As a fake football geek I don’t have the same ill feelings I once had for whole organizations (except you Washington) or as much blind homerism either. So when I say I think the Cowboys are a team that you must mine for fantasy talent this season it comes from my fake football geekery, not from any deep seeded love for the Cowboys. But for some reason just saying that you like a Cowboys’ player makes people want to throat punch you. This is fake football. Always, always take your allegiances out of your evaluations and shove them somewhere you can find it later and resume your jackassery. I know that is old news, but for some reason I still see it rear it’s ugly rear sometimes. So onto Felix Jones. God I hate the Cowboys! Oh, yeah, Jones is the Cowboys feature back now.

Last season was the best of Felix Jones’ career when he rushed for 800 yards on 185 attempts and had 450 receiving yards on 48 receptions. The Cowboys running backs finished with Tashard Choice at 88 looks, Marion Barber with 129 and Felix Jones with 237. It looked like Jones would start the season as the main guy, but Barber had more opportunities in the first three games of the season and then split time with Jones until the Barbarian was hurt in week 12. So Jones was not “the guy” for all of 2010, but did finish as the lead back. Now with Barber in Chicago it is all Jones with his backups being rookie DeMarco Murray and possibly Tashard Choice, both of which have been hurting this preseason and will miss at least the first 2 preseason games.  So Jones has a bit of a stranglehold on the job at the moment.  Opportunity is the foremost in evaluating a fantasy player. No opportunity, no fake points.

So what can we expect from Felix? Like I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, Jones had his best season last year, but, and this is a Ted Washington sized but, he had a total of two, count them, 1, 2, touchdowns. How do you kill a fantasy cat? Give them Felix’s TD total. Last season Barber had the majority of the red zone plays with 31 and 16 inside the 5. While Barber was injured Jones saw an uptick in plays inside the 5, but Tashard Choice benefited the most. Is Felix Jones going to be a goal line back? Not in the slightest, at least when you think of the traditional usage of a goal line back, but do they have a traditional goal line back? Choice is the closest and he’s been on the verge of being released all preseason. The best players on the Cowboys team are receivers and the QB. They will spread out and throw and run draw plays, even near the goal line. I’m not going to predict 10 TDs for Jones, but I do see a possible 6-8 TDs through rushing and receiving. Add to that a nice combo of rushing and receiving yards you have a #2 RB in standard leagues, but a possible #1 RB in PPR leagues. I’ve got him in the 15-20 RB range right now, but this Dallas team is going to score a lot of touchdowns and Jones is going to get a piece of that action.

Touchdowns and Marion Barber the Third were the only things holding Jones back last season and I just don’t see him only having 2 touchdowns this season! His ADP is as the 21st RB in PPR leagues (4th rd) and 24th RB in non-PPR leagues (5th rd). Yes, he has an injury past, but did play in all 16 games last season and has been the only back in Cowboys’ camp to be healthy this summer. His upside is as a 3rd rounder so getting him in the 4th or 5th is valuable. My projections are somewhat conservative in yards and receptions compared to what he did last season, but a decent uptick in touchdowns: 210 carries, 900 yards (4.3 yds/c), 6 TDs — 55 receptions, 450 yards (8 yds/rec), 1 TD

  1. So, I took a late flyer on Choice. While Felix is clearly the cat to own, which of these two schmoes backing him up do I want? Should I drop Choice and grab Murray, or stick with Choice for now and see what happens? I can’t imagine there won’t be a second back in Dallas worth having on the tail end of my roster.

  2. Tom the Niner says:
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    Rank these guys… Felix, Best, Greene

  3. Tom the Niner says:
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    non ppr

  4. GT says:
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    You’re projection is WICKED conservative – barely an improvement on his 2010 season. The thing with Felix is that whenever he gets the ball it feels like the whole D drops back on their heels. He’s got the skills and the wheels to pay the beels (ahem). I’m hella reaching for Mr. Jones this year and expecting 1000 yds on the ground and 500 through the air.

  5. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Tom the Niner: Best, Jones, Greene

    @GT: Wicked you say?

  6. Tom the Niner says:
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    Doc, who are your favorite sleeper/value running backs this season?

  7. anthony says:
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    Would you say its a better move to get a QB in first round rather than RB? i was talking to this guy who won it last year in the league I just joined and he said if u think about it your gonna get a good RB and a bad rb. So I was thinking Rbs will be flying off the board and i might just lock up a quality QB depending upon where i pick in the draft. What do you think?? The guy that i was talking to last season Picked up Rodgers with his first pick, Roddy white 2nd pick,
    jonsteward RB and ochochinco as 4th pick… Thoughts ??

  8. trick dad says:
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    hey doc – with mcnabb at the helm, do you think shiancoe could be due for a bounceback season? we know how mcnabb <3's tight ends..

  9. sean says:
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    Running between the 20s does not a prolific fantasy back make.

  10. Tony says:
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    Doc, why does yahoo have Shonn Greene ranked as their 19th overall player? Does he have that kind of upside?

  11. Josh says:
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    @sean: Deangelo Williams scored 16 TDs while they had Stewart for inside the 20, Chris Johnson going into his best season had LenDale for goal-line touches, Darren McFadden going into last year and Jamaal Charles going into last both weren’t supposed to get goal-line looks. Breakaway speed can score from anywhere. Don’t let the lack of goal-line carries steer you away from Felix Jones. Its not like Murray or Choice have done anything to deserve carries yet.

  12. Art Vandelay says:
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    Hey Doc, I just finished my first draft last night (which was too early, but whatever). It’s a 12 team, PPR league, with two weird twists: (1) our flex can be a QB; and (2) we have a “Head Coach” position, where you get certain points for whether his team wins or loses and by how much (I think this is a new thing ESPN added). I drafted 11th, which is an annoying place to draft, IMO, because you don’t get to react to draft trends nor do you get the benefit of the top guys. Anyway, here are the results.

    QB: Tony Romo (Round 3)
    RB: Mendenhall (Round 1)
    RB: Mark Ingram (Round 5)
    WR: Roddy White (Round 2)
    WR: Manningham (Round 6)
    TE: Dallas Clark (Round 4)
    Offensive Flex: Sam Bradford (Round 7)
    D/ST: Dolphins (Last round)
    K: Vinatieri (second to last round)
    HC: Steelers (third to last)
    BE: Sidney Rice (Round 8)
    BE: Tomlinson (Round 9)
    BE: Mike Thomas (Round 10)
    BE: Reggie Bush (Round 11)
    BE: David Garrard (Round 12)
    BE: Jason Snelling (Round 13)

    Overall, I think it’s just ok. My strategy was to punt RB if Bradshaw or Best were not there at pick 35 (they weren’t), and go strong on QB and TE (based on your projections, Clark should be huge in PPR leagues and given the QB flex option, I was worried about a run on QBs which was warranted, as it turned out). Obviously, I wasn’t able to get the caliber of RBs I wanted as a result. Because Ingram is a risk, I wanted to get a decent RB3, but unfortunately nobody that I considered decent was available, so I’m hoping for the best with LT and Bush. My other plan was to snag Stafford as my flex in Round 7, but I think everyone had the same idea on QBs, so they sort of flew off the board and I had to reach for Bradford. I think I regret that pick, but there weren’t really good RBs left on the board at that point anyway. The upside is that I think I got good value on WRs with Rice and Thomas in rounds 8 and 10, so I might be able to use that to upgrade my RBs if Ingram ends up being a bust. Would like to hear your thoughts.

  13. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Tom the Niner: There aren’t too many this season that I really love in the later rounds.

    @anthony: I think the RB pool is so shallow this season that you have to grab them early and late for the chance at having some pan out. I’m all over Romo in the 4th round.

    @trick dad: It’s possible for sure. There are a ton of TE possibilities this season. I just like the others more.

    @Tony: His upside is for even higher really. He just hasn’t shown that he can be the man there.

    @Art Vandelay: Sounds like your plan was sound and you made good decisions to compensate for missing out on the guys you wanted. I agree with your assessment and I’d say Bradford is your biggest risk, but also highest reward. Otherwise I think it’s pretty solid.

  14. sean says:
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    @Josh: The fact that there is a short yardage back on the team means nothing if the number one guy ends up with those touches. For example, in DeAngelo’s prolific year (when he had 18 TDs, not 16), he scored from everywhere, including short yardage all the time. In his most prolific game that year (4 TDs), he scored from 13, 5, 1, and 30 yards out. http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2008122105/2008/REG16/[email protected]#tab:analyze/analyze-channels:cat-post-playbyplay. The same can be said about Chris Johnson. Last year, he nearly led the league in red zone carries.

  15. Josh says:
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    I’m just saying you’re first statement isn’t exactly true. Being projected to only run between the 20s in the preseason doesn’t mean the player can’t be a top 5 or top 10 back. The last two years Ray Rice had the situation too. It’s really easy for the lead goal-line back to lose touches, and in Dallas I think thats exactly what’s happening right now.

  16. The Vaporizers says:
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    Hey Doc,

    Great job so far this season.

    You are still going to do standard PPR rankings, right?

    Thanks!

  17. John says:
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    Which one of these would you want in a 14 team W/R/T spot for non ppr standard scoring league?

    RB: Daniel Thomas, Ingram, Lynch, Moreno
    WR: Dez, Lloyd, Marshall, Steve Johnson

    Ive been switching between Thomas and Ingram and am starting to buy more and more into Ingram hype. Also im a RB whore in my leagues cause i love the ability to start 3 in the league.

  18. Tom the Niner says:
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    Hey Doc. I have wrote you before about my team. I am in a 16 team league. My line up is this:

    QB: Flacco
    RB: Charles
    RB: Best
    WR/RB: Beanie Wells
    WR: Calvin J
    WR: Marshall
    WR: Mike Thomas
    TE: Dustin Keller

    Bench: Eddie Royal, Maurice Morris, Jacoby Ford, Earl Bennett, Jason Snelling, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Lance Kendricks

    I was wondering. Would you trade Mike Thomas for Reggie Bush? RB’s are really thin in this league and I am concerned about owning Best and Beanie b/c both are injury risks… thanks!

  19. Ian says:
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    Felix Jones is dead to me….will never draft him again….had him on two teams in the last three years. Hype every year but the same result… Good luck if you draft him. Tashard Choice is a better all around RB in my book.

  20. Bryan says:
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    what do u think the chances roy williams has a comeback year?

  21. Steve says:
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    who would u start as your second running back cedric benson or felix jones

  22. John says:
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    do u think roy williams could have a big comeback season?

    who would u start as your second running back cedric benson or feliz jones?

  23. Mattimus says:
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    @anthony: It all depends on draft position. If I have a top 5 pick, I would take a top 5 back… but I’ve seen Phillip Rivers dropping into the 2nd and 3rd rounds…. Rodgers and Vick are going 1st and 2nd and are not a huge upgrade from Rivers. If you have a late 1st I would go with elite WR in PPR leagues and grab a QB in the 2nd. RB’s drop a tier after the 1st 5 go and I like to get into the RB game after the initial landslide.

  24. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Bryan: I think he could have a solid season, but will have trouble being a top guy again.

    @Steve: ppr Jones

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