Tony Romo is the only thing that has kept the Dallas Cowboys alive over the last seven seasons, yet he still can’t catch a break from the media or fans. The unfortunate truth is that it won’t stop until Romo secures a Super Bowl win, either.
Luckily for fantasy owners, whether or not Romo turns into a playoff maestro over night has nothing to do with the magic he’s already been making for years in the fantasy realm. Because fat new contract and recent back surgery aside, there is no reason to suspect Romo will not once again be a top option in fantasy football at the quarterback position.
Take away Romo’s 2010 season (where he missed 10 games due to a broken clavicle), and Romo has put up three straight seasons with 4,000+ passing yards and at least 26 touchdowns. In fact, if you look ever closer, Romo was on a torrid pace back in 2010, one that could have had him hunting down 5,000 yards passing and 30+ touchdowns.
Fast forward to 2012, and Romo actually was closing in on 5,000 yards passing. It wasn’t just an extrapolation or funny idea anymore; it was actually happening.
In the end, Romo capped his 2012 fantasy year with an impressive 4,903 yards through the air to go along with 28 touchdowns. His interception total (19) was awfully high for a starting quarterback in fantasy football, but considering that was just the second time in his entire career he’d thrown more than 14 interceptions in the same season, it has to be forgivable.
The fact is, we’ve seen Romo carve up defenses on a routine basis for the past seven years, and short of a devastating injury stepping in his way, he’s good for 4,000+ passing yards and 26-30 touchdowns on average.
That’s the consistent, reliable Romo we’ve grown to love. Cowboys fans would undoubtedly wish for that to forever translate into real game success, but fantasy owners will take what they can get. And if all goes well in 2013, they might be taking quite a bit.
Romo has operated without a consistent rushing attack supporting him for the better part of the past two years and is visibly more in control when the Cowboys are running the ball effectively. That will call for a healthy DeMarco Murray, who has missed ample time in his first two NFL seasons. For the sake of Romo’s fantasy fortunes, it’s at least hopeful that Murray could finally play more than 13 games in a season.
On top of the balance Murray helps bring to the table, it’s important to note that as good as Romo is, his weapons as a whole are even better. Miles Austin, like Murray, needs to stay healthy, but when on the field, he’s still among the league’s better number two wide receivers.
Dez Bryant has molded himself into an elite number one wide receiver, and as long as he keeps his head on straight he’ll stick at that status for years to come. Toss in aging but still wildly effective friend and tight end Jason Witten, and Romo has a trio of dependable receivers helping him on his merry way.
But wait, there’s more. As good as Romo’s current cast of weapons is, the talent around him figures to even be getting better. The Cowboys added a down-field threat and burner in wide receiver Terrance Williams, a big red-zone target in tight end Gavin Escobar and a legit backup for Murray (should he go down again) in running back Joseph Randle.
Williams gives Romo that number three receiver he’s been dying for since Laurent Robinson left town, Escobar allows two tight end-sets to return to Dallas, and Randle gives them an insurance plan behind the shaky Murray.
And just like that, just when you thought Romo’s fantasy football value couldn’t get anymore certain, it did. In fact, if the new rookies pan out, or better yet, if Romo’s top options simply stay healthy and play to their talent level, the Cowboys quarterback should be in for one of his best seasons ever.
It would only be fitting, too, considering Dallas just made Romo the highest paid player in franchise history in March.
Kevin Roberts is a contributing writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin.