This is an installment of a weekly presentation of each NFL team’s top fantasy players by position. This analysis we will feature the Dallas Cowboys and their high powered offense. Check out our analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles.
With these articles you will find a player from each key position to target in fantasy football. The lists will consist as to why they are chosen as the top player for their respective positions and teams, players poised to breakout or as sleepers, 2pt specialists and a new format based off of individual defensive players.
The Dallas Cowboys (12-4 record and first in the NFC East) were a Dez Bryant controversial catch away from the NFC Championship and a possible Super Bowl Berth. Last season we saw the Cowboys have two high profile fantasy players. Demarco Murray led the NFL in rushing and Dez Bryant in touchdown receptions. The offense was the strong point of the team, and they were able to run the ball with efficiency, which opened up the passing game. The defense was without its best player and yet they found a replacement who played well despite coming out of retirement. Fast forward this season and the team is without its star running back, and they brought in a few troubled players with off the field issues.
QB Tony Romo: Romo’s best chance to take the Cowboys to the Super Bowl fell one “dropped pass” away from getting them there. In terms of fantasy, Romo has been one of the best overall quarterbacks in the league over the past eight seasons. I think with the loss of Demarco Murray, the Cowboys offense is going to rely heavily on Romo and the passing game. I would consider Romo a sure fire top 10 fantasy quarterback when healthy. (Week 1 Salary $8700)
WR Dez Bryant: The All-Pro receiver finally got his big payday after leading the NFL with his 16 touchdowns. Bryant was arguably the best overall receiver last season, and was the fourth ranked receiver in fantasy. Fast forward to this season, there is no reason not to believe he shouldn’t have a repeat performance. Bryant heads into the 2015 season as a top three fantasy receiver, and he should be drafted in the second round. (Week 1 Salary $8700)
TE Jason Witten: The future Hall of Fame tight end continues to produce at a high level, even after 12 seasons in the league. Witten was the 10th ranked tight in fantasy last season, with his 703 yards and five touchdowns. Now, headed into his 13th season, Witten should still be looked at as a top tier tight end in fantasy leagues. I would caution at over drafting Witten ahead of tight ends such as Delanie Walker or Travis Kelce. (Week 1 Salary $5800)
WR Terrance Williams: Williams might not have produced the yards he did as a rookie, but he steadily became the perfect complement to Dez Bryant that the Cowboys have needed. With his eight touchdowns, Williams was the 40th ranked fantasy receiver last season. This coming season I am very high on Williams and see him in comparison to what Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson did last year. When drafting, Williams should be on a short list of number two receivers to roster. (Week 1 Salary $5300)
RB Joseph Randle/ Darren McFadden: When looking at the Cowboys running game, I would consider pairing both Randle and McFadden together. I’m higher on Randle, because of his speed and knowledge of the offense, plus McFadden like usual is currently not healthy. I do think that when healthy in this offense, McFadden could be a good comeback story. Again, if I had my choice between the two, I’m going with Randle with the higher upside, especially behind that offensive line. (Week 1 Salary Randle: $6900, McFadden: $6600)
TE Gavin Escobar: The Cowboys are known for running a lot of two tight end sets, with Escobar as the team’s number two tight end. Every season since Escobar has come into the league he has been a breakout candidate, but never really lived up to the billing. The other thing holding Escobar back is the lack of decline in Jason Witten, who continues to be the go to target for Romo. This season should be a better one for Escobar, with Witten getting older and less stability at running back, he should be a touchdown dependent in fantasy this season. If there is an injury to Witten (he’s only missed handful of games in 12 years) at any point Escobar should be considered a number one tight end. (Week 1 Salary $4000)
LB Sean Lee: The Cowboys leader on defense comes back from his torn ACL healthy and should get back to his Pro Bowl form. The Cowboys defense filled in well for Lee with Rolando McClain, but still missed his playmaking and ball hawking abilities. Lee should be back to normal and looked at as a top tier linebacker, as he was pre injury. (Week 1 Salary $6300)
DB Barry Church: With his 103.0 total fantasy points, Church ranked as the 21st overall fantasy defensive back. Although last season was not quite as successful as the previous, Church still was highly productive and made a lot of plays for the Cowboys. I expect him increase his interception totals with the key pass rushing additions the Cowboys brought in this season. (Week 1 Salary $4500)
DL Randy Gregory: The second round rookie will play a big role early on with the suspension of Greg Hardy. If Gregory can play up to his potential he might be a sleeper candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. I fully expect Gregory to compete for the team lead in sacks this season, and eventually become an all-around playmaker. In terms of IDP fantasy, I would expect Gregory to be a solid sleeper pick, but maybe wait to see how he handles the pressure early on. (Week 1 Salary
DL Demarcus Lawrence: Last season was supposed to be a big one for then rookie Demarcus Lawrence, but then he broke his foot and only played in seven total games. This season expect a big jump in overall production for Lawrence, who should be one of the team’s leaders in sacks. With Greg Hardy’s suspension being reduced to four games, it provides Lawrence the opportunity to be the team’s primary pass rusher. (Week 1 Salary $4000)
K Dan Bailey: Bailey was the eighth ranked kicker in fantasy last season, converting on 25 of his 29 field goals and all 56 of his extra points. This season should be similar in terms of fantasy production for Bailey, who will have plenty of opportunities with the high scoring Cowboys offense. I expect Bailey to be a top 10 fantasy kicker this season. (Week 1 Salary $5000)
2Pt Specialist: With the extra point line being pushed back to the 15 yard line teams might consider going for two after touchdowns this coming season. Some of the key players to look for the Cowboys to rely on in these situations are Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Joseph Randle. The future Hall of Famer Jason Witten is a red zone favorite for Tony Romo, and this season should be no different. Then there’s Dez Bryant who was the best red zone receiver in the league last season, and that should not change. The new addition to the group is Joseph Randle, who is expected to be the lead back. Randle brings a lot of speed and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, which should bring plenty of opportunities for him in the red zone.
Rookie Impact: As rookies go, the Cowboys brought in a surplus of troubled but talented rookies on both sides of the ball. They stayed conventional with their first round pick, selecting Byron Jones from UConn. It’s what they did with their second round pick, and in college free agency that go people talking. First they drafted troubled drug user Randy Gregory out of Nebraska, who was supposed to be a sure fire top 15 pick, before a failed drug test. Then, they signed La’el Collins the offensive lineman out of LSU. Collins went undrafted when his name was linked to an investigation into the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, but later was cleared of being a suspect. The cowboys did not bring in a lot of rookies that are expected to make an impact, but the three named in this article should all play key roles this season. Out of the three, I would say that Randy Gregory has an opportunity to have a fantasy impact because of his ability to rush the passer.
The Dallas Cowboys head into the 2015 with high expectations. The Cowboys also had one of the most controversial off seasons in the NFL with the additions of Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory and undrafted rookie La’el Collins. Although the Cowboys lost leading rusher Demarco Murray, they should still have good production from Joseph Randle and former pro bowler Darren McFadden. This season should be Super Bowl or bust for the Cowboys, and I expect them to be the best team in the NFC East. I fully expect with the pieces they added that the Cowboys will be one of the best teams in the NFC.
*All fantasy numbers and rankings are from fantasydata.com
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