Fantasy Football Fanatics; Dallas Cowboys 2012 Offseason Breakdown

Fantasy Football Fanatics

Dallas Cowboys; 2012 Offseason Breakdown

By, Eric Hartvigson


Stadium: Cowboys Stadium (love that, no corporate name)

Schedule Strength: 30th (Pittsburgh Week 15)

Postseason Weather issues: @ Cin Week 14

Offensive Line Ranking: 16th


Head CoachJason Garrett;   Coach Garrett’s is a former Quarterback and Ivy League graduate from Princeton University.  Garrett’s professional career began in the World League of America as the quarterback for the San Antonio Riders.  He then moved up to become the backup quarterback for multiple teams including; the Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys (behind starter Troy Aikman), the New York Giants (behind starter Kerry Collins), Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins.  Spending just one year as the Dolphins quarterbacks coach, Garrett would be hired as the OC of the Dallas Cowboys in 2007. After the firing of Wad Phillips in 2010 Garrett would take over as the interim head coach, and later promoted to the official head coach of the Dallas Cowboys during the 2011 offseason.  Being a former QB, and based off previous seasons, we know Garrett will employ a wide open aerial Offensive System resembling the Run-and-Shoot.  With no major changes to the coaching staff or roster we should anticipate more of the same in the upcoming season.

Offensive CoordinatorBill Callahan;    Coach Callahan was also a former QB which only lends further credence to the notion that the Cowboys will remain a passing offensive system.  Hired more as an offensive line coach, this is Jason Garrett’s Offense to run, as Callahan will not be a factor in the game planning or play calling.

QBTony Romo;    Now entering his 10th season in the league Romo continues to display many of the characteristics necessary to be a mid-level, every week QB1 including; excellent mobility, a high level of intelligence, accuracy on the run and a comprehensive understanding of the Cowboy’s high powered passing system.  Romo also has a solid receiving core with two of the games better wide receiver tandems in Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, and playmaking Tight End Jason Witten. We must further factor the Cowboys play in the NFC East, meaning Dallas is forced to score a large amount of points if they have any hopes of winning the division.  The only downside is a few injury issues raising a Yellow Flag.  Given a full Offseason to work with his starting unit we should expect Romo’s numbers to be amongst the top 8 quarterbacks at the end of the season with a Player Rating of 8.7

RB1DeMarco Murray;

RB2Felix Jones;    This is where the real confusion ensues.  Let’s begin by stating that Murray is the more complete player of the two Dallas runningbacks possessing a lethal combination of size, speed and strength necessary to be a “3-down-back” in the NFL.  All reports coming out of minicamp indicate Murray will begin the season as the Cowboy’s starting runningback which should entail roughly 70% of all carries, including Goal Line touches (very important). However, Murray has proven to be a huge Red Flag Injury Prone player as proven last season, but also dating back to his time at the University Oklahoma.  Now factor the 30% workload being distributed to Felix Jones, who has shown moments of brilliance, but lacks consistency also as a Red Flag injury risk.  Now playing on a contract year, should Jones suddenly become effective when called upon, this timeshare could move more towards a 60-40 split and possibly 50-50.  We must further consider that if Murray or Jones go down with injury the value of the other would skyrocket (I told you this was confusing).  Ultimately, we’ll give Murray a player rating of 8.3 (bust alert).  As for Jones, he should be viewed as a must handcuff behind Murray entering the new season with a meager Player Rating of 7.4.

WR1Dez Bryant;     Amongst the league’s most talented young WRs, in 2011 Dez became infamous for an amazing first half performance, only to go missing in the second half of games.  As with many players around the NFL, reports later surfaced that Bryant was not in “football-shape” on the heels of the NFL lockout.  On the upside, Bryant is physical specimen considering his size, speed, body control and hands.  We should also upgrade Bryant for playing inside one of the leagues strongest pass oriented systems alongside a solid quarterback.  Also note that Bryant is entering his 3rd season, a theory long supporting a wide receivers emergence in fantasy football.  When conducting our evaluation must also factor the release of Laurent Robinson who consumed 858 yards and 11 TDs now left vacant.  Bryant does have minor injuries issues, along with a target share between Miles Austin and Jason Witten (Romo’s favorite target), however all signs indicate that Bryant will have solid season in 2012 deserving of a player rating = 8.8.

WR2 Miles Austin;   Hindered by multiple injuries in 2011, Austin missed 7 games cutting his yardage totals in half from the previous two seasons, but ironically his TD total remained the same at 7.   Showing no injury concerns in the past, last season’s woes are widely contributed to the NFL lockout.  Austin does posses amazing speed, great hands, is a Red Zone threat, and a spin move after the catch that leaves defenders grasping at air.  The release of Laurent Robinson will also open up 858 yards and 11 touchdowns to be distributed between Bryant and Austin.  The continued emergence of Dez Bryant will slightly limit Austin’s productivity, but Dallas’ Offensive System is predicated upon a high volume of passes enabling multiple WRs to have solid fantasy value.  Player Rating = 8.6

TEJason Witten;    Witten is amongst the most consistent fantasy TE over the past 5 seasons mainly due to his durability unmatched by most TEs around the league.  Witten’s forecasted production is hindered slightly with targets being consumed by Cowboys WRs.  But as Romo’s go-to-guy in a pinch, Witten is still a very solid player entering 2012 who should have another productive year with player rating of 8.6

DefDallas Cowboys;    The Cowboys defense is predicated upon the pressure of Demarcus Ware and the continued growth of MLB Sean Lee (injured in the middle of last season).  The Cowboys also traded up in the 1st round of the 2012 NFL draft to secure potential shutdown CB Morris Claiborne.  The Boys are still thin at other positions, meaning they are not yet amongst the elite fantasy defenses.  Also, playing opposite a “prolific offense” creates added pressure.  Dallas may be a low D1 with a Pre-Draft Rating of 7.7.

KDan Bailey;     I’m always looking for kickers who play in a covered home stadium alongside a dynamic offense, and Bailey has both.  He proved last season he can be a solid fantasy producer, and we should expect that to continue with a Player Rating of 9.3.  Make sure to monitor that week 14 matchup @ Cincy for any adverse weather

About Eric Hartvigson