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2014 Draft Prep: Tony Romo will be the top value QB

Senior Fantasy Writer
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You may not want Tony Romo on your Fantasy team this year. You might think he's old at 34 and brittle coming off back surgery for the second time in two years. You probably consider him overrated.

While all of that might be true to some degree, he's still an above-average Fantasy quarterback. And this year he's going to be great. The prediction is Romo will be the best value at quarterback on Draft Day.

Heading into the second week of preseason action, Romo's Average Draft Position on CBSSports.com is No. 78 overall in Round 7. That value is good, but the bigger issue is some of the quarterbacks being drafted ahead of him in Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, Nick Foles and Robert Griffin III.

I'd rather have Romo. Here's why.

Romo has the perfect cocktail for Fantasy success this season. He has an awesome receiving corps and offensive line, an awful defense and a pass-happy play-caller in Scott Linehan. He also has a good history of success. He's has been a top-10 Fantasy quarterback in four of the past five years, including three in a row. He was No. 8 in Fantasy points last year in a standard league with 3,828 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 64 percent completions.

He missed the final game of the season last year with his back injury, but if he played in that game and reached his average of 21 Fantasy points he would have been No. 6, just two points shy of Cam Newton at No. 5. And he should improve this year as long as he can remain healthy.

The addition of Linehan, coupled with a defense that could keep Romo in hurry-up and comeback mode, should allow for big games. As the play-caller in Detroit, Linehan had Matthew Stafford throwing at a ridiculous pace. Stafford was fourth, first and first in pass attempts the past three years. He was No. 7 in Fantasy points last season, No. 11 in 2012 and No. 4 in 2011. Romo is going to challenge for the pass-attempts lead and that should lead to a potential career year.

Romo averaged 0.6 Fantasy points per attempt in 2013. If he had Stafford's pass attempts last season at 634 with his same point per attempt average, Romo would have been at 380 points, which would have made him the No. 3 Fantasy quarterback behind Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

Now, there are other variables to consider besides Linehan. Most of them are positive.

His offensive line is elite, highlighted by Tyron Smith and Doug Free at the tackle spots and Travis Frederick at center. The Cowboys spent a first-round pick on right guard Zack Martin and the team should improve with its protection after Romo was sacked 35 times, which was No. 17 among quarterbacks.

Romo also has tremendous weapons in Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams and DeMarco Murray. Last year, Bryant led the NFL by being tackled inside the 5-yard line seven times. Had Bryant converted those touchdowns with Romo scoring an additional 42 Fantasy points (based on six points for passing scores) then he would have been third behind Manning and Brees in total scoring.

Now, it would help if Romo was more consistent this season compared to last year. He had just eight games with more than 20 Fantasy points, including only two of his final six. And Murray's rushing prowess could cut into Romo's productivity, especially if Dallas tries to keep its terrible defense off the field.

The back surgery is also troubling. Romo has to prove he's over the problems from last year. But the Cowboys didn't invest heavily in a backup option, instead going with a castoff in Brandon Weeden and passing on Johnny Manziel in the NFL Draft. They obviously feel Romo is ready to go. I'm confident in him, too.

There could be other quarterbacks with better value on Draft Day -- Jay Cutler at No. 88 overall is a strong candidate -- but I'll go with Romo. I'll let other owners draft quarterbacks early while I stockpile talent at running back and receiver, and then I'll gamble on Romo in Round 7 or later depending on how the draft goes.

You know what you're getting with Romo, which is at least a top-10 finish based on his history. And with the other factors surrounding him this season, a top-5 finish is not out of the question.

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Player News
T.Y. Hilton makes no impact Week 17 before leaving
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:15 pm ET) Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton was targeted three times without a catch in the first half at Tennessee on Sunday. With Indy all but locked into the No. 4 playoff seed, the team pulled Hilton and other starters after halftime.

Hilton came into the game nursing a hamstring injury that caused him to miss Week 16. He did not appear to aggravate the injury.

Hilton finishes the regular season with 82 catches for 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns. He'll face the Bengals or Steelers in the playoffs.


Ras-I Dowling, Khalil Mack good to go for Week 17
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3:14 pm ET) The Raiders will have both Ras-I Dowling and Khalil Mack Week 17 against the Broncos.

Dowling entered the game listed as probable due to a hamstring injury. He was never a real threat to miss the contest. 

Mack was listed as questionable with a hamstring issue. He was able to put in limited practice all week, but will attempt to play through the injury. 


Lions unveil seven players as inactive for Sunday's game
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:12 pm ET) The following players have been declared as inactive for the Lions in Sunday's game against the Packers: Nick Fairley, Ryan Broyles, Kellen Moore, Rodney Austin, Larry Webster, Josh Thomas and Caraun Reid.

Raiders list inactives for Week 17
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3:10 pm ET) The Raiders have listed WR Denarius Moore, WR Vincent Brown, CB Chimdi Chekwa, CB T.J. Carrie, G Tony Bergstrom, T Menelik Watson and DT Stacy McGee as inactive Week 17 against the Broncos.

Brown, Chekwa and Moore had all been ruled out prior to Sunday. Both Carrie and Watson entered the contest listed as questionable. Carrie is dealing with an ankle injury. Watson has foot and ankle issues. Bergstrom and McGee are healthy scratches. 


Packers QB Aaron Rodgers ready to roll in Week 17
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:09 pm ET) Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is active and set to start Sunday's game against the Lions. Rodgers was probable all week after suffering a calf injury against the Bucs in Week 16. He missed the final series of the game as a precaution with the game in hand.

The Packers are 7 1/2-point favorites against the Lions Sunday.


Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald good to go for Week 17
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3:07 pm ET) Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald is active Week 17 against the 49ers.

Fitzgerald entered the contest listed as probable due to a knee injury. He was never a serious candidate to miss the game. 

The club will also have Lorenzo Alexander, Jaron Brown, Calais Campbell, Rashad Johnson, Ted Larsen, Tyrann Mathieu and Matt Shaughnessy for the contest. All seven players were also considered probable.

Deone Bucannon, John Carlson and Dan Williams will all attempt to play through injuries. They were all listed as questionable coming into the game. 


Packers declare seven inactive for Sunday's game against Lions
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:05 pm ET) The Packers have declared seven players as inactive for Sunday's game against the Lions including DuJuan Harris, Davon House, Carl Bradford, Garth Gerhart, Justin Perillo, Jeff Janis and Bruce Gatson.

House was hampered all week by a shoulder injury and was delcared out for the game on Friday's injury report. 

The Packers are 7 1/2-point favorites against the Lions.


Cardinals list inactives for Week 17
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3:04 pm ET) The Cardinals have listed QB Drew Stanton, WR Brittan Golden, S Chris Clemons, LB Larry Foote, G Jonathan Cooper, G Anthony Steen and DE Kareem Martin as inactive Week 17 against the 49ers.

Stanton was ruled out prior to Sunday due to a knee injury. Foote came into the contest listed as doubtful. He's dealing with a knee issue. Jonathan Cooper, who entered the game questionable with a wrist injury, will not play. The other four players listed are healthy scratches. 


Colts lose guards Hugh Thornton, A.Q. Shipley to leg injuries
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:03 pm ET) Colts guards Hugh Thornton and A.Q. Shipley left the game at Tennessee with leg injuries. The severity of the injuries was not immediately known, but they're cause for concern heading into Indy's playoff game next week.

Titans NT Sammie Hill leaves with hamstring injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:01 pm ET) Titans nose tackle Sammie Lee Hill left the game against the Colts in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. The team called him questionable to return.

 
 
 
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