Hey, Tony could be the ticket in ’07

I certainly liked what I saw from Cowboy QB Tony Romo last year, but as the season wrapped up I was still not 100% sold on him as a franchise QB for the Cowboys or, for that matter, an ideal starter for fantasy in 2007.

But as I began writing about the QBs for this year’s magazine, and started to look deeper into the players, Romo stands out as a value. It’s still very early, so it’s hard to get a handle on his true ADP, but he seems to be going around 70-90th overall, in around rounds 6-8 in a typical 12-team league.

That’s a solid value, but what stood out to me are the findings of our stat man, Mike Horn. Here’s a recent MB post from Mike on Romo:

Romo completed 65.3% of his passes for 8.51 YPA.  Since 1978, 17 times QBs have thrown 300 or more passes, completed 64% or better of them for 8+ YPA.  Here’s the list and their fantasy rank in the following year:

Ken Anderson 1982:  23; Games – 13   i.e. Anderson achieved the benchmarks in ’82, then in ’83 he ranked 23rd while playing 13 games
Marc Bulger 2004:  23; Games – 8
Daunte Culpepper 2004:  x; Games – 7
Trent Green 2004:  12; Games – 16
Jim Kelly 1991:  5; Games – 16
Peyton Manning 2004:  3; Games – 16
Peyton Manning 2005:  1; Games – 16
Dan Marino 1984:  2; Games – 16
Joe Montana 1984:  1; Games – 15
Joe Montana 1989:  3; Games – 15
Kurt Warner 1999:  14; Games – 11
Kurt Warner 2000:  1; Games – 16
Kurt Warner 2001:  x; Games – 7
Steve Young 1992:  1; Games – 16
Steve Young 1993:  1; Games – 16
Steve Young 1994:  9; Games – 11
Steve Young 1997:  1; Games – 15

That is extremely impressive company, to say the least. Romo played a little too fast last year, too loose, and he has to guard against a gunslinger mentality that can get him into trouble, a la Jake Delhomme. In his second year as the full-time starter, it’s reasonable to assume Romo will settle down a little and slow the game down. That would go a long way toward limiting his mistakes, and his propensity to throw picks seems to be his only serious flaw.

Here’s some more stat stuff from Horn’s research on Romo:
From the time he came on in relief in Week 7 to the end of the season, Romo was the #4 ranked QB in points per game (3rd overall).  His yardage and TD totals were very similar to Carson Palmer and Drew Brees in that span and although he was more prone to turnovers, he was also more likely to get a few yards on the ground.  He had a higher completion percentage (65.3%) on the year than any starting QB who kept his job.  He had three 300-yard games out of the 11 he got substantial playing time in.  His 8.61 yards per attempt was fabulous, better than any QB with over 55 attempts.  Since 1978, 56 times QBs have averaged over 63% completions and 7.5 YPA while throwing over 200 times.  The next season, 49 of them stayed healthy enough to throw 200 or more passes.  In those cases, eight times they finished as the #1 ranked fantasy QB, 22 times they were top 5 QBs, and 30 times they were top 10.  Only three times did they finish ranked below 25th.  In that same span, 17 times there were QBs over 64% and 8.0 YPA.  In the following year, six times they were #1, nine times they were top 3.  The only QB in this group who finished lower than #5 while playing 16 games was Trent Green (12th in 2005). 
So I’m ready to anoint Romo as a player to target this year, but what could really put him over the top for me would be the Cowboys selecting a quality wideout early in the draft. They will definitely take one on the first day, but if they opt to use their #1 pick on a receiver such as Ted Ginn, Robert Meachem, or Dwayne Bowe, Romo’s supporting cast at receiver will be downright deadly. It’s going to be good no matter what – watch out for TE Jason Witten this year, by the way – but it could be scary-good.

That’s just one of the key story-lines I’ll be following this weekend.     

Category: Fantasy Football


5 Responses

  1. wetzelja says:

    Hey John, Romo’s an intriguing pick, but what impact do you think Wade Phillips will have on his production, if any?

  2. John Hansen says:

    I think Phillips will be hands-off, so the real question is: is Jason Garrett ready to match wits with the league’s defensive coordinators? That is a key question. Two years ago, Garrett and his father were looking at a kid who I know who lives down the street from me and who starred at a Div III school, and that’s a quick journey doing that and then coaching Terrell Owens just a couple of years later.

  3. bleedjetgreen says:

    Agree with you on Romo and Witten. Romo will be solid no matter what. Witten will be solid, but if Owens gets suspended (and you can almost guarantee he will in year 2 in Big D), I think Witten could be the best TE in the league (unless Gates sees more looks this year).

  4. bsteinbe73 says:

    What makes you guys think Witten is in for a big jump in looks and production? To me the emergence of MB3 hurt Witten in the dump-off role and MB3 figures to get on the field even more this year. I’d love to see Witten truly break out but I am very skeptical that he will be more than a fringe TE1.

  5. John Hansen says:

    Witten was 8th in a yardage/TD league while Romo was in at QB, and that’s with him getting only 1 TD (48/589). I don’t expect Barber to score 16 TDs again, so that’s gotta be 2-3 more for Witten, plus the T.O. implosion/injury potential is strong. I’m not saying Witten can be a stud, but I feel he will go down as a very nice value.

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