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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
Jets waive fullback J.C. Copeland
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(8:59 pm ET) The Jets waived fullback J.C. Copeland after Saturday's training camp practice, per NJ.com. Copeland was one of two fullbacks in camp.

Copeland was cut after struggling in Saturday's workout. He was beaten badly trying to block a lineman and dropped a pass.  


Vikings sign WR Ryan Whalen
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(8:43 pm ET) The Vikings signed wide receiver Ryan Whalen , per ESPN Radio

Whalen was drafted by Cincinnati in 2011 and released during the 2014 preseason. He was out of football throughout last season. He has 11 catches for 80 yards in his career. 


Eagles trade Brandon Boykin to Steelers
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(8:21 pm ET) The Eagles traded cornerback Brandon Boykin to the Steelers for a conditional fifth-round draft pick in the 2016 draft, the team announced on Sunday.

Boykin was a fourth-round pick in 2012 and has seven interceptions in his Eagles career. 


Dolphins awarded Cobi Hamilton, cut Kai De La Cruz
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(7:24 pm ET) The Dolphins were awarded wide receiver Cobi Hamilton on waivers, the team announced on Saturday. Hamilton was waived by Cincinnati earlier in the week. 

To make room for him on the roster, the Dolphins released rookie receiver Kai De La Cruz


Report: Steelers' Martavis Bryant to undergo elbow procedure
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(7:11 pm ET) Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is expected to undergo a procedure for an infection on his elbow.

Bryant is expected to miss about 10 days, and will not be available for the upcoming Hall-of-Fame game, according to FoxSports.com. 


Jets' Devin Smith remains hospitalized with punctured lung
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:48 pm ET) Jets wide receiver Devin Smith spent Friday night in the hospital after suffering broken ribs in practice. 

Smith will also spend Saturday night in the hospital, as doctors have determined he suffered a punctured lung. Smith will be out for the rest of the preseason. 


Dolphins claim wide receiver Cobi Hamilton; waive Kai De La Cruz
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:59 pm ET) The Dolphins claimed wide receiver Cobi Hamilton off waivers Saturday, the team announced. Hamilton was recently released by the Bengals. He has never appeared in an NFL game.

To make room for Hamilton, the team waived wide receiver Kai De La Cruz.


Panthers DT Kawann Short dealing with back issue
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:34 pm ET) Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short missed Saturday's practice with a back injury, reports The Charlotte Observer. The severity of the injury is not known.

In 2014, Short produced 3 1/2 sacks and 40 tackles in 16 games.


Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall takes day off Saturday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:10 pm ET) After participating in the first two days of training camp, the Redskins held cornerback DeAngelo Hall out of Saturday's full-pad practice as a precaution, reports the New York Times.

Hall is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and the plan is for him to practice for two days then take a day off.

"Not being in football in 10 months, I'm going to need some monitoring, as far as reps and things like that, just to make sure I don't kill myself in the first two weeks," Hall said. "You've got a little bit of anxiety — kind of anxiousness, nervousness, excitement — so it felt a little different. But once you get on the field, it's still football. My leg still worked. Still not quite as explosive as I want to be, and they say that's going to take some time, but I feel good."


Report: Chargers DL Tenny Palepoi fractures foot Saturday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4:59 pm ET) Chargers defensive lineman Tenny Palepoi suffered a fracture to his foot during Saturday's practice, sources told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Palepoi had to be carted off the field after sustaining the injury. He is expected to need two months to recover from the injury. Palepoi produced 16 tackles in 16 games last season.


 
 
 
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