As you may or may not have noticed, each week I like to throw a little bit of my own flair or bit of history I might have with the team into each article. It has been my intent upon inception of this column to hopefully provide some insight, but to also bring a little something else.
As the list of people I follow on Twitter increases and my timeline grows, the more and more I realize that I’m not near the fantasy nut I thought I was as there are far more people obsessed with the industry than I; people that eat, sleep, and breathe fantasy sports. And with all do respect to those people (seriously, if you’re reading this and that applies to you, I honestly mean no disrespect), I hope that’s something that never becomes me; there is much more to life–and even to Twitter for that matter–than just spouting statistics and discussing strategies. So as you read, naturally I hope you take away something useful as you prepare for the upcoming season, but above all I would rather you leave having read something that you genuinely enjoyed; something that entertained you (cue the Gladiator quote).
Continuing in that vein, we move on to the NFC West, and begin with the famed and much-maligned Dallas Cowboys. I’ve made it no secret that my love for fantasy football has jaded my ability to have a sustained relationship with one team, but if there’s one I always find myself quietly rooting for, it’s the Cowboys. And the reason for that, the reason they hold a special little place in my heart, is some of the fondest memories I have of my childhood were watching the “Boys” with my dad.
Fantasy just got a whole lot better thanks to Monkey Knife Fight. With fast-paced games like Rapid Fire and Either/Or, it’s never been easier to play fantasy and win. New to MKF? Get Exclusive $100 Deposit Match + Free $5 Game
Growing up with a deaf father who didn’t have much of a father figure himself, made getting close to and having a relationship with him very difficult, but the one constant was always football–and specifically the the Cowboys as they’ve always been his favorite team. Wether it was the Super Bowls or just a run-of-the-mill Thanksgiving day in front of the TV stuffing our faces, if they were on–we were watching. But looking back on things now, it was the fact that we were together is what I cherish most. And while I can’t be with him for every game these days, not a Thanksgiving goes by where we don’t put ourselves into food comas as we watch his (ok, and my) beloved Cowboys.
2013 Dallas Cowboys (Base: 4-3)
After years of using the 3-4 scheme, the Boys now make the infamous switch to a 4-3, which is probably in the best interest of the team as it best suits their current personnel. We’ll see if the switch will help them improve as collective unit, but for fake purposes there’s several noteworthy members of that defense.
Demarcus Ware: Perhaps the most notable of changes we’ll see this upcoming season from the Cowboys defense, is Ware’s move from 3-4 outside linebacker to 4-3 defensive end. Ware is no stranger to finding himself in the personal space of the opposing QB, and now that he’s a full time “hand-in-the-dirt” lineman he can focus solely on what he does best. He’s a lock for double digit sacks, which is what you want from your starting DL, but with the big change will come a decrease in his tackle numbers; instead of getting 50-60, he’ll likely be looking at 20-30. Regardless, he can still be your DL1 and should be drafted as such.
Anthony Spencer: After an enormous year, one in which he posted 11 sacks and nearly 100 combined tackles, Spencer, like Ware, makes the switch to a 4-3 end. And also like Ware, will surely see his tackle total take a fairly steep nose dive. The good thing is, both of them should meet at the QB enough times for both to be fantasy relevant. We could even see both end the year as DL1’s.
Sean Lee: Hailing from Penn St. or “Linebacker U” as the cool kids say, Lee has without a doubt lived up to the pedigree his alma mater has established…when he’s been on the field that is. Health will always be the question facing Lee, as he has yet to answer it; failing to play a full season thus far in his pro career. And coming off a year in which he only managed 6 games, the time to draft or otherwise acquire him on the cheap may be at hand. He’s solid at all phases of the game, and as long as he’s on the field will no doubt be a very productive player. LB1 upside.
Bruce Carter: As one of the most talked-about up and coming linebackers (especially in IDP circles), Carter, is ready to explode in 2013 and is absolutely dripping with upside. The weak side linebacker in a Monte Kiffin defense has traditionally been a very productive one. While Lee is patrolling up and down the middle in that Cover 2, Carter will use his speed and athleticism to go sideline to sideline making plays. He could probably be had for a LB2 price, but may very well end up a LB1 if he stays healthy.
Morris Claiborne: Cornerback is one of the most difficult positions for a player to get acclimated to as he transitions from the college to the pro ranks, and Claiborne certainly didn’t buck the trend. However, he did receive a positive PFF rating against the pass, and would’ve graded out well against the run as well had it not been for a couple rough games. Being a cornerback means his fantasy value likely won’t ever skyrocket, but in leagues that require the position to be filled he has a chance to be special. We should see dramatic improvements in his second season, and should begin to see why the Cowboys paid a king’s ransom to trade up for him in the 2012 draft.
Fake Pigskin Exclusive: Join Monkey Knife Fight and Get an Instant 100% Deposit Match PLUS a Free $5 Game!
*A note from the author: With only a few remaining weeks before the season starts, and only the NFC and AFC West in the can, it’s obvious I won’t be able to cover every team between now and opening day. So often real life gets in the way of my fake responsibilities, and I apologize for not being able to finish what I started. Having said that, I would like to hear from you, the reader, as to who you’d like to see covered before the season starts. Leave a comment or hit me up on the interwebs. I’d love to write about whoever your heart desires. Thank you!*