It’s been almost three years since we’ve last seen Dez Bryant take a snap in an NFL game but maybe that’ll change in 2020. Last Friday, video made it’s way around the interwebs of Bryant working out with Patrick Mahomes and of course, that got my wild-speculation-senses tingling.
This hasn’t been the first time Bryant has posted workout videos of him running routes and staying in football shape. Making his way back from an achilles tear he suffered back in 2018, Bryant seems to be looking to get back onto the field this season, leading to the natural question of “where?”, followed by “what does he realistically have left in the tank?”
I won’t pretend I have the answer to either of these questions. It may come as a shock to you, but Dez and I don’t text as often as we once did as we’ve had a falling out after we disagreed on who Bella should’ve ended up with (I’m firmly Team Jacob for what it’s worth).
Instead, I’m going to turn inwards and determine what teams would make me draft 31-year-old Dez Bryant in fantasy football if he signed with them. After all, we’ve seen now a few older players—thinking Richard Sherman and Emmanuel Sanders—come back from achillies tears and be able to make a strong impact for their team. I see Bryant still having a valuable role in and around the end zone, which is something a few teams could certainly need, starting with...
I promise this isn’t just the old “veteran wide receiver should sign with New England” gimmick. I mean, it is, but there’s more to it than just that. Tom Brady led the NFL last year in red zone pass attempts from both 20 yards and 10 yards out (91 and 45 attempts respectively). Yet despite all these pass attempts, Brady only threw 13 touchdowns in the red zone, placing him behind 21 other quarterbacks. The Patriots desperately need a big bodied, jump ball receiver who can haul in those contested catches around the goal line. We know that’s Bryant’s expertise and I think he can still do that at a pretty high level, regardless of age or injury history. I could easily see myself drafting Bryant as a late round flier if he signed with the Patriots, on the hope he puts together a 500+ yard, seven touchdown season.
I mean, he did practice with Patrick Mahomes for crying out loud, I can’t not have the Chiefs get a blurb. It may seem wildly against the Chiefs’ whole speed, speed, and more speed philosophy at wide receiver, but Bryant would add size and strength to a receiving core that only has one guy over 6-foot-1. I also feel fairly confident in saying the Chiefs will be moving on from Sammy Watkins this offseason as he’s owed $21 million in 2020 and cutting him would save $14M against the cap. That seems like a done deal to me. Obviously I trust this Chiefs offense enough to think that Dez would have at least some decent fantasy value here. Would I be drafting him in PPR leagues? Probably not, since he might not see a lot of targets. But I think he could be a solid NPPR guy with a high touchdown floor.
Why not get Kyler Murray a strong, physical receiver he can rely on down the field and in the red zone? Murray also had a ton of red zone pass attempts without a lot of touchdowns—6th in pass attempts, T-23rd in touchdowns—so adding a receiver like Bryant would certainly help correct that ratio. Personally, this might be my favorite landing spot because I feel like young, up-and-coming teams have a tendency to spark the youth out of older veterans and you get some of their best production. I think of Calais Campbell signing with the Jaguars back in 2017 or on a smaller scale Cole Beasley signing with the Bills this offseason and putting together a career year. I can just see more than a few plays where Murray scrambles to escape pressure and chucks the ball deep to Dez who hauls it in. I’d definitely sign on the dotted line.
I put these two teams together because it feels very Dez to make his comeback with one of the Cowboys archenemies and get to play against them twice a year. Further more, both teams could desperately use wide receiver help and Bryant would enter the team as a top three passing option for them. For Philly, really only Zach Ertz and maybe Miles Sanders would be in front of him (especially since the Eagles seem open to shopping Alshon Jeffery) and for Washington, I guess just Terry McLaurin would be ahead of Dez. I would have to buy some Dez Bryant comeback stock if he stayed in the NFC East. It would just be too perfect.
What team could Dez sign with that you’d be willing to take a chance on him in fantasy?