It didn’t take long for a fantasy diamond in the rough to rear his dreadlocked head. Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree ushered in the first surprise of the 2012 fantasy season, catching eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns against a vaunted New York Giants defense. Or were they really that vaunted?
We all know the big guys on the Giant defensive line get after the quarterback, but gaping holes in the secondary were exposed to the umpteenth degree. Rookie defensive back Justin “Hey I Tried” Tryon struggled to keep up with Ogletree in the earlier portions of the game. The Cowboys receiver crept behind zone coverage for big gains down the sideline and nestled into weak spots, leading to a team-high 11 targets. To quarterback Tony Romo’s credit, he was on the money with nearly every pass.
When it came to consistently getting open, Ogletree was the guy who outshined everyone. The fact that the Giants defenders probably lost track of him while covering Dez Bryant and Miles Austin may have factored in as well.
While the matchup was indeed favorable, especially since the Giants still had promising sophomore Prince Amukamara nursing a high ankle sprain on the sideline, Ogletree will continue to see plenty of looks in the passing game due to a number of factors.
For one, No. 2 receiver Austin is still battling hamstring issues. He looked ready to topple over at any minute over the course of the game, despite coming up with a few nifty catches. His health will undoubtedly be in question week after week.
Cowboys tight end, and safety valve, Jason Witten still has his spleen issues and was used primarily as a blocker in Week 1. As he continues to play through pain, his fantasy value will drop lower and lower.
In addition to the injuries, the Cowboys may finally be starting to figure out how to strategize. In the past, they seemed to rely on talent alone to win games, but their Week 1 victory was an indication that they can pick teams apart, something that often involves more of a team contribution.
This also works in Ogletree’s favor, as his role as a slot receiver will continue to help Romo, much like Victor Cruz helped Eli Manning last season. The Cowboys knew Ogletree had a lemon covering him, and they went to work on the rookie play after play.
We’ve also seen receivers really take off when they have Pro Bowl talent surrounding them. We saw this phenomenon take place last year in Pittsburgh, with Antonio Brown breaking through thanks to Mike Wallace. We also saw it with Wes Welker in New England, thanks to Randy Moss.
These backup receivers should start thinking about lavishing their No. 1 counterparts with gifts, much like Chris Johnson did when bought each of his offensive linemen new automobiles after trucking his way to more than 2,000 rushing yards in 2009.
If you need a cause for concern with Ogletree, the Cowboys upcoming schedule gets a bit tough. Next week, Dallas takes on an underrated Seattle team in one of the league’s loudest stadiums, followed by another underrated defense in Tampa Bay. Their first favorable matchup comes in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers.
With the way they plotted and planned against the Giants, Ogletree should see continued production on the stat sheet. Worthy of a waiver pickup in most deep leagues.