To give you an idea of how Dez Bryant might actually get better as this season wears on, let's start with a stat that should have his fantasy owners just a bit giddy.
In the final seven games of the Dallas Cowboys' season, Bryant faces five defenses that are 20th or worse in passing yards allowed. If you thought Bryant was good so far, the best is yet to come.
Of course, it's hard to imagine Bryant being much better.
Only Calvin Johnson and DeSean Jackson have more fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues than Bryant's 114. Only A.J. Green, Vincent Jackson and Pierre Garcon have exceeded his 88 targets. His eight touchdown receptions are second only to Wes Welker amongst receivers. He's sixth among receivers in receptions (51) and seventh in receiving yards (705).
And he's scored nine or more fantasy points in six of nine games this year. He's not only been a stud, but a consistent stud at that.
But—and yes, there is a but—his next two matchups aren't the cakewalks they once were.
The New Orleans Saints are currently fifth in passing yards allowed per game (212) and allow just 18.1 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per week in standard-scoring leagues, 10th in the NFL. While the game could easily become a shootout and Bryant could see a huge amount of targets, the Cowboys would be well-served to prioritize the running game this week.
Especially after they essentially made themselves one-dimensional against the Minnesota Vikings, rushing just nine times for 36 yards in a tight Week 9 win.
Don't get me wrong, Bryant is still locked and loaded as a WR1 this week. But his output could be a bit more modest than we've seen in weeks past. He has the talent to override any and all matchups, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Cowboys try to involve DeMarco Murray much more heavily in the game plan this week.
After that the Cowboys go on a bye, then face the New York Giants, a team that was easy pickings for quarterbacks and wide receivers earlier in the year but has tightened up in recent weeks. The Giants have held opposing wide receivers to 10 and 12 fantasy points total in the past two weeks, giving up less than 200 passing yards in each of those games.
Again, Bryant will get his, but it wouldn't be shocking if his production was somewhat less than we've become accustomed to seeing.
Okay, okay, so I'm splitting hairs here. Outside of Megatron, Jimmy Graham and arguably Rob Gronkowski and Green, there isn't a better receiving option in the game right now, and that extends to fantasy football.
Ignore the "sideline tantrums" or Bryant removing his helmet on the field, and enjoy the show—he's going to provide plenty of fireworks down the stretch.
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