
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. New England Patriots
  5. Seattle Seahawks
  6. Arizona Cardinals
  7. Minnesota Vikings
  8. Carolina Panthers
  9. New York Giants
  10. Philadelphia Eagles
  11. Los Angeles Rams
  12. Baltimore Ravens
  13. Pittsburgh Steelers
  14. Oakland Raiders
  15. Jacksonville Jaguars
Cowboys Headlines - Martin's 5: K Dan Bailey Might Be Cause For Conservative Cowboys Coaching

Dallas Cowboys Kicker Dan Bailey #5 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


If your league still does kickers, which most still do, draft Dan Bailey. If he isn't taken in the first five kickers, your league is doing it wrong and you should disband. He's number two all-time in field goal accuracy and is a lock to finish in the top five at the position each year.

My only other advice on kickers is don't draft them before the last round of your drafts and don't draft more than one.

Who are you looking at in your fantasy football drafts?

Who are some of your sleepers?

Have a fantasy football question, leave it in the comment section. 

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