Dez Bryant: Projecting Cowboys WR's Output vs. Ravens in Week 6
Following a 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football in Week 4, Dallas needs some time to regroup. So does Tony Romo, who threw a whopping five picks in the loss. And so does Bryant, who is shouldering the blame for at least one of them.
With only a couple of minutes remaining in the first half and the game very much within the Cowboys' reach, either a miscommunication between Romo and Bryant or a terrific defensive play resulted in Chicago's Charles Tillman picking off a Romo pass and returning it 25 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a 10-0 lead.
Aside from that huge gaffe, the night was decent for Bryant, at least from a fantasy perspective. He finished with eight receptions for 105 yards. What the box score doesn't illustrate is the two huge drops Bryant made, one of which could have resulted in a touchdown and the other of which was on third down and could have prolonged a critical drive.
And most importantly, Bryant once again went without a touchdown for the fourth straight week.
So here we are, entering the Cowboys' bye week, and Bryant—allegedly one of the top receivers in the game—still hasn't caught a touchdown. When will it come? Will it ever?
Bryant has had his fair share of off-field troubles. He's almost as well known for those as he is for that nine-touchdown, 933-yard performance he had in 2011, his second year in the league. He shows flashes of brilliance, but he's infuriatingly unable to live up to his potential.
Many a fantasy owner expected big things from him this year, and thus far, they've gotten nothing except a single 100-plus-yard performance, zero touchdowns and an average of five fantasy points per game.
Meanwhile, a guy like Calvin Johnson is averaging 14 fantasy points. Even Wes Welker—who's been notoriously underutilized over the first four weeks on New England's offense—is averaging eight fantasy points per game.
But the tide could turn for Bryant in Week 6 against a Ravens defense that has been terrible against the pass in 2012.
The Ravens defense has been deceptively bad this year. It hasn't been putting up the kinds of numbers anyone would expect to see from mighty Baltimore. In four games, the Ravens haven't held opponents to single digits a single time, and they allowed a whopping 30 points to New England a couple of weeks ago.
The last time out, Baltimore was awful against Cleveland's offensive attack, allowing 314 passing yards and just 43 rushing yards. Romo hasn't been great for much of 2012, but you have to figure he can at least match the performance of Brandon Weeden.
So perhaps this could signal an unlikely turnaround for Dallas' pass offense. Nobody storms into Baltimore expecting to shred the defense, but the truth is, the Ravens rank 29th in the league in passing yards allowed in 2012, and that certainly bodes well for Bryant and the Cowboys.
This, in fact, is the second-easiest pass defense the Cowboys have encountered this season. And the last time the Cowboys faced a terrible pass D (in Week 3 against Tampa Bay), they escaped with a win. That's something.
So for anybody contemplating giving up on Bryant—just wait. At least a little while.
Projection: Seven receptions, 101 yards, 1 TD
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