TE Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

HT: 6-5, WT: 257, Born: 5-6-1982, College: Tennessee, Drafted: Round 3

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2014 Projections

GRECYDY/RTDFPT
David Dodds15.064.073611.55.0104
Bob Henry16.075.084011.27.0126
Jason Wood16.075.085011.35.0115
Maurile Tremblay16.068.079311.77.0121

Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]

Overall: T Smith (63), T Richardson (64), Jason Witten (65), M Ryan (66), C Newton (67)
Position: V Davis (47-TE4), J Cameron (54-TE5), Jason Witten (65 - TE6), G Olsen (78-TE7), K Rudolph (88-TE8)
Click here for a comparison of these players.

PPR Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]

Overall: N Foles (64), T Richardson (65), Jason Witten (66), M Ryan (67), K Wright (68)
Position: J Cameron (51-TE4), V Davis (58-TE5), Jason Witten (66 - TE6), J Reed (76-TE7), G Olsen (78-TE8)
Click here for a comparison of these players.


Outlook

Fantasy owners seem unexcited at the prospect of drafting Jason Witten every year, and then feel stupid for hesitating at season's end. The Cowboy's stalwart is building an ironclad Hall of Fame career, and at 32 years old has shown no signs of slowing. Last season Witten caught 72 receptions for 851 yards and 8 touchdowns; it's those 8 touchdowns that should make fantasy owners smile because Witten's one historical weakness has been scoring productivity. Many are surprised to learn Witten ranked behind only Julius Thomas and Rob Gronkowski in yards per route run from the slot. The X-factor when drafting Witten is the status of the offensive line. Witten is an elite blocker and the Cowboys have been willing to forego his receiving skills in order to keep Tony Romo upright. However, it's worth noting that Witten was asked to pass block only 14% of the time in 2013. Don't overthink things, Witten remains a top 5 fantasy option particularly in PPR leagues.


2014 Schedule

WeekOpponent
1 San Francisco 49ers
2at Tennessee Titans
3at St. Louis Rams
4 New Orleans Saints
5 Houston Texans
6at Seattle Seahawks
7 New York Giants
8 Washington Redskins
9 Arizona Cardinals
10at Jacksonville Jaguars
Bye week
12at New York Giants
13 Philadelphia Eagles
14at Chicago Bears
15at Philadelphia Eagles
16 Indianapolis Colts
17at Washington Redskins
18 Detroit Lions
19at Green Bay Packers


2013 Game Summaries

Week 1 - Witten, along with Miles Austin, was the possession target of choice of Tony Romo as Dallas had a controlled passing attack against the Giants. Witten was the red zone option over Dez Bryant or the running game, hauling in both of his targets for scores, including a tough catch in tight coverage. In addition to his surprising involvement near the end zone, Witten also had some rare yards after the catch; running through a defender at the first down marker on one occasion and coming wide open down the field for a 20-yard gain on another. This was Wittenís first game with multiple touchdowns since late 2010 and he had just three total scores last season.

Week 2 - Despite eight targets, second to Dez Bryant, this week against the Chiefs, Witten could not get another going with Tony Romo in the passing game. Only one of his catches gained anything more than minimal yardage as separation from the Kansas City linebackers and safeties eluded Witten. Late in the game, Witten struggled the most as he was outmuscled with the ball in the air on three straight occasions. He looked to be just that half-tick late in reacting to the incoming pass, where the defenders were right there to knock it away. The secondary tight ends James Hanna and Gavin Escobar had more success in their limited opportunities.

Week 3 - After a down game against the Chiefs last week, Witten was back his old self against St.Louis. Witten was the leading receiver on the day as Dallas was able to run the ball effectively and pass just 24 times. He gained separation with ease at the top of routes as the Rams linebackers looked overmatched at times. Witten did not have a legitimate opportunity for a touchdown as all but one of his targets came outside the red zone. Inside the 20-yard-line, Witten was targeted on a seam route, but drew blanket coverage.

Week 4 - Witten had a very quiet game until the final couple of drives in a comeback effort against the Chargers. Early in the game Witten struggled to gain separation and two targets were tipped away by defenders. In the hurry-up offense, Witten was active with multiple receptions, including drawing a defensive pass interference penalty for a big gain. An end zone target on an out route was tipped away in the final minutes on Wittenís lone opportunity for a touchdown.

Week 5 - With plenty of production to go around in the Dallas passing game against Denver, Witten collected his fair share. He had 70 yards in the first quarter alone and routinely gained separation on option routes over the middle against linebackers. When Tony Romo moved out of a muddy pocket, it was commonly Witten that was open to convert third downs. With Miles Austin out of the lineup, Witten was split out as the slot receiver on occasion. In addition to a red zone touchdown late in the game, Witten had an end zone target against double-coverage, but could not corral the low throw for a second score.

Week 6 - After a huge game against Denver last week, Witten took a back seat against Washington. Romo spread the ball around and there was only 30 passes to go around as Dallas controlled the game in the second half. Wittenís most notable play came on a dump-off where he eluded two defenders and converted a third down on Dallasí opening drive of the game. There will be better games ahead for Witten when the game script requires more passing or Dallas is trailing late.

Week 7 - This week against Philadelphia did not require many points from the Dallas offense, which suppressed Wittenís potentially dominant day. Witten had great chemistry with Tony Romo, as usual, on his few targets. Witten gained yards with ease after the catch as the Eagles were more concerns with the outside receivers than Witten over the middle. Romoís best throw of the day came on a pass to Witten. With tight coverage, there was a small opening between defenders on a deep out route. The pass was perfect and Witten hauled in the reception just before going out-of-bounds.

Week 8 - It was a non-descript game for Witten against the Lions. The Cowboys passing game centered on Terrance Williams and Dez Bryant as Tony Romo was less accurate than usual. Witten was the outlet target when Romo got in trouble with the pass rush. There were limited chances for yards after the catch and Witten did not see a target near the end zone this week.

Week 9 - After a few non-descript performances, Witten led the Cowboys in receiving yards as he had his way against Minnesotaís linebackers. Most of his routes were hitches and out routes in the intermediate area, many of which he gained yards after the catch. Witten also found an opening down the seam for a touchdown early in the third quarter to cap off a strong drive. Late in the game Witten was called for pushing off prior to a catch, his biggest demerit this week. Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams had rather quiet performances this week, which aided Wittenís production against Minnesota.

Week 10 - Witten had opportunities to have a successful game against New Orleans, despite the struggles by Tony Romo and the offensive line in pass protection. Witten dropped an outlet pass on third-and-long with plenty of room in front of him. He also bobbled a potential big gain over the middle in the second half that was ruled a reception on the field. Upon review, the call was reversed. On a third down hitch route, a target towards Witten was nearly (and should have been) intercepted. Witten did not come back to the football, despite being a few yards past the first down marker. A four-to-five catch game was in the cards for Witten without these mistakes. This week marked Wittenís third low output performance in the past five games as Dallas goes into their much-needed bye week to get back on track.

Week 12 - Uncharacteristically, Witten was the red zone option of choice, accounting for both of Dallasí offensive touchdowns. Romo found Witten wide open between defenders on a play-action fake. Witten absorbed a hit as he rambled into the end zone as Dallas raced to an early 14-3 lead. On a scramble drive in the red zone, Romo eluded defenders to find Witten had settled in a soft spot on the zone in the end zone. The second touchdown for Witten gave Dallas their largest lead of the game at 21-6 early in the second half. While the volume of targets was not there for Witten, he saw the high-leverage ones near the end zone this week on the road against the Giants.

Week 13 - Witten had his way against Oakland as he caught all three of his targets. It took time for Witten and Romo to find a connection as he was not targeted until late in the first half. On two occasions Witten gained yards after the catch, not a common occurrence. Once, Witten got free down the seam as Tony Romo hit him in stride over a linebacker. On another target, Witten took a short outlet down the field, eluding two defenders and converting the third down in the process. In a handful of games this season Cole Beasley has looked every bit the possession target of Witten, which has negatively affected his usual high level of targets from seasons past.

Week 14 - Witten saw three targets for the second straight week, converting only one. Fortunately that reception was a red zone flat route that Witten ran in for a touchdown. Dallasí run game was the focal point of the offense in the first when things were working well. Witten saw just a single target over the final two and a half quarters, where he dropped an easy hitch route.

Week 15 - Witten was an active part of the Cowboys passing game against the Packers. He made contested catches down the seam, a part of his game that is not included in the game plan on a weekly basis. He converted one of those seam targets into a touchdown in the first quarter and nearly hauled in a contested pass of the same for a potential second score. Romoís best throws of the day were in Wittenís direction down the seam. In addition to his four receptions, Witten also drew a defensive holding penalty as he was coming out of his break, converting a third down in field goal range.

Week 16 - Witten saw just two targets against Washington, tying his season-low mark. He caught both as they came in the first quarter, one converting a third down. Witten did not create separation on a majority of his routes and DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant were the main offensive weapons this week.

Week 17 - Witten was the apple of Kyle Ortonís eye against the Eagles with a season-high 16 targets. Twice during the game Witten noticeably limped off the field, but did not miss much, if any regular snaps. Witten got open on his classic out routes and hitches regularly and Orton was pinpoint accurate on many of the pairís seam route connections. In the final two minutes of the first half, Witten bobbled a target that was slightly behind him on an out route that turned into a back-breaking interception as Dallas looked to take a half time lead. Witten added two catches of 15 or more yards in the second half, including a perfect throw-and-catch against tight coverage on a seam route for 35 yards. Witten finishes 2013 with the second-most touchdowns of his career, eight, matching his scores in the past two season combined.