Week Seventeen Analysis: No quarterback comes into week 17 any hotter than Tony Romo. Over the past five games, he's averaging a crazy 354 yards and 2.6 touchdowns per game. Dez Bryant has emerged as an elite receiver, and Jason Witten just set the record for tight end receptions in a season. There's only one area of caution. This is a road game, and four out of those amazing last five games have been at home. And the one road game, a trip to Cincinnati, yielded his worst yardage and touchdown total out of those five games. How much worse is Romo on the road? 92 yards worse. And he's topped one touchdown pass in just two road games. Still, Washington's secondary is bottom tier, and Romo ripped them for 441 yards and three touchdowns in week 12…at home.
Week Sixteen Analysis: Despite a season of consistent futility, the Saints secondary inexplicably suffocated Josh Freeman last week, sending myriad fantasy owners to their graves. Can lightning strike twice? It's very unlikely. Especially in Dallas, where Tony Romo averages a crazy 345 yards per game! Romo just tore up a vastly superior defense, Pittsburgh's, last week, and he's now topped 300 yards in four out of the last five games. He's also thrown multiple touchdowns in four of the past six. Even after shutting out Freeman last week, the Saints have still allowed the most passing touchdowns, and they're just one week removed from a four-score bludgeoning at the hands of Eli Manning.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Were it not for the leg injury to Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, Tony Romo might not be startable in this game. But, with Taylor out, and considering Philip Rivers success against the Steelers last week without Taylor in the lineup, Romo is on the map. Rivers' three touchdowns last Sunday equaled the combined scoring of the previous six quarterbacks the Steelers had faced. That's an amazing difference, and Ike Taylor is a lot of why. This is a home game for Romo, where he's been fantastic this year, averaging an absurd 347 yards. So, Romo is a high-risk, high-reward play this week. If the Steelers can patch up the hole that Taylor leaves in their secondary, they could shut down Romo, like they have almost everyone else all year.
Week Fourteen Analysis: I hope you're not missing the fantasy value of Tony Romo right now. In the last three weeks Romo has averaged 353 yards per game and thrown seven touchdowns against only two picks. He's third in the NFL in passing yardage, trailing only Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees and the Cowboys are obviously playing without fear right now. They might want to fear the Bengals though. Very quietly the Bengals are among the best in the NFL against the pass, holding three of the last four teams they've faced to less than 216 passing yards, while allowing only one touchdown pass in the last month.
Week Thirteen Analysis: Tony Romo faced these same Eagles just two weeks ago, and fared okay, posting a two-touchdown, 200-yard game. But, that's a pretty typical game for Romo when facing the Eagles. His average game against his division rival is 245 yards and 1.4 touchdowns. Working in his favor are his last two weeks, in which he's totaled a mammoth 754 yards and four touchdowns. The Eagles secondary is in an absolute tailspin, having allowed multiple touchdowns in five straight games, and a crazy eight touchdowns in the past two weeks. He should have little trouble maintaining his hot hand, with or without Miles Austin in the lineup.
Week Twelve Analysis: Averaging a hair over one touchdown per game, Tony Romo has been a very disappointing fantasy quarterback. And I'd like to assure you that things are going to get better, but I'm not sure I can. While Romo did throw three touchdowns last time he faced the Redskins, in week 11 of last year, it was his first multiple touchdown game against them in seven (!) straight. What's more, the Redskins secondary, while still bad, isn't playing quite as badly as earlier in the year. They've held three of the past four quarterbacks to zero or one touchdown; and they've held three straight quarterbacks to 222 yards or less. I'm not saying the Redskins are suddenly a shutdown secondary, but they're tough enough to keep a lukewarm ranking on Romo.
Week Eleven Analysis: With zero or one touchdown in six of his last eight games, it's hard to feel good about starting Tony Romo in any matchup, even a seemingly favorable one, like this week's against the Browns. But are the Browns really an easy target for Romo? Cleveland secondary was awful until week seven, when star corner Joe Haden settled back in, and suddenly, they're the same shutdown unit they were last year. Over the past three games, three good quarterbacks (Luck, Rivers, Flacco) have done absolutely nothing against the Browns. The combined to throw just one touchdown, and none topped 186 yards. This is a sneaky tough game for Romo.
Week Ten Analysis: Tony Romo has had merely middling success against division rival Philadelphia throughout his career. But this Eagles secondary looks shell shocked right now. What is the world coming to when Nnamdi Asomugha is getting burned regularly? The Eagles have given up multiple touchdown passes, 300 yards, or both in five of the last six games. But, can Romo capitalize on the opportunity? He's faced a lot of tough secondaries (Chi, Car, Atl, Sea) , and been a fantasy disaster, throwing zero or one touchdown in six of the past seven games. I think he can. The Eagles are among the easiest defenses he's faced all year, and I expect him to perform well.
Week Nine Analysis: Tony Romo's fantasy production has been erratic this year. Heck, so has his overall play. He's managed multiple passing touchdowns just twice. Mostly, I blame a turnstile offensive line that hasn't allowed Romo the time needed to establish a consistent downfield passing attack. I'm not sure that changes this week when Romo goes to Atlanta. Only three teams have allowed fewer passing touchdowns than the Falcons. Six of seven opposing quarterbacks have had zero or one touchdown pass. And only one quarterback has topped 258 passing yards. It's a tough matchup for Tony.
Week Eight Analysis: Tony Romo's history against the Giants, including their meeting in this year's opener, is incredibly compelling. In that week one matchup, he threw for 307 yards and three scores. Over his last four full games against the Giants, Romo has averaged a whopping 327 yard and three touchdowns per game. Even more impressive, he's managed multiple touchdowns in eight straight versus New York. The Giants secondary remains highly burnable, with Corey Webster and Stevie Brown getting torched regularly. The only worry is whether Dallas' shaky offensive line will evaporate under the pressure of the Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora.
Week Seven Analysis: Carolina has seen plenty of good quarterbacking this year. Eli Manning. Drew Brees. Matt Ryan. They get another one this week in Tony Romo. Despite the tough opponents, Carolina has allowed more than one passing touchdown just once. Ryan put up three scores, but Brees and Manning only scored once. Part of the reason is that everyone runs on the Panthers. But, without DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys may not run as often. So, I still like Romo, but I don't see a breakout game coming.
Week Six Analysis: I'd like to tell you that things are going to get better for Tony Romo. I'd also like to tell you that my 401k is actually increasing in value. I'd also like to tell you that Kate Upton keeps a tidy bedroom. And I'd like to tell you that that I used the map feature on my iPhone to get here. But none of that is true. Kate leaves her underwear just anywhere. What is true is that Romo has thrown just two touchdowns since way back in the opening game. And Baltimore has allowed a league low two touchdown passes. They only ray of hope for Romo is that Michael Vick and Tom Brady have passed 300 yards. The only ray of hope for Kate Upton is that I might start returning her calls.
Week Four Analysis: I'm very bitter about Tony Romo's performance last week, when he should have abused Tampa's secondary like everyone else. Instead he was as effective as Jessica Simpson's post-partum workout routine. Now he faces a much tougher test, Chicago's solid secondary that ranks ninth in passing yards allowed and number one in touchdown passes allowed with just two. Mixed into those stats is a game against Aaron Rodgers two weeks ago, in which he was held to 219 yards, his lowest yardage output in 23 games. Still, Romo has his full arsenal of weapons, with a now healthy Jason Witten and Miles Austin, so he's got a chance, especially at home as Chicago's defense doesn't always travel well.
Week Three Analysis: I think Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are STILL running unabated through the Buccaneer secondary right now. In two games, the Bucs have allowed 813 passing yards. Two games. By comparison, last year, the Steelers didn't give up 813 passing yards until the second week…of October! The Bucs will face Tony Romo this week, and he's on par with the quarterbacks Tampa has been shredded by, Cam Newton and Eli Manning. Romo has a long history of struggling against good secondaries, and massacring bad ones. Tampa is a bad secondary.
Week Two Analysis:Last week, I told you that I really liked Tony Romo's chances of success. This week, I'm a little worried. It's a tougher matchup. For starters, Seattle isn't missing both starting cornerbacks. The Seahawks have gone six straight games without allowing more than one passing touchdown. What's more, they've allowed an average of just 215 passing yards per game over the past seven games. But, lost in those numbers are the awful NFC West quarterbacks they've faced. Sam Bradford twice, Jon Skelton twice. Tony Romo represents the best quarterback Seattle has seen since week 9 of last year, when the Seahawks faced….Tony Romo. In that game, he threw for 279 and two scores. I expect similar production on Sunday.
Week One Analysis: Tony Romo owns the Giants. Over his last seven matchups with his hated division rival, he's posted six excellent games. His averages over those last seven meetings: 2.9 touchdowns and 281 yards. In the two meetings last year, Romo threw for six touchdowns and 610 yards. And the Giants are ailing at cornerback, with Terrell Thomas and Price Amukamara both injured. If either plays, they'll be playing hurt. Romo will need to overcome injuries to Miles Austin (hamstring) and Jason Witten (spleen). This ranking assumes that Austin plays and Witten doesn't. If we're surprised either way, adjust Romo a few spots accordingly.
NEXT: #3 MATTHEW STAFFORD