It's Saturday, so it's time to talk some fantasy football! Let's preview and predict which Cowboys will be fantasy studs, and which will be fantasy duds against the Falcons.
QB Tony Romo -Through the first five weeks of the season, Romo has thrown for 1,341 yards for 6 TDs and 4 INTs. While those are not monster fantasy numbers, his 7 completions of 40 yards or more is tops in the NFL. This suggests that Romo and this offense are still explosive. After Miles Austin's 250-yard performance against the in Week 5, Dallas used the bye week to integrate him more into the first-team offense. Having his speed on the outside could help open things up more for Romo.
The Atlanta pass defense ranks 21st in the league, giving up an average of 241 yards per game. Now, it has lost starting CB Brian Williams for the season. Romo may look to pick on the young CBs, Brent Grimes and Chris Houston early. If he has time in the pocket, he should be able to have success. Expect a better than average day for Romo with a big play or two against this young, overachieving Atlanta defense.
RBs Marion Barber - Because of a fractured left thumb, Barber will start the game with a cast on his non-carrying hand. Whether it hinders his pass-receiving skills remains to be seen. He blogged earlier in the week that his strained quad "is no longer a problem". After healing through the bye week and missing much of the last game, Barber will be eager to play some ball. I wouldn't expect a huge game from him this week, simply because the offense will rotate the RBs often. Nevertheless, this is a big game for the Cowboys; and, in big games they tend to lean on their big-time players. Barber is one of them.
Make the jump for the rest of the Week 7 Fantasy Focus.
Tashard Choice -The Cowboys may try to keep the Atlanta offense off the field by controlling the ball. If they can establish the run, they will use Choice to chew up the clock. Barber will get the start, but Choice will be in as the 3rd-down back and he could also receive his own series or two every quarter. He's not a must start this week for fantasy owners; although, he could be a nice flex option. Choice gets better as the game goes on, so if any health problems flare up for one of the other two RBs, then Choice will do his job and take over the ground game.
Felix Jones - Jones practiced all week and Coach Phillips said that he looked "fast" and "moved well". This indicates that his PCL is good enough to get back onto the field. Judging by the fact that he will be wearing a knee brace, he is not 100%. Phillips did say that Jones will return to his normal role, which means 8-9 carries a game. That doesn't sound like alot of touches, but he averages 10.1 yards per carry. Like Barber, Jones is only listed as probable so owners can expect to see some production from him. He may not be returning kickoffs, but the offense will use him in the passing game and he's always a threat to break a 5-yard screen into a big play.
WRs Miles Austin - His 10 catches for 250 yards and 2 TDs in Week 5 garnered league-wide attention. Even as the Cowboys went into their bye, he was still the #1 waiver pickup going into Week 6. Now, defenses have even more film of him so they may know what to expect. That doesn't mean he can't break out again, though. Romo and Austin have been playing together for years before both were starters (yes, Austin is a starter now). While owners shouldn't expect him to have another game like he did against the Cheifs, they can at least assume that he is on the same page with his QB. That should call for many targets. He has speed, can break tackles, and averages 22.1 yards per catch. Going up against a sub-average defense, he looks like a solid start this week.
Roy Williams - He will start, but he is playing through rib cartilage pain. When healthy, his chemistry with Romo has looked shotty. Owners should start him with caution, as he is not the hottest WR on the team right now.
Patrick Crayton - Crayton will most likely slip into the slot, where he is considered to be at his best. That's good for the team, not for fantasy owners.
TEs Jason Witten - Witten has had a quiet season even though he still leads the team in receptions with 28. Offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, will be looking to fix the Cowboys' red zone inefficiencies and Witten could benefit from that. He has only one TD on the year, which is a shame because he is such an asset in that area of the field.
With Tony Gonzalez on the other sideline, Witten could show in this game that he is the #1 TE in the league. The team is getting Felix Jones back and has established Austin as a deep threat on the outside. All of this spells big game for Witten.
Cowboys D/ST - DeMarcus Ware does have a stress fracture in his foot, which will not prevent him from playing. The bigger issue this week for this unit is the offensive line of the Atlanta Falcons. In the season opener, Matt Ryan was dropped for 2 sacks. Since then, he has not been sacked - not even once. The Dallas defense has its work cut out for them against the 10th best scoring offense in the league. WR Roddy White has been on fire, which has helped balance out the cold 24th-ranked Atlanta rushing attack.
ILB Keith Brooking should help pump up the front seven against his former team, but it's up to the secondary to contain White and Gonzalez. That's a tough task for any team. Fantasy owners should be wary, because if Atlanta's no-huddle takes charge, then this game could be a shootout.
After six weeks of fantasy footballing on FleaFlicker, one team still remains undefeated in the BTB and BTB Part Deux fantasy leagues. Here's how both leagues are shaping up.
The Lone Undefeated (6-0)
Almost Perfect (5-1)
Even Stevens (3-3)
.500 = Two Weeks Away (2-4)
One is the Loneliest Number (1-5)
My Team Sucks
If you've got a fantasy dilemma, feel free to post it here for your BTB brethren to analyze. Let's help each other out!
And, for all your fantasy football needs, SBNation's fantasy webpage is chock full of informational updates to help you set up your team from week-to-week.
For your convenience, here's the link: sbnation.com/fantasy.