Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant isn’t back to full football activities, but at least he was present and accounted for during this week’s organized team activities.
Better yet for him and the Cowboys, he’ll undergo X-rays on his surgically repaired right foot in the coming days, according to multiple reports, and the Cowboys expect him to be fully cleared by June 1.
“It feels good. I’m right on time,” he said Wednesday (via DallasCowboys.com). “I actually feel a little ahead of the game. But I’m going to stay patient.”
Dez Bryant was the second player drafted in 2015 dynasty startups. His trade calculator value was 90. And for good reason. From 2012 to 2014, his lowest season totals were 88 receptions (2014), 1233 yards (2013), and 12 touchdowns (2012). Those numbers — what we thought was Dez’s floor — would be good for 17.7 points per game in PPR leagues.
Then Bryant fought a foot injury and Matt Cassel in 2015 en route to a 31-catch, 401-yard, 3-TD season. Now he’s going 12th overall in startups, with a trade calculator value of 57.
But the buy low window is closing. Jacob Rickrode recently explained why he’s going all in on Bryant in 2016. To summarize Rickrode’s analysis: Bryant is very good at football; Tony Romo is also very good at football; They’re both healthy. And Cowboys’ offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has no qualms about getting the ball to the best player on the team.1
In contrast, consider Sammy Watkins, whose trade value is 59, just a hair above Bryant’s. Watkins has a currently injured foot. Plus, he’s playing in a run-heavy offense with an uncertain quarterback situation, and he has half a season of elite NFL production to his name. Sure, age matters: Watkins is almost five years younger than Bryant. Maybe this is an example of Jason Laso’s argument that age matters a bit too much in the early rounds of dynasty startups.
But age doesn’t explain this (in best-ball redraft):
We project Bryant to slightly outscore Hopkins in 2016. Be glad you can grab Bryant at the end of the first round instead of paying a mid-first for Hopkins.
Bryant is the same guy he was in 2014, when we debated whether he should be the first player drafted in redraft leagues. Don’t let a catastrophic 2015 dissuade you from drafting him in the late first in redraft or dynasty.