With Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, and Kellen Moore starting in place of injured Tony Romo, there wasn’t much chance of receivers on the Dallas Cowboys being Fantasy relevant.
When Romo played a 15-game season in 2014, the Cowboys finished with a total of 4,008 passing yards and 37 touchdown passes. When Romo played in four games in 2015, the Cowboys finished with 3,677 passing yards and 16 touchdown passes.
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Romo has the reputation of being often injured, but he has played in 15 or more games from 2009 to 2015 in six out of eight seasons. Even though his broken collarbone was unfortunate for the Cowboys, the team can at least be grateful it wasn’t an injury involving his back or something that would require the 36-year old quarterback to extensively rehab.
So last year was obviously a down year for Dallas. But what can we expect from these receivers for the 2016 Fantasy Football season?
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook: Dez Bryant
There are no sure things in Fantasy Football, but Bryant was as consistent receiver as you could find from 2012-2014:
2012: 92 receptions, 1,382 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns
2013: 93 receptions, 1,233 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns
2014: 88 receptions, 1,320 receiving yards, 16 touchdowns
Bryant is still just 27, so he’s right at his prime. His down season in 2015 was a combination of a foot fracture as well as only playing in three games with Romo.
Because of his production, there’s not a lot to review about Bryant. When he’s on the field, he’s a candidate to finish as a top-five receiver each week. Heading into the 2015 Fantasy Football season, Bryant was a first-round pick.
This year, he’s still being drafted in Round 1, but as pick 1.12, according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com. Fantasy players obviously understand the risk involved with drafting Bryant because of his foot surgeries, but any pick in Round 1 is risky because he is your top player.
He was my first pick in my 2016 Fantasy Championship league.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook: Terrance Williams
With Bryant not at 100%, Williams seemed like the obvious choice to take a step forward in 2015. He started out with promising Fantasy potential with 736 receiving yards in his 2013 rookie season, but he’s never offered consistency for Fantasy players.
He’s never been extremely far from being a border-line starter, but he just hasn’t been able to produce a season where he has enough receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns to be reliable.
Fantasy players will still flock to Williams if something is wrong with Bryant, but Williams didn’t do enough last season to show he was worth drafting.
Now, it is true that Romo was out of the lineup for most of the season. We would have had a better indication of Williams abilities if he had a consistent quarterback throwing him the ball.
But Williams has still seen plenty of playing time over the last two years, so he is going to need to make more happen when he catches the ball to increase his Fantasy productivity.
Williams played the second-most offensive snaps in 2014 with 76.6%, and he saw the most in 2015 with 76.8%. There’s not much room for him to increase his offensive snaps.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook: Cole Beasely
Beasley wasn’t relevant last season, even though he was a sneaky candidate to take a big step forward in 2015.
The 5-foot-8 receiver only hauled in 16 receptions in his first 10 games of 2014, but he caught 21 passes in his final six games. He also caught three touchdowns in his final four performances of 2014.
In 2015, he had spurts of being very productive. In Week 9, for instance, he posted a 9-112-2 stat line. In Week 17, he posted a 5-53-2 stat line.
I wouldn’t want to add him on my roster in season long leagues, but I think he’s a decent candidate for an MFL10 lineup. According to MyFantasyLeague ADP data, Cole is the 122 wide receiver off the board.
He might only have one or two relevant games, but he’s not a bad addition if you are looking for a flier in Round 20.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook: Brice Butler
Seemingly, Butler has the physical skill set to benefit the most if Bryant misses time or is unproductive in 2016 Fantasy Football leagues. He’s 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, and ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.
Of course, you just need to look at players like Cordarrelle Patterson to remember that amazing physical traits aren’t a guaranteed to lead to Fantasy success…
Butler was drafted as a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, and he never saw more than 21 receptions in a season. He had relevant games in Weeks 16-17 with Dallas with four receptions in each contest and 74 receiving yards and 60 receiving yards respectively, but there’s a lot of mixed reports on what Butler’s role will be this season.
Because we have a basic idea of what Williams can do, I would draft Butler in the last rounds of my draft instead of Williams in Round 13 or Round 14.