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Sleeper Spotlight: Dallas Cowboys

As part of the premium content package, we’re not only releasing exclusive team capsules (complete with commentary), but also focusing on one sleeper from all 32 teams in the NFL.

These sleepers all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but all merit a little more talking about than we had room for in the dynasty capsules for each team. Some of these players are deep dynasty sleepers who could merit a spot on your bench in a deep league, while others are players who may contribute a little faster than the deep prospects, but deserve more attention than they may be getting. By definition, a sleeper could mean something a little different to everyone, but we’re simply doing the best job we can to unearth one player from each team who fits the category in some way, shape or form.

We’ll just never insult you with a comprehensive list of “sleepers” that includes such names as Demaryius Thomas, Ryan Mathews or even someone like Stevan Ridley. You’re all too good for that.

While many of these players will undoubtedly fizzle, we figure there’s value in looking more closely at these deeper prospects and players. We invite you to keep an open mind and even re-assess your value on those who may be rostered in your league. You may even consider adding a few of these deeper prospects we focus on this Summer who are free agents in your league – after all, some are destined to pan out, too.

Andre Holmes, WR DAL
Age: 24 (6/16/88)

Wide receiver Andre Holmes was undrafted coming out of tiny Hillsdale College, where he set multiple receiving records, and initially was signed by the Minnesota Vikings. Failing to make an impression, Holmes was released early in the preseason. He was soon signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, where he spent the majority of the season. Measuring 6’5” and weighing 223 pounds, Holmes was often used to play the role of taller athletic wide receivers such as the Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson. Holmes was so impressive that he was activated near the end of the 2011 regular season in order to prevent other teams from signing him away from Dallas’ practice squad – this gives a small indication about how the team feels about Holmes’ prospects.

Now in his second year, Holmes is among the candidates battling for the Cowboys third wide receiver position. In the past, the spot has produced quality fantasy options, especially last season with Laurent Robinson. With Robinson moving on and signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the position is open and Holmes has an excellent chance to claim the job. In 2011, Robinson was signed to provide the team with depth at wide receiver and produced career high numbers with 54 receptions for 858 yards and an impressive eleven touchdowns. While it is unlikely the Cowboys WR3 repeats this performance, Dallas and quarterback Tony Romo are committed to the passing game and Holmes can have a productive season if he does indeed win the job.

Holmes does have plenty of competition for the job, though. Veteran Kevin Ogletree and fellow rookie Danny Coale are also vying for this coveted spot on the depth chart. This will be Ogletree’s fourth season with the team and while he has contributed on special teams, he has yet to make an impact as a wide receiver. He was given the third wide receiver job last season, but could not hang onto it following Robinson’s impressive play. Ogletree has a career 25 catches for 294 yards. Coale was drafted in the 5th round out of Virginia Tech in the 2012 NFL draft and was thought to be the leading candidate to win the job until he suffered a broken foot in offseason workouts – that opened the door for Holmes.

Last week, Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com was asked for his thoughts on the third wide receiver position. He explained that the Cowboys plan to allow one of their young wideouts claim the job and he identified Holmes as the current leader for the spot, based on the consistency he has shown throughout off-season workouts.

Another important factor helping Holmes’ chances of earning the job that all Cowboy fans will understand – he seems to be a favorite of owner Jerry Jones. Jones was recently asked who he viewed as the favorite to replace Robinson and Holmes was the first name he mentioned. Being on Jerry’s good side goes a long way in Dallas, for better or worse.

Not only is Holmes impressing his owner, but his teammates as well. Cowboys safety Barry Church makes his career defending wide receivers and had this to say when asked about the opening left by Robinson’s departure and Holmes’ chances to claim the job, “With him right now, he’s in the lead and that’s just going by my opinion,” Church said. “I look forward to him having a great camp. Holmes has a tremendous upside. He’s fast, he’s big, he’s physical and he’ll go up and get the ball.”

Holmes would serve as a deep threat in the Dallas offense, playing along side starters Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. While he does not have blazing speed (he ran a 4.51 40 yard dash as the 2011 NFL combine), it is certainly adequate considering his tall frame. He also has the athleticism the Cowboys are looking for as a former college track star, winning the conference championship in the triple jump.

Holmes is still off the fantasy radar in many leagues, but now is the time to add him to your roster. Again, the WR3 for Dallas has proven to be worthy of a roster spot and he may even provide owners with a player that can start for fantasy teams if he can nail down the job.

Ryan McDowell
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bbwayne
9 years ago

I really debated Coale vs. Holmes. Personally I’m going with Coale due to him being selected in the 3rd round. His injury is easily recoverable in time for camp. I will be watching the WR3 battle closely with this team but both have great upside.

Boobam13 *
9 years ago

I really like both of them being rostered since Austin and Dez havent been the poster boys for being able to play an entire season, either of these guys would make great bye week fill ins in that Cowboy offense should Austin or Dez miss sometime.

Dan Werner
9 years ago

Good article, but…The Dallas Cowboys used the 17th pick pick in the fifth round, the 152nd overall pick, on Virginia Tech wide receiver Danny Coale. A big difference from drafting him in the third.

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