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Week Thirteen: Fantasy Focus on the Cowboys

It's Saturday, so it's time to talk some fantasy football! This a huge week for the Cowboys as they travel to Giants Stadium in an effort to bury New York in the standings.

In the next week or two, fantasy playoffs will begin. For many of us, we will be facing a must-win situation this week...or, we're out!

Make the jump for the Week 13 Fantasy Focus.

QB Tony Romo -The Cowboys have yet to lose when Romo is the starting QB at Giants Stadium. In 2006 - his first year as a starter - he hit 20 of 34 passes for 257 yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTs to lead the team to a 23-20 win. The 2007 game there was a much more fantasy-friendly game for him; he lit up the Giants for 247 yards and 4 TDs with 1 INT. Last year, a hand injury forced him to miss the game in New York.

In Week 2 of this season, the Giants' defense seemed to have Romo figured out. His 127 yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs scared many fantasy owners. But, that was before the emergence of his number one toy: WR Miles Austin. Last week against the Raiders, Romo and Austin connected for 130 yards in the first half, alone. Austin's ability to gain yards after the catch has helped the Dallas offense tremendously, and helped Romo notch another 300-yard performance. The middle of the field passes clicked last week as TE Jason Witten also had a 100-yard day.

The Cowboys' 10th-ranked passing offense (254.1 YPG) will be going up against the 4th-ranked Giants' passing defense (allows just 182.6 YPG). But, in terms of scoring, the Giants' defense ranks 25th in the NFL, giving up a whopping 23.7 points per game.

I wouldn't expect a huge day for Romo, as this should be a physical NFC East battle. Though, he is definitely worth a start.

RBs Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice - Each one of these backs broke off large gains on Thanksgiving. Felix scored on a 46-yard run, Barber had a 42-yard catch and run to go along with his 61 rushing yards, and Choice ripped off a 66-yarder from the "Razorback" formation. That is the type of production the Cowboys envisioned having from this trio when the season began.

Not since the Week 2 home game against the Giants, has Dallas' three-headed monster looked more healthy. In that game, both Barber and Felix decimated the defense to combine for more than 200 yards rushing. They also each scored a TD. Recently, the Cowboys have continued their use of Choice as a WildCat QB.

With both Barber and Felix healthy, the Cowboys still try to get Choice 3-5 touches a game, which isn't ideal for fantasy owners. For Felix owners, though, his knee brace is off and his quickness and agility looked to be unencumbered against Oakland. Offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, realizes that it's time to get the ball in his hands at least 10 times per game. He's back to being a home run threat whenever he touches the ball. And Barber owners have reason for excitement, as well. The Barbarian has been catching well, which suggests his fractured thumb is healing; and he is running with his usual boost of power and purpose.

WRs Miles Austin - His huge game last week proved several things: 1) he can beat the best of them in man-to-man - just ask Nnamdi Asomugha, 2) he's tough as nails - hard to bring down and has no fear catching the ball in traffic, and 3) Garrett is still finding ways to get him open - slants, screens, comebacks, crossing routes, you name it. He even had Austin sit underneath zone coverage for Romo to check down to.

You're kicking yourself if you didn't start Austin last week. He's returning to play in his home state of New Jersey, so you may not want to kick yourself again by benching him. He'll get his targets; he's worth the start.

Roy Williams - Not flashy, not a PPR guy; though, he could get you a TD grab. The Giants may be starting converted CB, Aaron Ross, at FS. If they wanted to use him to double anybody, it would be Austin. Roy could see alot of single coverage, but he has yet to confirm that he is a reliable pass catcher. Start him at your own risk.

TEs Jason Witten - Hitting the century mark against the Raiders was a step in the right direction. That lone TD on the season is still lurking. JWitt's foot sprain has healed some over the extra days off after the turkey day game. It sure didn't seem to bother him on his 44-yard catch!

This has got to be the week he returns to the end zone. Start him.

Cowboys D/ST -This unit now ranks second in the league in scoring defense. That is music to fantasy owners' ears. What is even better is that SOLB Anthony Spencer is picking up some sacks now. Combine his play, along with the other pass rushers - DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, and Keith Brooking - and Eli Manning could be in for a long day.

In Week 2, Manning's WRs, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham, embarrassed the Dallas secondary by catching 10 passes and a TD a piece. CB Mike Jenkins has come along way since then, growing into the team's best at the position. Veteran Terence Newman often learns from his mistakes made the first time around, as he seems to respond well in payback games. SS Gerald Sensabaugh is playing consistently well. The question in the back four is how much the loss of FS Ken Hamlin (ankle) will effect how the secondary covers NY's corps of young WRs. His replacement, converted CB Alan Ball, has been adequate so far. The only knock on him has been in regards to how his 188-pound frame will hold up in run-support. Nevertheless, the unit has not lost a beat with him in the lineup and ranks 9th in rush defense (102.7 YPG).

If the defense can start forcing more turnovers, this will quickly become a dominating unit. ST coach Joe DeCamillis and punter Mat McBriar have helped tremendously in forcing offenses to earn their yards. With the tough schedule the Cowboys face, fantasy owners can't expect any shutouts, but these guys do enough to earn double-digit points each week.

This is the last regular season week for the BTB and BTB Part Deux fantasy leagues on FleaFlicker. If you are in one of the leagues, check out the standings for where you sit. Some teams have already guaranteed their spots in the playoffs, while others badly need to get this last win. Below are the current standings.


Just ONE Loss...Are You Serious? (11-1)

kill everbody

Where the Cowboys are Headed (9-3)

The Speed of Dark

Doubling Your Losses (8-4)

Paper Cranes
Maui Paniolo Boyz


Seventh Heaven (7-5)

Doomsday Redux
Dallas Destroyers
Reykjavik Roughnecks
Official Spoiler

Holy .500, Batman!  (6-6)

BigRigga31's Team
Felix Jones At Every Position

A Must Win this Week? (5-7)

Second Chance

4 X 2 = (4-8)

My Team Sucks
The Doomsday Defense Reborn

Three Squared (3-9)

No Doubter
Brady's a b!tch

If you've got a fantasy dilemma, post it here for the BTB community to discuss. As always, feel free to jump in with other Cowboys/football related discourse even if you don't play FF.

Remember, for all your fantasy football needs, SBNation's fantasy webpage is chock full of live updates to help you set up your team from week-to-week.

For your convenience, here's the link:

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