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2011 Fantasy Football Preview

Fantasy football season is officially back and the Dallas Cowboys should be providing some help to many fantasy football teams.

One of America's dorkiest obsessions returns this weekend along with the NFL. Fantasy football makes its triumphant return to our browsers and smartphones as we look to dominate our friends and coworkers on the digital gridiron. 

Fans of the Dallas Cowboys might be looking more forward to fantasy season than the regular season, though, there is some legitimate cause for optimism for Dallas' actual season. Regardless, though, the Cowboys should have some excellent fantasy contributors this season. 

Running back Felix Jones looks like he is poised to have an excellent season this year. Jones ran for a career high 800 yards on 185 carries in 2010 with just one touchdown on the ground as he not only battled injuries, but battled a timeshare at the position with Marion Barber III. With Barber out of the picture now, Jones is without question the starting running back in Dallas.

Jones has also had possibly the best camp of any Cowboys player, at least in Jerry Jones' eyes. Big Jerry believes that this is the year that Felix turns into an elite running back. If so, then Jones, who most have seen as an RB2 this year, could easily wind up being the steal of many drafts if he can move himself into RB1 territory - which certainly looks possible.

Two Cowboys receivers are certainly worth owning as well, and neither of them are surprises. Miles Austin is essentially a must-start every single week. With Jon Kitna and Stephen McGee at quarterback for the majority of 2010, Miles still managed to have 1,041 reception yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers should increase with Tony Romo back under center for Dallas.

Then there is Dez Bryant, who, like Felix Jones, could have a breakout season. With Roy Williams out of the picture in Dallas, Bryant is the clear No. 2 receiver. Bryant played in 12 games during his rookie season last year, catching 45 balls for 561 yards and 6 touchdowns. Those numbers should go up, as Bryant obviously looks to play in 16 games, but he also will have Romo for a full season, and he'll be in his second full season as a pro. Bryant is certainly not a WR1 for fantasy purposes, but he is certainly one of the higher upside WR2s headed into the 2011 season.

There's not a ton to say about Jason Witten. Witten is a clear TE1 and essentially a must-start every single week. In three of the last four seasons, Witten has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving. In the year he failed to do so, he still managed a healthy 952 yards. Witten also set a career high in touchdowns last year with nine.

Finally, there's quarterback Tony Romo. Romo missed the final 10 games of the 2010 season with a collarbone injury. Now healthy and in the back end of his prime, Romo looks poised to have an excellent season. Surrounded with weapons at every position, Romo simply needs his offensive line to give him time. Romo is certainly not a tier one quarterback this season, but he is definitely in the back half of the top 10, making him a very solid fantasy quarterback with the potential for an excellent season. 

As for the kicking and defense, well, stay away. Rob Ryan could wind up working wonders, but Dallas' secondary is currently suspect. There are certainly better fantasy defenses headed into the 2011 season than Rob Ryan's unit.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.