As of Thursday, Dez Bryant still has a chance to play on Sunday against the 49ers. The hairline fracture in his right knee is putting his status in doubt.
Let's just assume for this exercise that Bryant won't play on Sunday. So who gets his targets? Who gets more snaps?
The most obvious answer is Brice Butler. Ironically, the last time Bryant was injured the Cowboys traded for Butler. This time around, he's already here and has a full off-season with the Cowboys.
Dallas really likes his size, speed combination. During the Chicago win, they also played him in different formations; both in the slot and on the outside. He's the wide receiver who will be impacted the most if Bryant can play.
"I believe that I can be a starter here and this is my opportunity to showcase that. And go out here however long he's gone and let everyone know that this is who I am, this is what I can do and so when he does come back, I can be out there with him," said Butler."
Butler could be considered a starter if Bryant is out, and he should see a big increase in snaps and targets.
The other player the Cowboys will count on to produce is Terrance Williams. The 4th year wide receiver had the opportunity to be the team's No. 1 wide out in 2015 when Bryant missed time, but his production didn't change much.
Here's another chance for Williams to be "the guy," and it just so happens to be a contract year.
"If you think about it that way, a lot of bad stuff can happen. And that's kind of what I did last year. So now, I just got to continue keep playing the game that I play and keep being the person that coach Garrett and coach Scott [Linehan] brought me here for," said Williams. "I did learn from that experience that I did have last year. So, what I can tell you is that it's going to be different then what you saw from last year."
What will be interesting is to see how productive Cole Beasley and Jason Witten can be without the threat of Bryant on the field.
No. 88's ability to go deep often draws the safeties back, which opens up the middle of the field for Beasley and Witten. Both pass catcheres have been "go-to's" for rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.