2013 Team Outlook: Dallas Cowboys
QB Tony Romo, DAL - Solid/Safe Pick
Romo threw for a career-high 4,903 yards with 28 touchdown passes last season, his top three pass catchers (including Dez Bryant) are all back - and his fantasy value dipped. What? That's what happens when three stud rookies and Colin Kaepernick entered the fantasy QB top 10 list since the start of last season without replacing one. Fine, Romo also threw 19 interceptions, matching his career worst. He is also currently out after back surgery, though he is expected back for the start of training camp. What does all this mean? In 12-14 team leagues, Romo is a tremendous value and yet another reason for those that like waiting on QBs to do exactly that.
QB Kyle Orton, DAL - Fantasy Handcuff
Based on his relative success as a starter in the league and the Cowboys' weapons offensively, Orton is one of the higher upside backup QBs if he becomes the starter. Twice threw at least 20 touchdown passes in a season, but the last time came in 2010. Orton hasn't played more than five games in a season since. Tony Romo (back) is working his way back, but is expected to be healthy for the start of training camp. Obviously Orton isn't draftable unless Romo's situation changes.
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL - Solid/Safe Pick
DeMarco Murray represents "through the roof" potential in PPR fantasy leagues. The only question is health, which has been an issue following Murray his entire career (not unlike Reggie Bush, who in his early career couldn't shake the stigma of injury prone, however look no further than his last two years of becoming NFL tough). We're projecting Murray on what he can do, and that's all we can really do. There's only a handful of backs that bring his potential workload in a high powered offense to the table. He is a top 5 RB in PPR if he plays 16 games. His potential production in the 3rd round allows you to confidently take a WR in the first two picks if need be.
RB Joseph Randle, DAL - Fantasy Handcuff
For those who follow the gospel of owning the handcuff to your stud running back, DeMarco Murray is a tricky situation. Oh, Murray has crazy potential, but he hasn't proven he can stay healthy. Speaking of not proven, may we present Randle, Dallas' fifth-round pick out of Oklahoma State. The 6-foot, 204-pounder racked up over 1,400 rushing yards last season with 28 receptions - and 14 scores on the ground. That wasn't enough for anyone to invest anything better than a fifth round selection on him. The Cowboys believe Randle can be a fulltime runner should the need arise, which is why he's the favorite for the gig behind Murray. For those that draft Dallas' oft-injured starter and snag Randle as a deep reserve, you had better hope the Cowboys know of what they speak.
RB Phillip Tanner, DAL - Not Draft Worthy
With rookie Joseph Randle anointed as the No. 2 running back behind DeMarco Murray, the battle is between Tanner and Lance Dunbar for the third and perhaps final RB job. The 5-foot-10, 208-pounder rushed 25 times for an abysmal 2.4 yards per carry. There appears to be no there there with either of these options, but seeing as Murray is a consistent injury risk, the Dallas backups are always worth monitoring. Just a bummer there isn't much reason to get excited if they're called upon.
RB Lance Dunbar, DAL - Fantasy Handcuff
Update (8-13): Less than a month before the start of the regular season and the all-important backup job behind DeMarco Murray remains unsettled. Well, at least officially. Phillip Tanner and rookie Joseph Randle are in the mix, but Dunbar is listed as the No.2 RB on the Cowboys' official depth chart. Considering Murray's injury history, grabbing his backup is necessary, whomever it ends up being.
The Cowboys are making it clear they believe rookie Joseph Randle will be DeMarco Murray's backup. Could be, but that's a lot of faith in a fifth round pick. Of course, the other options are not terribly exciting, though Dunbar reportedly turned up his offseason training a notch or six. The 5-foot-8 back rushed for 75 yards in 21 carries last season. Exactly. DeMarco, please stay healthy.Injury Status: Injured Reserve