Dallas Cowboys

Dez Bryant Injury: Week 15 Fantasy Football Analysis

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 02:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a touchdown pass reception against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 2, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Chris PetersonAnalyst IDecember 12, 2012

The time is finally here it is week 15 and the 2012 Fantasy Football season is drawing to a close. I have always felt fantasy football gets real in Week 15, it's semifinals week and I for one can almost taste the trophies and prize money.

It can also be a stressful time for fantasy football owners as they attempt to decide who to play and who to sit as their season and championship hopes are on the line.

One of the more difficult decisions for Week 15 of the 2012 season is going to be whether or not to play Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, who suffered a broken finger last Sunday against Cincinnati that has put his season in jeopardy.

However, according to a report by ESPN.com, a source close to the Cowboys organization said that Bryant plans to play with the injury.

"Unless the doctors say he medically can't do it, Dez is going to play," the source said.

So what does this mean for fantasy owners, who have seen Bryant finally being to reach his potential over the past few weeks, magically turning into a dominant fantasy wide receiver right before their eyes?

It means a difficult decision lies ahead. 

After all, Bryant has hauled in seven touchdown passes in his last five games and amassing 124 fantasy points over that five-game span which equates to nearly 25 fantasy points per game in point per reception formats according to four-downs.com. 

The former first-round draft pick is having his best season by far, hauling in over 68 percent of his targets and averaging 9.5 yards for each pass thrown his way. He has already eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season and has a total of nine touchdowns. As far as being an elite receiver is concerned, he has arrived.

Yet, serious questions remain about whether or not Bryant will be able to play and Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said the decision on whether or not he can play will be a medical one, "first and foremost."

"The doctors are going to say, 'Hey, this is what it is, and this is what we feel like you need to do,' and then we're going to say, 'OK, well, what are the other options,' like you do with any injury, and you go forward and you make your best decision, not only for now, but for the future," Garrett said. "Dez is very passionate about playing. Anyone who's been around him knows that."

"We (are) just going to have to find out," Bryant told ESPNDallas.com in a text message Monday night, noting that he'd know more Wednesday, when the Cowboys return to practice.

At this point it is probably too early to know anything about the status of Bryant for Sunday's tilt against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the question fantasy owners must face is that if Bryant plays, should he be in your lineup?

The answer to that question, in my opinion, is yes. When thinking of this dilemma originally, I thought of Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who is the definition of an elite fantasy wide receiver.

I determined that if Johnson had a fractured finger and was cleared to play, he would be in my lineup without hesitation because to be frank, he is simply that good.

Bryant is my opinion is now the cusp of being on that level. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy is no Megatron, but he is an elite fantasy wide receiver and if the guy is on the field, then he absolutely needs to be in your lineup, whatever the risks may be.

At this time of the year in the realm of fantasy football, fortune favors the bold. So be bold and fantasy championships will follow.

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