If you're anything like me you're starting to get excited for your upcoming fantasy football draft(s) (maybe I play in 4 different leagues,don't judge). You're starting to align your dates with your buds so you can all get together, trash talk and assemble the best fantasy football team of all time. You may or may not find extra joy in drafting a former Poke and cheering him on. So what if you drafted him two rounds too early? Here are a few former Cowboys to keep an eye on with fantasy football season fast approaching.
Dez Bryant - First let me say this non fantasy related statement: Dez Caught It. OK, now we can move forward. Dez avoided the dreaded training camp hold-out, This can sometimes hamstring players (hello, Chris Johnson 2011) as they usually take a bit to get caught up and back into the groove. As we know here in Orange Country, Dez is a freak and would probably be training like a Rocky montage 24/7 even if he were to hold out but it's better that he's in camp so we can watch him do Dez stuff.
Dez if he held out, probably:
Last season Bryant put together this stat line: 88 receptions, 1,320 yards, 16 touchdowns. His targets, 137, were down from the previous season where he saw 160. With Demarco Murray now in Philadelphia he should see a rise in targets. Dez is currently slotted as the number two wide receiver by Yahoo Fantasy Ranks in standard scoring fantasy leagues, trailing only Antonio Bryant of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
CRFF's Projection: With Dez signed, sealed and delivered, fantasy GM's should feel confident when drafting him this season. He should push for the top WR spot but at the very least will finish in the top five. With 33 Red Zone targets last season he should see even more this year, making him an even bigger fantasy threat. If taking receivers in the first round (that's where he's going) isn't your thing, you likely won't have a chance at Dez.
Joseph Randle - It's pretty wild to think that the departure of a former Sooner, Murray, will positively impact the fantasy, and real life value of two former Cowboys. That's exactly what is going to happen this season in Dallas. With Murray leaving Dallas, Randle is now in line to take over the bulk of the carries, pending on Darren McFadden. Dallas has the best offensive line in football, anyone could get great yards behind that line. If Randle can stay out of trouble and stay healthy, he is could possibly have a great season.
What you have here folks is a recipe for a breakout season. With camp officially opening today for Dallas, and the news that Randle is the leader of the pack (Darren McFadden is on the PUP list (surprise)), things are set up nicely for him to take over the top spot. His current average draft position, or ADP, of 66.9 is downright robbery. If you're an early drafter, as in your league drafts early, you could benefit by getting Randle much later than he will be taken in later drafts. The difference between a good or great season is going to be if they use Randle in goal line situations, so watch for this during preseason.
CRFF's Projection: If you can get him in round four or later you have a possible steal on your hands. If things keep progressing with him looking like the clear cut leader of the backfield his ADP will quickly rise. Take a chance on Randle, there's worse gambles in fantasy football this season. Take him if he's there starting in late round 3 (quite a bit higher than his ADP, but should be worth it).
Kendall Hunter - This former Cowboy has a bit of an uphill battle after returning from ACL surgery. The San Francisco 49ers drafted Carlos Hyde last season and by seasons end he was starting to see more and more carries (before an ankle injury ended his season). According to CSNbayarea.com's preview on the 49ers running backs, Hunter will be competing for the backup position with Mike Davis throughout training camp.
CRFF's Projection: If you draft Hyde and Hunter ends up being the clear cut backup then draft Hunter as a security blanket late in your drafts. Hunter will go undrafted in most drafts.
Brandon Pettigrew - After catching 83 balls in 2011 for the Lions, Pettigrew has seen his production steadily decline over the last three seasons. The Lions drafted pass catching tight end Eric Ebron last season which really hurt Pettigrew in 2014 where he saw a total of 15 targets for 10 catches and 70 yards. Obviously they don't know he can do this:
CRFF's Projection: Steer clear of Pettigrew until the Lions show they are going to use him for more than a blocking tight end.
Brandon Weeden - Weeden is entrenched as the backup quarterback in Dallas to some guy named Tony Romo. With the injury history of Romo, Weeden could be thrown into the game at any time. Last season Weeden started one game for the Cowboys which just so happened to be against one of the NFL's best defenses, the Arizona Cardinals. His stat line for that game: 18-for-33, 183 yards, one TD and 2 interceptions. Yeah, a tough outing, but reports are coming out of Dallas that Weeden is progressing steadily this offseason.
CRFF's Projection: At least he's out of Cleveland! The only way Weeden has any fantasy value is if Romo goes down, at that point he's worth the gamble if you are in the dungeon of fantasy quarterbacks.
So there you have it. Let your homer-ism fly!