36-Year-Old Quarterback – Dallas Cowboys
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
The Cowboys' season essentially ended just after it began, as a routine sack in Week 2 broke Romo's collarbone and left the franchise staring directly into the abyss of what life will be like when the...
Tony Romo Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $108 million contract extension with Dallas in March of 2013, with $55 million guaranteed.
Romo (back) is not participating in Monday's practice, ESPN's Todd Archer reports.
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|Passing||Pass Distance||Big Pass Games||Rushing||Fumbles|
|2016 Proj||36||DAL||Subscribe now to see our 2016 projections for Tony Romo|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Fantasy Points Per Game||Passing Stats||Red Zone Passes||Red Zone Runs|
|2016 Proj||36||DAL||Subscribe now to see our 2016 projections for Tony Romo|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Passing||Pass Distance||Rushing||Fumbles||Red Zone Passes||Red Zone Runs|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Tony Romo: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After running the ball about a third of the time the previous two years, the Cowboys kept the ball on the ground 50.1 percent of their plays last season, third highest in the league. Even though that cost Romo 100 attempts from 2013, he had nearly the same number of passing yards and a seven-year high 34 touchdowns. Relieved of having to carry the offense, Romo increased his efficiency, leading the league in both completion percentage (career-high 69.9) and YPA (8.52). Romo completed 44.4 percent of his passes of 21-plus yards, ranking third, and was second in red-zone touchdown percentage (38.0) with 19 scores on 50 passes, nearly matching, on 13 fewer attempts, the 21 red-zone scores he had in 2013. The Cowboys did not re-sign the NFL's leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, but coach Jason Garrett said the gameplan won't change. Even if the Cowboys are more pass-heavy this season, a running game likely led by Joseph Randle should still be effective behind the league's best offensive line, which should prevent defenses from selling out against Romo and the pass. And if the Cowboys run less near the goal line, Romo can rely on elite receiver Dez Bryant (eight red-zone TD), dependable tight end Jason Witten and 6-2 Terrance Williams, who combined for 11 touchdowns on 19 targets inside the 10-yard line last season. Durability is always an issue, but after missing one game with a back injury last season, the 35-year-old Romo said in May he is fully healthy for the first time since his 2013 back surgery.
Aside from his health, there are few concerns surrounding Romo heading into this season. He has one of the league's elite red-zone receivers in Dez Bryant, an above average tight end in Jason Witten and, particularly with the addition of 16th overall pick Zack Martin at guard, one of the league's better offensive lines in front of him. He's one of the NFL's better bets to hover around the 30-touchdown mark, as he's posted 90 touchdowns over the last three years. The main concern with Romo is that he's recovering from a December surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back. Back injuries, particularly herniated discs, are always concerning, but it's especially worrisome in Romo's case, as he turned 34 in April. Of course, it'd be reckless to write off Romo over a back surgery when Peyton Manning showed the ability to return from multiple neck surgeries, but there's probably still more risk with Romo than most of the other players in this range. It's also worth noting that Dallas' wide receiver depth is very thin, and an injury to Bryant would mean all bets are off.
For a down year, Romo's seventh-place finish in 2012 was pretty solid; he checked in just one point per game behind Peyton Manning, primarily because Romo topped his career high by nearly 100 attempts. While Romo isn't going to throw 650 times again in 2013, as the quantity goes down, the quality should go up – his 7.6 YPA, the lowest for any full season of his career, will probably increase. Romo passed for 28 touchdowns in 2012, but he threw for one on just 4.3 percent of his passes – the lowest mark of his career. That Romo attempted only seven passes from inside the opponent's five-yard line largely explains that; no quarterback in the top 20 in fantasy points was so low. Romo also led the league with 19 interceptions, though some of that was due to the high volume of throws while playing from behind. This year, the Cowboys seem committed to giving Romo everything he needs to succeed. The team's first three draft picks were all on offense, including tight end Gavin Escobar and wide receiver Terrance Williams. Those pass-catchers will join Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten to form one of the league's deeper sets of skill position players. At press time, Romo was recovering from surgery to remove a cyst from his back and missed the team's June minicamp. He is expected to be 100 percent healthy for the start of training camp, however.
In a year with three 5,000-yard passers and stunning showings by Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers, it’s understandable most football fans didn’t notice how good Romo was in 2011. He completed 66.3 percent of his passes, averaging 8.0 yards per attempt as he totaled 4,184 yards and 31 touchdowns in the air despite missing essentially his Week 16 game against Philadelphia. He also finished with just 10 interceptions, giving him the first 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio of his career. It’s reasonable to expect a regression from Romo in 2012, though. First, there’s no reason to think Romo will stay healthy for 16 games. The Cowboys forgot how to pick up the blitz back in 1995, and Romo takes too many hits – he played a full year only once in the last four. Second, the Cowboys lost wide receiver Laurent Robinson, who finished with 858 yards and 11 touchdowns in just 14 games, via free agency, to the Jaguars. With top receiver Miles Austin tentatively deserving the “injury prone” label, Robinson’s exit could prove to be significant, as the next-best receiver on the roster after Austin and Dez Bryant is probably fifth-round rookie Danny Coale.
Coming off a season in which he missed nearly 11 games with a broken collarbone, Romo could be a decent bargain in fantasy drafts this year. He’s a bit of an injury worry after missing most of last year and three games in 2008, but Romo still has high upside due to being an efficient passer in a talented and pass-happy offense. He has two big-time receiving talents to throw to in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, while Jason Witten remains one of the league’s elite tight ends. The ninth overall selection of offensive tackle Tyron Smith, in theory, should provide Romo with better pass protection, and third-round running back pick DeMarco Murray provides a big-play threat with rare pass-catching abilities in the backfield. Romo has hovered around 8.0 yards per pass attempt in his five seasons as a starter, and he has a healthy career touchdown percentage of 5.7. The pieces are all in place for him to return to stardom in 2011.
Romo, who finally delivered a playoff victory for the Cowboys, is primed for another strong season. Romo has had a YPA over 8.0 in three of four years and was 7.7 in the other. That’s a guaranteed 25-to-30 TDs. When he’s at the top of his game, which is often, he balances efficiency with outstanding pocket awareness and athleticism that he uses to extend plays. When Romo escapes pressure, he maintains his downfield focus, and scoring plays very often result from this chaos. The Cowboys do prefer to run the ball in close. But balancing that is a very solid WR corps led by Miles Austin with TE Jason Witten as a security blanket and chain mover. Dez Bryant will be around, too, and he has top-shelf ability although he’s very raw. The bottom line with Romo is that you have to expect an 8.0 YPA and at least 500 attempts and maybe 550 over a 16-game season. That’s 4,000-to-4,400 yards, a winning number from your fantasy QB.
Last year’s numbers seem disappointing, but he did average two TD passes per start, which is a winning rate. He also deftly avoided sacks (just 20 in 450 attempts) and had a sound YPA (7.7, which is what we look for from a guy we project for 25-to-30 TDs). However, there were some flaws, most notably just 25th in YPA on first downs, where he should really generate big plays more frequently, considering teams are usually playing base, vanilla defenses. Romo’s success has been largely predicated on his great proficiency in our FAS ratings (throws only 11-to-20 yards from scrimmage). In 2007, he had a 99 QB rating on these tosses and last year, 90.5 with 10 TDs in just 96 attempts. But how much of this success was predicated on Terrell Owens? We predict “a lot.” Now Roy Williams has to step into the void, and while he’s undeniably talented, he’s always been an underachiever and, unlike Owens, a lazy worker. Say what you want about T.O., but he’s driven to succeed on the field like few others ever have been at the position. We thought the team would address the wide-receiver position in the draft. But they ignored it until the 229th pick and thus must really love Miles Austin. Where are the explosive plays going to come from? Not from Jason Witten. Probably from Felix Jones and the running game, but that doesn’t help Romo’s passing numbers.
There are no issues with his ability, but drafting guys coming off huge fantasy seasons is usually unwise given their cost and the likelihood they regress to the mean. Of course, they regress to their mean and Romo's is probably 30 TDs, given his sparkling career YPA – 8.1 last year, second only to Tom Brady's. The other caveat with Romo is Terrell Owens' age. No one is in better shape than Owens, but Father Time will definitely subtract from his supreme athletic ability in the not too distant future. And it's physical dominance that keys so much of his production and thus Romo's, too. Owens is that rare breed of receiver who makes QBs; he's done it at every stop. We haven't seen Romo operate without Owens for extended periods. So if Owens isn't at the top of his game there might be a rippling effect, as Romo's other targets are ordinary – and that includes tight end Jason Witten, who is old school in his ability to find holes in the defense, but who lacks game altering ability. The Cowboys defense doesn't do Romo any favors, meaning it's pretty good. Last year, it was 13th in points allowed per game. But its fundamentals were better, and we’d expect Dallas to be at least top 10 in preventing opposing points. So, don’t expect many shootouts for Touchdown Tony. There are no marks against him in our stats: he has great FAS (99 QB rating on 11-to-20 yard throws from scrimmage). His 8.96 YPA and 14 TDs on first down are sparkling. And he was above average in converting TDs in every strata of the red zone.
The touts and the smart guys in a lot of leagues are going to be down on Romo. That’s because they were too high on him to begin with. A regression to the mean should have been expected last year because no one just steps in and plays great at this position without hitting a major hazard or two. OK, except Dan Marino, a once-in-a-generation player. Romo has Terrell Owens to throw to, and that still means a lot. There wasn’t a more explosive receiver in football last year, and Owens would have been even more productive if not for all the dropped passes, some of which were due to playing with broken fingers. Romo maintained a sparkling 8.6 YPA for the year. That’s the best mark of any QB with a significant amount of attempts. That means he should have been the most productive TD passer when adjusting for attempts. He wasn’t, but 18 TD passes in 10 starts is very solid, a rate of about 29 scoring strikes over a 16-game slate. That’s enough to be a major fantasy championship asset. The 21 sacks show he had good pocket awareness, but he desperately sought to avoid some sacks last year by flinging the ball up for grabs. With a YPA like Romo’s, you expect stats like 63.7 percent of his passing yards in the air and 42.4 of his total attempts resulting in first downs. Damon Huard led the NFL at 43.4 percent and Peyton Manning was second at 43.3. The interceptions became a problem, but Romo never started before, and the Cowboys passing game emphasized the big play. Picks are bad, but if you eliminate them by checking down, dumping off and never taking a chance, you’ve surrendered. Romo is a risk because you don’t know if he is more Clint Longley than Roger Staubach. But you can’t win fantasy championships without taking chances, either.
#2 QB is the logical handcuff for Drew Bledsoe owners. Romo has yet to throw a pass in the NFL, however.
Battling Drew Henson just to be the #2 QB.
At best, Romo will find a spot on the Cowboys' practice squad in 2004.