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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
QB Shuffle: Bills cut Jeff Tuel, claim Matt Simms off waivers
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:09 am ET) Bills coach Rex Ryan didn't pass up the chance to reunite with one of his former quarterbacks, by cutting Jeff Tuel and claiming the former Jets passer Matt Simms off waivers on Friday, per nfl.com.

Tuel was a favorite of former Bills coach Doug Marrone, but with Ryan now the head man in charge his fate was doomed.

Simms, who played in just four games while with the Jets, will still be a long-shot to make the team because of the three-man competition at the quarterback spot already brewing between Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel.


Falcons sign OG Chris Chester to one-year deal
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:01 am ET) The Falcons signed veteran offensive guard Chris Chester to a one-year deal on Friday, per nfl.com.

The Falcons were able to sign Chester after they released linebacker Prince Shembo, who was charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Chester was cut by the Redskins earlier this week after he played 64 consecutive games for the organization.


Dolphins DE Cameron Wake on playoffs: 'My fingers are crossed'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:54 am ET) Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake has never played a single playoff minute. He's hoping this year is finally the year he does, per ESPN.com.

“My fingers are crossed,” Wake said. "It's the new year and it feels really good, obviously."

The Dolphins haven't made the playoffs since 2008, the year before Wake joined the team. In that span, Wake has been nothing but dominant -- 63 sacks and four Pro Bowl appearances.

Miami has posted consecutive 8-8 seasons, but with the addition of Ndamukong Suh this offseason the team -- and Wake -- is ready to take the next step.


Bills awarded waiver claim for QB Matt Simms
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(5/29/2015) The quarterback situation in Buffalo has gotten a little more complicated on Friday. The Bills were awarded their waiver claim on QB Matt Simms, who was released by the Jets on Thursday, according to the team's official website. 

Simms has played just four games and has completed 19 of 39 passes for 195 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in his career.


Falcons waive LB Prince Shembo due to animal cruelty charges
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) The Falcons have decided to waive linebacker Prince Shembo on Friday after he was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per nfl.com.

"We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo," the team said in a statement. "We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo."

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Rams RB Trey Watts suspended four games
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Rams running back Trey Watts has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, according to profootballtalk.com.

Watts, who made the team in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, played in 14 games last season and rushed for 30 yards on seven carries.

Watts is eligible to return for Week 5 against the Packers.


Falcons LB Prince Shembo charged with cruelty to animals
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo is being accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's dog and has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Police said Denicia Williams, Shembo's ex-girlfriend, reported on April 19 that Shembo had killed her Yorkie.

Williams took the dog to Shembo's residence and left them unattended at some point. When she returned, the dog was unresponsive.

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Seahawks' Kam Chancellor: 'This is the strongest offseason I've had'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor feels good. He should, he's finally healthy.

Chancellor, who has become accustomed to rehabbing nagging injuries during the offseason, is practicing with the team during organized team activities for the first time in a while, per The News Tribune.

“I feel great. Back to football form. Feel fast. Feel strong. I just feel good out there," Chancellor said. "I think this is the strongest offseason I’ve had since I’ve been in the league. I’ve been actually able to train in the offseason instead of having surgeries.”

Chancellor recorded 78 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 14 games last season.


Cardinals RB coach: David Johnson 'reminds me a lot of Matt Forte'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Cardinals rookie runningback David Johnson received a huge compliment from his position coach, per nfl.com.

Running backs coach Stump Mitchell said the third-round pick reminds him of a Pro Bowl running back.

"He reminds me a lot of Matt Forte," Mitchell said. "You can put him outside and use him as a receiver and he's a good runner."

Mitchell sees the comparison between the two when it comes to Johnson's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, something Forte has excelled at throughout his career.

"He has excellent hands and he's a bigger target to throw the ball to," Mitchell said. "He's going to be a big piece of the puzzle before this season is said and done."

Johnson rushed for 1,553 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior at Northern Iowa last year.


Patriots Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler absent at OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Patriots cornerback and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler was noticeably absent from organized team activities on Friday, per nesn.com. It's unclear why Butler was not at practice.

Butler recorded 15 tackles in 11 games last season, but most noticeably came up with a game-clinching interception in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX.


 
 
 
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