Thursday Night Fantasy Starters: Matt Forte, DeMarco Murray And Tony Romo

By Steve Silverman

It’s all about holding on to the ball and keeping the offense on the field for the Dallas Cowboys.

That’s the formula that Jason Garrett determined at the start of the season. Since the Cowboys have stars like DeMarco Murray, Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, that theory made a lot of sense. Not only did the Cowboys have “Triplets 2” on offense, they had no such stars on defense.

In many ways, the Chicago Bears have a similar mindset. Head coach Marc Trestman knows that his defense is not in a position to shut any opponent down, and the offense must dominate the game. However, the offense has failed to live up to expectations and that’s why the Bears have had such a disappointing season. These two teams meet tonight at Soldier Field in what should be a high-scoring game. There are plenty of fantasy points on the board here.

Cowboys players

QB Tony Romo – The Cowboys have to consider this an essential game after dropping their Thanksgiving Day meeting with the Eagles. Romo should be able to pick apart the Bears’ secondary if he can get solid protection, and that should not be an issue against Chicago’s soft defense. Romo has a 22-8 TD-interception ratio, and he throws one of the most catchable deep balls in the NFL. He should throw at least two TD passes. PLAY HIM

RB DeMarco Murray – While Murray is light years ahead of the pack when it comes to running the football with 1,427 yards, he has not had his best game in either of the last two weeks. This should be an opportunity for Murray to get back on track. If he can get going in the first quarter, he could exceed 150 yards and get into the endzone at least once. PLAY HIM

WR Dez Bryant – Nobody on the Cowboys took the loss to the Eagles any harder than Bryant, who could be seen trying to rally his teammates with emotional gestures and statements on the sidelines. Bryant needs to keep his emotions in check here and concentrate on catching the football. Bryant is a tough, hard-nosed physical specimen who can run sensational patterns. The Bears appear to have little in the secondary to stop this explosive wide receiver. PLAY HIM

Bears players

QB Jay Cutler – The Bears have failed miserably this season, and Cutler has to take his share of the blame. Cutler has not been making big plays this year, as he is averaging 6.93 yards per pass, and that has allowed opposing defenses to lock down on Chicago’s receivers. While Cutler has thrown 22 touchdown passes, there’s little faith that he can win a confrontation against a team that is on the edge this week. BENCH HIM

RB Matt Forte – The Bears are often their own worst enemy when it comes to gameplanning. Forte is clearly their best all-around player, but the Bears only gave him five rushing attempts vs. the Lions last week. The Cowboys don’t have anywhere near that kind of defense, and Forte must get at least 15 carries and five more touches as a wide receiver. Forte has had just one run of 20 yards or more, but he should get at least one in the this game. PLAY HIM

WR Alshon Jeffery – Jeffery has been the Bears’ most dangerous wideout this season, and his numbers have outstripped Brandon Marshall’s. Jeffery has caught 67-854-7, and he has 13 receptions of 20 yards or more, while Marshall has just four plays that have gained that much yardage. Cutler may not believe that Marshall can get open when he gets deep, and that works in Jeffery’s favor. PLAY HIM

***

Steve Silverman has been writing, talking about and playing fantasy football since the early 1990s. He co-hosted Fantasy Football Weekly, the first Fantasy Football television program, in 1994 and ’95. Follow Steve on Twitter @profootballboy.

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