The top fantasy quarterback of Week 6 was Dallas' Tony Romo. Now hung up for four weeks with a broken finger, Romo must hand the reins of the league's most potent fantasy attack to veteran Brad Johnson.
Fantasy owners old enough to remember Johnson's productive days in Minnesota and Tampa Bay know him to be a conservative pocket passer who is not going to put up the numbers Romo has during his time in the lineup. But with Jason Witten, Terrell Owens and Marion Barber to toy with, Johnson certainly will offer fantasy owners value, especially those owners who have been burned by Tom Brady or Vince Young and have yet to find recourse.
Johnson will be a bit rusty (no attempts in 2008, just 11 all of last season) but it's not unrealistic to believe he can offer 200-plus yards and a touchdown or two in each of the four games he suits up in place of Romo.
Here are a few other waiver wire candidates who offer value to fantasy owners ...
Cobbs had two first half touchdowns in the Dolphins' loss to Houston on Sunday, finishing the game with 138 yards receiving. With Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams ahead of him on the depth chart, Cobbs has had trouble earning many carries in the crowded backfield. But the former North Texas star showed against the Texans that he can be an explosive weapon when given the football. Miami is in need of as many weapons as it can find, and will find more ways to use Cobbs. Perhaps fantasy owners in need can use Cobbs, too.
Hard to believe, but Avery led the Rams with 73 yards receiving on Sunday, and he's begun to step up his play while servicing the team as its No. 2 receiver (three or more catches in each of the Rams' last three outings). Drew Bennett is due back soon, but even so the Rams believe they have found a gem in the University of Houston product. Avery could be a viable fantasy prospect as a No. 5 receiver.
Floyd caught the first of three Philip Rivers touchdown passes in the Chargers' rout on New England on Sunday evening. The 6-foot-5 target benefited from Chris Chambers' absence, and could now become a fixture in an up-and-down Chargers passing attack. Fantasy owners will want to be careful, as Floyd has just 28 career catches in three and a half seasons, but if Sunday was any indication perhaps Floyd has turned a new leaf in his career.
If the Browns are back, as Monday night's result suggests, than it's plausible Heiden will become a bigger part of their attack. With Kellen Winslow M.I.A. for the week, Heiden caught five balls against the Giants and was instrumental in helping Cleveland's offense advance the football. There is no word on Winslow yet, but if he misses significant time Heiden will be a solid fantasy pickup as a fill-in at tight end.
Here is a look at this week's buy and sell candidates:
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
Get ready for this rookie to take flight. Tennessee faces Kansas City (ranked 30th against the run), Indianapolis (26th) and Green Bay (31st) in its next three contests. Johnson has carried at least 15 times in each contest so far, and his poor showing in the Titans' last game (18 carries, 44 yards against top-ranked Baltimore) can be leveraged to help prospective buyers pick him up for less than his true fantasy value.
Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jaguars
Lewis has been a bust up until a few weeks ago. Now, with touchdown catches in consecutive weeks, fantasy owners must ponder whether the third-year player is beginning to find his footing. Lewis hauled in three catches for 64 yards against Denver, including the decisive 30-yard score near the end of the third quarter. He has developed chemistry with David Garrard, and should receive more looks in the offense so long as he continues to produce. Fantasy owners can gain from having Lewis thrown into a package deal.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
So far Roethlisberger has been one of fantasy's hottest quarterbacks, and his last performance yielded 309 yards and three touchdowns. Now, though, would be a good time to dump the Steelers quarterback before his stock starts to plummet. Roethlisberger has had a nagging shoulder that isn't expected to keep him out of action but will surely affect his ability to throw the ball. That sandwiched with a tough upcoming schedule (the Bengals, Giants and Redskins all rank in upper half in defending the pass) is why fantasy owners may want to consider moving Big Ben.
Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys
A number of fantasy owners raced to grab Austin after his 115-yard performance against Green Bay in Week 3. In the past month he's provided good results (three touchdowns in four games). Now, with Brad Johnson in for the injured Tony Romo, Austin's production might drop off. It's likely Johnson will throw to those targets he is most comfortable with, as is common when any backup steps in behind center. Johnson will operate a conservative passing game with the backs and tight end Jason Witten, and probably not hit on as many deep balls as Romo was able to.