The Dallas Cowboys have a miserable 1-4 record after Sunday's 24-21 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. They are, as the ESPN.com NFL page headline blared Monday, "A Flat-Out Disaster." Panic has more than set in. Writers are proclaiming the season over, even with 11 games remaining. Certainly one could question whether the Cowboys can become playoff contenders, whether they have the right coach and the entire state of the organization.
Of course, fantasy owners wouldn't term the Cowboys a flat-out disaster. On the contrary, the Cowboys are doing just fine for us, thriving when it comes to the stat sheets, and I think each key member of the offense makes for a wise buy-low option right now.
Tony Romo entered Sunday as fantasy's No. 8 quarterback, then delivered another 20-point performance for standard leagues. He'll be no worse than sixth at his position entering Week 7. Sure, we could do without some of the mistakes -- and the Cowboys could, as well -- but Romo has been known for the occasional errant pass or untimely fumble in the past, and he has remained productive. Frankly, with the schedule featuring nothing scary that would prevent future strong Romo performances -- the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals remain! -- I would absolutely target him in a trade.
Romo's weapons are also producing. While one of his wide receivers is arguably one of fantasy's best, two others are obvious free-agent additions and flex options. I continue to be surprised at how well Roy E. Williams is playing, but with his multi-touchdown performance against the Vikings, he now has scored 51 standard fantasy points in three games, with five touchdowns during that span. One could argue the "leapfrogging" Miles Austin, who committed a silly end zone celebration penalty and is getting vilified today, is being hurt by Williams' production, but I'm not particularly concerned. These things ebb and flow. Austin remains a statistical monster; despite scoring one fantasy point Sunday, he still could enter Week 7 in the top 10 at his position. Rookie Dez Bryant scored his first professional receiving touchdown Sunday, and like Williams and Austin, he's someone to target. Frankly, given his ability, Bryant could be putting up crazy numbers this season or next.
At running back, most of us have wisely moved on from Marion Barber and turned our attention to Felix Jones, and I was impressed by Jones' performance Sunday. He was stifled in the running attack, which wasn't surprising since the Vikings tend to rein in many runners. But how about those 10 receptions on as many targets? Through five games, Jones had caught all of eight passes on nine targets. Let's not call him Reggie Bush quite yet, but Jones is going to get much better. He's a yards-per-touch machine featuring speed and explosion, an exciting open-field runner with huge potential. The Cowboys seem to realize this, finally, which is why Barber isn't being featured anymore. Maybe Romo won't look for Jones much in the passing attack under normal circumstances, but the third-year back will get his touches.
Every Cowboys game has been close and competitive, magnifying every turnover, penalty and poor decision. I kind of think this is what to expect for the Cowboys this season, with drama at every turn, but this is a good thing for fantasy owners. That the Cowboys are finding ways to lose must be frustrating for their fans, but I'd argue that, statistically, we're all getting ample production, Austin's disappointing Sunday notwithstanding. This is not your father's NFC East. Points can be scored on these defenses. Romo and pals might not win half their games this season -- I'm still not counting them out yet, that's for sure -- but as long as the numbers keep on coming, there's no panic in the fantasy world. There's optimism.