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2011 Draft Prep: Miles is the man in Dallas

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Tony Romo is a lucky man, and we're not talking about some of the women he's dated or his golf game. Romo and the Cowboys have the best receiving corps in the NFL.

It's a nice luxury to drop back and see Miles Austin on one side, Dez Bryant on the other and Jason Witten running down the middle of the field. His receiving corps is a big reason why Romo has the chance to post outstanding stats this season, which makes him a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in all leagues.

"We do good things," Bryant said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "I feel like we're the best at what we do. We're striving for the best."

But who is the best Fantasy receiver for the Cowboys? And do you draft Austin first in Round 3 based on his Average Draft Position or wait for Bryant two rounds later in Round 5?

We'll take Witten out of the discussion since he's an elite tight end, but Fantasy owners want to know how to approach drafting Austin and Bryant this year. The prediction here is Austin will remain the better Fantasy receiver in 2011.

This isn't a knock on Bryant. He enters this season ready for a breakout campaign after the way he played as a rookie last year. Bryant had 45 catches for 561 yards and six touchdowns despite missing the final four games of the season with a broken leg.

We consider Bryant an excellent No. 2 Fantasy receiver, and he should be drafted in Round 5 with confidence. He is even saying all the right things leading up to the start of the regular season, and he said he is 100 percent healthy following last year's season-ending injury.

"I'm fired up," Bryant said. "I'm ready to go. Everything is in place. I feel like I'm doing a good job. I'm going to keep doing a good job."

Austin is coming off somewhat of a disappointing season in 2010 despite catching 69 passes for 1,041 yards and seven touchdowns. Fantasy owners expected more from him after his breakout year in 2009 when he had 81 catches for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The reason we like Austin better than Bryant is the rapport he has with Romo. Once Romo went down last year with a shoulder injury in Week 7, Austin's stats started to decline.

He opened the season with 35 catches for 524 yards and two touchdowns in the five games before Romo was injured. If you project those stats over a full year then Austin would have finished with 112 catches for 1,677 yards and seven touchdowns.

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Bryant also didn't get going until Romo went down. Bryant only had 18 catches for 211 yards and one touchdown in five games with Romo, and the bulk of his production came with Jon Kitna as the starter.

Bryant said he has spent time working on his rapport with Romo, and he feels the two are on the same page. He knows he might not get to the level of trust Romo has with Austin or Witten, but he's hopeful.

"I'm still progressing with him," Bryant said. "Tony puts more trust in me and more faith in me. Everything is going good."

We'll find out if Bryant and Romo can continue to connect, and we're confident in their ability to work together. But we just have more faith in Romo looking for Austin when he needs to make a big play.

So if you have the chance to draft Austin when he's available take him as your No. 1 receiver. And if you miss on him then pull the trigger on Bryant.

It will be a fun year watching the Dallas passing game flourish, and no one is happier about that than Romo and the Fantasy owners lucky enough to own these Cowboys.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Jets coach hopeful Eric Decker will play Week 4
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:51 pm ET) Jets coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday he is hopeful wide receiver Eric Decker, who left Monday's game against the Bears after aggravating a hamstring injury, will play Week 4 against the Lions.

Taking a look at the top running backs on the waiver-wire
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4:45 pm ET) With a ton of running backs on bye or dealing with injuries, the field is thin for Week 4. And, the potential replacements available on the waiver-wire aren't exactly standouts, with Jamey Eisenberg tabbing Ravens back Lorenzo Taliaferro and Donald Brown of the Chargers as the top pickups for the week.

See the rest of Jamey's Waiver Wire column here


Eli Manning a worthwhile fill-in for Week 4
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4:35 pm ET) Giants quarterback Eli Manning is available in 51 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues, and Jamey Eisenberg targets him as the next-best-thing for Fantasy owners who miss out on Kirk Cousins on waivers this week.

Manning has racked up 40 Fantasy points over the last two weeks and gets to take on a Washington defense that just gave up 32 points to Nick Foles. Manning had just 23 Fantasy points against Washington a year ago, but torched them for 617 passing yards in two games in 2012.  

Manning is never going to be the most attractive Fantasy option, but he might make sense as a fill in for Week 4. 


Doug Martin practices without limitations
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:33 pm ET) Buccaneers running back Doug Martin, who has missed two straight games with a knee injury, "showed no limitations" during practice Monday, reports the Tampa Bay Times. He appears set to return for Week 4 at Pittsburgh.

Hakeem Nicks could have some value for Week 4
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4:28 pm ET) Colts wide receiver Hakeem Nicks' Fantasy value for Week 4 against the Titans is likely to depend almost entirely on T.Y. Hilton's availability for Sunday's game.

Nicks caught four passes for 50 yards and a touchdown in Week 3, but he did the majority of his damage following Hilton's exit from the game. Nicks had just one reception for 12 yards in the first half, hauled in three passes and his touchdown following halftime, when Hilton was no longer around.

Nicks ended up playing 49 percent of the team's snaps, compared to 46 percent for Hilton. The Colts do not use three receivers often, as evidenced by the fact that three different tight ends saw the field for at least 36 percent of the plays in the last two games. If Hilton's ankle injury heals enough for him to play, Nicks will have trouble finding the field, as he did in Week 2, when he plays just 40 percent of the team's snaps.

Nicks might be someone worth picking up on waivers Tuesday night, but he only really has upside if Hilton sits out. 


Lavar Edwards back on Cowboys roster
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:28 pm ET) The Cowboys announced Tuesday they re-signed defensive end Lavar Edwards to the active roster. Edwards was waived over the weekend.

Josh McCown might need thumb surgery
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:26 pm ET) Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown will be re-evaluated by a hand specialist in a week or two to determine if he needs surgery to fix his thumb ligament, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Even if he does not require surgery, McCown could be sidelined several weeks, the paper said.

Mike Glennon is expected to start Sunday at Pittsburgh.


Giants appear ready to make change at free safety
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:26 pm ET) Giants safety Quintin Demps practiced with the first-team defense Tuesday and it appears he will replace Stevie Brown in the starting lineup at free safety Thursday at Washington after Brown was benched Sunday against the Texans.

"We're looking at all the possibilities. We're just trying to get better," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said, per NJ.com. "It was an internal Giants decision [to make the switch] and I'll just leave it at that."


Travis Kelce's growing role a good thing
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4:16 pm ET) Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce will be a hot name on the waiver wire ahead of Week 4, after breaking through for his first NFL touchdown. Kelce already ranks 10th among tight ends in Fantasy scoring, despite being featured on just 45.1 percent of the team's snaps through three games, a good sign moving forward.

Kelce played just 50 snaps in the team's first two games, but was on the field 47 times on offense in Week 3, 65 percent of the team's plays. He turned that into just three catches for 36 yards, but made up for it with a touchdown, and should get more looks moving forward.

Kelce has a tough matchup on the way in Week 4, as the Chiefs get set to take on the Patriots this Sunday. New England has allowed just 4.0 Fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, the third-lowest total in the league. Kelce might not pay immediate dividends as a waiver-wire pickup this week, but his growing role should lead to good things before long. 


Redskins tweak practice squad
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:08 pm ET) The Redskins signed offensive lineman Tevita Stevens to the practice squad and released offensive lineman Braxston Cave from the squad.

 
 
 
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