Wide receivers: Miles Austin is listed first only because his last name comes first in the alphabet. In reality, he’s not even on the same planet as Dez Bryant, but for now we’ll roll with it. And before you brand me an Austin-hater, I certainly am not. He’s been a good solid receiver for the Cowboys the past six years. 2009 was his most productive year, last year being one of his worst, due to hamstring injuries. He missed six games in 2011, but still had some decent numbers and was only two touchdowns away from tying Bryant’s nine touchdowns. So, why am I so down on him? In 2010, his numbers dropped a bit due to the arrival of Bryant. He also agreed to a six year contract extension. His production has not been the same since. In training camp this week, he’s tweaked his hammy again. Something seems amiss.
The Loon’s advice: Austin is a solid #2 guy. He’s no Bryant, not the same pomp and flash, but stable and dependable. Throwing out last year’s stats, CBS predicts him to be 3.3% better than 2010. Pick him up in the 3rd/4th rounds of your draft. Maybe even 5th round. Watch the hammy situation as that could change the game entirely.
It’s no big secret in my league that I love me some Dez Bryant. Since his days at my alma mater, I knew he was something special. Forget about his off-the-field troubles for a moment. When he steps on the turf, he’s transported to another place. His personality shines and he, when in his element, cannot be stopped. In 2011, he nearly hit the 1,000 receiving yard mark and scored nine touchdowns. It has been my prediction from the end of the regular season that THIS WILL BE his year. A third year veteran should know the playbook and know what is expected of him. He’s older, and pray to God, wiser, at least on the field. Cowboy fans are counting on him and he better not let us down.
The Loon’s advice: If you believe Romo is a Super Bowl quarterback, then you pick up Bryant pronto. CBS predicts a 7.6% improvement over last season. I expect he’ll be a top five receiver.
Tight ends: Last, but certainly not least, our beloved, Jason Witten. He is a leader, respected by all, and a much loved current Cowboy. His tenth year in the silver and blue brings much anticipation and angst surrounding, not only a playoff appearance, but also a Super Bowl. The fans are growing weary and restless, as is Witten.
The Loon’s advice: fantasy-wise, Witten is the fifth best tight end in the league. He’s still got game, but he’s also at the ten-year mark, so he’s been around the block a few times. CBS expects him to do 2.7% better than last year. That’s not great; however, he’s worth picking up early once tight ends start coming off the boards. I’d put him on my roster, so do the same if you want a winning team.