Boser’s Tweetbeat –
Sifting through the hashtags to bring you the hottest trending Twitter topics in the Fantasy Football industry.
By Ryan Boser
Clearing the Cobwebs
Austin Collie’s sagging ADP has sparked an impassioned debate throughout the fantasy community. Collie’s currently being drafted as the 20th wide receiver in early mocks, despite being one of the most productive per-game receivers in the league last season. Through six games, he was on pace for a tremendous 144 targets, and a 118CA/1,343YD/16TD bottom line. Obviously, such calculations must be taken with a grain of salt. But 20th? We’re clearly witnessing the power of the concussion risk factor. After those first six games, Collie only set foot on the field three more times in 2010. He was forced from each of those contests prematurely with concussions. Brain injuries. Three times in a seven-week span, Collie lay prone on the field as we held our breaths in horror. And so goes the dispute: Technically, one receiver is just as likely to take a big hit as the next. Conversely, the effects of said hit on a player with past concussions, as opposed to a player with a clean slate, may be very different. What complicates matters even further is that no two concussions are the same, and that we have no clue how many concussions have gone unreported over the last handful of years. Hence, formulating an accurate study for concussion recurrence rates is impossible. Ultimately, what we’re left with is a guy being drafted as a low-end WR2 who produced high-end WR1 numbers when healthy in 2010. Come draft day, how much weight should we be putting on past concussions? Is Austin Collie really more likely to suffer a concussion next season than someone like, say, Reggie Wayne? Right or wrong, our current ADP information suggests severe apprehension in drafting Collie. Personally, I haven’t had the cojones to pull the trigger on Collie in any of the five mocks (@TheDraftmaster) I’ve participated in.
Smitten with Witten
Last season, Jason Witten had his most productive fantasy campaign since 2007. This offseason his bandwagon is brimming, as the common opinion seems to be that he can only get better when Tony Romo returns. Pump the breaks, folks. Somewhere near the end of Romo’s 2007 breakout season, the quarterback inexplicably began to ignore Witten near the endzone. Dating back to Week 15 of 2007, the road roommates have played 37.25 games together (Romo lasted one quarter of Week 6 last season before breaking his clavicle). In those 37.25 games, Witten’s scored just seven times, resulting in a disgusting touchdown rate (touchdowns/reception) of 3.5%. Enter Jon Kitna. The steam we’re experiencing with Witten was not generated until the 38-year old backup took over. In those next 10.75 games, Witten’s seven touchdowns equaled his total form the previous 37.25 with Romo. As a result, Witten’s touchdown rate spiked from 3.5% under Romo to 10% under Kitna. And while Witten’s looks (targets/game) and YPC didn’t experience much change, his catch rate (catches/target) shot up from 69% to 78%. Witten clearly flourished with Kitna under center, but Dez Bryant’s season-ending injury may have played an even bigger role. Witten scored five times in the Cowboys’ final four games without Bryant. Perhaps you’re beginning to see why I’m leery of Witten’s 2011 prospects. Bryant will be back, pass-catching back Felix Jones’ role is set to increase, and recent history suggests Witten is the latest in a long line of blondish southerners that Tony Romo has lost interest in.
Future Phenoms
With the fantasy baseball hot stove heating up, and the NFL labor negotiations extending extended extensions, fantasy football speculation has been a bit thin in recent weeks. Amidst the seamheads and suits, however, the NFL Combine and individual pro days have provided dynasty league enthusiasts with plenty of conjecture. Dynasty guru Bryan Fontaine (@Bryan_Fontaine) of Pro Football Focus recently pegged his top five dynasty rookies for 2011. Of course, a lot will depend on where these kids land. With that said, here are Fontaine’s five favorite dynasty draft prospects to keep a close eye on come April 28th (in no particular order): Georgia WR A.J. Green, Alabama WR Julio Jones, Alabama RB Mark Ingram, Illinois RB Mikel LeShoure, and Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams.
Ryan Boser has contributed writing and analysis for FantasyVictory.com, KFAN AM 1130′s Fantasy Football Weekly program, and numerous other fantasy football outlets. Ryan’s own website, Out of My League, covers both fantasy football and the Minnesota sports landscape.

Fitz let a lot of owners down.
Championship Week continued as the Cardinals beat the Cowboys on Christmas in a game that likely didn’t pull too many people away from their Christmas parties.
Let’s take a look at how last night’s game will affect your roster decisions for today’s games.
Quarterbacks:  Jon Kitna (115 yards, TD, two INTs, seven rushing yards) had a stinker. Not only did he throw a pair of picks, he got knocked out of the game. If you started him, you’re in trouble. You may have to take some risks with your remaining roster. If you used John Skelton (183 passing yards, TD, 23 rushing yards) had a solid game for those who used him, likely in two-quarterback leagues.
Running Backs: Felix Jones (88 total yards) was good, not great. If you were banking on a big game from Felix, you’ll need to look elsewhere for a breakout game. Tim  Hightower (29 total yards) turned in a dud, and will likely yield carries to Beanie Wells (47 yards) in the finale. Neither are good plays next week. Marion Barber III (58 yards, TD) returned, effectively ending Tashard Choice‘s (32 total yards) fantasy run.
Wide Receivers:  Miles Austin (115 yards, TD) did his thing. Not quite enough to alter lineup plans, but he’ll make up for ground for those who didn’t meet their projections. Larry Fitzgerald (26 yards) had just one catch. He wasn’t even on Skelton’s radar as he had just three targets. Steve Breaston did not even catch a pass. Andre Roberts (110 yards, TD) stole the show, but was not in many lineups. Roy Williams was a non-factor.
Tight EndsJason Witten (45 yards, TD) did not have one of his monster weeks, but he was good enough, especially in PPR leagues..
Kickers:  David Buehler did not take the day off as he kicked two long field goals (42, 53) and twp PATs. Hopefully his missed PAT does not cost you. Jay Feely had three PATs through three quarters before delivering with two long field goals (49, 48) for the Cardinals and fantasy owners alike.
Defenses:  Arizona gave up 26 points, but returned both of Dallas’ interceptions to the house. Couple that with their fumble recovery and five sacks and you have a surprising strong performance. Dallas gave up 27 points, did not force a turnover, and had just one sack to disappoint once again.

Also check out:

Image courtesy of Icon SMI
That may seem like a silly question for a player that is tied for eight with 524 receiving yards, but after losing his starting QB, it’s something to consider. That, and the fact that he has just 50 yards in the past two games.
He really has been hit or miss this year+. When he’s good, like in Weeks 1, 2 and 5, he averages 151.3 yards per game. Unfortunately, when he’s bad, like in Weeks 3, 6, and 7, he averages 22.3 ypg. That’s some serious Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde stuff.
Besides losing Romo, Dez Bryant is coming on. He has three TDs in the past two weeks, which gives him one more TD on the year than Miles (not to mention the two punt returns he took to the house). Plus, Roy Williams didn’t go away quietly. He has five TDs on the year, though he didn’t catch a ball last week. Through in Jason Witten, who is averaging 77 yards per game over his past three with 2 TDs after a slow start. It’s almost like there are too many mouths to feed.
That’s before you even consider Felix Jones. The Cowboys desperately need to establish their ground game. Jones has been more active the past three weeks, a trend that will likely continue going forward.
Obviously he’s too talented to bench, even with Kitna at QB, but if you are deep at WR, or play in a 2 WR league, it may be worth considering it. At least until he proves he’s more like the boon receiver rather than the bust.
Also check out:

  • Week 8 Get ‘em or Don’t Sweat ‘em Waiver Wire Advice
  • Week 8 Fantasy QB Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy RB Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy WR Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy TE Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy K Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy DEF Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy IDP Rankings
  • Week 8 Start/Sit Advice
  • Week 8 Sleepers
  • Few teams are stacked the way the Dallas Cowboys are. Love them or hate them, you have to respect the talent they have on both sides of the ball. Fantasy owners will be clamoring for the ‘Boys. Here’s a look at how they stack up.

    Fantasy Playoff Schedule
    :  Slightly Difficult
    They are very talented and showed they can win down the stretch. The next step is proving they can do it in the playoffs, but that has no bearing on their fantasy rating. Dallas faces Philly and Washington at home and Arizona on the road. While the match-ups are difficult, the fact that they play two of the games at home help. Weather should not play a role in the games.

    Five Star Fantasy Options
    Tony Romo – He dates extremely hot women. When he’s not playing football, he’s an amazing golfer. He should be easy to hate, but his smile makes it hard to…at least until you face him in fantasy. He threw for 4483 yards last year with 26 TDs to 9 INT. He was good for a 63.1 completion percentage and a 97.6 passer rating. Throw in 105 yards and a score on the ground and you’re looking at one of the top fantasy QBs in the league. One that got another weapon via the draft.


    Jason Witten – I’d like to see more than two TDs out of Witten, but he’s easily one of the premier TEs in the league. Over the past six seasons he’s averaged 81.3 catches for 936.3 yards and 4.3 TDs.
    Update:  The Cowboys will make it a priority to get the ball to Witten in the red zone this year according to the Dallas Morning News, which further solidifies him as one of the premier fantasy TEs to target this year.

    Four Star Fantasy Options
    Felix Jones – If the Cowboys didn’t have such a crowded backfield I’d put him as a five star option, but he will have to share with Marion Barber III and Tashard Choice. That said, he is an explosive back that, when healthy, will help carry fantasy teams.


    Miles Austin – Clearly he had five star production last year wit 81 catches for 1320 yards and 11 TDs, but he’ll have to prove it before he gets a five star rating from me. Especially when you consider the other weapons at the Cowboys’ disposal. He’s a big, physical receiver that can impose his will on his opponents.

    Three Star Fantasy Options
    Marion Barber – Barber, assuming he’s healthy, will get plenty of touches. He’ll likely be the goal line back as well. Barber is leaner this year, which will give him a burst that was lacking last year. He’s a capable receiver and blocker. He would see increased value if Jones got hurt, but it would be a limited increase as Tashard Choice would be in line for increased opportunities as well.


    Roy Williams – I know he’s underachieved in Dallas, but I’m banking on Dez Bryant’s arrival to push Roy. He only had 38 catches for 596 yards last year, but did manage 7 TDs.


    Cowboys Defense/Special Teams - The Cowboys aren’t just loaded on the offensive side of the ball. They have a very capable defense. Unfortunately they have a tough schedule (Eagles & Giants twice, Texans, Titans, Vikings, Packers, Saints, Colts, and Cardinals).

    Two Star Fantasy Options
    Tashard Choice – No team in the NFL can boast about a trio of RBs like the Cowboys have. The only thing keeping Choice for three or four star rating is opportunity. He can handle the load if called upon. Unfortunately he’s third on the totem pole.


    Dez Bryant – He’s full of talent, but has a little baggage. Well, he came to the right place. Dallas can look past it, especially since it’s nothing major, and get production out of him. Unfortunately there will be a learning curve as a rookie. Not to mention a plethora of options he has to compete with for the football.

    One Star Fantasy Options
    Patrick Crayton – Crayton is almost certain to have a new home in 2010. Depending on where he lands, he could easily see his value jump up to the two or three star range. If he isn’t moved, he just won’t get enough opportunities.


    Martellus Bennett – Bennett would need a Witten injury to emerge, but he is a big, talented TE. In the least I expect him to be more of a red zone thread in 2010.

    Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews

    I’m interested to see whether or not T.O.’s departure will hinder Jason Witten’s production.  Love him or loathe him, T.O. did make life easier for Witten when he wasn’t making his buddy Tony Romo nuts.  Despite turning in a solid season with 81 catches for 952 yards 4 TDs, Witten’s numbers were way off his outstanding 96-1145-7 2007 performance.  Of course Tony Romo missed Weeks 7-9 where Witten had just 7 catches for 52 yards.  The Cowboys at least brought in Jon Kitna to be Romo’s backup, which is a major upgrade over Brad Johnson.  With a healthy and happy Romo, who not only got rid of the T.O. headache, but the Jessica one as well, and a good insurance policy, I see Jason Witten as the top Tight End again in 2009.  He’ll likely go in the 4th round of fantasy drafts, and should be the first one off the board.  As Romo’s most reliable weapon I expect Witten to catch 100 passes for 1150 yards and 8 TDs. 

    Considering the season Philip Rivers had, it’s amazing that Antonio Gates had “just” 60 catches for 704 yards and 8 TDs.  While they are impressive numbers for a TE, they are far below the 79-993-10 he averaged the previous four years.  He battled through foot and ankle injuries that took away his leaping ability, which is one of Gates’ best assets.  Gates committed to working harder on his conditioning in the offseason and is in great shape.  With his explosiveness back, Gates can make a run at reclaiming his title of best fantasy TE.  Gates will be anywhere from the 2nd to 4th TE selected in fantasy drafts, most likely in the late fourth/early fifth round.  He should be good for 80 catches for 1000 yards and 10 TDs.

    Tony Gonzalez made the move from Kansas City to Atlanta.  While he goes to an offense with more weapons (Roddy White, Michael Turner, Michael Jenkins, Jerious Norwood), he also goes to a team with a much better QB.  Matt Ryan had a solid Rookie season, and with the addition of Gonzo, he should take the next step towards fantasy greatness.  Atlanta will run more than KC did so I look for his numbers to drop a little.  I know he played for KC when they ran a lot an still produced, but he was younger and that was a better offense.  I still expect Gonzo to be a top three TE so it’s not like I don’t value him.  He’s going in the 5th Round of fantasy drafts.  I’m putting him on a 70 catch, 900 yard, 7 TD season.

    Dallas Clark is the low end of the elite TE, but there is a drop off after he goes off the board (likely in the late 5th/early 6th round).  Clark put together another solid season with 77 catches for 848 yards and 6 TDs, showing the 58-616-11 he put up in 2007 wasn’t a fluke.  With Marvin Harrison gone, Clark should consider to be one of Peyton Manning’s primary targets.  I actually expect him to take a little step back this year simply because he was so productive last year.  I’m looking for him to have 65 catches for 850 yards, and 7 TDs.

    This is my preseason top ten. Totally didn’t see Vernon Davis coming.

    Click here for my Midseason revised rankings.

    Click here for my Second Half rankings.

    #1  Antonio Gates
    Gates dealt with nagging injuries last year, but still managed 704 yards and 8 TDs.  Those numbers, which are solid by any Tight End’s standards were the lowest for Gates since his Rookie season back in 2003.  As long as he’s healthy I see know reason Gates won’t be the #1 fantasy Tight End in 2009.
    #2 Tony Gonzalez
    Gonzo reclaimed the top Tight End spot last year, and despited turning 33 recently he should be able to stay in the top two.  He has a new Offensive-minded Coach in Todd Haley and a new QB in Matt Cassel, both of which should be upgrades from years past.  You can pretty much pencil him in for 1000 yards and 7+ TDs.

    #3  Jason Witten
    T.O.’s departure could actually hurt Witten a bit.  No, not emotionally, but T.O. did draw the opposing Defenses’ attention.  With T.O. gone Defenses will be able to key in on Witten more. He’s still going to produce, but I think his numbers will look more like last year than 2007.

    #4 Dallas Clark
    Clark is also losing a WR from the 1996 NFL Draft as a teammate as Marvin Harrison won’t be back.  For Clark I think that works in his favor.  The Colts have a variety of weapons to keep Defenses honest, but Peyton Manning will have one less mouth to feed.
    #5 Chris Cooley
    Cooley had a great year for the Redskins with 83 catches for 849 yards.  He only managed to score once though.  He had averaged around 7 TDs in his first four years.  They’ will come back in 2009, along with his ranking.

    #6  Owen Daniels
    Owen finished as the sixth highest scoring Tight End despite having just two TDs.  He hasn’t exactly shown the ability to reach paydirt consistently yet, but I could see him improve in that area in 2009.  If he can score five or six TDs and maintain the 800 yard average he has the past two years, he could possibly crack the top five.

    #7 John Carlson
    John had a very impressive Rookie season catching 55 passes for 627 yards and 5 TDs.  With a healthy Matt Hasselbeck and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on board, Carlson should be able to avoid a Sophomore slump.

    #8  Zach Miller
    Zach nearly doubled his yardage last year going from 444 as a rookie to 778 in his second year.  He only scored one TD last year, which was down from three in his rookie season.  As he and JaMarcus Russell continue to build their rapport, I see that TD number going up next year.  800 yards and 4 or 5 TDs isn’t out of the question.

    #9 Greg Olsen
    Greg was one of the Bears’ top targets in the passing game.  He should be utilized even more next year as he continues to develop into one of the game’s best pass-catching Tight Ends.  I see him leading the Bears in receptions next year.  He should rack up at least 700 yards and four scores.

    #10 Dustin Keller
    With Kellen Clemens likely taking over the starting Quarterback job, Dustin Keller is going to be a big security blanket.  He caught 48 passes for 535 yards and 3 TDs as a rookie.  He had 388 yards in the second half last year.  He should build upon that success in his second year.



    The Cowboys are a circus and Jerry Jones is the Ring Leader.   There are talks that the Cowboys could cut T.O., and I think that would be a wise move.  Not only would it make life easier for Tony Romo, but T.O. just didn’t deliver like he used to.  He drops far too many balls.  Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, and Miles Austin (assuming they sign him)give them enough weapons at WR, especially when you consider they have one of the game’s best pass catching Tight End in Jason Witten.  They have three capable backs in Marion Barber III, Tashard Choice, and Felix Jones.

    Their key defensive free agents are Zach Thomas, Kevin Burnett, and Tank Johnson.  Of the three, Thomas would easily be missed the most.  Defense is where they should concentrate.  Quit bring in head cases like Pacman Jones, and bring in football players.  DeMarcus Ware is one of the best players in the league.  Surround him with some talent.  The Cowboys should be worrying more about their opponents than who’s getting thrown too more or which player is getting arrested.   

    KFFL Free Agent Tracker:

    Pos Player Name FA Status Previous Team Current Team
    QB Brooks Bollinger UFA Dallas Cowboys Free Agent
    WR Miles Austin RFA Dallas Cowboys Free Agent
    WR Sam Hurd RFA Dallas Cowboys Free Agent
    WR Terrell OwensNew player news! Re-signed Dallas Cowboys Dallas Cowboys
    OT Marc Colombo UFA Dallas Cowboys Free Agent
    DL Tank Johnson UFA Dallas Cowboys Free Agent
    LB Kevin Burnett UFA Dallas Cowboys Free Agent
    LB Zach Thomas UFA Dallas Cowboys Free Agent
    CB Adam Jones UFA (Cut) Dallas Cowboys Free Agent

    Dallas Cowboy Thoughts

    8 October 2008

    The success of the Giants and the Redskins could be a blessing in disguise for the Cowboys, its fans, and fantasy owner of their players.  Why you say?  Because they will likely be playing meaningful football games at the end of the year instead of coasting to the division lead like last year when they won the division at 13-3.  When the playoffs do come the Boys will be battled tested by surving a long season in the NFL’s toughest division.  Tony Romo and Co. won’t be thinking about taking vacations with girlfriends or anything like that as they wait for the season to finish up.  They will have to be sharp as they face a string of Pittsburgh, the Giants, Baltimore, and Philly to close out the year.

    How does this impact fantasy players?  Glad you asked.  The Cowboys won’t have thoughts of resting starters for the postseason.  They won’t be coasting either.  They will have to bring their A game each and every week.  Even though their schedule is tough for the fantasy playoffs (PITT, NYG, BAL), it’s nice to know that they will be giving their all as you try to close off a succesful fantasy campaign.  Besides, guys like Romo, T.O., Marion Barber, and Jason Witten produce no matter who they are matched up against.  The one guy who probably loses out is Felix Jones.  If the Cowboys did run away with the division, Felix would likely see an increase in carries to close out the year. 

    We’ll see if this translates in Championships for the Cowboys and fantasy owners.

    Dallas Cowboys Preview

    28 August 2008

    Guest Review by LEV of Crazy Colored Glasses

    The Cowboys did something this offseason that few teams do. They stood pat. They addressed certain weaknesses and upgraded at other positions. But when you went 13-3 last season and sent 13 players to the Pro Bowl there is generally not a ton of room for improvement.

    In my eyes the Cowboys best move of the off-season was not letting Offensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach Jason Garrett become the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. He had a hand in guiding one of the most explosive Dallas Cowboys offenses in history. His mixture of run and pass and the way he effectively calls a game to play to his players hot hand were one of the main reasons for the Cowboys offensive success in ’07.

    The offense returns all seven players who made the Pro Bowl last year (the team incredibly was able to keep every Pro Bowler from last year’s roster), and, scarily, I expect them to be better this year. Tony Romo showed he wasn’t a flash in the pan and is a top flight quarterback. One that can be mentioned in the upper echelon with the Mannings and Bradys. He has a tremendous offensive line (anchored by Flozell Adams, Leonard Davis and Andre Gurode) that gives him plenty of time and opens up holes for the new feature back, Marion Barber.

    Barber gives the Boys a straight ahead banger. I’m sure Cowboy’s fans everywhere got sick and tired of seeing Julius Jones dance behind the line of scrimmage and get dropped for losses again and again. Thats the beauty of Barber: he rarely gets tackled behind the line of scrimmage. He also led the NFL in yards after first hit last season. The guy is a beast who loves to initiate contact and breaks more tackles than any other back in the league. When he tires or when the offense needs a change of pace, the Cowboys go to the bench and plug in lighting quick first round draft pick Felix Jones. I really think he will bring a different dimension to this team running, receiving and on special teams.

    The rest of Romo’s weapons include Terrell Owens (who even at 35 continues to put up ridiculous numbers, one of the top three receivers in the league) and the emerging Jason Witten. As scary as it sounds I think Witten might have a better season this season than last. Opposite Owens is Patrick Crayton, who is playing this season with a lot to prove after having an awful game against the Giants in the Playoffs. He should bounce back nicely in his second full season as a starter. The rest of the receiving corps is high on potential but short on experience. The Cowboys are hoping Miles Austin and Sam Hurd can be counted on as solid 3rd and 4th receivers. Look for rookie Martellus Bennett to win the backup tight end spot over Tony Curtis. Bennett is a big physical receiver who is really starting to come into his own as a blocker. This is only important because Garrett loves to run lots of double tight end formations late in games.

    Two other impact moves for the Cowboys were on the defensive side of the ball. They signed veteran Zach Thomas away from the Dolphins and will line him up next to Bradie James in the middle of their linebacking corps. True, Thomas is in the tale end of his career, but he is still a tackling machine and definitely be an upgrade over Akin Ayodele. The other big upgrade is in nickleback and return man Pacman..ahem… excuse me, Adam Jones. Although he has looked a bit rusty in the preseason (15 months away from the game will do that) I expect him to show the form he showed in his first two seasons as a Titan.  Expect a big season from Tank Johnson. With so much attention paid to the Cowboys speed rushers Demarcus Ware and Greg Ellis (plus the blossoming Anthony Spencer when Ellis needs a break) expect Johnson to cause havok up the middle. The Cowboys starting secondary is simply one of the best in the game. Newman and Henry are both big physical corners and Hamlin and Roy Williams are bangers at safety. Although Williams got picked on in the passing game last year he is still a devastating tackler who I think will have a bounce back season.

    The Cowboys special teams were a mix of good and bad last year. On the good side, Nick Folk turned  out to be a rookie free agent gem last year. Mat McBriar ended the season with an over 47 yard average per punt. One of the best averages in the history of the NFL. Now onto the bad. The return game was deplorable. Everyone got a shot and nothing stuck last year. This year will be very different. Between Felix and Adam Jones the Cowboys should be well stocked in their return game.

    With all that firepower on both sides of the ball I expect the Cowboys to be the Beasts of the NFC East. They will play with a chip on their shoulders reminiscent of the ’95 Cowboys who used the ’94 Playoff ouster by the 49ers as inspiration for the whole season. I see another 13–if not 14 wins–and a trip to the Super Bowl. I’m not crazy enough to say a Super Bowl win, but I think they’ll be in the big one.

    On the fantasy side of the ball, you can’t go wrong snatching up as many Cowboys as possible. Tony Romo is a Top 3 QB, maybe even the top QB if you’ re worried about the knees of Manning and/or Brady. Pencil him in for 4,000 yards and another 30 TD’s. Marion Barber should be a first round pick of any draft–1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns are very realistic for the Barbarian. With more playing time, I think he’ll be a weapon catching balls out of the backfield as well. Terrell Owens is always good for 1,300 yards and 10+ TD’s receiving. If he lasts longer than third receiver taken in any draft, I’d be surprised. Jason Witten is a top tier tight end. Right up there with Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez. Also, with age slowing down Gonzalez and injuries nagging Gates, I think Witten may be the finest Fantasy Tight End. Felix Jones and Patrick Crayton are also great late round value picks.  Jones especially. He could be a real sleeper. Nick Folk should get many  placekicking opportunities with this offense. Lots of extra points and chippy fieldgoals. The Cowboys defense was a Top 10 unit last year and I expect more of the same this year. Lots of pressure on the quarterback and lots of turnovers. They also play the offensively weak Ravens in week 16, which, as most Fantasy owners know, is usually championship weekend.

    Very nice assessment LEV.  I too see another successful season for the Cowboys both in reality and in fantasy circles.  They very well could represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  Their road got a little easier with the injuries the Giants (Osi) and the Eagles (Kevin Curtis) have had to deal with already.  Personally, I have the Saints going to the Big Game, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the Boys make it back.  I too put Romo, MB3, T.O., and Witten on huge years and Crayton and Felix Jones on solid years. 


    Big Dogs
    These are your premier TEs.  This elite group is perhaps more head and shoulders above the typical player than for any other position.  You’ll have to get them fairly early (3rd-5th round) or you’ll miss out.

    Antonio Gates – He’s been the Alpha Dog for a few years now.  I don’t see this year being any different.  All he did was go for 75 receptions, 984 yards, and 9 TDs. 

    Jason Witten – Witten’s 2007 campaign was second-to-none (that includes Antonio Gates) as far as TE’s go.  He had 96 grabs for 1145 yards, and 7 TDs.  Witten is a couple of years younger than Gates (although Gates is only 28) so the torch could be passed soon.

    Kellen Winslow, Jr.  - After the early bumps in his career, Winslow, Jr. has settled into being an elite TE in this league.  He had fewer receptions (82 compared to 89) than in ’06, but his yardage skyrocketed (875 to 1106).  He also saw an increase of 2 in the TD department.  I see his receptions remaining in the 80 region, his yardage taking a little dip, and his TDs to increase.

    Tony Gonzalez – The Godfather of the Big Dog TEs.  I thought Gonzo would take a dip last year, but he went strong.  He led all TEs with 1172 yards and 99 receptions.  He added 5 TDs.  He’s 32 years old so a fall could happen any year now.  Just don’t count on it.

    2nd Tier TEs
    These TEs are still good, but won’t be score like a #2 WR like the BDTEs. 

    Chris Cooley - He’s perhaps one of the coolest guys in the league as evidenced by his fantasy football play.  He’s topped the 700 yard mark three straight years.  I can easily see him doing that again, and perhaps even moving into 800 yard territory.  He added an impressive 8 TDs.

    Dallas Clark – Clark’s 11 TDs were tops among Tight Ends last year.  With Marvin Harrison back and Anthony Gonzalez likely to have a bigger role, I fear a dip in Clark’s production. 

    Owen Daniels – He’s the least-renowned of the TEs profiled thus far, but could have an even bigger breakout year in ’08.  He snared 63 passes for 768 yards and 3 TEs. 

    Jeremy Shockey - Has his mouth finally wore out its welcome in NYC?  Maybe.  He’s been rumored to be on the block since the G-Men won the Super Bowl without him.  You know the drill though.  If he’s healthy and getting P.T., he’ll produce.  Last year he had 57 catches for 619 yards and 3 TDs despite missing a couple of games.
    Update Now that Shockey has landed in New Orleans, I move him up a couple of notches.  He’s a borderline Big Dog now.  He’s in a better Offense with a better QB and more weapons to keep teams honest.  His QB has a track record with TEs.  If he can stay healthy and not become a distraction in New Orleans, Shockey could have a monster season.

    Heath Miller – Heath had a nice little season last year for Pittsburgh grabbing 47 passes for 566  yards and 7 TDs.  Not too bad for a TE that probably went in late rounds or undrafted in most leagues.

    Todd Heap – He didn’t have the numbers last year (23 catches, 239 yards, 1 TD), but he was great the previous two seasons with over 70 catches, 750 yards, and 6 TDs each year.  He’ll need to play more than the six he did last year.

    Tony Scheffler – Denver’s Scheffler could be in line for a breakout year as Denver’s wideouts (outside of Brandon Marshall) and their Running Backs don’t appear to be as strong this year either.  That could mean Tony is busy on Sundays.

    Vernon Davis – San Francisco’s Davis has finally began to live up to the hype last year with 52 catches for 509 yards and 4 TDs.  He missed a couple of games, which hopefully isn’t a trend for him as he missed 6 his rookie year.  He has freakish athletic ability, and SF will likely be more pass-happy this year.  He could be the best value of any TE this year. 

    Serviceable TEs
    We move on to the backup TEs now in most fantasy leagues. 

    Greg Olsen – The Bears have nothing going on Offense.  Olsen had a decent enough rookie year (39 catches, 391 yards, 2 TDs) despite missing a couple of games.  I think the Stiffler look-alike will have a breakout season with at least 600 yards and 5 TDs.

    Benjamin Watson – Watson got into the Boston TD Party last year with 6 TD receptions.  With all of their weapons, he remains the least venomous option so that TD number may not take that big of a dip.  He added 36 receptions for 389 yards.  I don’t see those numbers moving much in either direction.

    Alge Crumpler – Perhaps a change of scenery will do wonders for Alge as he was clearly unhappy in the ATL last year.  He saw his yardage virtually sawed in half last year.  If he becomes Vince Young’s security blanket in Tennessee, he can return to fantasy relevance.

    L.J. Smith – L.J. got hit by the injury bug last year resulting in a sub-par 22 catches for 236 yards and a score.  He had 50+ receptions and 600+ yards the previous two years.  If he’s healthy this year, he’ll produce closer to those numbers than his lowly 2007 numbers.

    Zach Miller – Zach had a decent rookie year catching 44 passes for 444 yards and 3 TDs.  He finished strong with career highs of 8 catches for 84 yars in his final game last year.  He’ll likely be a security blanket for JaMarcus Russell and a TE that you use when the matchups are right.

    Scrap Pile
    These are TEs that come in cases marked “Break Glass in Emergency”.  They are you bye week/injury plays.

    Randy McMichael – He saw a pretty big dip in his reception and yardage numbers last year in his first year in St. Louis.  The Rams in general saw their offensive production slide so he could be in for a little rebound. 

    Desmond Clark – The Bears wideouts are so bad that he could get his play again.  I’m just not banking on another 44 catch, 545 yard, 4 TD season out of Clark as long as Olsen is healthy.

    Leonard Pope – Pope is huge (6’8″) and a red zone target (5 TDs).  He only had 23 catches though for 238 yards.  Use with caution.

    Chris Baker – He had a decent year for the Jets in 2007 with 1 catches for 409 yards and 3 TDs.  I don’t see much more than that from him.

    Alex Smith – Smith had 32 catches for 385 yards and 3 TDs.  He’s produced virtually the same numbers his three years in the league so I wouldn’t expect much more than that.

    Donald Lee – Lee had a fine year for Green Bay last year with 48 catches for 575 yards and 6 TDs.  What scares me is the departure of Brett Favre.  If he can jive with Aaron Rodgers, he’ll be fine.  If not more mediocre seasons are in the future for Mr. Lee.

    Mercedes Lewis – Lewis was decent at times for Jacksonville tallying 37 catches for 391 yards, and 2 TDs in his second year.  I can see him becoming more fantasy relevant in ’08.

    Jeff King – King had a decent year with Carolina last year, but the additon of D.J. Hackett and the return of Muhsin Muhammad should quell any thoughts of increased production out of King.

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