NFL fantasy news and views

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News:Cowboys QB Tony Romoout four weeks with broken right pinkie finger

Views: This is a major blow to the Cowboys' chances of winning the rough-and-tumble NFC East -- especially since Brad Johnson will likely be the QB starter in the club's Week 9 roadie with the Giants. (Luckily, Dallas has a bye in Week 10). Yes, Johnson owns a Super Bowl ring (Tampa Bay, 2002) and has thrown for 28,627 yards and 164 career TDs. But on the flip side, the 40-year old has tossed only 11 regular-season passes since Dec. '06.

Verdict: The Cowboys got a mini-break (no pun intended) with Romo's four-week-but-only-three-games injury; but they're about to feel the karmic pinch of putting their backup-QB faith in Johnson. You want a ballpark figure? I'll be shocked if B.J. averages more than 200 yards passing and 1.5 TDs in the next three games -- which is essentially MattCassel territory ... and we all know how that experiment is working for the Wild Card-or-bust Patriots.

News:Browns TE Kellen Winslow still sidelined with an undisclosed illness

Views: The highly credible has published some clues as to what's been bothering K2 in the last 10 days, but I'm going to steer clear of any speculation. Instead, I'll tackle Plan B scenarios for Winslow owners (like me) who dropped their second (and only tight end) last week -- immediately after the Browns' bye week.

Verdict: Heading into Sunday, the 10-team & Friends league was devoid of premium tight ends on the waiver wire -- forcing me to grab Philly's L.J. Smith, who had only one catch (a 3-yard TD) as a Week 6 replacement. But Smith's Eagles have a bye this week, which means I'm once again at a TE crossroads -- if Winslow does not return for Week 7. I'm looking at Bo Scaife (Titans), Alex Smith (Bucs), Dante Rosario (Panthers), Billy Miller (Saints), Robert Royal (Bills) and the 49ers' enigmatic Vernon Davis (6 catches for 75 yards last week -- fool's gold). Hmmm, I'll reluctantly grab Scaife this week against the Chiefs with one hand ... and pray for Winslow's rapid recuperation in the other.

News:Derek Andersonthrows for 310 yards and 2 TDs in the Browns' Week 7 win

Views: Since this was Anderson's first 300-yard or 2-TD game all season, I can certainly understand the legions of Doubting Thomases who say Anderson was merely a flash in the pan last year. But I'm not giving up the ship on Anderson or the Browns just yet.

Verdict: As I've been saying all year, the Browns -- from a fantasy perspective only -- have way too much playmaking talent to consistently struggle the rest of the way. Braylon Edwards (154 yards, 1 TD on Monday) and Jamal Lewis (92 total yards, 1 TD against the Giants) are running at full capacity (read: injury-free). And Cleveland has perhaps the league's most balanced offensive line -- in terms of protecting the QB and road-grating for running backs ... meaning Anderson, Edwards, Lewis and Kellen Winslow (when healthy) are excellent "buy reasonably low" candidates. But that scenario has a limited shelf life ... so make the trades ASAP!

News:Carson Palmerout for Week 7; visited with MLB team doctor about bad elbow

Views: Whether Palmer's out for just one week (against the Steelers) or for the rest of the season (yikes!), that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E for T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson (inexplicably, I still own Ocho Cinco in one league). But it might signal an uptick for Bengals RBs Chris Perry and, perish the thought, Cedric Benson.

Verdict: Even with Ryan Fitzpatrick helming the Bengals in Palmer's stead, Houshmandzadeh (38 catches, 400 yards, 3 TDs) is posting numbers comparable to Colts receiver Reggie Wayne (33 catches, 468 yards, 4 TDs). But does anyone actually think that comparison will hold up all season -- even if Palmer has the occasional start? Bottom line: There's still time to get excellent trade value on Housh ... maybe landing Santonio Holmes and Raiders rookie RB Darren McFadden in a 2-for-1 swap.

News:Ailing Jon Kitna will likely be put on IR today or traded to a contender

Views: That's some "poker face" the Lions have, huh? If they cannot trade their injured QB (back strain) to a playoff contender (49ers, Cowboys, Saints) by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, then he'll go on injured reserve, officially ending his season (and career) with Detroit.

Verdict: There's no doubting Kitna holds major backup-QB value for a contending team once his balky back gets treatment. But from a fantasy perspective, he has absolutely zero value with another team -- and even less cachet, if that's possible, with the Lions. Of course, Kitna's demise is another man's uprising -- namely Detroit QB Dan Orlovsky, who threw for 253 yards and 1 TD (decent numbers) against Minnesota on Sunday. Now, I am not recommending Orlovsky as a waiver-wire pickup for 10- or 12-team fantasy leagues (I'd rather have Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco, to be honest) ... but I will say this: The scoring drive Orlovsky engineered in Week 6 was the team's best sustained rally of the last five years -- and this is coming from a Michigan native who, sadly, DVRs all the Detroit games on DirecTV.