Despite the fact that there are many NFL and fantasy football fans who pick over offseason news with a fine-tooth comb, we understand that there are still a lot of you out there who simply don't have time to keep up with player movements or the happenings of each team. That's why yours truly is here to give you the lowdown on the recent 2014 news of each team, both AFC and NFC and how it impacts your fantasy football league/team.
I thought I would do something a little bit different this time. Instead of loading up information on all four teams from each division in one article, I'd like to break down each team in each division for the NFC. Today we'll start with the Dallas Cowboys. Make sure to check out the changes made to the New York Giants on Wednesday.
Also make sure to check out all changes that happened in the AFC from this past offseason.
The news of the week for Big D is obviously the heavy loss of LB Sean Lee, who is expected to miss the entire 2014 season after undergoing ACL surgery.
But since these pieces are more about the offensive side of the ball, lets get rolling with what Dallas is expected to look like fantasy football wise as they enter training camp.
QB Tony Romo has always been a true fantasy asset. But because of his lack of furthering the team in the playoffs, he often gets passed over in most leagues. Coming off back-to-back offseason back surgeries in 2013 and 2014, Romo has health questions once again for the second-straight year. However, Ed Werder of ESPN tweeted that Romo will be allowed to take a third of the offensive reps at OTAs. That's positive news for Romo owners in keeper leagues.
Throwing the back problems out the window for now, the hiring of OC Scott Linehan will do wonders for Romo's value, barring a setback in rehabilitation. Linehan made Lions QB Matthew Stafford a fantasy stud after averaging over 300 yards per game combined in each of the last three seasons. So once Romo gets back to full health , I don't see why he can't remain, at least, a mid-tier QB1. Romo threw for 31 touchdowns coming off back surgery last year. His rehab is already said to be ahead of schedule.
There wasn't much noise made from the backfield outside of the signing of former Cardinals RB Ryan Williams. He is expected to compete with RB Joseph Randle for No. 3 duties, but he doesn't hold much fantasy value like he did earlier in his career. I've written too many sleeper articles on Williams in the past. I'm not getting sucked in again.
RB DeMarco Murray still remains the featured back, but he'll have to prove that he can stay healthy after missing two games in 2014 and six in 2012. There is already a buzz that Murray could set career-highs in carries under Linehan's offense, but health will make owners back off a bit and push his value down as an RB2. There could be tremendous value there as Murray is playing for a new contract. RB1 numbers aren't out of the question, but he'll need to play all sixteen games to do it.
Linehan is said to "love" RB Lance Dunbar. Because Linehan ran a lot of two-back sets, utilizing both RB Joique Bell and RB Reggie Bush in Detroit, Dunbar could see some standalone value in deeper leagues, but he's better off as Murray's handcuff in standard twelve-teamers.
After years of dealing with injuries, the Cowboys finally cut WR Miles Austin (Browns). Coming off one of the worst seasons in his career, which he played in just 11 games and caught 24 passes, it was finally time to cut the cord. WR Terrence Williams will slide into the No. 2 spot across from WR Dez Bryant. The Cowboys are said to have no problems going with Williams after he put up a strong showing as a rookie with 736 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. Because Bryant will command defensive attention, and with Linehan's pass-happy offensive schemes, Williams should be a viable WR3 this season.
Bryant, of course, is THE receiver to own out of this pack. Having averaged 1307 receiving yards and almost 13 touchdowns between 2012 and 2013, Bryant should do even better this year in a new offense. WR1 all the way baby. As for No. 3 Cole Beasley, there is really no value there unless one of the top two miss games with injuries. There is a Cowboys fantasy sleeper who could pique owners' interest, however.
Finishing off the receivers, you can't discount just how important TE Jason Witten is. Despite catching only 73 receptions and 851 receiving yards in 2013, both his lowest since 2006, Witten should bounce back in the new offense. While he might not be a top-5 fantasy tight end in your initial draft, not in my opinion anyway, he should finish with top-10 numbers by the end of the season. Flirting with 80 catches and 1000 yards isn't out of reach, just remember that Witten isn't getting any younger after playing in the league for the past 11 years.