No one has ever accused Dallas of being the most, um, conservative franchise in the NFL. They take flyers defenders with checkered pasts, own the sport's most outrageous personality, and have a quarterback who gets more attention from US Weekly than Sports Illustrated. Still, it's a team that returns nearly everyone from last year's 13-3 NFC East division champs, and has valuable fantasy players throughout the roster.
2007 stats: 4,211 yards, 36 TD, 19 INT
Notable backup: Brad Johnson
Here's the only thing you need to know about Romo: only Tom Brady threw more touchdown passes last season. Though The Fantasy Factor's position rankings are still pending, you can bet Romo will one in our top five quarterbacks. He's probably a second round pick in most drafts, and there is no reason to believe Romo won't repeat last year's performance. The touchdowns may dip slightly, but the interceptions, all 19 of them last season, should be cut back. Romo will be backed up by veteran Brad Johnson.
Marion Barber Jr.
2007 stats: 975 yards rushing, 282 receiving, 12 total touchdowns
Notable backup: Felix Jones
With the departure of Julius Jones to Seattle, expect Barber to see a big hike in carries. Last year he finished 21st in the NFL with 204 carries. That number could improve by nearly 100 this season. With the extra touches, Barber becomes an elite fantasy back, a player who will probably be selected in the late first or early second round in most leagues. Arkansas rookie Felix Jones was drafted to replace Julius Jones, but Barber is the Cowboys' workhorse.
2007 stats: 81 recs, 1355 yards, 15 TD
Even though he'll be 35 by seasons end, Owens has showed zero signs of slowing down. Owens should be motivated by signing a big offseason extension to equal his numbers from last year, numbers that made him one of fantasy's top receivers. Expect Owens to be selected in the second or third round.
2007 stats: 50 recs, 697 yards, 7 TD
Notable backup: Terry Glenn
With Dallas expected to move 33-year old Terry Glenn, Crayton will continue to be see a lot of passes thrown his way. He set careers highs last year in every major receiver category, and is a solid #3 receiver on most fantasy teams. As long as Romo continues to air it out, Crayton will be a serviceable fantasy player.
Stats: 96 recs, 1,145 yards, 7 TD
Remember when Matt said yesterday that most tight ends are a waste of space? He wasn't talking about Witten. As one of only three tight ends to gain over 1,000 yards receiving last season, Witten has firmly established himself as one of the best in the fantasy biz. Something else to like about Witten: his durability. He hasn't missed a game since his rookie season.
2007 stats: 46 sacks, 19 INT, 20.3 points per game allowed
Dallas made waives by signing Pacman Jones in free agency, but the signing may prove to be more consequential to fantasy teams. For all his faults, Jones is explosive when he touches the ball. Don't be surprised to see him in the end zone a few times this season. As a unit, few teams boast a better defense than the Cowboys. DeMarcus Ware tallied 14 sacks last season and has quietly become one of football's best edge rushers. Though the Cowboys lost defensive coordinator Tony Sparano to the Cowboys, the defense shouldn't miss a beat.