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For a fourth straight season, Razzball will be interviewing local NFL beat writers for some actual in-depth football knowledge to shed some additional light on our fantasy football knowledge.  Keep your eye out for an interview for every NFL team through the summer.  This installment comes courteous of Jon Machota from leading Dallas Cowboys blog Cowboys Blog at The Dallas Morning News:

1) First I have to ask – will this finally be the year for the Cowboys?  I feel like they’ve been so close to a major run and it just hasn’t happened… But back to fantasy – Tony Romo was quietly one of the most consistent QBs last year, throwing for nearly 5,000 yards, TDs in all but one game and multi-TDs in 5 of the last 6.  Can he keep it going this upcoming season and be a top-10 fantasy QB?

Like the majority of the league, a playoff berth will be greatly linked to the team’s overall health. If the Cowboys suffer as many significant injuries as they did last year then it’s probably a fourth consecutive season of missing the playoffs. If they get a mostly healthy year from Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Jason Witten, the offense should be one of the better units in the NFL. Defensively, the front four has already suffered more than its share of injuries during camp. Not sure the Cowboys can win 10 games with a defensive line that doesn’t include a healthy DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer.

Romo can certainly be a top 10 fantasy quarterback. The Cowboys will likely run a little more with Bill Callahan calling the plays but I think Romo will finish with something around 30 touchdown passes, 4,400 yards and 12 interceptions.

2) A guy I liked a lot when we had our draft recap edition of the Razzball Football Podcast was Terrance Williams, the third-round draft pick at WR from Baylor.  I think he can emerge as the WR3 behind Austin and Bryant and we’ve seen three big time WR options from the Cowboys system when Laurent Robinson was in town.  How is he adjusting to life in the pros and do you share my optimism for his rookie season?

Williams has been – and will continue to be – given every opportunity to win that No. 3 job. His numbers at Baylor last year were beyond impressive (1,832 yards, 12 TDs). I don’t expect him to immediately come in and be what Robinson was a couple years ago, but I think he’ll get better as the season goes along. Learning the playbook and building confidence will be the biggest factors in adjusting to the pro game for Williams. I see about five touchdowns and 500 yards for the third-round pick. Remember, Witten, Dez and Miles still have to get their looks and Murray and Randle are good pass catchers out of the backfield. I also see rookie TE Gavin Escobar stealing a couple of redzone TDs.

3) Back to Bryant – the guy is crazy-talented, and last year was definitely a big breakout.  But he’s had injury problems and despite putting up 1382 yards last year, only topped 100 in five games.  I’m a little worried he’s too inconsistent for me to draft him in the second round where he’s going.  Do you see differently?

I’d have no problem taking Dez in the second round. Calvin Johnson is the only receiver I’d absolutely have to take over Dez. You can obviously make a case for A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall and a few others but, to me, Dez belongs in that same group. I’m willing to gamble on the possibility of receiving the stats he put up during the second half last year (879 yards, 10 TDs) over an entire 16-game season. Considering his physical style, there’s always a chance Dez could miss time with an injury. But remember, the guy played through a broken finger last season when most advised him to have season-ending surgery.  It takes a lot to keep him off the field. The biggest thing, his mind seems like it’s in the right place. Since last year’s alleged incident with his mother, it seems like he’s really reevaluated his life and is at peace. My projection would be something around 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns.

4) DeMarco Murray is a lot like Bryant – crazy-talented, but also shown inconsistency and had even more injury problems.  However, his draft stock is so low that he could be a real home run pick in the 5th or 6th round.  Are the Cowboys ready to turn him loose, or will they try to limit his workload a bit?  And how many rushing yards/TDs do you see out of him this year?

I don’t see the Cowboys limiting his workload. Murray’s got to be a top 25 fantasy RB right now. If he’s healthy, possibly a top-10 season is in the cards. Murray is much more of an injury concern than Dez. If I drafted Murray, I’d definitely make sure to get Joseph Randle in the later rounds. The good news is that the Cowboys are putting more emphasis on the running game and Murray did run for a franchise-record 253 yards in one game during his rookie year, so you know he’s capable of a blockbuster week. His rushing TD total is tough to predict because the Cowboys have been so bad running the ball in the redzone. I think he should finish with six or seven rushing TDs and a couple of receiving scores.

5) I gotta tell ya – I was all out on Witten with the spleen surgery then a slow start through the first three weeks. Then all the sudden Witten went on a tear, shattering his career high in catches by 14 and ending the season with 110 on 148 targets.  That’s just unreal efficiency for that many passing attempts.  Does he still have enough gas in the tank and can he improve on the 3 TDs he snagged last year?

There’s gas in the tank but I don’t see a repeat of last year’s numbers. Three touchdowns is what I’d put the over/under at right now. Again, there’s only one ball to go around. If Dez, Miles, Williams and Escobar are on the field, I can’t see Witten getting targeted 148 times. I think 110 targets and 700-800 yards is Witten’s ballpark in 2013.

Jon Machota covers the Dallas Cowboys for The Dallas Morning News and FOX Sports Southwest. You can follow Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota.

From Around The Web

  1. Jay says:
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    for a 14 man league, would you take a chance on Murray as a flex in the late late third or early fourth round? Other guys I am considering are Lacy, Matthews, and Wilson (5 percent chance of him being there). I can also just take Gronk and a receiver like Nicks, Garcon, or A. Brown, Decker (or two receivers) and just wait for a flex running back like Mendenahall, Ivory, possibly Bradshaw. Which way you think works best for a standard league?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Jay: I’d rather Mathews or Wilson out of all those guys. Then even follow up with another one of those RBs if they’re still there and build great depth, I’m waiting on WRs this year, but if you wanted one in the 4th, Nicks would be my guy.

  2. FrankGrimes says:
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    just curious how long ago are these previews written?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @FrankGrimes: Yea it was done about 3 weeks ago, just waited until closer to the season to post these consecutively.

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        Don’t puss out, JB! I told you to blame me!

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Sky: Hahaha, I know, I just love you and am an abused blogger… I’ll take all the blame! It took this long because I fell down some stairs!

          • FrankGrimes says:
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            @JB Gilpin: ha it’s no biggie just helps to put into context.
            Thanks!

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
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              @FrankGrimes: Nah you’re right, I may put that in the open with the rest – the date of interview.

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            Haha…I tripped and fell and hit my eye on the doorknob!

  3. bauerspeed17 says:
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    Pick on keeper:

    Romo
    Vick (named the starter)
    Ronnie Hillman

    Thanks

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @bauerspeed17: I’d go Hillman unless a crazy deep 2QB league

  4. fitz says:
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    Hi JB or Sky, as I said before I am new to fantasy football. Does it make sense to draft Harvin in the last round (pick 200) and stash him? There is one IR spot.

    Thanks for help.

    • FrankGrimes says:
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      @fitz: sure but better use could be Gronk if you nab him around the sixth round

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @fitz: Yea with an IR spot, I definitely would, would think he’d go before that

  5. fitz says:
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    Also if I have Tom Brady in a one QB league is it dumb to pick say Vick at pick 80?

    When do you target a second QB in a league that starts 1 QB? There is a Flex spot too which I assume is the same as a Util spot – do most people start a QB, RB, or WR there? Or just the best of whatever position?

    Also, what is the OP position?

    Thanks for the help, sorry for noob questions. Obviously have no hope of going anywhere this year in my league. I just want to learn more about players like I did when I started playing fantasy baseball for the first time so many moons ago.

    • FrankGrimes says:
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      @fitz: don’t draft a back up QB

      • fitz says:
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        @FrankGrimes: Thanks! Also, I am taking over a spot in a league where you can keep 2 players so somebody is already keeping Gronk in the 11th rnd. I guess I’ll target a RB/WR instead of Vick, thanks again.

      • fitz says:
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        @FrankGrimes: Also, what’s the OP position? Thank you.

        • fitz says:
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          @fitz:
          Sorry to keep commenting but is this standard scoring?
          Passing
          Passing Yards (PY) 0.04 TD Pass (PTD) 4
          40+ yard TD pass bonus (PTD40) 1 Interceptions Thrown (INT) -2
          2pt Passing Conversion (2PC) 2 400+ yard passing game (P400) 2
          Rushing
          Rushing Yards (RY) 0.1 TD Rush (RTD) 6
          40+ yard TD rush bonus (RTD40) 2 2pt Rushing Conversion (2PR) 2
          200+ yard rushing game (RY200) 2
          Receiving
          Receiving Yards (REY) 0.1 Each reception (REC) 0.5
          TD Reception (RETD) 6 40+ yard TD rec bonus (RETD40) 1
          2pt Receiving Conversion (2PRE) 2 200+ yard receiving game (REY200) 2

          I only ask because it seems the players with the top points in this league last year were in order Brees, Brady, Rodgers, Peterson, Newton, RGIII, Manning, Matt Ryan

          So does it make sense to draft a QB first? Is this a normal scoring league like a typical 5×5 league in baseball or did I manage to pick an oddly different scored league?

          Thanks, done with the questions. Really appreciate it!

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @fitz: As said above, OP means offensive player, so you can put a QB there. In that case I definitely want a second QB over RB/WR/TE. Yea you’ve got a unique league, the bonuses for certain yardage are atypical. That said, your draft strategy won’t be much different – the best players get the best stats. However, I would target deep threat WRs a shade higher – Torrey Smith, Chris Givens, T.Y. Hilton, etc – with that long TD bonus, even if it only is an extra point. It does make sense to draft a QB first, I would feel out the draft though, I don’t know if I’d take the first one though in round 1 unless everyone is taking QBs…

        • Swanny says:
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          @fitz: if it’s ESPN, OP is “offensive player”. So QB/RB/WR/TE. I’m in a league with an OP position and I’m personally not a fan. More interesting than 2xQB league though. My draft position will determine how I draft in that league. For me, draft early and I gotta take a qb 1st. Mid or late, take the best bell cow RB on the board, then 2 qbs.

    • btd says:
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      @fitz: IF Mike Vick plays to his potential, he’s got tremendous trade value. If you draft him, you’re hoping to deal either QB if Vick pans out. If you have Brady then you have no need for a backup QB. I typically only draft a second QB when I wait to take a first late (like Eli Manning, etc). I think Vick at 80 has really good value. But he’d be my QB1, then I’d grab a Bradford or someone like that a few rounds later.

      Regarding you flex, check your league settings. It could be any combination of QB/RB/WR/TE. Make sure you know what positions are eligible for the flex, because if it allows QB, then you want a QB in that slot (for the most part).

      No clue what OP is. Ask the commish.

Comments are closed.