2011 Fantasy Football: Dallas Cowboys in Review


For the fantasy football participant, this should be the first or second week of your playoffs. Each week is more intense as you eye that prize money, if you’re in the money leagues or just eye the right to be called Champ! In my league we play for big money and yours truly is in the semi-finals!

Take a look at the pre-season and current statistics of the Dallas Cowboys who made fantasy rosters around the nation. A few things stood out: (1) Dan Bailey was the best pickup, post draft night; (2) DeMarco Murray was the 2nd best sleeper pick up; and (3) the Cowboys defense is a bust.

YTD Stats and CBS’ Pre-season outlook (as of 12/18/11): *Disclaimer: the stats are taken from CBSSports, based on rules in MY league.

Tony Romo     3,895 PaYd, 29 PaTD, 1 RuTD, 9 PaInt,  2 FL   308  fantasy pts          6th best QB
Pre-season outlook: Tony Romo should come back as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback and we recommend drafting him with a pick as early as Round 3 in all leagues. Prior to 2010, Romo passed for at least 4,200 yards in two of his previous three years. He also had 88 touchdowns and 42 interceptions from 2007-09.  He has an outstanding receiving corps in Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten and a pass-happy play caller in Jason Garrett. Best of all, Romo is a great consolation prize if you miss out on the upper-echelon quarterbacks through the first 25 picks. Romo was picked up in Round 3 in my league.

DeMarco Murray   895 RuYd, 2 RuTD,  183 ReYd (8 starts)       111 fantasy pts   22nd best RB
Pre-season outlook:  The Cowboys selected Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray in the third round of the NFL draft. Murray had two 1,000-yard rushing seasons at Oklahoma and finished with 3,685 yards and 50 touchdowns. The speedy runner also had 157 career catches for 1,571 yards and 11 TDs. Murray will more than likely replace Marion Barber in the Dallas run game as their skills are almost exactly the same. That includes durability as Murray dealt with injuries in college and isn’t a lock for 16 games. Murray also will join a crowded backfield that includes Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, so he’s far from seeing consistent minutes on a regular basis. Murray is definitely worth a late-round pick in seasonal leagues and is a good handcuff to Jones.  Murray was not picked up in my league until week 7.

Felix Jones          523 RuYd, 1 RuTD, 174 ReYd, 2 FL              62 fantasy pts 
Pre-season outlook: Felix Jones could be in line for a big season this year if he can prove he can handle the load as the featured back. There’s a chance Marion Barber won’t be back in Dallas, but the addition of rookie DeMarco Murray along with Tashard Choice means more of a timeshare. Still, Jones would be the starter and get the majority of touches. In 2010, Jones set career highs in carries (185), rushing yards (800), catches (48) and receiving yards (450), but he scored just twice and has only eight career touchdowns in three years.  With the potential of this offense and Jones having the ability to do it all, we consider him a low-end No. 2/high-end No. 3 Fantasy running back. Plan on drafting Jones as early as Round 4 and hopefully he can start for you every week while living up to his immense potential.  Jones was picked up late in Round 3 in my league.

Laurent Robinson          792 ReYd, 9 ReTD                127 fantasy pts                      14th best Rec
Pre-season outlook:  Laurent Robinson is a free agent this offseason, and he will look to land with a new team if the Rams decide not to bring him back.  Robinson was not picked up in my league until week 11.

Dez Bryant          796 ReYd, 9 ReTD, 1 FL                     126 fantasy pts                   15th best Rec
Pre-season outlook:  Dez Bryant is expected to pick up where he left off last season prior to him breaking his leg. Bryant, who missed the final four games of his rookie year with the injury, had 45 catches for 561 yards and six touchdowns, but the majority of his production came in Weeks 7-11 — without Tony Romo under center. We’re counting on a big season and Bryant should be considered a No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver. Plan on drafting Bryant as early as Round 4 or 5 as Romo should enjoy throwing his way.  Bryant was picked up late in Round 4 in my league.

Miles Austin          519 ReYd, 6 ReTD                                       85 fantasy pts 
Pre-season outlook:  Miles Austin is hoping to be more productive this season than he was in 2010. He finished last year with quality stats — 69 catches for 1,041 yards and seven touchdowns and 93 rushing yards and a score — but he only had eight games with double digits in Fantasy points. Now, part of the problem was losing quarterback Tony Romo after six games. Austin also had to share targets with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, and those two aren’t going away. Still, based on what Austin has done the past two years, we expect him to play at a high level. He should be considered a good No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver in all leagues worth drafting as early as Round 4 in all formats. Austin was picked up middle of Round 3 in my league.

Jason Witten          849 ReYd, 5 ReTD             109 fantasy pts                            4th best TE
Pre-season outlook:  Jason Witten continues to be one of the top Fantasy options at his position. In 2010, Witten had his fourth year in a row with at least 80 catches and he’s reached at least 90 grabs in three of the past four seasons. He also had his third 1,000-yard season and second in a row. But the best news for Fantasy owners was Witten set a career high with nine touchdowns. We expect Witten to have another tremendous season in 2011 and he should be considered a top 3 player at his position. Plan on drafting Witten as early as Round 4 in all leagues. Witten was picked up late in Round 6 in my league.

Dan Bailey          36 FGA /32 FG            36/36 XP             160 fantasy pts             2nd best K
Pre-season outlook:   No outlook available. Bailey was picked not drafted, but picked up in week 4, dropped in week 5, and picked up in week 6, by yours truly.  Best sleeper pick ever!

Cowboys Defense:
15 INT     38 sacks      9 DFR        FF 12     1 DTD             PA 296              TYdA 4,668
178 fantasy pts                    13th best D               10th best in INT
Pre-season outlook:  The Cowboys DST is a great Fantasy sleeper with the addition of Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator. Ryan has done well in previous stops in Cleveland and Oakland, but he’s never had this much talent, especially talent that’s used to a 3-4 scheme. And with Dez Bryant leading the return game, the Cowboys DST should be solid. The unit struggled in 2010, but the Cowboys should rebound this year. Plan on drafting the Cowboys DST with a late-round pick in all leagues.  Cowboys Defense was not picked up in my league until week 7, then dropped in week 8, picked up in week 11, dropped in week 12, where they remain.

Opposing quarterbacks vs the Cowboys defense:

           Team             W/L            QB                            Stats                                    Fan Points

  • vs NY Jets – Loss – Mark Sanchez — 335 PaYd, 2 PaTD, PaInt, FL                21
  • vs San Fran – Win – Alex Smith — 179 PaYd, 2 PaTD, PaInt                           19
  • vs Washington – Win – Rex Grossman — 250 PaYd, 1 PaTD, PaInt, FL          12
  • vs Detroit – Loss – Matthew Stafford — 240 PaYd, 2 PaTD, PaInt                    19
  • vs New England – Loss – Tom Brady — 289 PaYd, 2 PaTD, 2 PaInt                20
  • vs St Louis – Win – A.J. Feeley — 196 PaYd, 0 PaTD, PaInt                              5
  • vs Philadelphia – Loss – Michael Vick — 279 PaYd, 2 PaTD                            28
  • vs Seattle – Win – Tarvaris Jackson — 221 PaYd, 0 PaTD, 3 PaInt                   2
  • vs Buffalo – Win – Ryan Fitzpatrick — 146 PaYd, 1 PaTD, 3 PaInt                     7
  • vs Washington – Win – Rex Grossman — 292 PaYd, 2 PaTD, PaInt                28
  • vs Miami – Win – Matt Moore — 288 PaYd, 1 PaTD, 0 PaInt, FL                     15
  • vs Arizona – Loss – Kevin Kolb — 247 PaYd, 1 PaTD                                      17
  • vs Giants – Loss – Eli Manning — 400 PaYd, 2 PaTD, PaInt                            26
  • vs Tampa Bay – Win  – Josh Freeman — 148 PaYd, 1 PaTD, FL                     14

At first glance the analysis indicates that the defense averages about 250 passing yards per game.  Their worst game, score-wise, was against the Eagles.  While their worst game, passing-yardage-wise, was against the Giants.  Both losses.   Their overall best game was against the 49ers.  The defense held Alex Smith under its season average and picked off one, resulting in a win.   Seven out of fourteen quarterbacks threw for two touchdowns per game.  Five more tossed one touchdown per game.  The two remaining quarterbacks were held to zero passing touchdowns, but they are horrible teams, so no big thing.  The Dallas Cowboys defense is not horrible, per se, but to be an elite unit, they need to stop allowing so many yards, put more pressure on the quarterbacks, and quit allowing teams to tie it up, or even go ahead, in the 4th quarters.  They played pretty decent, thru three quarters, against Tampa Bay, however, let’s see that same intensity versus the Eagles and the Giants.

Overall, for those of us who play fantasy football, and for Dallas Cowboy fans who like to load up your team with Cowboy players, it’s been an up and down year.  The guy who picked up Romo in my league did not even come close to the playoffs, but the guy who picked up Murray in week 7, leads the league and is heading for the Superbowl.  The fantasy football season is coming to an end, and with it, depression until next summer, when football starts all over again.