Tony Romo is always being touted as a decent late-round QB in fantasy football. He has quietly been a pretty consistent fantasy QB these last few years if you subscribe to the wait-on-QB draft strategy, but what about in the 2014 season? Here’s why I actually think that Romo will be a steal this year if his ADP remains at where it is now.
Romo underwent two back surgeries in 2013 — once in April to remove a cyst and again in December to fix a herniated disk. He also just turned 34 years old and is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. However, Romo has only missed significant playing time in the 2010 season, during which he broke his left clavicle and missed 10 games. Outside of that season, Romo has only missed four games since taking over for Drew Bledsoe as the Dallas Cowboys‘ starting QB in 2006.
His recent back surgery will keep his draft position relatively late, but I’m not terribly concerned about his injury risk. Every QB gets hurt at some point, and Romo’s record has been pretty solid in terms of proving his physical resilience. His arm also seems to be strong enough to do what’s asked of him, and Cowboys TE Jason Witten recently remarked in April that Romo’s passes still have “the same zip, same as always.”
But here’s why I’m really high on Romo for the 2014 season. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has always liked to throw. DeMarco Murray only had 217 rushing attempts last year compared to Romo’s 535 passing attempts. It seemed like the Cowboys would abandon the run in many games, even when Murray was having success or despite the fact that the team was ahead.
Dallas passed even more in the 2012 season, as Romo threw the ball 648 times for almost 5,000 yards. As amazing as it might sound, I think that Romo will match or even eclipse that number of passing attempts in 2014. The Cowboys hired former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to be their new offensive play caller this offseason, and I think that Romo’s fantasy value skyrockets because of this hiring.
With Linehan as his offensive play caller, Lions QB Matt Stafford averaged about 675 pass attempts per season from 2011 to 2013. In 2011, Stafford was the fifth-highest scoring fantasy player overall with over 5,000 yards and 41 TDs. Romo might not have WR Calvin Johnson catching passes for him, but he has Dez Bryant, who is similarly talented. Romo also has Terrance Williams, a second-year WR who showed a lot of potential in his rookie season.
And did I mention that the Cowboys’ defense gave up the fifth most points to opponents last year? Romo will probably be in quite a few more shootouts this year, as Dallas still has a lot of work to do in bolstering the defensive unit.
Assuming health, I think that Romo has good odds to be a top-10 fantasy QB this coming season. In many mock drafts, Romo is still falling to the eighth round or later. If he’s available that late in August, I would definitely be okay with him as my QB going into 2014. He’s been pretty consistent up to this point, and he has the upside to reach 5,000 yards for the first time in his career and repeat his 30-TD performance from last year.
Of course Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are the consensus top-three fantasy QBs, but don’t underestimate Romo’s potential going into this coming season. This may be a bold prediction, but I have a sneaky suspicion that Romo might join Jay Cutler as a top-5 fantasy QB in 2014.