By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
“Tony Romo to miss 6-10 weeks.”
Because we’ve never heard that before. Tony Romo, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, has suffered yet another injury, hurting the Cowboys’ chances of competing for the NFC East title.
Many will judge whether that statement is indeed factual, especially after the preseason performance of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, but what fantasy owners really care about is how the latest injury in the career of the incumbent Cowboys QB will affect their upcoming fantasy season.
A season after Romo’s latest injury – he fractured his clavicle last year – many fantasy owners aren’t rolling the dice by drafting him as their starter, unless they are in 14 or 16 team leagues. But there are quite a few players on the offensive side of the ball fantasy owners aren’t hesitant to draft and rely on. How will Romo’s injury impact them?
Let’s start with Dez Bryant. The star wide receiver is coming off his own injury, a foot injury that hampered his production throughout the season. It’s a known fact that the Cowboys as a team struggle to win games without Romo at quarterback – since 2012, the Cowboys have won exactly one game without Romo at QB – and without a competent QB to win them games, they don’t get Dez the ball as often as he’d like, or you would like for that matter.
I’m reacting to the news, but not overreacting. Yet. I downgraded him slightly, to WR9 and 17th overall. He’s still a 2nd round pick at worst. The fact of the matter is, Prescott needs someone to throw the ball to, and Dez is one of the best at going up and getting it. I’m sure there will be a few underwhelming performances, but he’s too good a talent to ignore.
The other big playmaker on offense is rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott. You know he’s going to get the ball. A lot. Now, with another rookie under center, he’s going to get the ball a lot more. The Cowboys will want to keep the ball out of Prescott’s hands as often as needed to avoid any rookie mistakes. Elliott was drafted to be a bell cow. And a bell cow he will be. I didn’t move him up any, though I’m tempted to. But I would without a doubt draft him over Dez Bryant.
As for tight end Jason Witten, he may be a bigger beneficiary in the passing game than Dez. Rookie quarterbacks tend to fall in love with their tight ends. Look at Titans QB Marcus Mariota last season. His favorite target turned out to be TE Delanie Walker, who put up some serious fantasy points on his way to finishing as the number two TE last year. Of course, Mariota didn’t have a WR the likes of Dez Bryant, but you get the point. I think Witten remains in the lower tier TE options, but he should still be considered a starter.