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Offseason Primers: Dallas Cowboys

Senior Fantasy Writer
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If the only NFL game you ever watched was the Cowboys at the Giants in Week 1 of the 2012 season you would have thought Kevin Ogletree was the best receiver in league history. He dominated in that game with eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets.

As you can imagine, things kind of went downhill from there -- for Ogletree and the Cowboys. Dallas struggled to an 8-8 finish, and the Cowboys again failed to live up to the usual lofty expectations as being the best team in the NFL.

The good news for Fantasy owners is Dallas is loaded with talent. Tony Romo is a No. 1 quarterback, DeMarco Murray is a No. 1 running back, Dez Bryant is a No. 1 receiver and Jason Witten is a No. 1 tight end. They are some of the best players at their respective positions.

2012 Touches Leaders
789 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
DeMarco Murray 196 (161 car., 35 rec.) 24.8%
Felix Jones 136 (111 car., 25 rec.) 17.2%
Jason Witten 110 rec. 13.9%
Dez Bryant 94 (2 car., 92 rec.) 11.9%
Miles Austin 66 rec. 8.3%
All Others 187 23.7%

Now, the Cowboys have their offensive flaws. Romo needs to be more consistent, Murray needs to stay healthy and Witten needs to score more touchdowns. Bryant also needs to stay healthy, and Miles Austin needs to regain his form from 2009.

The Cowboys also need to replace Ogletree, who signed with Tampa Bay this offseason. Dwayne Harris is the likely choice as the new No. 3 receiver, and we hope he can have a shining moment like Ogletree did in Week 1 last year. We just hope his highlight reel is a little more in depth than just one week.

DeMarco Murray -- Bounce-back candidate

2012 Target Leaders
658 pass attempts
Jason Witten 147 22.3%
Dez Bryant 138 20.9%
Miles Austin 119 18.1%
Kevin Ogletree 55 8.3%
DeMarco Murray 41 6.2%
All Others 158 24.0%

Murray has a lot to prove heading into his third year in the NFL. He's battled injuries and inconsistent play through two seasons, but now is his time to shine. Murray is starting to look more like Darren McFadden than Adrian Peterson, which is not a good thing. He's already missed nine games through two seasons, and Fantasy owners are frustrated. He should be ready to go for the start of this year, and we hope he can put together a full season of quality outings. In 2012, Murray appeared in just 10 games. He had at least seven Fantasy points in every outing with double digits in points in five games, so he's capable of being a big point producer. But he has to stay on the field to live up to the hype. Based on talent, Murray is a first-round pick, but we would let him fall to Round 2 at the earliest. He should be considered at least a Top 15 Fantasy running back, and if he can play 16 games we could be looking at a Top 10 option in all leagues.

Dez Bryant -- Worth the price

Something clicked with Bryant midway through last season, and we hope he doesn't stop heading into this year. Bryant closed 2012 with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in seven of his final eight games, including playing the last four with a broken finger. His final stats were 92 catches, 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, as he definitely had a breakout season in his third year in the NFL. Bryant now has 27 touchdowns to his name, and he's set his sights on 2,000 receiving yards this year. While that's highly unlikely, he should continue to post dominant stats, and we consider him an upper echelon Fantasy receiver. Bryant should be among the Top 5 receivers drafted this season, and he could come off the board as early as Round 2. Most likely you'll draft Bryant in Round 3, but he should be a beast once again. He had just 138 targets last year, and we hope that number will rise. The one concern with Bryant is injuries since he also hurt his back last season, but as long as he's on the field you can expect tremendous production from this dynamic receiver.

Jason Witten -- Still going strong

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Tony Romo 60-67 overall
DeMarco Murray 11-16 overall
Dez Bryant 22-26 overall
Miles Austin 98-106 overall
Jason Witten 57-64 overall

Witten continues to prove he's among the best Fantasy tight ends, and he should post quality stats again this season. Witten had a career-high 110 catches in 2012, and he also added 1,039 yards and three touchdowns. This is the fourth time since 2007 he's had at least 94 catches and 1,000 receiving yards. The problem for Witten is his lack of touchdowns since he's scored more than five times just once since 2008. But that hasn't kept Witten from being an elite Fantasy option since he's been a Top 5 tight end four times since 2007 (he was No. 5 last year with 115 points in a standard league). Witten also has Romo's eye since he led the team and all tight ends with 147 targets, and we expect Romo to continue looking in Witten's direction a lot. He's worth drafting as early as Round 4 in the majority of leagues.

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
LB Dwight Freeney to return for 14th season
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:45 am ET) Impending free agent linebacker Dwight Freeney has decided to return for a 14th season, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Freeney was an effective performer in 2014, leading the Chargers with 40 quarterback hurries and registering 3.5 sacks with 10 tackles.

He ranks 20th all-time with 111.5 career sacks. The paper said it's unclear whether Freeney, 35, will return to San Diego or land elsewhere.


Report: Jacoby Jones to visit Bengals, Titans
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:34 am ET) Receiver/returner Jacoby Jones, released by the Ravens last week, is scheduled to visit the Bengals and Titans this week, reports Pro Football Talk. Jones caught just nine passes last year, but averaged 30 yards per kickoff return.

The 30-year-old Jones has returned five kickoffs and four punts for touchdowns in his career.


Dolphins' Jimmy Wilson expected to reach free agency
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:23 am ET) Dolphins' defensive back Jimmy Wilson is not expected to re-sign with the team before the start of free agency, the Palm Beach Post reports.

A seventh-round draft pick in 2011, Wilson served as a slot cornerback and reserve safety last season. Wilson could have an opportunity at starting at safety if he were to come back to Miami next season, as the team will likely be looking to fill the spot next to Reshad Jones.


Vikings want Chad Greenway back in 2015
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:02 am ET) With Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway in the final year of his contract, general manager Rick Spielman said the team wants to bring Greenway back in 2015, reports the StarTribune.

Greenway is due to make $7 million in 2015, but he may have to take a pay cut to remain with the Vikings.

"We have a lot of things that we'll be working through between now and before March 10th, but we'd love to have Chad Greenway back and finish [his career] as a Minnesota Viking," Spielman said.


Report: Jets will let Willie Colon test free agency
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) With the Jets not intending to sign guard Willie Colon before free agency starts March 10, sources told Metro New York the team will let Colon test free agency.

If Colon cannot find a suitor, then the team could bring him back to add more depth. Colon is expected to become an unrestricted free agent March 10. Colon has started 32 games for the Jets over the last two seasons.


Report: Patriots more likely to tag Gostkowski than McCourty
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:19 am ET) If the Patriots are to use their franchise tag, the team is more likely to use the tag on kicker Stephen Gostkowski than cornerback Devin McCourty, sources told ESPNBoston.com.

A franchise tag for a kicker would be an estimated $4.5 million, while tagging a cornerback would cost about $9.5 million. If no long-term deal can be reached and neither player is tagged, they'll become free agents March 10.


Report: Chiefs use franchise tag on Justin Houston
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:59 am ET) The Chiefs have decided to use their franchise tag on Justin Houston, a source told ESPN.

Houston, 26, has recorded 48 1/2 sacks over his first four seasons in the NFL and produced 22 sacks in 2014, which led the league. Signing the one-year deal would be worth about $13 million. Houston is not expected to sign the franchise tag anytime soon, reports NFL.com.

Houston will consult with the NFLPA to decide whether to file a grievance to be classified as a defensive end and not outside linebacker, a source told NBCSports.com.


Lions will not use franchise tag on Ndamukong Suh
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:51 am ET) The Lions announced Monday they will not use the franchise tag on defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

If the Lions cannot work out a deal with Suh, he'll become a free agent March 10. Using the franchise tag on Suh would've cost the Lions $26.9 million in 2015. Suh is considered one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL.


Report: Packers' Jarrett Bush arrested for public intoxication
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:38 am ET) Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush was arrested for disorderly conduct while under the influence Sunday in California, reports KTVU in San Francisco and WBAY-TV in Green Bay.

Bush was placed in a detention hold and then released. Bush has played for the Packers since 2006 and serves as their special teams captain.


Report: Eagles working on new contract with Trent Cole
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:25 am ET) The Eagles have been working with linebacker Trent Cole on a new contract, a source told lehighvalleylive.com.

Cole is due to make $11.6 million next season and the team would save $8.4 million by cutting Cole.


 
 
 
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