CANTON, OH - AUGUST 8: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys passes the football against the Cincinnati Bengals during the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium on August 8, 2010 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
This is my favorite time of the year. The weather is changing, high school and college football are in full swing and it's fantasy football draft time with the NFL regular season kicking off Thursday night with an NFC Championship Game rematch.
Unfortunately for myself, two years removed from a league championship and a considerable amount of dough, I traded away the farm last year to gear up for another title and failed miserably. That meant I'm in a massive rebuilding stage this year, so I wasn't fortunate enough to have much of a selection at my draft, but hopefully you did/will.
Romo has worked his way into the upper echelon of fantasy quarterbacks. The only ones who are undoubtedly better guys to take with your first pick are Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. The old usual suspects of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are still better than solid, but Romo has seemingly passed them on the totem pole — Brady without a doubt. Take him early. Depending on your scoring system, quarterbacks' value varies, but if your league favors QBs, Romo is a Top 3 guy.
Obviously, Jason Witten is a Top 5 tight end, right up there with Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark and Green Bay upstart Jermichael Finley.
Receiver is interesting. As much as you may love Miles Austin, he's actually a terrible fantasy value these days after his breakout season last year. His fantasy value will likely never be higher, which means anything less than spectacular is going to be a terrible disappointment. One key to fantasy football is to avoid being a homer, and I'd avoid Austin in drafts this year. Too much disappointment is at stake.
The receiver you want to target, especially in keeper leagues (like I'm in), is rookie Dez Bryant. I got him, and I'm happy. Bryant will struggle early, like all rookie WRs do, but by midseason he'll be rolling. Also, remember that Bryant never had a preseason snap so he'll have some acclimating to do.
Finally, there's the running backs. Teams love the multi-running back systems now. Fantasy owners hate them, though there's only a handful of guys in the league that are THE featured back for their team. But Dallas might be the only team in the league with three highly capable runners. Early in camp, it appeared Felix Jones was set to take the starting role from Marion Barber, but that's not the case now, which is a huge disappointment to Jones owners (like myself). I'd avoid all three of these guys like the plague in regards to fantasy football.
Two days until NFL kickoff. Happy drafting!