Our ESPN.com fantasy football experts take up the question of which quarterback they'd rather have in fantasy this year if they miss out on the top guys and are choosing between the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo and the Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford. Romo finished ninth in ESPN standard fantasy scoring last year with 271 points. Stafford finished 11th with 263. So it's a pretty worthwhile comparison, and you can see/hear the guys debate it in this video right here.
The crux of the debate seems to be Romo's dependability (as a fantasy quarterback) versus Stafford's upside as a guy who threw 727 passes last year and whose top receiver is Calvin Johnson. The stat about Johnson being tackled at the one-yard line six times is really eye-popping, and I think that's part of what makes me lean Stafford in this debate. I feel like I know exactly what I'll get from Romo as a fantasy quarterback if he's healthy and his receivers are healthy, and I think it's what he delivered last year. Which is fine.
But if last year is Stafford's floor, and if his upside rests on something as reasonable as the game's best receiver getting one more yard on a half-dozen plays, then I'm thinking Stafford is the guy here. If the worst he's going to do is an average of a half-point less than Romo per week, then I'd rather take the guy who has the potential to end the season as a top-five quarterback than the safer pick. Absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with getting "stuck" with Romo in fantasy. The guy who won my league last year did it with Romo as his quarterback. I respect his ability to put up numbers, I don't buy that a healthy DeMarco Murray (whatever that might look like) would hinder his fantasy value, and I think Dez Bryant has enough upside as a No. 1 wide receiver that Romo has more value in leagues that award bonus points for long touchdowns. But with Stafford, we've seen a guy who can rank among the very best fantasy quarterbacks in the league. And if I can find that in the middle rounds, I'm falling in love with it.