Dez Bryant: Fantasy Owners Must Bench Dynamic WR vs. Steelers

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 02:  Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys taunts fans before the Dallas Cowboys take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 2, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Just because Dez Bryant is suiting up for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday doesn't mean he needs to suit up for your fantasy squad.

He doesn't. He shouldn't.

Bryant needs surgery on his left index finger, but has decided to hold off on surgery and play against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as reported by ESPN's Ed Werder (via Twitter):

After meeting with hand specialist confirming fractured left index finger requiring surgery, Dez Bryant intends to delay and attempt play

— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) December 13, 2012

There's no denying that Bryant has the talent to be one of the most explosive wide receivers in the NFL.

Over his past five games, Bryant has 33 receptions for 525 yards and seven touchdowns. Per game, that works out to nearly seven catches, 105 yards and more than a touchdown.

That's an impressive run—one that makes the fact that you question my sanity for suggesting you bench Bryant this week seem reasonable.

Carlos Mendez of the Star-Telegram attended Cowboys practice on Thursday and had a few things to report about Bryant:

Bryant wore a glove with padding on the left index finger. Quarterback Tony Romo said he didn't throw him any hard passes. Bryant said the finger felt good.

Romo said, for now, the Cowboys have to be mindful of the kind of passes they throw to Bryant, if they throw to him. If he plays Sunday, he'll have to catch hard-thrown balls.

Of course, the Cowboys have already seen Bryant do that. He caught two passes after the injury, including a laser-like 27-yard touchdown pass.

That's all well and good, but that was in practice, with Romo softly tossing the ball to him. Furthermore, let's not forget his touchdown reception came against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Pittsburgh Steelers present an entirely different problem.

Pittsburgh has the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL, allowing teams to throw for 169.2 yards per game.

According to ESPN, the Steelers defense allows the fifth-fewest fantasy points per week to opposing wide receivers.

Not only that, but the Steelers are well aware of Bryant's injury and will try to exploit it, both when he is running his routes and when he's needed to block for the running game.

Re-aggravating the injury is a distinct possibility.

Sure, Dez Bryant could have a game similar to what he had against the Bengals last week, with four receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown.

However, the odds are stacked heavily against him.

With the playoffs underway for your fantasy team, starting Dez Bryant is a risk that you don't want to take.