With the end of the NFL lockout looming, Fantasy Football excitement levels are cranking up for many owners in preparation for their upcoming drafts. And with names like Romo, Witten, and Austin peppering the first few rounds, the Dallas Cowboys are always well represented. But this year, there are also some possible draft steals to be had among those who wear the beloved star.
The Cowboy’s Defense – Currently ranked as high as 9th on various Fantasy Football rankings, the Dallas Defense could be a possible steal in the middle rounds of your draft. Last years’ defense ranked 2nd overall in total points allowed in the NFL as they seemingly could not stop anyone from scoring. But the big difference maker in this year’s squad could be the addition of Rob Ryan as Defensive Coordinator. His scheme and attitude appear to be just what the doctor ordered for a defense who performed well beneath their talent level. With Ryan at the helm and the Boys’ predicted free agent shopping spree, the “D” in Dallas should be back on track. Now the biggest question is how quickly can the players learn and implement the new scheme given the time already missed due to the NFL lockout.
Sean Lee (LB) – The Penn State linebacker, selected in the 2nd round of last year’s draft, had a rough start to his rookie year due to injury. But Lee started to shine a bit in the second half of the season, culminating in two interceptions and a touchdown against Peyton Manning in Week 13. This year, the second year player, should see an increased role in that aging linebacker corps which includes 9th year veteran Bradie James and 14th year veteran Keith Brooking. For those of you who have to draft individual defensive players (IDP), Lee is worth look as a sleeper in the later rounds.
DeMarco Murray (RB) – The rookie out of Oklahoma could be a mid to late round steal, especially in keeper leagues. The 6’0, 213lb. Murray could be seen as the physical presence the Cowboys would be missing if Marion Barber is released. And if the rumor is true that running backs transition better into the NFL then another position in their rookie years, it bodes well for the young Sooner. But Murray faces an uphill battle, and one that has been made steeper due to the NFL lockout. The Cowboys will not trust DeMarco until he can learn to pass protect correctly. They learned that lesson the hard way last year. And Murray will have to earn any playing time he gets…and that could mean a very slow start to the season that Fantasy owners would have to ride out.
Tashard Choice (RB) – Although Tashard has already become a very popular player amongst Cowboy fans, this may very well be his break out year in Fantasy. Assuming that Dallas releases Marion Barber, Choice becomes the primary back-up to often injured Felix Jones. This new position would increase his chances at becoming the short yardage back, which would translate into more touchdowns for the Georgia Tech alum. Now, this “choice” (no pun intended) does not come without some apprehension as third round pick DeMarco Murray will be breathing down his neck for those goal line touches. But since the rookie will be playing catch-up, Murray’s impact should be fairly limited until the second half of the season. One added benefit to note is that Choice is prime trade bait if the Cowboys decide to keep Marion Barber. Best case scenario is that you may have just used a late round pick on a starter for another NFL team.
Roy Williams (WR) – Although his year ended with a thud, Roy Williams started the 2010 season looking a bit like his old Longhorn self again. The chemistry between Romo and Williams seemed to have finally clicked as he started off the year with 21 receptions and 5 touchdowns in his first five games. But Romo’s injury and Williams’ lack of chemistry with back-up Jon Kitna sent this former Lion’s year crashing down. But with Tony on the mend, things are looking up for Roy. And even though it appears he will lose his starting spot to Dez Bryant, Dallas still slings the ball around enough for Williams to “get his”. And for a receiver listed near the bottom on most Fantasy players draft boards, he could certainly be seen as a potential late round steal.