Houston Makeover Vs Dallas Rookie Takes Over

Houston Makeover Vs Dallas Rookie Takes Over by Utter-Fantasy Football Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt

The Preseason is winding down and we’re now a week away from the start of the season. You’re all deep into draft mode or have already completed your drafts. I have 2-3 drafts left, I can’t remember because I over committed this season. It’s like I’d rather spend all my free time on football than anything else. Not a bad thing, just means this is the time of year when my friends know I’m unavailable on Sundays (and Mondays.. and Thursdays..).

This week I want to focus on the Texas teams. I’ve been wanting to tackle the makeover in Houston and the hype in Dallas for a while now. Arguably, the Houston Texans have sustained the biggest overhaul this offseason. After the QB shuffle they had last season, they went for it with signing Brock Osweiler. They moved on from Arian Foster signing Lamar Miller, who’s been frustratingly under utilized in Miami. Finally, they picked up some talented rookies in WR Will Fuller & RB Tyler Ervin. Meanwhile in Dallas, we have the much hyped first round pick, crop top legend,  Ezekiell Elliott. We also have the sad reality that Tony Romo may need to consider retirement after sustaining another injury. Followed up the the new hype train of the rookie Dak Prescott.

Brocklobster Time

Osweiler is the shiny new QB the Texans have been looking for. Despite only having 8 career starts, he’s been in the league 4 years and been learning from under one of the greatest to ever play the game, Peyton Manning. If Manning’s attention to detail has rubbed off at all on Osweiller, you can bet that Brock will the be classic “student of the game”.  He’ll eager to learn and live up to the needs in Houston. It also helps having the incredible talent of DeAndre Hopkins as your #1 WR and the newly signed, seasoned vet in Lamar Miller behind you. Agree with all the hype or not, but you can not deny the fact this move does anything but help the offense in Houston. Let’s hope Brock is able to break the trend of QB uncertainty in Houston. I’m drafting Brock in 2 QB leagues as a late round pick, because why not? He’s throwing to Hopkins, can’t be that bad right?

QB Situation in Dallas

In the first few minutes of Tony Romo taking the field for his first preseason game, he goes down and stays down from a hard hit. We now know he suffered a stress fracture to his L1 vertebra and estimated return is 6-10 weeks. According to medical specialists this approximation could easily be shorter or longer. This recovery is highly symptomatic and monitored by pain the player is feeling. It is important to note this is his third back related injury. Running down his list of injuries really quick from 2008 to now: Broken pinkie, broken left collarbone, ruptured disk, two transverse process fractures, left collarbone (again), and now this. It would be sad to see Romo’s career end based on injury, but you can’t deny the thought of retirement has to be in his mind. How much more can his spine and body really take? Moving onto the Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott, who’s had a great showing this preseason. Defenses are significantly less intense in the preseason, so he has yet to be fully tested. He will get that test game 1 against  their #1 division opponent the NY Giants, upside being they’ll be at home. Am I drafting Prescott? Probably not, but I’ll be keeping an eye on his numbers to see if he’s a viable QB 2 option for 2 QB formats.

Which RB to Own  

Do you take the unproven, much hyped rookie? Or the under utilized seasoned vet? The Ezekiel Elliott vs Lamar Miller debate is an interesting one. There’s no doubt that Elliott is incredibly talented. However rookie RBs are risky. He could have an outstanding season or sustain a week 1 injury and you’ve now blown your first round pick. Elliott has already had a minor hamstring issue this off season and that’s enough to create a pause in your drafting him. Based on the beating RBs take I’m hesitant to take an untested rookie. I can agree he’s worth a late 1st round pick but I wouldn’t pick him over Todd Gurley or David Johnson.

Meanwhile you have Lamar Miller, who in many drafts is going right after or right before Elliott. Houston ran the most running plays last season of any NFL team. So you have no doubt Miller will be getting used early and often. The question: is he ready to be used this much? Is he conditioned and ready for that responsibility? Answer: I think so. He had struggled last season going unused and many chanted “Free Lamar Miller.” We know he’s talented because despite his low targets, he maximized each opportunity he had leading him to a top 10 finish last season. Miller is an obvious second round choice though I’d easily understand him going late in the first round.

Effects on Top WRs  

Now, how can we realistically expect the new QB situations in each camp effect their top wide receivers. I think both situations have a lot in common. Both QBs are brand new to their respective systems, while both have seasoned wide receivers that are very comfortable in their leading role. It’s really just a matter of the QBs not screwing it up. Prescott will likely be throwing frequently and quickly so it’s a good thing Bryant is getting back up to speed post injury and still has the hands to make brilliant catches. I do not see Bryant’s numbers going down. I see team meetings going like this:  “Dak your first job is: hand it off to Elliott. 2nd: throw the ball to Dez. That’s it. You have two jobs, don’t get fancy.”

As for DeAndre Hopkins, we know he can make beautiful music with any QB throwing to him. He had 192 targets and 111 receptions, for 11 TDs, behind only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. Hopkins is an open and shut draft case. He’s young, talented, and will see a large volume in targets. Draft him, just do it.

The Back Ups  

The rookies and vets to keep an eye on are also draft worthy on both teams. In Houston you have the highly touted rookie Will Fuller, his deep speed has potential for numbers worthy of a late draft pick up. (Depth behind Fuller: WRs Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong.)
Terrance Williams on the other hand has seen marginal improvement season to season, and after Bryant’s foot injury last season, Williams did little to rise to the occasion.

(Depth behind Williams: Cole Beasley, Bryce Butler, Lucky Whitehead -Punt return opportunities)

Tyler Ervin is in a great position as the backup to Lamar Miller. Despite his smaller size he’s aggressive and highly athletic. His abilities in pass catching are a big help too. He leads his RB rookie class with 45 receptions from San Jose State. All making a great handcuff to Miller.

Alfred Morris has reportedly taken the lead over McFadden, and would be a worthy starting RB2 if Elliott gets hurt. He’s a must own handcuff for Elliott owners.

Check Your Draft Boards

When prepping for your draft be sure to take note of these players (if you haven’t already). Despite the hype and new situations surrounding a lot of them, there is no denying they’re worth owning. If you’re lucky enough to pick up Hopkins in a PPR format of Elliott second round in standard, know you’ve made a great draft pick. More importantly if you already own Miller and/or Elliott, be sure you’ve picked up their handcuff, because if I’ve learned anything from fantasy, it’s that anything, and I mean ANYTHING can happen. Happy Drafting!

Sam Holt

Follow Sam’s 2016 quest for another Dynasty Fantasy Football championships on twitter @SamanthaRHolt

Also by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt…”This is How We Dynasty Football”

and Fantasy Stock Drops From 2016 Draft by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt

 

Zeke Zeke Physical Freak

Zeke Zeke Physical Freak by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Zeke Zeke Physical Freak…..An Utter-Fantasy poem by someone who probably shouldn’t write a lot of poems!

Zeke, Zeke, Physical Freak
Picked at draft’s peak
New Cowboy is unigue
No compare to his mystique

Zeke, Zeke, Physical Freak
God-like ancient greek
Elliott is who I speak
Eagles up a creek

Zeke, Zeke, Physical Freak
Draft this fantasy geek
Watch other teams shriek
Oh their pants will reek

Zeke, Zeke, Physical Freak
Future far from bleak
Points week after week
Ain’t no hide and seek

Zeke, Zeke, Physical Freak
Here’s my sneak peek
Hitting holes never weak
Slam- Weave- Streak

Zeke, Zeke, Physical Freak
Burst & vision- my critique
New Cowboy has technique
No compare to his mystique

Dallas Cowboys Team Profile 2016

Dallas Cowboys Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Somebody is going to make a lot of money in 2016, and they may not even have to play a single down of football. Most assuredly, Dallas owner Jerry Jones is never going into another NFL season with a sub par quarterback backing up QB Tony Romo. He’ll empty a bank (one of his) to make sure of it. Despite starting the season 2-0 and leading the NFC East, the Cowboys lost their next seven games and finished the season by going 2-12 in their final 14 games. Romo played in those first two games, then two in Weeks 11 & 12, before injuring his left clavicle………….again.

2016 Team Outlook –
Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Giants all live in the NFC East Division. Since 1998, every team in the division has won the division at least 4 times. Dallas could win it in 2016. Or perhaps Washington, or Philadelphia….or the New York Giants.


2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-

QB– In Week 12, Tony Romo left the Thursday game against the Carolina Panthers after he was sacked by Thomas Davis. It was Romo’s second game back from a broken collarbone he suffered in Week 2 that kept him out of seven games. The Cowboys went 0-7 with Romo out and fell to the bottom of the NFC East. In 2015, the Dallas QB carousel went Romo, Weeden, Cassel, Romo, Cassel and Kellen Moore. Jerry Jones says Romo is good for 3-5 more years. Maybe. Now for a reliable back up….could be RG3, it won’t be Manziel. ( 10 Reasons Manning Becomes A Cowboy )

RBs– In 2015, RB DeMarco Murray went to Philadelphia so RBs Joseph Randle and RB Darren McFadden started the season as the two running backs for Dallas. Utter-Fantasy warned fantasy football owners not to get excited about RB Darren McFadden. Written in the pre-season….”Don’t even consider RB McFadden as the starter. This guy is insurance only.”  Truth is 1) Utter-Fantasy got this WRONG! RB McFadden rushed for over 1000 yards…..2) The O-Line in Dallas is as good as it gets. McFadden took advantage of it, and had one of his best seasons. Joseph Randle was cut in November 2015, and has been arrested 4 times in the last 17 months. UPDATE: Cowboys signed RB Alfred Morris, formerly of the Redskins, to a two-year, $3.5 million contract. Alf looked worn down in 2015, and will likely be a change of pace back and insurance for Dallas.


WRs–
WR Dez Bryant is Dallas’ big-time play maker and was the #3 wide receiving for the 2014 season. His stats took a huge hit in 2015, and he dropped to #78 with only 401 receiving yards and 3 TDs. Their was absolutely no chemistry with back up QB Matt Cassel, and Bryant’s injuries limited him to only 9 games in 2015. WR Terrance Williams was the top receiver in Dallas last season, but even then he was only the #44 wide receiver on the year. Even WR Cole Bessley topped Bryant’s numbers. He was the #54 wide receiver on the year, with 536 receiving yards and 5 TDs. 6’3″ 5th rounder Devin Street was drafted in 2014 ( 2014 NFL Draft) and has been slow to make an impact- 114 yards and 1 TD in 2015


TEs-
Unlike the wide receivers in Dallas for 2015, TE Jason Witten’s numbers weren’t hurt as badly with all the turmoil at the  quarterback position. In 2014, Witten was the #10 tight end at the end of the season with 703 yards and 5 TDs.
In 2015, Witten was the #12 tight end at the end of the season with 712 yards and 3 TDs. ( 2 of his 3 TDs came in Week 1 with Romo playing quarterback.)


K– 
In 2015, no place kicker had a better FG% than Dallas’ Dan Bailey ( 93.8%) He went 30 for 32 on field goals, and nailed all 25 of 25 extra points ( even with the extra yardage added in 2015)  As of October 2014, when his 100th made field goal made him eligible for ranking, Bailey became the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, and is the only kicker to convert over 90 percent of his kicks.

DEF–
Dallas can’t stop the run! At least not in 2015. Dallas ranked #29th vs the run last season, with Buffalo, Chicago and San Diego the only teams worst. With an offense still in tact ( other than a quality QB back-up for Romo, and depth at running back)…. the Cowboys will concentrate on solidify it’s defense.

2015 Dallas Fantasy Surprises–
It has to be RB Darren McFadden as Utter-Fantasy’s surprise for 2015. Even with the best O-Line in the NFL, it was hard to imagine this guy rushing for over 1000 yards. Here are his stats previous to 2015….2014- 534 rushing yards…2013- 379 rushing yards…2012- 216 rushing yards. An under-achiever most of his career, but an over-achiever in 2015.

2016 Free Agents that Dallas Needs to Address – QB Matt Cassel, RB Lance Dunbar, RB Robert Turbin, TE James Hanna, FB Tyler Clutts, DE Greg Hardy, DE Jeremy Mincey, MLB Rolando McClain, CB Morris Claiborne, OLB Kyle Wilber, OG Ronald Leary,  DT Jack Crawford, NT Nick Hayden, OG Mackenzy Bernadea


2016 NFL Draft –
The immediate needs of Dallas is fixing this #29 ranked defense. They need new corners to help safety Byron Jones, and a reinforced defensive line. Better linebackers will also help to stop the run, which Dallas couldn’t do last season. Dallas’ entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- DALLAS’ DRAFT

Did You Know–
  Longtime Cowboys head coach Tom Landry was drafted by the New York Giants in 1947 as a defensive back. He was also the first coach to ever win 100 games with one team in one decade.

All team reports
can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Team home page: www.dallascowboys.com

10 Reasons Manning Becomes A Cowboy

10 Reasons Manning Becomes A Cowboy by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Never again, this much we know

Never again, does Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones go into an NFL season without a #1 quarterback right behind #1 quarterback Tony Romo. Never again, does Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones go into an NFL season with a Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, or Kellen Moore to try and savage another season if (when) Romo goes down. Jones will break the bank ( well, one of his many) to get the best quarterback to back up Romo for 2016, and that quarterback could very well be Peyton Manning.

We, of course, still have to see how the 2015 NFL season plays out. The Denver Broncos with QB Peyton Manning steering the herd, are still in the thick of the race to the Super Bowl, after having beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Division Round of the playoffs. (But even in that game, Manning wasn’t sharp, and there were questions to head coach Gary Kubiak afterwards of whether or not he considered benching Peyton Manning in Sunday’s Divisional Round.)

If Denver wins the Super Bowl, Peyton retires on top and that is that.

If Denver is beaten in the playoffs by New England however, one has to believe that the Broncos must give young QB Brock Osweiler the reins in 2016. So as great as the “Sheriff” is, even Matt Dillon had to ride in the sunset eventually……or….the “Sheriff” might consider Dallas first.

Here’s 10 Reasons Manning Becomes A Cowboy and why it makes a ton of sense….

1) Win or lose, the Broncos must give young QB Brock Osweiler the reins in 2016.

2) If Peyton still has some football in him, he would be going to a team with good offensive weapons, a good defense and a team that has a good chance to win their division and be Super Bowl bound. Dallas is also a far better place to play, than say San Francisco or Cleveland. Peyton does not want a re-building team, period.

3) Jerry Jones can pay a ton of money to a back up quarterback, and won’t take “no” for an answer.

4) Peyton Manning likes a ton of money.

5) If history can be considered here, then Manning is almost guaranteed to be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in 2016, sooner rather than later.

6) Until he is the starting quarterback, Peyton has time to get back to being 100% healthy, which he isn’t now.

7) Starting QB Tony Romo will handle most the the pre-season and early season work. Peyton Manning will therefore be, well rested midway into the season.

8) Jerry Jones is not a fan of any of the free agent quarterbacks. Jones is especially not a fan of Cleveland Brown’s Johnny Manziel ( when Johnny Manziel soon becomes an ex- Cleveland Brown ) Michael Vick isn’t a consideration….maybe RG3.

9) Jerry Jones is not going depend on a rookie 2016 NFL Draft pick quarterback to to try and savage another season if (when) Romo goes down.

10) And finally, Peyton Manning hates the idea of retirement and still likes the spotlight. The Dallas Cowboys, being a very high profile team, will give him the attention he wants and deserves, even as a temporary back up to Romo.

Let’s also admit as fans, that we aren’t ready for Peyton Manning to ride away either. So if Peyton has one more year in him, let’s make it a fun place and Dallas would be, for all of us!  A win, win, win, win!  Jones would be happy, the Dallas fans would be happy, fantasy football fans would be happy, and I believe Peyton would be as well.


Team Profiles- Dallas Cowboys

Team Profiles- Dallas Cowboys by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Two years ago, Jason Garrett, the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, had to listen to daily rumors that he was on the way out of Dallas. That’s what happens when the team you are coaching goes 6-10 in 2010, then 8-8 the next 3 years in a row. Owner Jerry Jones stayed with Garrett for 2014, and consequently the Cowboys had a dominating 12-4 season, won the NFC East Division and went to the playoffs. Garrett’s job is safe for a couple more years. It’s hard to tell where Garrett’s coaching ends and Jerry Jones’ begins, but as a team, they understood the value of a strong offensive line, and in 2014, they had one of the best…if not THE BEST. Opposing teams knew RB DeMarco Murray would carry the ball on the first down (he did it nearly every set of downs), and yet the O-Line made holes and RB Murray got his 6-8 yards. It happened all season. That’s when you know you have a great O-Line, when they know it’s coming, and can’t stop it. RB Emmitt Smith had a gigantic O-Line back in the 90s that made holes your grandmother could run through, so it’s no surprise that Dallas is built that way again.

2015 Team Outlook –
Dallas runs in the NFC East Division with Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Giants. It’s a quirky division, because all 4 of these teams take turns winning the NFC East. Dallas won it in 2014, Philly in 2013, Washington in 2012 and the Giants in 2010. Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Giants have a lot of question marks heading into the 2015 season, so with the Cowboys as the most stable team, it’s a pretty good guess that they’ll win the division 2 years in a row. (Philadelphia and Washington aren’t committed to their current QBs and the Giants ended the 2014 season 6-10, so they have issues to address.) Whether Jones can buy a Superbowl like he tried to in 2014, is a wait and see.

2015 Fantasy Outlook –

QB– Owner Jerry Jones will tell you that he got very lucky landing QB Tony Romo, who was not selected in the 2003 NFL Draft, and signed on as a free agent with the Cowboys. All Romo has done since, is being selected to the Pro Bowl in the 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2014 seasons…all years in which the Dallas has made the playoffs. In 2014 he ranked as the #13 quarterback in the NFL, the same ranking he had in 2013. He ended 2014 with 3766 total yards, 34 TDs and only 9 INTs. He’s as solid for fantasy owners as he is the Cowboy organization, but he’ll need a Superbowl ring to ever be considered great.

RBs– Going into the 2014 season, the knock on RB DeMarco Murray was his durability, a word used a lot when discussing running backs. Murray shut up all the doubters however, becoming the #1 running back in the league this past season, playing in all 16 games, racking up 2261 total yards from scrimmage and scoring 13 TDs. He even played Week 16 vs the Colts with a broken hand. On January 31st, the Associated Press named DeMarco Murray its 2014 Offensive Player of the Year. Murray is a free agent, so his return to the Dallas line-up is questionable. The Cowboys also have their star receiver as a free agent this year, so getting both signed is currently Dallas’ dilemma. (If Dallas can’t resign RB Murray, The Dallas Morning News believes Joseph Randle will be the Cowboys’ starting running back in 2015…if Randle can stay out of prison.) UPDATE: Cowboys losing RB DeMarco Murray to Philly, makes RB Randle the front-runner for the starting running back. Dallas signs RB Darren McFadden, who will be a back-up only.

WRs–
The Cowboys have plenty of talent in their receiving corps, with WR Dez Bryant as the big-time play maker. Bryant was the #3 wide receiving for the 2014 season, catching 88 passes for 1320 yards and 13 TDs. WR Terrance Williams lines up opposite WR Bryant and he quietly had 681 yards in 2014 and 8 TDs, WR Williams, a 3rd round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, came on strong in playoffs for Dallas, scoring 3 TDs, 2 vs Detroit. The #3 WR Cole Beasley is a little “Wes Welker” type receiver for Dallas, who finished fourth on Dallas with 48 targets last season, posting a 37/420/4 line. UPDATE: Cowboys signed WR Dez Bryant to a five-year, $70 million contract, including $45 million guaranteed.

TEs-
Who is the second all-time leader in career receptions and receiving yards for a tight end, trailing only Tony Gonzalez, currently in the NFL? Hint: Since I am profiling Dallas, he is a Cowboy. I’ll take a wild stab, and guess that no one got this wrong. Jason Witten has been with Dallas since being drafted in 2003, and every year, Witten is a top 5 tight end in the NFL. Clearly one of the best to ever play the position and a lock someday for the Hall of Fame. At 32, he shows little signs of slowing down, and will be an important factor in Dallas’ offense once again in 2015.

K–
You have to hand it to Dallas, and their knack of discovering undrafted free agent talent. Following the 2011 NFL Draft, Bailey signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent. He ranked #8 for the 2014 season. As of October 2014, when his 100th made field goal made him eligible for ranking, Bailey became the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, and is the only kicker to convert over 90 percent of his kicks.

DEF–
In 2013, the Dallas Cowboys finished last in the league in sacks per pass attempt and No. 25 in the league in sacks. In 2014 they finished 28th in sacks, which was a little improvement. Dallas simply doesn’t have difference-makers on their front seven, and they need them. The team ranked #19 among NFL defenses last season, but they should be better on 2015. UPDATE: Cowboys sign OLB Keith Rivers, MLB Jasper Brinkley, DT Nick Hayden and claim CB Corey White off waivers.

2014 Dallas Fantasy Surprises–
Easily, RB DeMarco Murray becoming the #1 running back in the league this past season, and playing in all 16 games was the biggest surprise. We expect QB Romo, WR Dez Bryant and TE Witten to be very good, and post big numbers. I’d be surprised if getting the Dallas defense back on track wouldn’t be a priority, 2nd only to getting the free agents signed. I can’t say however, that I believe defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is the right guy to do it.

2015 Free Agents that Dallas Needs to Address – RB DeMarco Murray (signed w/ Philly)- WR Dez Bryant (franchise tagged)- FB Tyler Clutts- WR Dwayne Harris (signed w/ NY Giants)- OT Doug Free (re-signed)- DE George Selvie (signed w/ NY Giants)- DT Nick Hayden (re-signed)- OL Bruce Carter (signed w/ TB) – OL Justin Durant Signed w/ Atlanta) – CB Sterling Moore (signed w/ TB)

2015 NFL Draft –
The immediate needs of Dallas are defensive help, keeping their O-line solid, and likely addressing the running back position. Dallas needs a stronger, more effective pass-rush (DE), they need to keep their O-Line solid, especially if they loose anyone to free agency (OT) and roster depth at running back (RB). Additionally, Dallas hasn’t drafted a quarterback since 2009, and Romo can’t play forever (QB). UPDATE: Dallas’ entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- DALLAS’ DRAFT

Did You Know –
The Dallas Cowboys have an estimated value of $2.3 billion, the Cowboys are the most valuable team in the NFL, they are the 5th most valuable sports team in the WORLD, they generate $560 million in revenue which is the most of any NFL team AND YET…The NFL hasn’t paid a dime in taxes since the 1960’s and is still considered a “non-profit organization”.

All team reports
can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Team home page: www.dallascowboys.com