Fantasy Football Draft 2012: Ranking the Dallas Cowboys' Best Options
Though the Dallas Cowboys have struggled on the field, they are stacked with fantasy football talent.
With their high-powered offense, fantasy owners are always looking for Cowboys players to help take their teams to the next level.
In 2011, we saw the rise of a new weapon on their offense, running back DeMarco Murray.
Heading into 2012, here are rankings of the Cowboys' best fantasy options.
1. Tony Romo, QB
Though he has not been able to lead the Dallas Cowboys deep into the playoffs, Tony Romo has managed to make fantasy owners very happy.
Romo is consistently one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy football.
You can guarantee that Romo is going to throw for 4,000 yards and between 25 and 30 touchdowns.
In his last five seasons, Romo has thrown for more than 4,000 yards three times. In the two seasons he failed to reach that level, he missed several games due to injury. Romo has also managed to throw for at least 26 touchdowns in four of his last five seasons. The one season he did not reach 26, he missed 10 games due to an injury.
The Cowboys are a throwing team. They have a high-powered offense and Romo is the leader of it.
If you miss out on one of the top-tier quarterbacks, definitely aim for Romo as one of your next options.
2012 Stat Prediction: 4,000 passing yards and 30 touchdown passes
2. Dez Bryant, WR
Dez Bryant has all the tools to become a top-10 wide receiver in the NFL.
He's freakishly athletic. His only problem is he has been somewhat of a head case.
However, that has not stopped him from continuing to improve. Bryant will be entering only his third season and is destined to break out this season.
His stats have improved in each of the past two seasons as he became a bigger part of the offense. This is the year that Bryant will take over the No. 1 wide-receiver role from Miles Austin.
The Cowboys have to make the playoffs this year, and they are going to do that with their elite passing game.
With Bryant being the top receiver for the Cowboys, he should develop into a No. 1 fantasy receiver. However, I would be a little skeptical about taking him as my No. 1 receiver because of all the weapons the Cowboys have on offense.
Despite that, Bryant is a top-15 fantasy receiver and is an amazing No. 2 option.
2012 Stat Prediction: 1,250 receiving yards and nine touchdowns
3. DeMarco Murray, RB
DeMarco Murray has given the Cowboys a legitimate running back for the first time in a while.
Everyone kept waiting for Felix Jones to break out, but the only thing he produced was time spent on the injured list. Murray seized his opportunity as the starter and the Cowboys are glad they gave him a chance.
Murray made his impact in his first start, running for 253 yards. He did not become the starter until midway through the season, making eight starts, but suffered a season-ending injury in his eighth start.
Despite the injury, Murray is supposed to be completely healthy in 2012 and should be a solid fantasy running back.
The Cowboys showed that they trust Murray last season. In five of his starts, he had at least 20 touches. Not only did Murray show he was an explosive runner, but he also showed great receiving skills out of the backfield.
I do not see Murray as a No. 1 fantasy running back because he is still inexperienced. However, he should be a very solid No. 2 option, especially in PPR leagues.
2012 Stat Prediction: 1,100 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns
4. Miles Austin, WR
Since Miles Austin has gotten that huge contract, his production has gone down.
In 2009, Austin was the next big thing at wide receiver. He had more than 1,300 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in his first year as a starter.
Since then, his production has gone down as he has dealt with injuries.
Austin is still a legitimate receiving threat, but with the rise of Dez Bryant, he will no longer put up elite numbers like he did in 2009.
Romo has a lot of weapons, and with Austin's production dropping, it is going to cause him to drop down fantasy draft boards.
I see Austin being a better No. 3 fantasy wide-receiver option.
2012 Stat Prediction: 900-1,000 receiving yards and six touchdowns
5. Jason Witten, TE
Jason Witten has been Tony Romo's favorite target since the Terrell Owens days in Dallas.
For a tight end, Witten puts up great numbers. He gets a number of looks from Romo (117 targets in 2011) and is always healthy. He has not missed a game since 2004.
For PPR leagues, he is a great because he is guaranteed to have at least five catches a game. Despite all the looks, Witten only had five touchdowns last season
Witten is behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin because he does not have the big-play ability that those wide receivers possess. He may get more receptions than them, but he will not have as many receiving yards or touchdowns.
Though he is not better than those receivers, he is still a top fantasy tight end.
2012 Stat Prediction: 75 receptions, 850 yards receiving and six touchdowns