- Most Likely to Break Out in 2010
1. Dez Bryant
Bryant’s got all the talent in the world. He just needs to stay healthy. His most immediate impact could come on punt returns.
2. Victor Butler
Butler looked sensational in the preseason and his run defense is vastly improved. He could see 250, maybe even 300 snaps this season.
3. Jason Hatcher
A lot of people like Stephen Bowen over Hatcher, but Hatcher received the higher grade from me in 2009 and is more likely to break out this season because of his stout 4.40 percent quarterback pressure rate.
4. Stephen Bowen
Bowen will get his opportunities too. He’s Igor Olshansky’s primary backup, though, so he may not see the field much on first down.
5. Doug Free
He’s looked pretty good in the preseason and, with such an elusive quarterback, he has a chance to keep his sack total down.
- Most Likely to Be Gone in 2011 (Besides the Obvious)
1. Marcus Spears
Spears is playing on a one-year tender and has two rising defensive ends on his heels for playing time.
2. Marion Barber
If Barber continues to show a lack of burst through the regular season, Tashard Choice will take his place in 2011.
3. Sam Hurd
Hurd may actually be gone before the start of this season. There certainly won’t be room next year.
4. Deon Anderson
If the Cowboys keep Chris Gronkowski, it likely means they are grooming him for the future.
5. Roy Williams
If Williams’ contract wasn’t so hefty, he’d already be gone. Releasing him will be easier next year if he produces little again in 2010.
- Sleepers to Produce in 2010
1. Robert Brewster
I’d be willing to beat Marc Colombo won’t make it through the season unscathed, and Brewster is a more natural fit than Alex Barron on the right side.
2. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
He’s already shown play-making ability on returns and I haven’t liked what I’ve seen from Alan Ball this preseason. ‘Kwasi is a cerebral player who won’t make mental errors.
3. Phil Costa
Like Brewster, Costa will probably be the primary backup to an aging player. He’s earned the right to be the center (over Kyle Kosier) in the event that Andre Gurode goes down.
4. Cletis Gordon
He’s outplayed Orlando Scandrick of late and, while I didn’t believe it before, I now think there’s a shot that he eventually pushes for playing time in the slot.
5A. Josh Brent
He’s only got Junior Siavii to beat for the backup spot at nose tackle, and the ‘Boys would love to get Jay Ratliff more rest.
5B. Pat McQuistan
- Most Likely to Lead the Team in Penalties
1. Jason Witten
Yes, believe it or not, Witten has always had a problem with false starts. We ignore them because he’s so talented, but with Flozell Adams gone, Witten could lead the team.
2. Andre Gurode
The way he got beat last week, he’ll need to hold defenders early and often.
3. Marc Colombo
He had six last season in just 391 snaps–close to Flozell’s penalty rate.
4. DeMarcus Ware
Ware jumps offsides sometimes (and even lines up there quite a bit) in an effort to get to the quarterback even quicker.
5. Gerald Sensabaugh
With a plethora of Pro Bowl-caliber tight ends on the schedule (Dallas Clark, Owen Daniels, Greg Olsen, etc.), Sensabaugh has the potential to get beat and called for pass interference often this season.
- Most Likely to Make the Pro Bowl
1. DeMarcus Ware
He’s as close to a sure thing as you’re going to get.
2. Tony Romo
His poor preseason play won’t carry into the regular season. Trust me.
3. Jason Witten
He might see less targets this season, but the extra weapon outside (you know who) will open up even more room for Witten to roam in the middle.
4. Miles Austin
He’s be higher on the list but there’s so many talented wide receivers in the NFC.
5A. Anthony Spencer
He’s going to break out in a big way in 2010. Don’t discount the possibility of 15 sacks.
5B. Mike Jenkins
His tackling needs to improve, but his play-making ability could result in a bunch of interceptions–meaning he’ll get the fan vote.
5C. Pat McQuistan
- Top Five Fantasy Players
1. Tony Romo
If he stays healthy, he’ll throw for 4,000 yards and probably 30+ touchdowns. The way the offensive line is playing, however, means staying healthy is a big question mark right now.
2. Miles Austin
Go ahead and project Austin’s ’09 numbers over 16 starts. Holy crap.
3. Jason Witten
He may not be as valuable in PPR (point-per-reception) leagues this year, but I can guarantee he’ll catch more than two touchdowns.
4. Felix Jones
He may not start, but he’ll receive the most touches among Cowboys running backs. If Marion Barber loses his short-yardage duties (which should have already happened), Jones will be a steal.
5A. Dez Bryant
Bryant simply has more upside than Roy Williams. He’s certainly one to target in keeper leagues.
5B. Pat McQuistan
If you’re in a league that rewards points for being ugly and missing a ton of blocks, you might want to trade up to the first pick for this guy.