Who will emerge as the best fantasy option in the Dallas backfield?
Chances are, you'll see a little bit less of Felix Jones in 2011-literally, that is. After playing at a beefed-up 220 pounds last year to better withstand the heavier workload that the Cowboys intended for him, Jones wants to trim back to 210 pounds or so this season.
But sometimes, less is more. In Jones' case, less weight means more speed, more explosiveness -- and, perhaps, results more in line with his first couple of seasons in the NFL.
In 2008 and 2009, Jones averaged a whopping 6.5 yards per carry. Last year, the number dropped all the way to 4.3 yards per carry. That 6.5 figure was unsustainable given his increase in rushes (to 185 after a total of 146 rushes his first two years). Still, the drop was shocking to Jones' fantasy owners. Jones seemingly went from a threat to score every time he touched the ball to a threat to gain five yards.
This year, the Cowboys hope Jones is back to being a big-play machine. And they think the best way to achieving that is by not relying on him so much. The big question (well, for us, anyway) is whether potentially fewer touches means more fantasy value. Jones is still first in line for carries in Dallas, but head coach Jason Garrett already has said that he plans to spread the ball around to Jones, Tashard Choice, and rookie DeMarco Murray. (For the moment, at least, Marion Barber is still in the picture, too.)
A true committee approach caps the fantasy appeal of all of Dallas' backs. But if any of them can still make an impact on limited touches, it's the leaner version of Jones.
Bottom Line:Felix Jones will have the greatest fantasy value among the Cowboys' running backs in 2011 ... but temper expectations for any Dallas ball carrier.