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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
Muhammad Wilkerson's injury not considered serious
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:03 am ET) The knee injury suffered by Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in the fourth quarter Monday night is not believed to be serious, reports the New York Daily News. Wilkerson recorded 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits and five tackles before leaving.

Jets DST hurt by officiating
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:00 am ET) The Jets DST recorded four sacks and recovered a fumble in Monday's loss to the Bears, but should have scored a touchdown too. The score was negated by a controversial call.

Just before halftime, linebacker David Harris sacked quarterback Jay Cutler and popped the ball loose. Linebacker Demario Davis picked it up and had a clear path to the end zone. Officials, however, had blown the play dead, ruling it merely a sack.

Upon review, the play was correctly called a fumble. But the whistle wiped out the Jets' score. The Jets DST missed another opportunity in the second half when corner Antonio Allen dropped an easy interception.

The Jets host the Lions in Week 4.


Nick Folk stays busy Week 3
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:48 am ET) The Jets' struggles in the red zone gave kicker Nick Folk ample opportunities Monday night. He nailed field goals of 43, 28, 22 and 42 yards and added a PAT for a 13-point night. Now 7 of 7 on field goals this year, Folk plays the Lions in Week 4.

Jets get offensive contributions
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:45 am ET) Several Jets made offensive contributions in the Week 3 loss to the Bears. Quarterback Michael Vick had a 3-yard run. Running back Bilal Powell carried twice for 13 yards and caught two of three targets for 6 yards.

Jets' tight ends combine for seven grabs
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:43 am ET) The Jets got their tight ends heavily involved Week 3 against the Bears. Rookie Jace Amaro caught three of four targets for 54 yards, Jeff Cumberland caught three of six targets for 18 yards and Zach Sudfeld had a 15-yard grab.

They'll face the Lions in Week 4.


David Nelson draws seven targets
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:40 am ET) Jets receiver David Nelson was targeted seven times in Monday night's loss to the Bears, second-most on the team. Nelson managed three catches on 15 yards. He'll play the Lions in Week 4.

Greg Salas makes a 51-yard catch
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Jets receiver Greg Salas spun away from a defender for a 51-yard catch-and-run late in the Week 2 loss to the Bears. He finished with two catches on three targets for 56 yards. Salas plays the Lions in Week 4.

Jeremy Kerley leads the way
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:36 am ET) With No. 1 wideout Eric Decker succumbing to a balky hamstring, Jets receiver Jeremy Kerley stepped up Week 3 against the Bears. Kerley led the team with seven catches for 81 yards, including a nifty 19-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Kerley was targeted 11 times, four more than any other Jet. The 81 receiving yards were his most since Week 7 last year. Kerley takes on the Lions in Week 4.


Chris Johnson goes nowhere on MNF
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:32 am ET) Jets running back Chris Johnson carried 10 times for 34 yards and did not catch either of his targets in Monday's loss to the Bears. Through three games, Johnson is averaging 3.5 yards per carry.

He'll face the Lions in Week 4.


Chris Ivory delivers a punishing 96 yards
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:30 am ET) Jets running back Chris Ivory bowled over multiple would-be tacklers in Monday night's loss to the Bears. He ran 10 times for 44 yards and caught all four of his targets for 52 yards.

Ivory was clearly more effective than backfield partner Chris Johnson, who averaged 3.4 yards per carry and did not make a catch. Ivory plays the Lions in Week 4.


 
 
 
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